It can’t be denied how much of a commercial juggernaut the GTA series has become. The fifth installment in the series made a billion dollars within three days of release back in 2013, and has only continued selling copies since, becoming the U.S’s best-selling video game of all time back in 2017. It’s clear that any Rockstar project will have massive hype behind it, but this series is on another level.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 being Rockstar’s next project, Grand Theft Auto VI won’t be with players for several more years. However, even without the developer going into much detail on the much-anticipated sixth installment, it’s easier to see where the franchise is going judging purely on previous games in the series. For example, considering how well-incorporated the multi-protagonist system was in GTA V, it’s likely that you’ll be seeing it again in the sequel. GTA Online has been a massive success, so there’s no doubt that it’ll be expanded upon and brought back.
With series’ fans eagerly anticipating GTA VI and a lack of concrete details on it, rumors are all that gamers have to go on until an official announcement. Just like any rumor mill, there are the ideas that seem very reasonable and plausible. Then there are those who fall more on the wish list side of things, even if they don’t really make sense. For this list, we’ve separated the safe bets from the doubtfuls with 10 examples of each.
20. Believable: Multiple Protagonists
The decision to have multiple playable protagonists in GTA V was a risky (but undeniably successful) decision. Using three personalities and perspectives to tell the story added depth and intrigue to both the plot AND gameplay. Playing a mission with all three protagonists where you could switch in between them at any time offered up variety and strategic advantages never seen in the series before.
It makes perfect sense that the feature will make a return as it was one of V‘s central highlights. How that component will be translated will obviously depend on the story being told, but it’s highly likely that Rockstar finds a way to incorporate it. Although it likely adds plenty of development hours and must have the right story to support it, the multiple protagonist system works too well to just be a one-off feature.
19. Unbelievable: A fully-explorable United States Map
While games like The Crew have shown that a fully-explorable United States IS possible, it doesn’t mean it’d work well at all. Think about it; instead of a well-designed open world with a set number of parameters, you get a completely open United States where players are forced to travel cross-country just to get to missions. If you thought that the drives from mission-to-mission in GTA V were too long, you’re in a lot of trouble with this level of map.
This is why it’s so unlikely that Rockstar would ever choose to make the map THIS expansive. A United States map would not only be excessive, but would force most of the gameplay to be driving from A to B. Over the course of 70+ story missions, players would get frustrated very quickly. It may sound like a good idea on paper, but it just wouldn’t work.
18. Believable: First-Person Mode
Right around the time GTA V got a re-release on current-gen consoles, people had reservations about buying the same game twice. Rockstar came prepared to remove those worries as the game may have been largely the same (albeit prettier), but it now had a first-person mode you could switch to at any time. This wasn’t some tacked-on feature either, as it turned the game into a great FPS and helped add different play-styles for gamers.
This will be a feature come VI’s release day because they’ll work any kinks in the system that make transitioning between perspectives seamless instead of feeling like a third-person shooter modded to look like a FPS. Imagine being able to play GTA VI in third-person or first, with neither one being any lesser than the other. It would increase player interest (if that’s possible) and would be able to beat FPS’s at their own game.
17. Unbelievable: Ryan Gosling And Eva Mendes as Main Protagonists
One of the more outlandish rumors that’s consistently come up within the rumor mill is this bit of major casting news. Furthering the notion of continued multi-protagonist stories (with one of them being female), it’s believed that Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes would voice two of the game’s central characters.
The reason for this rumor simply being unbelievable isn’t because GTA can’t bring in A-list movie stars (Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Hopper, to name a few), but rather that it doesn’t seem like a move Rockstar would make. They don’t really go out of their way to bring in big names, especially for protagonist roles. While Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes are both greatly talented performers, there are probably other voice-over talents that would be more appropriate fits for that Rockstar style of script.
16. Believable: Appearances By Old GTA Characters
Much like the MCU in the movie landscape, the Grand Theft Auto universe is a carefully-constructed reality where each game always adds something to the already-extensive world. This constant universe-building is managed by the careful/subtle inclusion of characters previously seen in other games in the series. These are rarely in-your-face appearances, but look for them and they’re there.
Packie McReary, Johnny K, and more showed up in GTA V, and other games in the series follow this formula. Regardless of what time period is decided on or where it is, you can bet that some connection to previous instalments will come in the form of characters cameos and mentions. It’ll just have to be up to Rockstar on which personalities can make a reappearance once they decide the story’s location and time period.
15. Unbelievable: Full VR Support
The thought of Grand Theft Auto VR likely has many gamers almost salivating at just the concept. And with games like Fallout 4 and Doom hitting VR, it seems like now is the perfect time to implement a fully-VR GTA title. Yet, while Rockstar has shown some interest in VR with their recent release of L.A Noire: The Case Files on HTC Vive, it’s best if you pump the brakes on the Grand Theft Auto VI: VR hype train.
While games like Resident Evil 7 easily fit onto virtual reality, the GTA games are third-person open world action games above all else. This concept of being 3PS/FPS hybrids is fresh and is still very new. Now, is some VR support out of the question? Not necessarily. But thinking that GTA VI will be available on VR (without any restrictions from its console counterpart) is wishful thinking on too extreme a level.
