Grand Theft Auto VI has been all but officially confirmed in light of a report published Wednesday by Kotaku on work culture at Rockstar Games. Despite the report claiming the title is "early in development," a renowned GTA leaker is saying something totally different about how far along GTA 6 is in development.
"Next title, a new GTA title is in 'early stages of development'?" Rockstar leaker Tez2 tweeted on Thursday in response to the Kotaku report. "It's hard to believe that when I'm hearing it's 'halfway done' or even beyond that." Their direct response makes it seem like GTA 6 is much further along in development that what was revealed to Kotaku's Jason Schreier by other unnamed sources.
"Take note that RDR2 took approximately 8 or 7 years worth of development, the main production started right after RDR1 release & recording sessions began in 2013," they elaborated. "Expect the same with the next title, unless it's 'early' as in we are nowhere near release which is more believable."
While Tez2 concedes that we aren't close to the game's release, their claims still put GTA 6's development further along than Kotaku's report. This might be a welcome indication of an earlier release than was implied by Kotaku, but either way, GTA 6 won't be out any time soon.
Kotaku's report focuses mostly on ongoing internal efforts to improve the work culture at Rockstar Games following the backlash the company received for excessive crunch during Red Dead Redemption 2's development, particularly in the final stages. "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, which may help mitigate stress and crunch," Kotaku's Jason Schreier wrote, based on information from current and former employees at Rockstar.
After writing that Rockstar's next big game was "early in development," Schreier reiterated on Twitter that GTA 6 was still "a ways away." Even though GTA 6 wasn't the focus of the article, these minor details have caught everyone's attention. Tez2's comments obviously contradict Schreier's claims, so it becomes challenging to parse out the truth. Do you believe a trusted journalist and published author who's written extensively about the video game industry for years? Or a pseudonymous Twitter personality who leaks information about Rockstar titles over Twitter?
The Inverse Analysis — It's worth keeping in mind the statement "halfway through development" is a very nebulous term in the world of game development. A claim like that doesn't mean that half of the game is finished, just that a significant amount of work has been done on it. It's a vague estimation at best when there's no way to track percentage of completion on a video game's development. If GTA 6 is still in its formative stages, then Schreier's claim is the better descriptor here. He's also a more reliable source of information.
Tez2's comments might seem preferable to gamers who want GTA 6 sooner, but the way they grapple with Schreier's assessment could be interpreted as combative.
It's also worth keeping in mind that Rockstar's recent culture shift may cause a slower development cycle, albeit one that's much better for the people working on the game. Any hopes of a 2020 GTA 6 release now seem completely dashed, but a better work culture at Rockstar could ultimately mean a better game — whenever it is finally released.