It might be hard to believe, but it’s actually been 7 years since the last Grand Theft Auto game was released on 7th gen consoles. Grand Theft Auto 5 was an improvement for the series in just about every measurable way. The scope of the story, the variety of the game play, the amount of detail and post-processing effects that were able to be pulled off in such a large open world, we’re all things that previous Grand Theft Auto games can’t even hold a candle to the fifth entry on. While some may still prefer San Andreas or Vice City when picking their personal favorite, it’s hard to argue with the fact that the fifth entry in the series is a technical masterpiece in a multitude of ways.
As such, the game has seen a lot of success. It’s been ported to 8th gen consoles and on the verge of a port to 9th gen consoles, which is a sight we rarely see from any game without it being called a remaster or remake. But even though the port to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X would qualify as a remaster, nobody’s really calling it that, because it ultimately makes plenty of sense to be on 9th gen consoles and feel like a 9th gen game because of how well it’s put together. All of that said, with Grand Theft Auto 5 technically being 7 years old, and will likely be 8 before we see another entry, the question is getting asked more and more; where exactly the hell is Grand Theft Auto 6?
We’ve seen some rumors about what the next Grand Theft Auto game could be. For starters, the more prominent rumors indicate that Grand Theft Auto 6 will be based largely in Vice City and will also take place in a new fictional city based on Rio de Janeiro. This is a rather exciting concept for fans of Vice City like me, who rather enjoyed that Scarface-style story and the 80’s aesthetic that the series has largely ignored since that game. Although this time around it seems that Grand Theft Auto 6, according to the rumors, is more inspired by Netflix’s Narcos. Also, according to the rumors the game takes place over a large span of time and throughout that span of time the economy changes. The value of cars and buildings fluctuate, while different crime empires rise and fall.
All of this information is very interesting, but the rumor that really sticks out to me is the one that says this game has been in development since 2012 a year before Grand Theft Auto 5 launched. This would mean it’s been on the back burner throughout the entire Red Dead Redemption 2 development, which could be an indication that we’re in for a rather massive experience here. I go into all of this to illustrate that we probably aren’t too far from Grand Theft Auto 6. While it is true we have waited longer for Grand Theft Auto 6 then we have waited for any Grand Theft Auto game since the original one was released on the PlayStation, it’s looking like that isn’t for no reason. Grand Theft Auto 6 is going to be rather ambitious in a multitude of ways, and in order to meet expectations of mainstream gamers, it’s obviously going to require that extra time to bring these massive ideas to fruition. Given that it’s been at some stage of development for nearly a decade, I would wager it’s probably coming sooner than we currently think.
Another reason we aren’t hearing anything official about Grand Theft Auto 6 right now despite how far along it probably is in development is because of just how successful Grand Theft Auto 5 has been. It’s sort of similar to why we haven’t gotten Tekken x Street Fighter, the long-awaited follow-up to Street Fighter x Tekken being because of Tekken 7’s unmitigated success and longevity. Copies of Tekken 7 are still flying off the shelves and getting downloaded from PSN at an alarming rate, and Bandai Namco is catering to the obvious inclinations of their audience by releasing more DLC and continuing to support Tekken 7 Network features with updates and additions. To release a new Tekken-style game with Street Fighter characters will almost certainly mean a huge blow to Tekken 7’s lifespan, and if the fans of the game are still happy with that, then the folks behind it can spend that extra time polishing up the next thing, why not go about it that way? We’re likely seeing a similar situation with Grand Theft Auto 6.
While it is probably quite far along and development, and possibly even ready for a reveal, to announce Grand Theft Auto 6 and start revving up for its eventual release would almost certainly cut short the lifespan of Grand Theft Auto 5 online mode which has proven to be a huge hit for fans of the series. Granted, Rockstar won’t want to hold on to GTA 6 forever without announcing it, if fans are still interested in 5 and still having a good time with its online mode then why not let that sit for a little bit longer while they spend that extra time polishing up Grand Theft Auto 6 and ultimately making it a richer, better experience? If I were a betting man, I would say GTA 6 could probably be released holiday 2021 no problem. It possibly could have been released this year, but there’s really no point in cannibalizing the Red Dead Redemption 2 online audience and GTA 5 online audience with a new Grand Theft Auto game as long as those two games are still thriving, which they are.
So with all of that said and with not much else to go on at this point, I think the main points to walk away with from this are that GTA 6 is definitely on the way, and with a franchise like this you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to seeing it disappear or being put on ice for a ridiculously long amount of time. It’s probably never going to be one of those gems that get lost in the shuffle at Rockstar like Max Payne or Manhunt seemingly have. It’s not going anywhere. In fact odds are good it’s going to continue to get better with subsequent releases, and if Grand Theft Auto 6 rumors that are currently out there have any credibility to them at all, the ambition for the series will continue to know no bounds and surprise us with every release. I think it’s fairly obvious that the next year is going to be very revealing for the franchise. if we don’t get a launch of Grand Theft Auto 6 will at the very least get a reveal at some point after GTA 5 launches on current-gen consoles and that game starts to inevitably, finally wind down. Like all things in this department though, only time will tell.
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