14. Believable: A Familiar Setting
While Rockstar may love experimenting with their campaigns and gameplay, they usually enjoy sticking to very specific settings that give them the tools to make the most of their open worlds. California and NYC/Liberty City have been mainstays for the series, with Las Vegas/Vice City being the primary detractors of the norm. The choice for a GTA location is crucial as it sets the framework for the type of game you’re going to get.
Whatever location they pick will hinder on the time period in which it happens, as it goes hand-in-hand with the selected playable area(s). In this case, I’d expect Rockstar to experiment with the time period choice and less on the location itself. Expect someplace players have seen before, with plenty of experimentation regarding the quirks of that particular era. Return to Vice City anyone?
13. Unbelievable: Online Only
With Grand Theft Auto Online continuing to flourish and make money, there’s fear spreading across the gaming community that publisher Take-Two Interactive will take the wrong lessons from GTAO‘s success and make the next Grand Theft Auto strictly online. While it’s clear why this concern is flaring up now with micro-transactions on the rise, there’s no way Rockstar would remove the offline components of their games.
Unlike other recent AAA titles that have been hurt by micro-transactions and strictly-online structuring, Rockstar is KNOWN for their offline single-player experiences. If they removed this and forced players to get online just to play their games, they would ostracize so many people. If a general hatred from many gamers wouldn’t be enough, perhaps the loss to their financials would. Having offline single-player allows GTA to be accessible to the greatest amount of people. This would be a poor decision financially AND creatively.
12. Believable: Less Heist-Centric Campaign
“What? But the heists were the best missions in GTA V!” I would agree, but Rockstar is known for not retreading the same steps with each of their releases. Look at how drastically different San Andreas is to its prequel, Vice City. Then, San Andreas to Grand Theft Auto IV. This series thrives on changing up the story dynamics and structure. GTA V had a heist focus because of the story themes revolving Michael’s character and his love for reliving his favorite movies.
Central themes and messages are always different with each instalment and the next title in the series isn’t likely to focus around any characters similar to Michael. Instead, it’ll shift to something more appropriate for the story themes and character motivations. No telling what that is yet, but it will likely involve something other than heists and scores.
11. Unbelievable: Create Your Own Main Character
Hey, you get to create your own character online, can’t you? Why not bring that to the main campaign too? It would be amazing, but the primary reason why this wouldn’t happen is because Rockstar chooses protagonists carefully. When picking main characters, these are people that represent the story’s themes, time period, AND come with heavily-written personalities.
Whatever character(s) you end up playing was carefully written and designed to fit the narrative perfectly. As cool as seeing one of your own personal creations interacting with in-game personalities, Rockstar simply couldn’t let it be so. And when you consider how Fallout 4 had to compromise on the depth of conversation with the inclusion of two voiced protagonists, it’s doubtful that Rockstar would want to suffer the same fate.
10. Believable: Female Protagonist
Following GTA V‘s release, there was a good amount of controversy levied at the game for its lack of strong female characters. While Rockstar hasn’t directly responded to the criticism, Dan Houser (co-founder of Rockstar) mentioned that when designing GTA V, a female protagonist wouldn’t have worked because masculinity was a central component of the story.
However, he did follow that remark by saying a female protagonist is definitely a possibility, but it must be with the right game and fitting themes. With GTA VI being such a blank slate (as far as we know), it seems like this would be the game to finally have a female perspective. It would offer up something fresh personality-wise and would allow the campaign to tackle themes that were previously just touched on and make them personal.
9. Unbelievable: Playing as a Cop
“Wait, GTA but YOU enforce the law? Isn’t that just L.A Noire?” First of all, not quite. But also, it brings up a decent point; what IS Grand Theft Auto if it doesn’t involve you being able to commit an unholy amount of crimes in a five-minute span? Now, obviously, what people have in mind with this idea is that you control an officer and decide whether he’s a morally-strong law enforcer or a dirty, corrupt cop.
However, I feel that the only way Rockstar would go with this is if you were a FORMER police officer, making that particular character either more (or less) faithful to the law. It would likely boil down to a story component rather than something used in gameplay. If it was utilized in gameplay, the back-and-forth between crime and punishing crime would likely be too drastic to effectively work.
8. Believable: 70’s setting
The 80’s, 90’s, early 2000’s and the 2010’s have all been covered. It’s time for the 70’s to get the Rockstar treatment. While the rumor mill has many theories about what era to expect, the 70’s is the most popular choice at the moment because it hasn’t been done yet. When thinking about what that could be like, many people’s minds go to GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony and that dance club aesthetic mixed with the more over-the-top missions and tasks.
Tone-wise, something along the lines of Boogie Nights would be expected as there’d be some levity mixed in with harsh reality. GTA V maintained a more humorous tone, but still included many different instances where things become serious to relay a message. The writers of these games are unquestionably capable enough to pull off the necessary tone to bring up serious issues without going too far. It’d also allow them to embrace a new era and have a Vice City level of style, and that’s too tempting to pass up.
