As soon as Sony confirmed that a new PlayStation would be launched in 2020, it always seemed likely that it would only be a matter of time until we heard some solid information about the next version of ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ Gone are the days when multiple versions of Rockstar Games’ most famous intellectual property would see several releases on the same platform. The making of a new GTA game takes years, and once it’s been released, it’s expected to keep running for several years beyond that. One per console is now about the right ratio.
We still don’t have an official release date for the highly-anticipated sixth version of Grand Theft Auto, but we have as close to a confirmation as we’re likely to receive that we can expect to see it in 2020 – possibly close to the time Sony release the PlayStation 5, and Microsoft’s Xbox Scarlett (final name to be confirmed) see launch dates of their own.
Looking For Help
The basis for the rumors of an impending GTA 6 release date has been sparked by the fact that Rockstar has been reaching out for help in putting the finishing touches to a top-secret project. The Scottish games development company has enlisted fellow Scots Ruffian Games to work on ‘unspecified’ games, and Ruffian has subsequently been advertising for computer game development experts to come in on the project. So far, they’ve posted vacancies for engineers, graphic designers, and scriptwriters. That sounds like a major undertaking, and the only major undertaking that Rockstar is known to have right now is the next ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game.
Interestingly, every single one of the job specifications listed with the vacancies says that candidates must have experience with working on multiplayer games for the current generation of consoles. That may be an indication that multiplayer will be an even bigger element of the next GTA than it has been for GTA 5. Although the single-player campaign mode of GTA 5 was one of the longest in the series so far, it pales in comparison to the amount of content Rockstar has currently released for the online multiplayer version of the game. If it’s now been decided that multiplayer is the priority, that may mean that the single-player mode is scaled back this time around. That would be consistent with some of the rumors we’ve heard about the sixth installment in the wildly popular series.
The Rumor Mill
According to some sources who claim to have knowledge of the Rockstar plan, the new game will break new ground. If the rumors are correct, it will be the first GTA game to have a female lead, and that female gangster will be the only playable character in the story. That would mean a total change of strategy from GTA 5, which saw three main protagonists wreaking havoc all over the game’s expansive world. That isn’t to say that having one character means having less story, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that a linear, one-character story would be a shorter one.
There are some rumors to the contrary, though. We’ve also heard that there may be as many as five playable characters in the game, and that the United States of America may not be the setting. Instead, the story could take place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the timeframe may be the 1960s or 1970s. GTA has dabbled with journeying into the past before, but not in a different country, and never outside of the USA or the UK. Even if just one of the rumors turns out to be accurate, it seems like we’ll be getting a whole new type of GTA this time around.
One thing we will be interested to see is whether Rockstar attempt to implement any aspects of the Diamond Hotel and Casino in their next game. They put many hours of development time into making the casino available in GTA 5, only to run into trouble when they attempted to make it available to players. To the company’s surprise, several territories where real-life gambling is banned also forbade their citizens to take part in virtual gambling, and so blocked access to the casino.
Rockstar’s take on the matter was that as no real money can be won from the GTA casino, it can’t be classed as gambling. Countries such as China and Argentina, who have blocked the casino, see no difference between the GTA casino and legitimate digital gambling games like UK casino games. The issue stems from the fact that players can pay for chips with real money, and so the territories in question have come to look at it as if it were a mobile slots game you can put money into, but not take money out of. The fact that nobody would log onto a mobile slots website if that were they way they functioned seems to be lost on them.
As it’s likely Rockstar will want the game to be playable for as many people as possible, they may take the decision not to do anything that might see their next release being banned, and therefore cut out any casino content this time around. That would mean that the Diamond Hotel and Casino project would be written off as a failed experiment. That would be unfortunate, but understandable.
So When’s The Likely Date?
We know the new PlayStation will become available somewhere between October and December 2020 – Sony is particularly keen to make sure it’s there for buyers before Christmas next year, when it’s likely to be a much-requested gift. As such, we’d expect the new GTA game to arrive within the same window of time. Although Ruffian’s help has been requested, we’d be surprised if preliminary work hasn’t been done on the game already. It seems unlikely that something as huge as a new ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game could be completely coded and released within twelve months.
It may even be the case that the game launches for the existing generation of consoles first, and is then followed by an ‘enhanced’ version for the new generation further down the line. There will be a delay between the new consoles becoming available and existing console owners moving on to the next generation, so it wouldn’t make good business sense for Rockstar to leave PS4 and Xbox One players out of the reckoning.
Whether it’s got one playable character or five, and whether it’s in Vice City or Brazil, we’re just looking forward to the next stage in the evolution of one of the all-time greats in video gaming!