Grand Theft Auto 6 remains the most talked about game that yet doesn't officially exist, and continues to draw attention time and again with rumors and leaks. It has been a hot button topic for years now, but fans still can't help but gobble up any small shred of info - and it looks like for the first time ever, we actually have something credible on our hands.
Over the years, there have been countless rumors and leaks from all sorts of anonymous sources and alleged industry insiders. The closest thing that we previously had to anything 'credible' was a long, detailed post on 4Chan coming from an anonymous source claiming to be a current developer at Rockstar Games. Naturally this is likely a hoax, and the only reason people placed any stock in the leak was because the details it alleged seemed believable enough while lining up with most other rumors.
However, that is still extremely shaky ground to base anything on - luckily, it is the best we have no longer.
In what may be the first genuinely legitimate leak regarding GTA 6, not one but two highly reputable and credible voices in the video game industry, who have a spotless track record when it comes to inside scoops, have corroborated an info drop.
Tom Henderson, who is the biggest name in Battlefield and Call of Duty leaks and is basically always right, switched things up a bit and revealed information about GTA 6 this time around instead of covering an upcoming modern military shooter like Battlefield 2042 or the as of yet unnamed Call of Duty game for this year. Soon after, Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, formerly of Kotaku and author of countless AAA leaks that turned out to be spot on, confirmed Henderson's info in a tweet.
While the usual leak disclaimer of "take everything with a pinch of salt if it does not come from Rockstar" still applies, two industry veterans known for legitimate leaks is a hell of a lot more stable ground than the anonymous guesswork rumors we've heard before. Henderson himself said that GTA is not his area of expertise and fans should keep in mind that his sources may be wrong, and that plans may also change over at Rockstar.
Nonetheless, Schreier saying he heard the same things.
Idk why everyone thinks that I said GTA VI was coming in 2023. Everything Tom Henderson has said about the game matches up with what I've heard
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 4, 2021
To further add to the seeming legitimacy of this bombshell leak, similarly reputable news outlet Video Games Chronicle has also backed up the claims of Henderson and Schreier. This triple threat of credible confirmation has us pretty confident about the veracity of the leaks - though based on when Henderson believes the game will launch, it may not even matter if current information about the game is true.
So what is actually in this leak, then? Quite a few interesting things, not least because some of the information contradicts the most commonly accepted previous details and leaks about GTA 6. As far as we thought we knew until now, GTA 6 would have taken place in the 70's and 80's, in Vice City, following two timelines.
Henderson's information paints a very different picture of the upcoming title. While, according to his video, Vice City will be present in some form or other, it is not necessarily the main setting of the game, and we're not looking at a throwback to the past either - GTA 6 will have a modern setting, like GTA 5 did.
Additionally, the multiple protagonist approach will be retained, with at least one playable female protagonist whose role will be that of a hacker in the storyline. According to this new information, the game's world will also see live, dynamic changes which Henderson likened to Fortnite's map changes across seasons, which makes it sound like we're looking at something similar to a live service game.
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That said, there is a very real possibility that even if all of this information is spot on about the game, the final version of GTA 6 we'll actually eventually get won't reflect this, since much can change over the course of a few years - and we're definitely looking at a few more years of waiting. According to Henderson, we shouldn't expect a GTA 6 release date anytime sooner than 2024 or 2025.
Why is the game so far out?
GTA 4 and GTA 5 had just five years pass between them, and its already been eight since GTA 5 launched for the first time on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. According to the sources cited in the video, this long waiting time comes down to a conscious effort by Rockstar to combat crunch culture.
A Kotaku report - helmed by Jason Schreier - shed light some years ago on the rampant crunch that was involved in the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, which some developers referred to as a "death march". The report drew a huge amount of criticism pointed at Rockstar Games, as well as other AAA studios who have had similar conditions revealed in similar reports.
Apparently, Rockstar Games is actually doing something about this; a subsequent Kotaku report reflected as much, but based on these recent leaks the positive changes are sticking. Right now, we're in the final months leading up to the release of GTA 5 on Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 with dedicated and expanded ports, meaning Rockstar isn't exclusively cranking GTA 6 - there's also ongoing content support for GTA Online happening.
With all these plates spinning, the prevention of crunch comes down to longer development times. Since GTA Online continues to pump out revenue like no other game out there, it's not like there is any kind of rush to push a new release out the door, giving Rockstar the chance to work on GTA 6 without worrying about deadlines.
Schreier's confirmation of the latest information from Henderson refers to one of his own previous predictions saying that fans should not expect GTA 6 any sooner than 2023. This was underpinned as not being a leak, but a personal prediction - and if we're getting technical, 2024 and 2025 is "no sooner" than 2023...
VCG jumping into the ring with a third confirmation on the dynamically changing and expanding Vice City map setting lend a further magnitude of legitimacy to all of this. After what seems like an eternity of nonsensical rumors and leaks, it looks like we have our very first true peek into what kind of a game we should be expecting.
However, if GTA 6 really does launch in 2024 or 2025, that means that there is still a lot of work to be done - and a lot can change in three or more years, meaning that whatever current work-in-progress assets and mechanics are already finished, as well as future plans, might not be what we get in the finished product.
Another thing to consider is how common delays have become in the video game industry lately, and how particularly prone Rockstar is to push games back - if their apparent commitment to the elimination of crunch culture holds up over time, they might be even further motivated to push the game back rather than have professionals work overtime. So if a current estimated launch window pegs 2024 and 2025, the game might only actually arrive in 2026 or 2027. That's a lot of years!
Since Rockstar has a penchant for pushing the envelope when it comes to visual and technical achievement in their games, GTA 6 would have to be the best looking and most advanced game around when it launches - the longer the game is delayed, the more tech develops, meaning the project will also need to play a game of catch up sooner or later. This could fundamentally change how the final product will actually look like.
Either way, this is definitely the most credible GTA 6 leak basically ever, and gives the whole project a greater sense of tangible realness. It's happening.