With most major annual events either skipping this year entirely or going digital amid the on-going global pandemic, the fate of this year's E3 show was up in the air until recently when we learned that the expo is going fully digital and fully free. Among the companies that have announced their participation is Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, and theories have run wild.
Now, Rockstar Games is known for usually skipping most major gaming shows and expos, and instead make their announcements in their own time in order to avoid having to share the spotlight with other heavy hitters. Rarely, this rule was broken, but usually for exclusives like the since-cancelled PS3 exclusive Agent.
Even so, fans hungry for any kind of official word on what the company is up to - nothing has been announced since Red Dead Redemption 2, which launched in 2018 - are eager to cook up all sorts of theories about what might be unveiled at the expo, if anything.
Though realistically we don't expect the notoriously cagey company to shake up the status quo, there are a few obvious candidates if you're feeling particularly optimistic. It's an open secret at this point that there is another major AAA game in the Grand Theft Auto franchise being worked on. While it hasn't been formally announced, Rockstar professionals have even spoken about the fact that it will be a smaller release in order to cut back on crunch.
Revealing GTA 6, or whatever the next game is going to be called, would definitely steal the show no matter what heavy hitting AAA franchise it would be lined up against. After all, GTA 5 is consistently among the best selling and most popular games out there, despite its age. Somehow, this title just keeps on selling.
The next best bet after a full-on sequel would be some kind of remastered title from the annals of the GTA franchise's history. Between eternal classics like 3, Vice City, San Andreas and even the more recent GTA 4, there is plenty of fodder for the Rockstar team to drag into the modern age with a tidy visual makeover. There's no doubt millions of fans would immediately flock to the chance at reliving the adventures of CJ or Tommy with the best, cutting edge visuals of the new generation.
If Rockstar doesn't want their flagship product to have to share the spotlight with other releases, these remasters would be the ideal stand-in during E3, letting GTA 6 get its own release at some other time. Since remasters have become such a hot topic in the industry, it would hardly be a surprising move, especially considering what guaranteed money printers GTA games always turn out to be.
While both of these scenarios would be a treat to behold, they're each wishful thinking at best. The most likely outcome remains that Rockstar will skip E3 entirely, but if we want to reach a halfway point between the best and likeliest, we're going to hedge out bets on a reveal of the new GTA 5 ports.
Rockstar Games announced some time ago that later this year we can expect new ports of GTA 5 developed specifically with the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in mind, as opposed to the marginally enhanced backwards-compatible version available now. This means a full suite of graphical upgrades that make the most of the new hardware at the game's disposal. GTA Online is also set to go standalone and free-to-play, since the Shark Card microtransaction model is proving to be more profitable than actually selling the game, leading Take-Two to make the decision of giving everyone access to these "recurring spending opportunities".
Rockstar Games is known for more games than just GTA, of course. Red Dead Redemption, the other leading franchise, had a relatively recent release by Rockstar standards, so we don't expect any rumblings on that end. Some rumors indicate that there was a Bully sequel in development, but that go scuttled in favor of moving the workforce to GTA 6. L.A. Noire doesn't really scream for a sequel, but hey, we're open to possibilities - it isn't very likely though. Manhunt? Forget it.
Either way, we'll have to wait until the virtual expo goes live before we'll know which way things swing. Here's hoping for a new GTA reveal!