Rockstar Games haven't officially revealed anything about the next Grand Theft Auto game, however through leaks and research, we've put together a list of everything you need to know so far.
If you haven't been obsessively keeping up to date with the latest GTA VI news, there's quite a bit you might not know about the new game. We've rounded up all of the hard facts and plausible rumors to make you seem like a GTA expert to your friends... Read on to learn all we know. All information was correct (to the best of our knowledge) at the time of publication.
1. It's definitely in development!
A new Grand Theft Auto game was first officially mentioned by Rockstar Games on Feb 4th 2022 as part of their GTA community update where they stated “development was well underway”. Development actually started in some form back in 2014 according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier in an article posted in 2022. Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar Games' parent company, reaffirmed the game was in active development on August 8th, 2022 and that Rockstar would “continue to set creative benchmarks”.
Following the development footage leaks in September 2022, Rockstar Games confirmed a network intrusion and stated that they were disappointed to have details of the next game shared in this way and that they would properly introduce us to the next game when it is ready. Since then we've heard nothing from either Rockstar Games or Take Two which essentially means the development continues and it's not quite in a stage where they're ready to show it off to us just yet.
2. The game will return to Vice City
Vice City is the only 3D-era GTA game which hasn't been recreated in a modern title so far.
- GTA III's Liberty City became the setting for GTA IV
- GTA: San Andreas became the setting for GTA V
- Therefore many fans had already expected Vice City to become the setting for GTA VI
Jason Schreier's article in July 2022 hinted at a Miami setting, but we had no official information that this would be the case until early development footage from the game was leaked in September 2022. The footage showed various landmarks around Vice City, with logos on the Vice City Metro transport system and developmental text making references to familiar locations in the original game such as Vice Beach, The Malibu Club, Ocean View and Washington Beach.
We also know that the game will feature more than just the Miami-inspired Vice City with scenes spotted from across the state of Florida such as the Everglades and Florida Keys giving players a huge area to explore. Florida’s terrain is typically quite flat, averaging just 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level, however some large hills and mountains could be seen in the leaked footage which indicates the world map won’t just be a full recreation of Florida, Rockstar will utilize their creative license to build a world full of variety for players to experience, inspired by Miami and the surrounding areas.
3. The main characters are Jason and Lucia
For the first time in the series' history, players will control a female protagonist by the name of Lucia and her partner in crime (and possibly more), Jason. Ironically, the first we'd heard about a potential female character was by another Jason - Bloomberg's Jason Schreier - whose article in 2022 set the rumor-mill in motion. This was as-good-as confirmed in the leaked footage where Jason and Lucia were seen together on a number of occasions.
The game appears to include character switching functionality similar to GTA V, allowing players to control both characters independently. Early development footage also indicates that the characters will have some kind of shared inventory, meaning some items can be collected and used by both characters.
Jason Schreier's article indicates the couple will be inspired by famous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde which gives an idea of how the story may unfold and how the two characters will work together. It also suggests the two playable protagonists are in fact romantically involved, which again is another first for the series, but one which might bring back memories of Catalina and CJ in GTA San Andreas, or even Catalina and Claude from the start of GTA III.
4. It will have a modern-day setting
In the leaked development footage, one scene showed a character named Wyman discussing the death of Jay Norris, the Life Invader CEO in GTA V who has his head blown off while demonstrating a new smart phone on stage courtesy of Michael De Santa.
These revelations means the game has to be set after those events in GTA V which is set in the early 2010's. The game will likely be set in "modern-day" which could be any time period since the development started in 2014. This means a return to the 1980's time period of the original GTA: Vice City game seems to be a non-starter.
5. Robberies will play a significant role
One of the main gameplay elements seen in the leaked development footage was both protagonists committing robberies. Both Jason and Lucia were seen working together to hold up staff at Hank's Waffles diner, while another video showed Jason entering a pawn shop using what appears to be a "Special Ability" (similar to the ones each of the 3 protagonists had in GTA V) to highlight valuable items.
Other information in the leaks suggests players will be able to offload their stolen goods at a number of 'fences' around the city, which is a person or business who knowingly purchases stolen property with the intention of reselling it for a profit. It's likely players will have to sell their stolen items for cash before they're arrested by police and potentially lose it all.
6. GTA Online will return
GTA Online has been a huge money maker for Rockstar Games, earning them up to $1 BILLION per year, which largely explains why it's been a top priority for almost 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Rockstar essentially confirmed that a new GTA game had not been rushed into development due to the longevity of GTA V (and Online) and have mentioned they still have plans for GTA Online up until at least the end of 2023.
In one short leaked development video, we saw a player carrying and dropping a dead body, which itself is a new feature we haven't previously seen in a GTA game, however eagle-eyed viewers may spot "PL: 2/32" in the bottom corner of the development UI which is a clear indication this footage was recorded from the online portion of the game which appears to have 2 players and be capped at 32 players per session.
