GTA 6 missions need to borrow 1 idea from the new GTA Online heist
More options, please.
Grand Theft Auto 6's missions need to evolve. While Grand Theft Auto V is a fantastic game with oodles of things to do, many of the main story quests and side missions lack variety. Whenever Grand Theft Auto 6 arrives — Rockstar Games has yet to confirm it's in the works, though Kotaku all but confirmed it back in April — needs drastically improve on mission design, giving players greater freedom and variety.
This change is certainly possible, as The Cayo Perico Heist delivers a mission that does just all of that. If GTA 6 can take this heist core design into account when creating new missions, it could have some of the series' most enjoyable missions yet!
The Cayo Perico Heist was released on December 15 and tasks players with breaking into the heavily fortified home of the drug lord El Rubio. This heist differs from previous ones by being significantly more open-ended, taking an almost Hitman style approach to the amount of choices players to have to complete the mission. The mission can also get easier or harder depending on how much players put into prepping.
For example, players could focus their prep missions on getting the required codes, keycards, and tools to go in stealthily, or they can decide to just tackle El Rubio and his forces head-on once they are able to get into the compound. The amount of choice is surprising and the fact that secondary target and equipment locations change on subsequent heist runs makes it more replayable.
This approach is unique to The Cayo Perico Heist, but it's also what Rockstar should look to when creating single-players missions for GTA 6.
The GTA series is an open-world sandbox that players can explore, complete a variety of activities, and just mess around in. The games have always excelled at letting players do want they want in these kinds of scenarios, but the story missions themselves are usually different stories despite the open-world sandbox structure.
Looking at GTA 5 and even Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar's missions tend to be quite linear. They like to focus on big, bombastic setpieces, but as a result what players do typically boils down to just moving from one location to another to shoot wave after wave of enemies. These can be fun, but grow repetitive and lose their luster over time.
This is a common and popular criticism of Rockstar's last couple of games, and it's clear that they've taken this feedback into account with how interestingly The Cayo Perico Heist was designed. Being able to approach it in so many different ways not only makes the heist more fun to replay but more unique to each person as a result.
Still, as The Cayo Perico Heist is still built around multiplayer, GTA 6 will be the first time Rockstar can really apply this more open-ended design to traditional single-player GTA story missions in a new and satisfying way. While every mission doesn't need to play out like a Hitman level, some of them should at least give players multiple options in how they can approach a mission.
Whenever this long-awaited sequel finally arrives, we hope to have a lot of choice in how we want to approach or complete a given mission and not just be funneled down setpieces. This would not only feel "next-gen" but would also play into the strengths of GTA's sandbox design.
Grand Theft Auto 6 is reportedly in development.