We’ve officially waited longer for the next Grand Theft Auto game than we ever have before. GTA V was released six years back in 2013, and since then we’ve only heard of hints and clues about what GTA VI could be like. One of the only things we can be certain of is that the game will make several references to previous installments (it's a Rockstar tradition).
We don't know if the new game will be set in the same universe, but we’re holding out hope that we'll see several returning characters. However, this doesn’t mean that all characters are welcome to make an appearance, because a few of them are best left in their respective games.
10 Return: Trevor Philips
Almost all of the GTA fandom has been begging for Trevor Philips to return in the next game. His huge fan following means he's likely to get his shot, too. As far as storyline potential goes, you can go anywhere with this character. There's no such thing as too far where Trevor's concerned.
Trevor’s violent nature can go either dark or extremely funny, based on what the plot requires of him. It’s a feature that can be exploited in any setting. While Trevor shouldn’t be the main character again, he can most certainly be a solid supporting character who’ll keep us entertained.
9 Return: Franklin Clinton
Like Trevor, Franklin also has boundless potential in regards to storytelling. Franklin’s role in GTA V was being the guy who was dragged along for everything (even without his consent), yet made the most of all these moments.
His sardonic attitude is perfect to reflect what the player feels, in the usual GTA-style scenarios where things go south easily. Franklin’s characterization can go further than before, there's much more to tease out of him. When last we left him, he was still a punk kid (although he had learned the value of friendship), so a more mature Franklin would be interesting to see.
8 Return: Niko Bellic
GTA V itself was a perfect time to bring back Niko, who had captured the interest of most of the people who had played GTA IV. As such, the next game will be an even better opportunity to bring this former protagonist into the story.
There were a couple of throwaway mentions of him in GTA V (simply mentioning that he’d gone quiet since his criminal days), but a reappearance of epic proportions would be the right way to see Niko again. He could return as a supporting protagonist who provides assistance or refuge to the new protagonist. It’ll be hilarious to see Niko once again being befuddled by the bizarre nature of the world he finds himself in.
7 Don't Return: Luis Lopez
This is a hard pass. Luis Lopez was easily the least interesting protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City collection, and playing his storyline was exasperating for the most part. He was characterized as a playboy figure who took his criminal activities as a joke.
We don’t need to see anymore of Luis in GTA games, not even for a small cameo where he gets killed. His presence onscreen is too annoying for us to want to sit through more of his failed attempts at wisecracking.
6 Return: Tommy Vercetti
GTA: Vice City has been the only main game that has featured the city, and GTA VI is very likely to feature this setting again. Since Tommy is the poster boy for Vice City, it’s only appropriate that he should show up too.
We know the seventh-generation console GTA games aren’t in the same universe as the latter entries, but that doesn’t mean Rockstar Games can’t make an exception. Besides, it’s not like GTA is rock-steady in its canon, so anything is possible. Bringing Tommy back is more than fitting, and he should be killed off in this appearance to show to us that this new version of Vice City brings the unexpected along with it.
5 Return: Roman Bellic
Admit it, you’ve missed Roman calling at the worst possible time to invite you to “go bowling.” Roman was a bit of an annoyance in his appearances during GTA IV, but no one can claim to hate this character.
He was the first GTA character who was not only kooky, but also had a lot of heart. In GTA VI, Roman should come back as a friend of the protagonist, where he once again calls us to go bowling. This will be a great nod toward GTA IV, and we’ll also get to catch up with Roman and see how he's doing with his wife and kids.
4 Return: Carl "CJ" Johnson
Like Tommy, CJ was in a different universe of GTA, but he’s also one of the iconic (anti-) heroes of the series. We’d all be happy to see him again. Since we saw CJ as a young punk in GTA: San Andreas (which was set in 1992), he’ll be in his fifties by now and we just can’t imagine what that would be like.
No one will know what to expect with an older CJ, which means it’s something that should absolutely be seen. A special appearance from CJ would honor San Andreas and the many hours of fun it gave us.
3 Don't Return: Dwayne Forge
Oh, dear. it’s better to blow your character up in a variety of grim ways rather than have to sit through any more of Dwayne's whining. Those who chose to let Dwayne live in GTA IV quickly came to regret it, as this guy just never shut up about his problems.
All he would ever do was whine about how he couldn’t read, or how he had a rough childhood and didn’t have any friends. It got annoying very quickly, and we just know Dwayne will not have changed his ways a decade later. It’s best to leave him back in GTA IV forever.
2 Return: Huang Lee
This could be a very interesting return for Huang Lee, as we’ve never seen this guy in 3D form. The character was the protagonist of GTA: Chinatown Wars which, while set in the same timeline as GTA IV, never crossed paths with the rest of the series’ events.
Huang was the GTA character who had the most significant character development during his story, as he went from a spoiled rich kid to someone who fought for the honor of his father. With the lessons he learned from his own story, it’ll be nice to see an older Huang be a mature character in GTA VI - and finally in 3D, too!
1 Don't Return: Michael De Santa
Everyone loved Michael in GTA V, so why don’t we want him to return? He was the only character of the three protagonists who got a real ending. Michael was a very different GTA protagonist in that he had a family life, which we’d never seen before in the series.
By the end of the story, Michael was back in the good books of his family and became the producer of a feature film, something that finally brought him personal validation of his self-worth. All in all, his story was wrapped up very nicely, and that's why he shouldn't be brought back for more criminal mayhem: it would be a waste of the arc he went through.