New credible information about Grand Theft Auto VI has emerged in a new Kotaku report examining the work culture at Rockstar Games, and it offers up some tantalizing hints at what's in store for the future of the GTA series. GTA 6 might wind up with a smaller, more focused scope at first, but this could just lend further credence to previous rumors about the infamous "Project Americas" leaks.
Journalist Jason Schreier published an extensive Kotaku report Wednesday that analyzes Rockstar Games' ongoing efforts to combat the culture of crunch that was detailed in Schreier's previous October 2018 report focusing on the hectic development of Red Dead Redemption 2. While the new report focuses mostly on internal improvements at the company based on interviews with current and former employees, there are overt hints about what fans can expect from GTA 6, including some teases about the development timeline and scope for the upcoming game.
Rest assured that GTA 6 is in the works, but it might not look like the game you might expect — or be here as soon as you might want it.
"One plan that management has laid out for the next game, a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, is to start out with a moderately sized release (which, by Rockstar’s standards, would still be a large game) that is then expanded with regular updates over time," Schreier writes. This "may help mitigate stress and crunch." Schreier also clarified on Twitter that GTA 6 "is still a ways away," so any rumors expecting a release of the game soon should be taken with a grain of salt now.
The initial release might appear smaller than previous entries at first, but it will theoretically grow over time with new locations, characters, and storylines. Think about how DLC or seasons in Destiny 2 add new places or missions to visit, or how expansions to MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn add vast new explorable areas to the experience. The scale within the GTA universe could include entire new cities with updates. This development pipeline could theoretically be directly related to the previously leaked Project Americas concept that would incorporate multiple cities across North and South America in GTA 6.
Kotaku's report does not grapple with the Project Americas leak, but its globetrotting premise lends itself to this new release concept: We could see the initial release mainly focus on Vice City and then incorporate new locations based on places like Rio de Janeiro or Liberty City in post-launch game updates. In other words, maybe GTA 6's campaign will get MMO-style updates?
GTA 5 has fully embraced the games-as-a-service model with GTA Online, and Rockstar appears to be doubling down on that concept with the campaign of GTA 6.
The Inverse Analysis: While the decreased scope of the new Grand Theft Auto may seem disappointing at first, it's will actually be a good thing for both the game and Rockstar in the long run. This will lessen the amount of crunch and painful overtime required to complete the project, and this version of the Project Americas release model could be an exciting new way for major AAA titles to deliver expansive narratives over time while avoiding crunch. Kotaku's article highlights how the culture has improved at Rockstar Games, and GTA 6 will be the first game that will show how effective these new efforts are.
GTA 6 may be a bit different than expected when it finally releases, but Kotaku's report confirms that the much-hyped game is definitely happening. It also gives us a new next-gen game to look forward to, even if it definitely won't be a launch title. Now we'll have to wait and see whether or not the scope of GTA 6 lines up with these Project Americas leaks, but it could mark an exciting new era for gaming if true.