GTA Online – how will they create a follow-up? (pic: Rockstar Games)
A reader examines all the rumours surrounding GTA 6 and tries to predict the release date and whether it’ll be next gen only or not.
Just recently we’ve seen the first glimmers of hope that Grand Theft Auto 6 might be edging towards an official announcement. Everyone knows Rockstar must be working on it, and that’s just what Kotaku reported a few weeks ago. And now Rockstar owner Take-Two has said it has 93 new games in development over the next five years, while point blank refusing to say if one of them is GTA 6. Which you wouldn’t have thought would be a problem if the answer was simply ‘no’.
But even assuming the most optimistic rumours are true – that the game is half done and the story already complete – that means it’s probably at least one or two years out and therefore almost certainly next gen-only. Which will mean we will have gone a whole generation without a new Grand Theft Auto. Despite there having been three in the PlayStation 2 era (plus one handheld game) and two (plus three handheld games and two major DLC expansions) in the PlayStation 3 era.
There are two main reasons for this: games in general now take longer to make and the huge success of GTA 5 means it’s still in the charts and releasing a sequel could, ironically, end up making Rockstar less money in the short term. Especially as GTA Online is such a cash cow and releasing a new game will, at best, mean starting from scratch and, at worst, a game that ends up being not as popular.
The problem with asking when GTA 6 is coming out is that it’s not just one game but two. The lack of story DLC for GTA 5 makes it clear that Rockstar don’t see the single-player side as being as profitable or important as GTA Online and that puts into question whether there’d even be a traditional GTA 6. But let’s be optimistic and say that there will be something called GTA 6 that’s single-player (or co-op) in the traditional sense. It’ll sell like gangbusters whatever it is, but what about GTA Online?
You could make a GTA Online 2 but that means tempting everyone over from the original game and there’s no guarantee you’d get them all. Whatever world map they make for GTA 6 would presumably be reused for the online version, but the far safer option seems to be to add it to the existing GTA Online rather than making it a separate game. Except that limits you in terms of the technology, because you’d still only have current gen people, who only own GTA 5, playing.
The whole thing is a logistical nightmare and the more you think about it the more you realise why there hasn’t been an announcement yet.
But here’s my prediction. GTA 6 will be released as a next gen exclusive within the next two to three years. GTA Online 2 (they may still just call it GTA Online) will be released a few months later and will incorporate all the content from what we have now and all-new features from GTA 6. Existing accounts will still work, so you can bring your progress with you, and then everything will carry on for another generation or two.
To me that makes the most sense. It is a risk but I think it’s fair to say that Rockstar have a high enough opinion of their abilities that they think they’ll be able to make it work and that ending the existing GTA Online is what’s necessary to make the new one thrive.
After all, at some point there’s got to be a new game. We can’t still be playing GTA 5 on the PlayStation 7. Although I’m willing to bet we will still be playing GTA Online.
By reader Clambake
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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