It is no exaggeration to predict that Grand Theft Auto VI will be the biggest video game release in history when it finally lands in the (hopefully) not so distant future. In fact, that is probably an underestimate considering the fact that not only did GTA V become one of the best selling games of all time in a relatively short lifespan, it actually became the biggest selling media item in history, period!
So, riding on a wave of critical acclaim and fan adoration, hype for the next installment is extremely high. The Grand Theft Auto series holds the unique distinction of being one of the few video games to simultaneously hold mass commercial mainstream appeal and the respect of the hardcore gamer. This means that speculation of what the next game entails is rife among almost everyone with a console or gaming PC, largely without cynicism and genuine curiosity.
Unfortunately, with Grand Theft Auto Online being what it is—a self-generating financial juggernaut and multiplayer phenomenon—Rockstar are in no rush to release a new GTA game while they are still raking in money off of copies sold and DLC. This means that the anticipation for the new game has reached a fever pitch, which also means that the theory mill has gone into overdrive, with new and increasingly ridiculous theories being articulated from various sources on an almost daily basis.
So here, we are going to cut through the fat and hand pick 25 of the most plausible, and tantalizing, theories and predictions about Grand Theft Auto VI.
25 Exclusive To PlayStation
A dream come true for PlayStation fanboys and girls all over the world may be just that—a dream. GTA VI will likely be the biggest launch in gaming, if not all media, so Rockstar will likely want to maximize the exposure and revenue generated by its release by putting out on as many consoles as possible. However, there is a sliver of hope here. When Rockstar released Episodes From Liberty City, a huge standalone DLC-esque expansion of GTA IV, it was initially an Xbox exclusive, taking six months to be released on other platforms.
24 Virtual Insanity
With the recent release of PlayStation VR, virtual reality gaming has come back in vogue. Unlike the clunky, low-res version of the technology which was appeared in the 1980s and 90s, which made the concept as a whole seem ridiculous and non-feasible, the newer renditions of virtual reality gaming are fun, immersive and of much higher quality. The next GTA would be a perfect fit for the increasingly popular sub-medium. It would increasingly mainstream VR gaming as a whole while making the game more stimulating. And with the popularity of first-person view in GTA V, this would definitely take off!
23 Set In The 70s
Another interesting one here, and one that many fans have been calling for also. Before the release of GTA IV, most of the previous titles had been set in eras not coinciding with their real-life releases (San Andreas and Vice City for example). This trend ended in the HD generation with all recent titles being set in the present day. That being said, one of the things that made Vice City so appealing was its 1980s setting and the vibe that came with it. And let's face it, Miami was just cooler in the 70s and 80s!
22 Entirely First Person
If you believe GTA will be fully compatible with virtual reality gaming, then it is not too far-fetched to believe that the game could be completely first-person.
After all, VR gaming is predicated on being able to play it from that perspective.
Like many entries on this list, if it were to come to pass, it could be quite divisive amongst the fans. Hopefully, just like GTA V, FPS mode will be optional, with players able to revert back to third person. With the way things are going, though, they may promote first-person as the default way to play.
21 Cross Platform Multiplayer
An extremely intriguing concept that would have friends with different consoles salivating at the thought of it. This has happened with games in kind for Xbox and PC, but considering that Microsoft owns and develops Xbox it's not hugely remarkable and actually makes sense. However, PlayStation and Xbox—being very similar consoles with a lot of games in kind and an identical demographic being developed by rival companies—would find it much more difficult to make it work. That said, if any game could make this happen, it’d be a juggernaut like GTA VI.
20 Destructible Environments
One of many entries on this list that would be seen as not essential and surplus to requirements, however, there are a core of gamers out there that crave maximum realism in their video games. And besides, destructible environments do exist in games, such as Crysis and Red Faction 2. One of the criticisms often leveled at the series is the lack of interactive indoor environments (given the number of buildings, it's kinda understandable), so if they increase those, this could be the logical next step in immersion. If nothing else, it gives gamers something else to complain about!
