GTA 6: What we know about Rockstar's next crime adventure

GTA 6 - A man with a golden 1911 drives a speedboat as money flies out of his bag
(Image credit: Rockstar)

After years of speculation and rumors, GTA 6 is starting to seem a lot more real, in part thanks to Rockstar finally confirming in February 2022 that it's working on the next GTA game. In September, a massive in-development gameplay footage leak seemed to confirm some of the more popular rumors circulating throughout the year. It may still be far away, but GTA 6 is very much in progress.

The highly-anticipated sequel to one of most successful games of all time has a lot to live up to. GTA 5 sold nearly 110 million copies and crashed the Epic Game Store when it was given out as a weekly freebie, but we're still waiting to hear exactly what the sequel is and when we can get it.

But rumors and leaks have given us a rough idea of what we can expect in the series' next installment. Based on the large amount of leaked footage from September, GTA 6 does appear to feature multiple protagonists again, as GTA 5 did. Vice City locations seem to be making an appearance as well.

However, it's worth taking everything here with a grain of salt, even the leaks that were confirmed genuine by Rockstar. The GTA 6 that's currently in development may still be vastly different from the GTA 6 that we eventually play. But if you're curious about the rumors, when the game might release, or what the setting could be like, our list of GTA 6 details should give you a decent idea of what is currently known and speculated.

GTA 6: Everything we know

After much speculation, Rockstar has officially confirmed that it's working on the next GTA game. "We're pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the series is underway," Rockstar said in February 2022. "We look forward to sharing more as soon as we are ready, so please stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for official details."

While we wait for an official, larger announcement to tell us more about the next GTA 6 game, here are all the rumors that have been circulating in the years leading up to it.

GTA 6 leaks

What was in the GTA 6 leaks?

The big dump of leaked footage may still be floating around, but unless you're extremely interested in picking apart debug footage you aren't missing much. Based on what we've seen, yup, this sure is a GTA game in the works. It's all likely older footage and is absolutely internal development stuff, not some sneaky peak at a final, polished product. That likely just doesn't exist yet, given how iterative a process game development is. 

Here are the few high points that we might be able to expect in the launch version of GTA 6:

  • Two playable characters: Referred to as Lucia and Jason, they are likely the "Bonnie & Clyde inspired" crime duo referenced in past rumors.
  • Vice City: Part of the footage includes a modern rail car labeled "Vice City Metro," making the rumors of a return to fictional Florida seem likely too.
  • Modern day setting: We've spotted at least one pedestrian with a smart phone, which seems to discount smaller rumors about a possible '80s setting.

No matter how likely they do seem, all the other features we can glean from the footage—Lucia committing a robbery at a waffle joint, dialogue options for playable characters, a character seen moving and crawling while prone, the messaging system called "WhatUp!"—should be taken as subject to change until Rockstar chooses to make its public reveal for GTA 6.

Release date

Trevor from GTA 5 outside a house in the desert

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

GTA 6 release date: when could it be?

We're certainly a long way off guessing exact dates at this stage, but we might be able to start trying to pinpoint a year, at least. 

When Take-Two Interactive announced the deal to purchase mobile game company Zynga, it came via a press release that also included a section called "Strategic Rationale and Stockholder Value Creation". Inside this was the note, "Looking ahead, the combined company is expected to deliver a 14% compound annual growth rate… over the three-year period from Take-Two's Fiscal Years 2021 through 2024."

According to an analyst from investment banking firm Jefferies, quoted by Stephen Totilo of Axios (opens in new tab), "there are only a handful of titles that can...provide management with the confidence to put out such a strong guidance; we believe there is at least one Rockstar IP set to be released by FY24". That was followed up by a quote from research analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen, who thinks this points to "a likely GTA 6 launch in FY24." If true, that could put the Grand Theft Auto 6 release date anywhere between the beginning of April 2023 and the end of March 2024.

Back in July 2021, Tom Henderson, a Call of Duty leaker, posted a YouTube video predicating that GTA 6 would be coming out in 2024 or 2025, and this was corroborated by reporter, Jason Schreier, who stated on Twitter that "Everything Tom Henderson has said about the game matches up with what I've heard." You view the full video below.

Altogether, the rumors suggest that a 2024 or 2025 launch is likely, but part of what might be pushing GTA 6 into further off years is Rockstar's efforts to combat crunch culture which has plagued its past launches, notably towards the end of development on Red Dead Redemption 2.

Still, we've had recent indications that GTA 6 development is picking up steam. A recent statement from Rockstar (opens in new tab) on the ending of major themed updates for Red Dead Online mentions that revisions for their live-service strategy have been necessary, as the company has been "steadily moving more development resources towards the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series."

Will it come to PC?

GTA 5 character key art

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Will GTA 6 come to PC?

It's a pretty solid bet. Rockstar's past with PC versions has been a bit erratic, but the immense popularity of both GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC is a great reason for Rockstar to take the platform seriously.

