It’s that time of year again! More Grand Theft Auto VI rumors are circling the internet. The most recent set of leaks has brought us insight into the new culture at Rockstar Games, as well as how they’re planning on supporting GTA VI post-launch. There’s some exciting stuff and some concerning news.
So just what do we know about the game now that these leaks are out? What features can we expect to see in Rockstar’s upcoming game? And what features do we want to see in the next GTA entry? We’ll be covering all that and more in today’s article!
Everything We Know About GTA VI
So what are we waiting for? Let’s kick off this article by going over everything that we know from all the (most reliable) past leaks.
GTA VI Is Set in Vice City
To the surprise of literally no one, the game is going to be set in Vice City, modeled after the real-world location of Miami, Florida. This should be obvious, as the past two entries in the series have taken place in locations visited before in older games. We’ve gone back to Liberty City in GTA IV, and back to Los Santos in GTA V. So it only makes sense that we’d be seeing Vice City once again in the near future.
There have been many “leaked” screenshots over the years showing maps that look similar to GTA: Vice City’s map, but almost all of these claims have been either proven false or have no evidence, to begin with. But thanks to a very recent leak that came out in July this year, we may finally have some concrete evidence that Vice City is the next location for our favorite crime-ridden franchise.
An article published by Bloomberg revealed that the game was originally going to be much larger, but that Rockstar Games had to remove large portions of the game in order to reduce the amount of crunch that their developers had to go through when making Red Dead Redemption 2.
Now the game is reportedly going to only take place in Vice City and some surrounding areas (at least at launch — more on that later). An older leak claimed the game would take place in the modern day so that Rockstar could add semi-futuristic vehicles to the next iteration of GTA Online, which makes perfect sense.
It’ll Feature a Latina Female Protagonist
One interesting thing to be reported is the fact that GTA VI will have the first female protagonist in the franchise’s history (excluding GTA Online protagonists). This report comes from the same article by Bloomberg. This protagonist will be Latina, which is also the first time for a protagonist in GTA’s history. This news is interesting to hear, and I’m hoping to hear more about her in the future.
Many people are disgruntled by this news, claiming that Rockstar is now prioritizing token representation over telling a good story. I disagree with this idea. Rockstar has used marginalized protagonists in the past, and each time the characters were well-written and never felt like they were forced into the game for the sake of representation. CJ (GTA: San Andreas) is a Black man pulled reluctantly into a gang war after the death of his mother, and Niko Bellic (GTA IV) is an Eastern-European immigrant trying to pursue the American Dream while dealing with echoes of both his criminal and military past.
Both of these characters stand as proof that Rockstar has always valued both representation AND good storytelling. CJ and Niko are good characters not because they represent marginalized groups, but because they’re well written… and Rockstar knows this. There’s no reason to assume this upcoming Latina protagonist will simply be diversity for the sake of diversity and not her own unique character with a compelling story. With all this in mind, I’m confident we’ll get a well-written protagonist and story in the next installment of GTA.
The Story Is Inspired by Bonnie & Clyde
Speaking of female protagonists, another report is that the story for GTA VI will be heavily inspired by the tale of Bonnie and Clyde. In case you don’t know, Bonnie and Clyde were a real-life criminal couple who lived during the 1930s. They became famous for traveling across the United States and robbing banks together. They’re one of the most famous pairs of criminals in history, so a Grand Theft Auto story inspired by them sounds really great!
The exact details of other aspects of the story are currently unclear, and there isn’t much to go off of aside from what I’ve already told you. Hopefully, when GTA VI releases, we’ll be getting a very heist-focused story that lets us rob banks and other wealthy locations all throughout Vice City. Heists are the best part of a GTA game, after all.
The Satire Will Be Toned Down
This next bit of information from Bloomberg is very interesting to hear. According to their article, Rockstar will be adjusting how they write their games. They will not be making fun of marginalized people as often as they did before in the past. If you’ve ever played a Rockstar game, you’ll know that offensive satire is a very big part of their style of open-world games.
Many people are happy that they’ll be toning things down, but many more people are concerned this will lead to the open world of GTA VI feeling less unique and more like the hundreds of open-world games we already have. Rockstar is most likely doing it to avoid controversies surrounding their games, which is odd, as they’ve always seemed to embrace controversy when marketing their past games.