7. Unbelievable: Time Travel
Ok, GTA Online may have a DeLorean in it, but it’s highly doubtful that GTA is going to become your favorite sci-fi series anytime soon. I suppose to go along with the talk of time jumps utilized in-story, some believe that these jumps take place within a time machine. While an entertaining concept, this would push the series to Saints Row level of insanity and Rockstar will probably want to avoid that at all costs.
Besides, there are plenty of other storytelling methods and interesting twists to include that don’t involve breaking the reality of the game’s universe. What would be the purpose of incorporating time travel elements to games known for satirical musings about modern-day society? For everything that it would add, it’d remove a heavy amount of the immersion that helps make the game worlds feel so real.
6. Believable: Time Jumps Within Story
In stories that discuss the changing of times and progression of society, time jumps can be quite effective. Look at games like Mafia 2 or Red Dead Redemption as quality examples on how to use them. Mafia 2 used it to help represent how out-of-touch the protagonist became while stuck in jail. RDR, while it was only in the form of an epilogue, effectively used its time jump to finish the story through the perspective of the protagonist’s son.
With GTA VI, the story could progress through the particular era its exploring and unveil some harsh truths about the time itself. There could also be a progression of the characters through these jumps that offer otherwise-unavailable perspective. And since Rockstar has utilized time jumps as a means of telling a story before, it doesn’t sound too “out there” to expect it here, especially with that potential 70’s setting.
5. Unbelievable: Co-op in Single Player
One of those things that is on every gamer’s wish list for a GTA game (particularly with V), being able to play with your buddy through the main story would be a blast. Going on shootouts, wreaking havoc across the map, all while sitting on a same couch together. You may be asking yourself if this sounds like something that already exists, and you’re partly right. The only difference is that this is called GTA Online minus the couch co-op.
This is one of those concepts that would be a great feature but would likely be deemed as too much work for too little reward. Considering gaming’s strong moves away from couch co-op towards online multiplayer, this feature wouldn’t be committed to if Rockstar felt that it’d be ignored by most. They’d likely feel that Online satisfies this want, even if it’s not exactly what certain players would want.
4. Believable: Destructible Environment
Right around the release of GTA V’s first major gameplay footage, there was a snippet where a van crashes into a wall and it breaks down, showing off destructible environments. However, once players played the game, it was clear that the teased destruction wasn’t real. The lack of destruction did make sense as it was a massive open world game with considerable environmental detail. It would’ve been very difficult to get the destruction AND visuals on a Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 game.
That being said, the next title in the series would have the tech behind it to allow for plenty of destruction. It may not be on the level of games like Red Faction: Guerrilla or Battlefield with buildings toppling over, but Rockstar could make something happen. After all, with the increase in crazy weaponry in these games, it’d make sense for the environment to be susceptible to that firepower.
3. Unbelievable: Takes Place in London
Can you imagine just how drastically different GTA in London would be? A location drastically different from anything the series has done recently that could allow for interesting new gameplay mechanics wholly unique to the selected area. It would be a greatly ambitious and entertaining idea, but Rockstar likely wouldn’t go for it. The reason? Too much of the game’s central components would have to be changed to accommodate the cultural/societal differences between the United States and the U.K.
Things like driving and traveling would have to be overhauled as driver AI would have to know to drive on the left instead of the right. This alone would be enough to motivate Rockstar to avoid messing with the series’ core and just stick with the U.S. There are so many changes to the formula that they’d have to implement, and it’s likely an undertaking more substantial than they’d likely take.
2. Believable: Heightened RPG Elements
It was easy to miss GTA V‘s RPG elements as they weren’t too substantial overall. Outside of the driving, shooting, and stamina stats, it was easy to not notice any upgrades or improvements to your character. Even so, they were a fun addition to the standard GTA gameplay and helped give each character their own speciality.
It’s important to remember that every time a developer adds something like this to gameplay, it’s for a reason. Rockstar likely wanted to reintroduce some RPG elements following San Andreas‘ much more substantial system where you control the protagonist’s weight. It obviously never reached that point, but it’s clear that Rockstar wants to bring those elements back into the series. I think players will be seeing even more mechanics like this in GTA VI as gameplay only deepens with their inclusion.
1. Unbelievable: Appearances By Former Protagonists
While reappearances of former characters isn’t a foreign concept to this series, former protagonists showing up is something that rarely happens. It’s unclear why exactly they’re so adamant against the idea, but they’ve gone on record saying that there won’t be any crossovers in any future GTA titles. They likely wouldn’t want the current main character to get overshadowed by a fan favorite ex-protagonist.
This means that while fans would love to see people like CJ or Niko again, it’s just not going to happen. Now, will they be mentioned? Sure will! Besides, fan favorite characters will continue showing up in future titles as it legitimizes their universe. However, don’t expect Trevor or any other main character to be in GTA VI, as Rockstar likely wants to avoid coasting off previous titles as a way of gaining favor with players.
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