Despite not yet officially existing, Grand Theft Auto 6 is hot on the minds of gamers worldwide. It's one of the worst kept secrets in the industry, though considering the overwhelming success and popularity of the franchise, Rockstar Games continuing it with a new title should surprise no one. However, despite a number of optimistic rumors, fans will need to wait several years before experiencing the future of the series.
Frankly, you don't really need to be a leaker with insider info to deduce that GTA 6 won't be launching anytime soon, but this didn't stop some speculators from pegging 2022 as the year Rockstar will release the next installment in the storied series. Some particularly optimistic dreamers even think the game will be announced at this year's E3 and will launch during the holiday season.
Unfortunately for fans eager to get their hands on the upcoming title, neither of these predictions are realistic, with late 2023 being the earliest launch date we see as being plausible. So why is it important that a leaker spoke up about the matter?
Reputable informant and Twitter user ViewerAnon usually posts inside scoops about movies and cinema, but video games don't fall entirely out of their purview. Responding to an article claiming that GTA 6 will release "soon" due to news getting out about Rockstar looking to fill tester positions on the project, they revealed that internally Rockstar Games expected GTA 6 to launch sometime 2023.
Define "soon." Companies test games for *years*.
(And last year Rockstar internally had GTA VI set for a late 2023 release) https://t.co/Cr0Q3tKhFp
— David Manning (@ViewerAnon) May 3, 2021
Now, if you have an inkling of what kind of work goes into the development of a fully realized game product, you'll know that the testing phase takes multiple years - you don't need to be a leaker to know that. This means that if Rockstar is looking for testers now, the game definitely won't be in any shape for prime time until a couple of years from now. Combine that with the tendency of Rockstar to delay their projects, and even 2023 starts looking unlikely.
Eager fans have been pretty generous with their predictions lately. Some thought we'd get a Superbowl ad for GTA 6, while others believe it will be announced at E3. Rockstar Games usually announces their major titles one year before the release date - though they end up delaying the games after - so even if we assume they stuck to 2023 as the projected launch year, we won't be getting any official reveals until next year.
This makes sense, too, if you remember the fact that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of GTA 5 are set to release this year. So far these ports - which Take-Two Interactive executives are keen to remind you will be more than "just regular ports" - have only had a passing mention in a short post on the Rockstar Newswire. We suspect a fancier, proper reveal alongside a release date sometime during the summer, with the ports themselves launching in the holiday season.
Now, Rockstar Games definitely won't make any official mention of GTA 6 even existing until after these new versions of the insanely popular current entry in the franchise has its time to shine. They'd only be hurting themselves by having the gaming announcement of the decade compete with the launch of their flagship title on yet another generation of consoles. How many players would decide to skip the ports of GTA 5 knowing an even newer game is a year away?
The upcoming release of the next-gen ports of GTA 5, which actually are coming soon will coincide with a key split from GTA Online, which has been Take-Two's main cash cow for years now. The main source of revenue from Online are microtransactions, given the much more marketable name "recurrent spending opportunities" by executives in their earnings reports. This means that the best way to maximize profits is to get the most possible players buying Shark Cards. To that end, GTA Online will go standalone and free to play later this year.
In this vein, among what little we know about GTA 6 is that the game will mostly skip multiplayer, focusing instead on being the best single player experience it can be. This way the developers won't face as much crunch - at least, according to the official statements - and there won't be multiple multiplayer GTA games competing for an audience. The current version of Online is popular enough to continue supporting, and is only gaining momentum, thus the plan is for it to persist even alongside the next main entry in the series.
Other plausible GTA 6 related rumors and leaks include a return to Vice City and a story taking place mostly in the 80's. That said, nothing is certain until we hear it from an official source. In any case, the only GTA release we can look forward to in the immediate future is another round of GTA 5 ports, with GTA 6 definitely years away.