It’s been six years since we got our hands on Grand Theft Auto 5. The game released in 2013 to overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim, with a spate of perfect-rated scores on review aggregators to go with it, while some deemed it to be one of the greatest games ever made.
The game has since shipped 110 million copies worldwide, and become one the most profitable entertainment products humanity has ever created – but even all this adulation wasn’t enough for its developer to fast-track a sequel.
Such plaudits often compel publishers to capitalize on interest and shove a successor right down consumers’ throats in the shortest possible time-frame, but for Rockstar, patience is key. Recently, the company took all of eight years to create a sequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, though this time too raking in the benefits, with the game being hailed as 2018’s best.
The reason why Rockstar’s aforementioned knack for long-winded releases has become a topic of discussion in recent days is that, well, they addressed it.
In an interview with publication Game Industry, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s parent company, Strauss Zelnick said that the company’s decision to have almost a decade between the two installments of the Red Dead franchise was a ‘big mistake.’
The comment sent the internet into practical meltdown, seemingly confirming that GTA 6 would be right on the horizon gave that it already has been more than half-a-decade since the release of its predecessor. And though the sustained success of GTA Online is a factor that might make Rockstar ignore Zelnick’s strategy in favor of their long-cycles, it gave us hope that the company might make an announcement soon.
Since then, there has been no concrete hint as to what the company is currently cooking-up with GTA 6 – but we do have some clues.
Most likely, GTA 6 will be a next-gen release, perhaps debuting on Microsoft’s recently announced Xbox Project Scarlett, since the franchise’s games are ones to harness the entire capacity a console is capable of providing them with, and a leap to ninth-generation consoles would be an adequate advancement to make the game stand head-and-shoulders above its predecessor.
Much was also made of a so-called easter egg within the confines of GTA 5 itself. Players can visit Los Santos Airport and find two distinct doors, one with the number 2013 – the game’s release year – on it and another with the number 2021. With the digits seemingly arbitrary in GTA 5’s own context, the presence of these figures has led to speculation that Rockstar had planned for the game to be released in 2021 all along, though this remains a fan-theory.
But there are also some official sources to back up this claim.
Rockstar founder Dan Houser recently stated that the game was unlikely to release at a time when political and social relations in the United States were at a sensitive tipping-point given the tenure of President Trump.
This is, of course, understandable. The GTA games have always been a hotbed for controversy due to their inherently violent and graphic nature, and with a conservative President at the helm. It’s probable that GTA 6 would find itself in a world of trouble upon release, all but confirming that Rockstar has little intention to unveil it while Trump’s regime lasts – that being the winter of 2020.
Whatever it might be, Rockstar has kept us in the dark until this point, but one can undoubtedly sense that the world can’t wait for a new Grand Theft Auto.