I'm typically sceptical of trailer scrubbers—and there are a hell of a lot of them with Grand Theft Auto 6. Can't blame them, obviously, it's been 10 whole years since we last got a GTA game.
But they've really been ravenous this time—drawing circles around moles, driving up Spotify numbers, and having some would-be players questioning their mortality. A game trailer shouldn't be giving you an existential crisis, but as you're about to find out, it got me pretty close.
As pointed out by Hudrenn on the game's subreddit, the trailer might be actually telling would-be protagonist Lucia's story in reverse. They sell it with an edit that on its own is convincing, but ultimately conjecture. There's a big 'but' though.
You see, my dear Watson(s): in GTA 6's official cover art, Lucia is wearing an electronic tag in the form of an ankle bracelet. And, as further pointed out by user Ravenbtw, she's not wearing it when she goes on her heist with her (literal) partner in crime. Compare the image below to the one Ravenbtw posted, and yep: no anklet.
It'd be weird for Lucia to get out of prison, potentially deal with an anklet, go on another heist, then go back to prison in time for her to get a second anklet for the character design rendered in the official artwork. Or would it? Because, on the other hand, electronic tagging devices are supremely messed up when you live in a country that privatises their use.
According to a piece by ACLU Florida in 2022, tracking devices like the one Lucia's wearing can be applied to people "awaiting trial, serving probation and parole, and facing immigration proceedings". All this to say, Lucia could be wearing the anklet while she's awaiting trial or while she's on probation. In other words, before or after she's out of prison.
Secondly, the article mentions that these devices can apply financial pressure since you're often charged for the electronic tracking device the state mandates you wear.
"Depending on the jurisdiction, fees to wear these monitors range from $3-$35 a day, often in addition to initial setup charges, which can range from $100 to $200. The expensive fees compound and can amount to hundreds of dollars per month, overburdening households already dealing with the return of loved ones from incarceration."
This isn't just limited to jurisdictions in Florida, by the way. A ProRepublica article written in conjunction with the New York Times tells the story of Daehaun White, aged 19, who needed to pay similar fees in 2018. "he would be required to pay $10 a day to a private company, Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, or EMASS. Just to get the monitor attached, he would have to report to EMASS and pay $300 up front—enough to cover the first 25 days, plus a $50 installation fee."
After missing the deadline due to a forgotten letter, his mother later said that she "felt that the court was forcing her to choose between getting White out of jail" by paying the fee, "and supporting the rest of her family."
I did want to keep things light, seeing as this was meant to be a quick piece on a GTA 6 trailer theory, but Rockstar put an anklet in there, so—hey, we're talking about it now. All this to say: it's possible this "reverse trailer" theory is wrong, depending on how intensely Rockstar's next game wants to examine these sorts of themes. Not only could Lucia have been given an anklet before we see her in jail but—as I recently found out—the financial pressure from it could've pushed her into committing further crimes.
Despite this, the theory's still convincing. The way the story is presented in reverse—going from Lucia and her boyfriend discussing "trust", to a heist, to driving, to being pursued by the cops, to landing in prison—makes a lot more sense. From a game design perspective, it'd also be a useful framing device to limit Lucia's movements on the map for a chapter or two, perhaps while you're figuring out how to bust her partner out of prison without one of these godforsaken things attached.