It's quite obvious from a business standpoint that GTA Online will continue into the new game, but whether Rockstar Games will allow users to import their previous characters and unlocks into the new game, or force everyone to start from scratch remains to be seen.
In an ideal world, we imagine Rockstar Games would love to have GTA Online continue with Vice City alongside Los Santos however the storage requirements for this make the idea unfeasible. Players would essentially need to have GTA V and GTA VI installed on their console simultaneously with a total file size exceeding 150 GB and Rockstar would have to figure out a way to make a 10 year old game function alongside a brand new one, with a new engine, new scripts and animations etc.
As a result, we think it's much more likely that GTA Online will start fresh for players on GTA VI, the same way players have to begin from scratch in FIFA Ultimate Team or Call of Duty each time a new game is released.
7. The game’s Release Date is expected to be Late-2024 or 2025
Jason Schreier explained in 2022 that developers didn't expect the game to release for at least 2 years. Following huge criticism and a number of resignations, Rockstar Games revised their working practices and removed "crunch periods" meaning there is now a more laid back approach to development.
Crunch periods are times usually towards the end of the development where staff such as developers and testers are unofficially "required" to work extremely long hours (e.g. 80-100 hour weeks) to ensure everything is finished, tested and polished as much as possible before the deadline. It's the equivalent of staying up all night to study for tomorrow's exam, only over the course of weeks and months! While this can't be legally enforced, staff at some studios could be told they won't receive bonuses or even that they will be removed from the games' credits if they don't comply.
Getting rid of this practice means development progress is slower, however the work/life balance for developers greatly improves and hopefully means we'll be treated to an even better product as a result.
Rockstar Games haven't announced the game yet or given any idea of a launch date, meaning there is less pressure on the developers to get everything finished by a set time which should mean less bugs and more polish.
Traditionally, Rockstar Games announce a game 18 months to 2 years before it's actually launched. Given we’ve had no official announcement so far, it’s unlikely the game will launch before 2024 and the longer we have to wait, the more likely it’ll be as far away as 2025.
8. It will probably launch on 'Next-Gen' consoles only
Based on an anticipated 2025 release date, older generation consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) will be fairly obsolete. Rockstar pushed the boundaries of the last generation of consoles with their remaster of GTA V, so in their attempts to make GTA VI even better, they may be forced to launch directly onto the latest and most powerful consoles. Next-Gen consoles are much more widely available now than they have been for the past few years so there will be a large target audience who will buy the game when it does launch and it could potentially increase sales of next gen consoles following an announcement that you'll need one to play it, which may lead to bundle packages with Sony or Microsoft.
Rockstar Games usually launch new games at the end of a console cycle as it maximizes their number of potential customers. There are tens of millions more gamers with a PS4 or Xbox One compared to those with a PS5 or XBox Series X so it wouldn't be surprising to see a less powerful version of the game launch on old-gen consoles to target that market, however this brings additional development, testing, patches and maintenance etc which seems like a lot of work for consoles that are only going to get more outdated as time goes by.
Although there are legitimate reasons for launching on older generation consoles, we're fairly confident you're going to need a next gen console to play GTA VI at launch, and you'll certainly need one to play the best version of the game.
9. Advanced Police AI and CCTV Cameras
In some of the leaked development footage it seems as though pedestrians can report crimes and call in the police on your location. Additionally, security cameras can apparently record crimes which again may alert the authorities and make it harder to perform a robbery without attracting police attention. It also appears Police can call for backup which sees more heavily armed officers arrive at the scene.
We have seen new contextual controls which appear while wanted by police which allow the player to surrender. Generally in GTA V players will go down fighting because the penalties of being arrested or dying are mostly the same, however GTA VI could change this and make death more serious meaning in some cases it might be better to surrender. It will be interesting to see how this is developed and what actually happens with regards to losing any weapons, stolen items, drugs etc that may be in possession of your character when you're busted or die.
Currently the wanted system only appears to go up to 5 stars, however this could be due to reusing assets and functionality from GTA V so early in development. Given this is GTA 6, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 6-star wanted level return.
10. The game will receive regular updates after launch
Jason Schreier's Bloomberg article suggested that the codename "Project Americas" was based on Rockstar's ambitious attempt to include multiple cities in North and South America in the game. Following a number of staff changes and the change of policy on crunch time, these features were apparently cut back so that the game can be completed and launched as soon as possible. It is stated that Rockstar Games' plan going forward is to release regular updates to the game similar to the constant updates in GTA Online, however they will potentially add new cities and story missions.
GTA V didn't receive any Single Player story updates although a story expansion was in development following the game's release, so it's quite likely that Jason is right and we can expect updates to single player in GTA VI, although at this time it's not known if the updates will be free or whether they'll require a purchase. If so, it's likely they'll either be discounted or included as part of Rockstar's GTA+ subscription which provides players in-game benefits for a monthly fee.
This does not mean Rockstar Games are "cutting content" to charge for DLC. More likely, they will be adding in additional content that would otherwise have pushed back the original launch even further.