Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier has reported new details on Grand Theft Auto 6, the next mainline title in Rockstar’s acclaimed open-world series, having spoken to over 20 current and former employees. With the company having a new direction, opting for a “kindler, gentler” approach, morale is reportedly “higher than ever” as per many staffers. However, it also noted that development – which has been going on in some form since 2014 – has been slower than even “longtime employees” have expected.
A good part of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic though changes made by Rockstar to improve working conditions, including restructuring the design department and reining in overtime, have also contributed to delays. “Some workers say they’re still trying to figure out how to make games at this new iteration of Rockstar and wonder even what a Grand Theft Auto game looks like in today’s environment.”
As for what players can expect, people “familiar with the matter” told the site that there would be a playable female protagonist for the first time. As a Latina, she’s part of a pair of leading characters based on the tale of Bonnie and Clyde (which explains Schreier’s report on how there wouldn’t be three protagonists this time around). Unlike previous titles, the developer is reportedly cautious to not “punch down” when it comes to jokes on marginalized groups.
The release date is interesting as it’s reportedly targeting Take Two Interactive’s 2024 fiscal year. This means sometime between April 2023 to March 2024. However, the development team is “skeptical” and while loose schedules are in place, those interviewed said they were unaware of a firm release date. As it stands, they believe the title to be “at least two years away” from release. This means a 2025 release is possible, as Tom Henderson reported in June 2021.
Interestingly, Rockstar’s Edinburgh office apparently saw a group of designers quit earlier this year due to being “sick” of the lack of progress. Rumors that emerged in December 2021 claimed development to be “chaotic,” so this lines up.
Now for the other big question – where will it be set? The new map is reportedly a fictional version of Miami and surrounding areas with plans to add new missions and cities over a regular period (which is in line to what Schreier reported back in April 2020). This is to ensure less crunch in the final months of development. Originally, the game was codenamed “Project Americas” and planned to be bigger than any title in the series to date. “Early designs called for the inclusion of territories modeled after large swaths of North and South America, according to people familiar with the plans.” That being said, the current world is still large with “more interior locations” than previous titles.
Rockstar hasn’t said much about the next Grand Theft Auto, except to confirm that it’s in active development. It also announced that it had been shifting resources from Red Dead Online to the next GTA title to “exceed players’ expectations and for this next entry to be the best it can possibly be.”