Cranked out on speed or productivity personified? GTA 6 is rapidly setting a new record for the most unconfirmed leaks on a game that hasn’t even been announced yet. The project itself is a giant question mark — is it 2 years away? 6 years away? — with only rumors to guide the path. As if specifics weren’t vague enough, insiders are constantly at odds on whether production has even begun.
Sources say the game is in early development; others claim the release date is mere months away. Either could be true. The setting of the game is another major puzzler. Diehard fans of the franchise are hoping for a retro beatdown set in the 1980s, in the style of Vice City. Others would rather keep the story anchored to the present. Tom Henderson, reputed among fans for successfully leaking Battlefield and Call of Duty, offers his two cents on the matter and claims GTA 6 is set in modern times. Henderson had previously announced GTA 6 will feature a female protagonist.
Grand Theft Auto is a gritty, if not farcical, take on the chaotic urban sprawl that has become present-day America. The series spans 16 years of rated-R shootouts, gang wars, drug dealing, and heists, each involving morally questionable everymen hoping to secure the criminal underworld for themselves. With the exception of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City — a 1986 crime drama about a down-on-his-luck mobster set in a fictional version of Miami — each of the main entries is set in modern-day, albeit fictional, American cities. It would make sense to have GTA 6 be the same.
Vice City, however, is widely considered one of the greatest games ever made. It was the bestselling video game of 2002, outselling its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, by roughly 3 million copies. It practically defined open-world gaming for most sixth-generation consoles. It’s no surprise fans are hoping for an updated rehash of Tommy Vercetti’s adventures. Same time, Grand Theft Auto V — the newest entry in the series — broke records the world over nearly overnight. The game, released in 2013, holds the grand distinction of being the only GTA title to receive multiple Guinness World Record designations, having grossed $815 million in just 24 hours worldwide. That’s 11.21 million copies in less than a day. With over 135 million copies sold and counting, GTA V is currently the second bestselling video game of all time and Rockstar’s most profitable creation so far.
More importantly, GTA V gave us online multiplayer — arguably the greatest thing to happen to open world gaming thus far. That alone justifies making GTA 6 exclusively modern-day, given how smartphones and Internet capability factor largely into how GTA Online is played. Last year, GTA Online averaged the most monthly players it’s had in over 6 years. Though exact numbers weren’t provided, it’s clear the company hit quite the milestone. In that sense, Henderson may be telling the truth. Of course GTA 6 is set in the present-day. It has to be. Why deviate from a formula that works?