19 Female Protagonist
Another one that could be considered wish fulfillment. Fans have been crying out for a lady lead in the series for a long time now. Without delving into the minefield that is gender politics in gaming, it would shake things up and add an interesting and unexplored dynamic to a series which is renowned for its humor, story-telling, and character development. The fact that there have been mutterings of inside sources hinting that this may be more than just conjecture is promising, so maybe we’ll be rampaging through the streets with a femme fatale yet!
18 Set In Vice City
This, the most prominent rumor is part logic and part wish fulfillment.
A return to Vice City makes sense, because the last two main series games were set in Liberty City and San Andreas respectively.
Being that Vice City is the only other remaining location which has dominated the series since its inception (London aside), it’s simply the Miami-inspired Vice City’s turn for an installment. Aside from that, though, GTA: Vice City holds more nostalgic admiration from longtime fans than any other title in the series, so a return is not only logical but highly desired.
17 Multiple Protagonists
This was implemented in the last GTA game and fans loved it! Having three characters with different personalities you can choose between, on and off mission, was revolutionary and, for the most part, worked.
It’s unlikely that Rockstar will take a step back and have just one playable character in their next game, however, there are pros and cons with regards to this. While GTA V characters and story had more variety than GTA IV’s, the latter’s felt more focused and fleshed out. Let’s hope we get the best of both worlds this time!
16 London Calling
So yeah, as mentioned above, London aside… so, well, what about London? The Grand Theft Auto series has become synonymous with American culture: the capitalistic hunger for more money, seen through the lens of organized crime, and the satirical re-imagining of US popular culture is an intrinsic part of the series’ DNA (which hadn’t been fully established before GTA III). That being said, the more GTA games that are released, the more players will hunger for different places to explore. Given a game was already set there, London seems like the most viable non-American candidate.
15 Strong Arm Of The Law
In its purest form, Grand Theft Auto is just a long, elaborate, shiny game of cops and robbers. In every entry in the series, you play as a criminal, who spends his entire time trying to evade the police.
Whether engaged in a bank heist or taking liberties with the lives of pedestrians, the law plays the role of constant opposition and Big Brother.
That’s why the concept of playing as a cop is so compelling and would add a great dynamic; especially if there are multiple protagonists in GTA VI, with the remaining characters being criminals.
14 Celebrity Voices
Out of all the GTA games released to date, GTA V was by far the most ambitious, costing Rockstar a fortune in money and development time, all while implementing a constantly evolving online mode. What it was missing that earlier games in the series had in spades though was the presence of celebrity voice acting. Whether it be main protagonists and antagonists, such as Ray Liotta and Samuel Jackson, or little cameos, like Phil Collins and Katt Williams, many fans miss having a familiar voice to accompany the gunplay.
13 Old Friends
Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's bias, or maybe it just that games don’t make characters like they used to, but there have been murmurs that old faces from previous games may make an appearance in the next game.
This would make sense, though, as characters from old GTA games have appeared in subsequent releases.
Ken Rosenburg and Catalina appeared in San Andreas, while Packie McReary can pop up in GTA V. And fans of the series love these cameos, remember how excited we got when we thought Michael in the GTA V trailer was Tommy Vercetti?!
12 Latin American Travel
An interesting yet extremely vague rumor here. It suggests that not only will the game be set and based in Vice City, but that you will also be able to travel to South America as well. How much of a role the rest of the continent will play in the game, and how often or freely you will be able to traverse between the two locations, is still a complete mystery. However, there have been multiple rumors alluding to this so it could indeed be true. We have a feeling some sort of smuggling will be involved…
11 Born To Run
Connected with the idea of traveling to—or even a possible setting—in South America, is the idea that your character (or one of them, more on which later) crosses between North and South America smuggling narcotics for cartels and gangs. It’s an extremely ambitious and controversial concept, and especially pertinent where we are in history today, especially in regards to that continent. That being said, could it have some great implications in regards to both gameplay and story? Absolutely.
10 Online Only?
This is the kind of prediction that—if it came to fruition—would delight some fans of the series and infuriate others beyond belief.
GTA Online is the reason that GTA V still continues to sell and generate so much money today.