It’s very difficult to imagine a GTA game without the satire. It’s always been such a mainstay in the series, it makes me very concerned that this next entry won’t feel like a GTA game. But only time will tell if this change is for the best or not.
New Cities Will Be Added Over Time
As previously mentioned, the game was once going to be very, very large in scale. But it needed to be cut down as it was overly ambitious and would require that they overwork their developers. The game will be smaller than originally planned, featuring only one major city where the story will take place. Apparently, more locations will be released for the game over time.
The thought of getting multiple large cities in a GTA game is honestly a dream come true! We haven’t really had multiple cities since GTA: San Andreas, and even then, the map was very small by today’s standards. There have been many fan-made mods that attempt to add multiple cities onto the same map. But seeing something official in GTA VI? Oh, man!
Hopefully, this also means we’ll be getting more single-player DLC in the future as well. This is something that was neglected in GTA V, and it would be nice to see it get some love this time around.
GTA VI Will Release In/Around 2025
And now for the million dollar question — when will Grand Theft Auto VI be released? There have been many speculations about the exact date for the game’s release. Numbers have been as low as 2023, and as high as 2028. It’s one of the most-asked questions when it comes to Rockstar’s next open-world title, but I think we may have an answer already.
One particular number that has been thrown around quite a bit recently is 2025. This is because of a leak that points to that year as being when the next entry releases. Many people dismissed this as being another unfounded leak. However, one very credible journalist has stepped up to the mic to back this claim up.
Jason Schreier is a well-known journalist throughout the gaming community, famous for his investigations into crunch culture in gaming. He is also considered very reliable when it comes to leaks for upcoming projects and releases. Back in 2021, he went into the spotlight for backing up a claim that 2025 is the planned release date for Grand Theft Auto VI, making this date look credible.
7 Things We Want in GTA VI
Now that we’ve gone over what we know about the next GTA game, let’s cover what we want to see from the next entry!
1. Better Car Customization
Let’s start off with something fairly obvious — we need better car customization. The car customization in GTA V was very well done for a 2013 game, but considering it’s been almost a decade later and many racing games feature much better customization, I think it’s time for an upgrade. When GTA VI releases, I want Benny’s Original Works levels of car customization, with a few added bells and whistles.
For one, we should be able to change the sound effects that our engines make. Many car games feature the option to change your engine sounds, so GTA should have it as well. There was an (unconfirmed) rumor a while back that GTA VI would allow users to purchase a satellite radio upgrade for our cars that would let us listen to more radio stations. This sounds great and it should be in the game.
But most importantly, car customization should be more dynamic and engaging. In the 2015 game Mad Max, you could do things like upgrade the armor on your car at the cost of reducing the vehicle’s speed. There were certain tires better for off-roading, and some that were better for driving on roads. I love this idea of some upgrades having both positive and negative repercussions for your cars.
GTA VI should have this as well. We should get different tires for different types of racing. We should be able to tune our engines to specialize a car in top speed, acceleration, or handling. Upgrades should have pros and cons to allow for multiple builds of the same vehicle. This would make the customization more engaging and impactful, and it would lead to more thoughtful player choices.
2. Less Returning Characters
This next one might generate some disagreement among other players. GTA V saw the return of a few fan-favorite characters such as Johnny K and Patrick McReary. We even saw an easter egg showing Niko Bellic on Lifeinvader! Seeing a few returning faces is always a great thing, and we should definitely keep that. However, there can be too much of a good thing.
In GTA Online, we saw the return of way too many characters from past games. Having so many characters all decide to move from the east coast to Los Santos all of a sudden felt very jarring and weird. It made the world of GTA feel much smaller. Because of this, they should tone down the amount of returning characters and instead focus more on writing brand new characters.
We should only see returning characters when it makes sense. Franklin Clinton has settled down in Los Santos with a family, so keep him out of the picture. Maybe Rockstar could even re-introduce some characters from outside the GTA games for a change. I personally would love to see Jimmy Hopkins show up as a character we could recruit for a heist!
3. Purchasable & Customizable Safehouses
One thing that I was disappointed by in GTA V was the fact that we were unable to purchase a new safehouse in the single-player. We could do it in the online mode, but that isn’t the same thing. In GTA: San Andreas, we could buy safe houses throughout the state. They could be used as places to save. I would love to see this feature return to give us something to spend our hard-earned cash on.
