After a ceaseless stream of questionable rumors and sketchy leaks, Grand Theft Auto VI was confirmed to be in development by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier on April 15. The report stated that the game is now in “early in development,” which led many to assume the long-anticipated title is still years away. But now a certain contingent of Rockstar’s ravenous fanbase claims to have enough evidence to prove that the GTA 6 might launch much sooner than that. Is this just wishful thinking? Or is there some truth to these new rumors?
Schreier's Kotaku report focuses primarily on the ongoing efforts at Rockstar Games to improve work culture, particularly crunch leading up to the release of new games. He reiterated on Twitter that his reporting led him to believe that GTA 6 is still “a ways away.” However, evidence from six years ago and a duo of popular Rockstar leakers have recently come out saying the game could actually be more than halfway done already.
Leakers Yan2295 and Tezfun2 have both publicly responded to the Kotaku report out saying that GTA 6 is much further along than what they consider to be the “early stages of development." Plus, Redditor u/CGIzombie unearthed a video from 2014 where French Rockstar leaker Chris Liberty reported that anonymous sources told him that the pre-production of GTA 6 had already begun.
“Despite what Jason said, there is absolutely no way GTA 6 is still in early stages,” tweeted Yan2295 the day the Kotaku report was published. “Unless they have a very weird definition of ‘early stages.’ Maybe early stages of testing, sure, but not of development.”
What’s the issue here?
GTA 6 is happening, but fans are caught up on how far along the game is in development — or more importantly, how much longer they'll have to wait before the game is released.
Schreier’s reporting suggests that Rockstar is just beginning the production phase of GTA 6, which would mean developers just started modeling NPCs, building the map, and refining the world’s physics. Yan2295 and Tezfun2 are claiming that a majority of the game has been built and that Rockstar is refining what it has already. Tezfun2 even went as far as saying GTA 6 is “60 to 70 percent done.”
It took Rockstar eight years to make Red Dead Redemption 2, so Schreier’s piece makes it sound like GTA 6 might be six or seven years off, while everything the leakers have been saying suggests it could be two or three years away.
GTA 5 launched in 2013, so fans of the franchise don't want to wait another six years for the next game. Who's right here? And who should we trust?
The Inverse Analysis — It is tough to make any kind of an assessment about GTA 6's stage in development without official word from Rockstar, but Schreier has years of experience reporting on the politics and working conditions of major games companies. He has access to many of the industry’s biggest players and his in-depth reporting has constantly peeled the curtain back on video game development, teased new launches, and shined a light on just how overworked developers are. Even if he doesn't often name his sources on reports like this, he's still a journalist who attaches his name and reputation to his stories.
Yan2295 is the leaker with the best track record out of the bunch. He has accurately leaked information about GTA 5 Online in the past, which proved he has some connections at Rockstar and has made him a fan-favorite insider.
Schreier’s words carry more weight simply because of his years of developing relationships with sources, but it’s important to keep in mind that his article on Rockstar was focused on the future of the company’s work conditions and not the release date of GTA 6. It’s possible that a Rockstar employee he spoke to played-down GTA 6’s progress to not stir up release date rumors. But those comments have clearly had the opposite effect if that's the case.
It’s still believable that Rockstar needed all-hands on deck for Red Dead Redemption 2 and it only recently switched gears to the development of GTA 6. Plus, GTA 5 Online remains a widely-played cash cow for Rockstar with 33 million active players. Rockstar still regularly updates the title, which might have slowed down the overall development of a sequel.
For now, we’re putting more stock in Schreier’s reporting, but we’d be more than happy to see a GTA 6 announcement defy those expectations sometime in the near future.