It is also the reason why Rockstar is in no rush to release a new title. From a business standpoint, it would make sense to go the online route exclusively (like Black Ops 4 being online only). However, this could be detrimental as it could alienate older, more hardcore fans of the series.
9 The Return Of Lazlow Jones
Let’s face it, it just wouldn’t be a GTA game without Lazlow. A character who’s appeared in more entries in the series than anyone else, in one form or another, we’ve simply just come to expect an appearance from the failing radio personality, with his hilarious antics hitting their peak in GTA IV. Personally, it felt like Lazlow’s more prominent role as an actual on-screen personality in GTA V was a bit overkill, so hopefully, in GTA VI he appears exclusively in hilarious talk radio.
8 More Vehicles
Vehicular variation seemed to hit its peak with San Andreas. Aside from offering up more cars and motorbikes, it introduced bicycles, tractors, planes, jetpacks and more besides. The amount of driving options has fluctuated with each passing entry, being stripped back down with GTA IV and being subsequently built back up with the high flying GTA V. However, with a two, soon to be three, generation-old game offering up the most vehicle variation, surely there is scope to do more with the next game in the series.
7 RPG Elements
Something else that San Andreas devotees have been hung up about for fifteen years now is the lack of customization options. Sure, you can change your clothes and get a haircut and GTA V brought back a kind of leveling up system, but these are nothing compared to what you could do in San Andreas.
In that game, you could add lean muscle in the gym, eat yourself towards obesity in Clucking Bell, go to a dojo to learn new moves and increase your proficiency with a weapon the more you fired it. Some of these would be worthwhile re-additions.
6 Biggest Selling Media Event… Again
A change of pace here, and one that anyone could have come up with themselves without any insight into the industry. We mentioned at the top of this article that GTA V was the biggest media event ever, selling in the tens of millions and generating income in the billions of dollars. With that in mind, and the fact that the gaming industry is growing all the time, it’d be a safe prediction to assume that the next GTA game will surpass even GTA V in terms of size, spectacle, and revenue.
5 Single Player DLC
While GTA V’s online multiplayer was a dramatic improvement over that in GTA IV, morphing into its own entity, their lack of any single player DLC was lamented by many fans.
The Episodes were lauded by fans and critics alike.
They expanded the already stellar story put in place by Niko and company in GTA IV and are still rated highly by many gamers on their own merit (some even prefer them to the main game). With that in mind, single-player DLC for GTA VI would be more than welcome!
4 Multiple Time Periods
This is an absolutely great idea if they could pull it off. Across the GTA canon, we have seen various games take place in various locations and, critically, across various time periods. What we haven’t seen is a GTA where you hop between one era and another in one game in canon. This would require maximum focus and cohesion though. As good as GTA V was, its story could be a little bit convoluted at times, partly due to the multiple protagonists. So multiple time periods? The script would need to be air tight to make it work.
3 The Entire US
When San Andreas was released, it absolutely shattered the scope of what was previously thought possible by a GTA game by giving players three cities to explore, setting a new standard for the sandbox genre. If rumors are to be believed, the next GTA game will take place in various locations across the entire USA. This would be a different level than having a state to explore. And if this is conducive with the South American rumor, perhaps we could be exploring an entire state in the seventh generation!
2 Create Your Own Character
A feature which becomes more commonplace with every passing generation, the ability to create and customize your own protagonist is seen a lot in open world games, giving the player a greater sense of control and immersion. The reason that the series hasn’t featured this—making CJ in San Andreas obese aside—is because the protagonists have been so strong, and their dialogue so sharp, that there’s never been a need for it. However, having your own character and making them meaningfully shape the story (a la Mass Effect) would be interesting.
1 Release Date
The all important question… when will this game be released? There are too many sources to mention, but the general consensus is that it will be released anytime between 2019 and 2022.
Next year is unlikely, however, all the rumors and inside sourcing indicate that it's in development.
With the next generation of consoles imminent, there is no doubt that GTA VI is being developed for the eight generation of consoles. If you ask us, it will take the interest in GTA Online to wane, and by extension, patience for a new title to decrease, to hurry Rockstar up!