If Rockstar wants to go the extra mile, they could allow us some extra customization options. Personally, I like the simplicity and ease of use that they have for safe houses in GTA Online. Give us more of that, but with some added complexity. Let us choose from a variety of different furniture themes, but also let us choose a color palette that can be used on any of the options we have.
I would also like to see upgrades for safe houses. Maybe we could purchase a weapon workbench to modify our gear? Or we could get a secret armory that would allow us to pick up some body armor? Hell, if we could just buy a pool table to play with our companions in single player, that would be really great!
4. Upgradeable Businesses in Single Player
One thing which has always been a staple of the 3D GTA games is the businesses. Purchasable assets to make you money have been in most of the recent games, and are even a major part of the gameplay loop in GTA Online. Because of this, they need to return in the next entry. But they should have some features to improve upon what we’ve gotten before.
It would be great if they worked a bit more like the older games, where you had to complete several missions before they started making you money. This would give it a better sense of progression and it would make it feel like you were really building up a business. You should also be able to purchase upgrades for these assets to make them work more efficiently, just like you can in the online mode.
In addition to giving you money, they should provide some kind of unique benefit as they’ve done in the past. Maybe you could call in a boat from anywhere on the map if you owned a smuggling business based at a dock? Maybe you could get free body armor and ammo if you owned a gun-running business? Or, you could even purchase your own Spray N’ Pray and get discounted car customization!
5. Single-player DLC
After Grand Theft Auto V’s release, Rockstar promised the community we’d be getting single-player DLC that would expand the stories of the three protagonists we all know and love. It has been nine years since GTA V’s release, and still, we have no new single-player content. It’s all just been online stuff. And while that is all nice and good for multiplayer fans, single players deserve some love too.
This request seems likely considering Rockstar’s desire to add large new locations to the game post-launch. I would absolutely love a South American DLC where we’d have to travel from Vice City to a Columbian-inspired location. Maybe we could do some missions for a drug cartel? Perhaps we could double cross them and pull off a big heist on their estate?
Even if we don’t get something as big as The Ballad of Gay Tony like in GTA IV, it would still be amazing to get some small content added to single-player. New cars! New guns! And even some smaller-scale contact missions set on the same map as the base game would be fine by me. Rockstar will definitely be focusing on the online content, but they should still give something for single players.
6. Lots & Lots of Unapologetic Satire
Rockstar games are known for their controversies. As well as the fact they are (or weren’t) afraid to make fun of anyone. This made their games more humorous, but also more intelligent, as they were able to use satire to criticize certain things. But thanks to recent leaks, it looks like their satire will be more sensitive to certain topics and won’t be as unapologetic as it was in the past.
I understand and accept that many people dislike the controversies and satire found in their games. But the fact of the matter is that satire is a very important part of making people think about things in new lights and questioning commonly accepted norms. I don’t think that poking fun at certain groups of people is inherently wrong. As long as it’s done tastefully and tries to criticize, not just make fun.
We all have to laugh at ourselves sometimes, and satire is a good way to do that. While it looks like GTA VI will try to be more sensitive to certain groups of people, I hope that they’re at least willing to be unapologetically satirical to more mainstream aspects of American life. Rampant consumerism, divisive politics, and other such things will hopefully still get some of the same treatment they got in GTA V.
7. Open-Ended Level Design
Last but not least, we should be getting more open-ended level design. I’ve been playing through Bully recently, and despite being an open world, the levels are very structured and rigid. There isn’t much room for experimentation. And the game holds your hand quite a bit in how it wants you to complete objectives.
This problem isn’t unique to Bully, however. Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as pretty much every GTA game has the same issue. Each game has a very specific way of how it wants you to complete an objective. And very few missions allow you to accomplish the same task in a different way. In GTA VI, you should have more freedom to go off the path and take different approaches when doing missions.
We got a taste of this in GTA V, where you could decide how you want to do certain heists. This should definitely return, but the way levels are structured should change as well. I don’t want to get a mission failure for taking a shortcut or for using the “wrong” method to kill someone. Open world games should provide freedom to players, and linear level design is contradictory to that.
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