And it seems like Rockstar feels the same, considering it released the Rockstar Games Launcher on PC in 2019. It's hard to believe the studio would release its own games launcher if it didn't plan on hosting its future games there, including an assumed GTA 6. That said, we can probably expect a gap between the release of GTA 6 on consoles and PC. It took GTA 5 a year and a half to come to PC, and RDR2's gap was almost a year as well.

Location

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

What will the GTA 6 setting be?

Everything flows from Rockstar's choice of city and decade. GTA 5's return to Los Angeles sets us up for a possible return to Vice City. That theory feels more and more likely thanks to the leaks from September 2022 which showed a character exiting a rail car labeled "Vice City Metro."

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GTA Online

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

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Rumors from July 2021 also pointed to GTA 6 returning to Vice City. These claims said that GTA 6 will take place in a modern day version of the series analog for Miami. These same predictions also said that GTA 6's map will evolve or expand over time, possibly through DLC or live game updates. The Miami prediction has been echoed by other sources, as reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier.

In an interview with Develop in 2013, president of Rockstar North Leslie Benzies referred to Rockstar's trifecta of preferred GTA cities 

“We don’t know what GTA 6 will be, but we’ve got some ideas. We’ve got about 45 years’ worth of ideas we want to do. We’ll pick the right ones. It comes from the idea first. Where it is going to be set is the first question. That then defines the missions; you’re doing different things in LA than in New York or Miami. The map and story get worked up together, and the story is a basic flow of how it works out so you can layer the mission in."

Speaking of old GTA cities, a few years ago a Liberty City scene appeared on a Rockstar dev's profile, apparently mocked up in GTA 5's engine. This could easily have been a technical test, or perhaps a scene from some scrapped singleplayer DLC, but Rockstar once talked about putting all of their cities into one mega-game. That sounds absurdly ambitious, but Rockstar might well have the resources to do it.

GTA 6 Online?

GTA Online - A casino at night

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Will there be a GTA 6 online?

GTA 5's online Los Santos has yet to run out of gas. Rockstar is still regularly adding new activities, content, and events to its big multiplayer world. Given that GTA 4, GTA 5, and both Red Dead Redemption games have had online servers, it feels like a must-have for GTA 6. 

Rumours

GTA 5 character key art of Michael, Franklin, and Trevor looking in the trunk of a car.

(Image credit: Rockstar)

GTA 6 probably has a female protagonist

Some rumors emerge from the mill with a bit more credibility. As reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier (opens in new tab), GTA 6 will supposedly feature a playable female protagonist for the first time in series history. According to Schreier, the Latina player character is one half of a Bonnie-and-Clyde-style crime duo. This is an apparent downsizing in the game's scope, which according to an Axios source originally envisioned four playable protagonists and three cities.

Relevantly, Schreier also reports that, alongside a broader effort towards political sensitivity at Rockstar, GTA devs are taking greater care in selecting subjects for their satire. Schreier was told that developers are avoiding using marginalized groups as punchlines in GTA 6's writing, hoping to break away from the series' willingness to "punch down."

This report is backed up by the leaked development footage from September which shows a character referred to as Lucia and one called Jason who could very well be the starring crime duo.

In early 2021 we learned of a patent filed by Take-Two called "System And Method For Virtual Navigation In A Gaming Environment" related to simulated character pathfinding for big outdoor environments. There's no guarantee that this is related to development on GTA 6, but it was attributed to developers at Rockstar. If it is related to the development of the next GTA, it likely means Rockstar is planning some big improvements to simulated behavior in its next open world city.

Rockstar has posted hundreds of recent job openings

On both its own careers page (opens in new tab) and industry job board sites like Hitmarker (opens in new tab), Rockstar has posted literal hundreds of jobs in the last months. At one point, 75 job listings were added to the pile in less than 24 hours. The listings include practically every discipline involved in game development and publishing, and—while none of them explicitly mention any GTA 6 details—a number of the postings are intended for ongoing support of Rockstar online offerings. Probably a sign that GTA Online is here to stay, in one form or another.

There's no guarantee that all these postings are relevant to GTA 6, but given Rockstar's recent statements about consolidating development resources for the next Grand Theft Auto installment, it certainly feels like an indication that GTA 6 development is gaining momentum. Sorry to say that all of us waiting for the next Rockstar Table Tennis game will have to keep holding our sad vigil.

What other GTA 6 rumors are out there?

There's been an endless expanse of rumors about GTA 6 in the years we've been waiting for its release, some more believable than others. While The Know cited an inside source that puts the GTA 6 release date as 2021-2022—oops—the rumour suggests that the new game will be spread between Vice City and South America. Comic Book gave credence to an anonymous since-removed pastebin post claiming that GTA 6 will feature multiple big cities connected by a vast stretch of land featuring smaller towns. In this supposed version, the player starts out as a small crook and ends up running a drug-running criminal operation.

And then, of course, there's the pile of what can charitably called doubtworthy rumors, only worth mentioning as a curiosity. For example: a wild gossip roundup from cherished beacon of games industry coverage Christian Today, which theorized a 60s London setting and time travel. 

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.

With contributions from