It’s been six years since “Grand Theft Auto V” took the world by storm. Its colorful characters and hyper-realistic recreation of Los Angeles created a lively online community that still churns out mods and custom-made mini games, more than five years after its release. But a new era for the beloved and controversial action-adventure series is just over the horizon.
GTA developer Rockstar Games is hot off the release of Western adventure game Red Dead Redemption 2, which sold more than 23 million copies worldwide since its October 2018 debut. But rumors suggest the game developer is working on a the next chapter of GTA, which could top Red Dead’s success.
A now-deleted, landslide leak posted by Redditor /u/JackOLantern1982 on July 2 claimed to blow the lid off of GTA VI, allegedly code named “Project Americas.” That post was supported by a separate leak in the comments by u/gfk53, who also claimed to have inside knowledge of what could be Rockstar’s most ambitious undertaking yet.
Just like any other leaks, there are a few contradictory accounts that have surfaced over the past several months. But the steady trickle of GTA rumors is the best line of information that gamers have received about what could be Rockstar’s most monumental release in its two-decade history.
Strap in: Here’s everything we know about the next installation of GTA.
When Is the ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Release Date?
There’s no word on a hard-and-fast release date, but most rumors and and experts suggest its still a few years out, which could see GTA VI released in 2020 or 2021.
The now-deleted reddit leak sheets are meatiest lists of information we’ve received about the potential game. According to those leaks, the game is still in its “pre-alpha” stage, there’s no estimated time of arrival yet, and that it will only be available on the next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Project Scarlett consoles, as well as PC.
The detail that the rumored title will be geared toward next-gen consoles provides a few hints about when it might be released. Sony and Microsoft are expected to launch their consoles late in 2020, so at the very least, don’t expect a new GTA before then. But the leak teases another release-date detail.
The Redditor says that the the game has been in the works since 2012, but production didn’t actually pick up until 2015. It reportedly took Rockstar eight years to finish Red Dead Redemption 2, and leaks have painted GTA VI to be even larger scale than the Western. That could mean we might not see the title until 2023 or later.
Game release dates are always subject to change, but it’s looking like GTA VI could hit shelves deep into the next-generation of console gaming.
Where Is ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Located?
As the alleged codename would suggest, the game could be based in various locations across North and South America, but a firm list has not been hammered out, according to the leaks.
The Redditor wrote that it’ll be partially based in locations from previous games, like Vice City (fictional Miami) and Liberty City (fictional New York City). But it will also feature new locations inspired by Brazilian metropolis Rio de Janeiro, and potentially areas based off of Cuba, Panama, and Colombia.
The leak stated that it will be more arcade-y and less realistic than Red Dead Redemption 2, which might suggests players won’t have to eat, sleep, and bathe. But there will still be elements of immersive realism that affect the digital world.
Playable locations will change over the roughly ten years the game is supposed to span. Architecture and vehicles develop over a decade as in-game economies surge or crumble and as time progresses. Weather events, like hurricanes and floods, change the tropical and urban terrain gamers will traverse.
When Does ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Take Place?
It will be somewhere between the 1970s and 1980s, and be “heavily inspired by Netflix’s Narcos,” according to the leaks.
Much like Red Dead Redemption 2, the story will unravel through a series of chapters, each of which will likely lead to drastic changes in where the characters are located.
Who Are the Characters in ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’?
GTA VI could be the first installment with a central female character. Both leaks mention a character named “Kacey” who is described as a “drug smuggler,” but there’s been some contention about how central of a role she could play in the story.
The reddit comment claims she will be the protagonist, while another leak leak claims the story will center around an “up and coming drug lord-wannabe named Ricardo. It’s possible that, just like GTA V, which featured three main characters, Kacey and Ricardo could be a playable duo.
Regardless of who the face of the game is, players will be tasked with turning the characters from drug runners to kingpins by completing daring missions, developing relationships with other drug lords, and generally committing crimes, as in the other games. Only this time on an international scale.
What Should I Know About ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Gameplay?
The leaks pointed to two specific gameplay mechanics that will drive the alleged game. The first being that cars will function exactly like horses in Red Dead Redemption 2. So, say goodbye to pulling a rocket launcher out of thin air.
Players will carry their weapons in the trunk of their car when they’re in city areas, or risk being seen on the street with an AK-47 strapped to their back. But they could be free to pack more heat when they’re in rural areas of the game.
Finally, the players may be able to build their drug empire similarly to how the “Crew” system functions in the current GTA V online mode. They’ll need to complete key tasks across a massive map to amass power and turf.
What the Experts Are Saying About ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’?
While these leaks might be exciting and in line with what Rockstar has done in the past, they could also be far from the truth. Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier, commented, “Yeah this is fake” on JackOLantern1982’s post, which cast some doubt on the validity of the claims.
Schreier is a trusted source for industry information and correctly leaked the Fallout 4 setting and game dialogue before the title was released. So GTA VI might actually be completely different if it ever launches.
Will ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Address Its Controversial Past?
The rumors that have surfaced don’t mention if Rockstar is developing the next iteration of GTA to address some of its backlash it has received in the past, especially the series repeated derogatory depiction of women. A female lead could be a step in the right direction, but these details remain unclear.