Grand Theft Auto VI might still be unconfirmed by Rockstar Games, but the game is reportedly in development according to a veteran games journalist and a handful of trusted leakers. Now the question is, when will it come out? Because there's no official word from Rockstar and different accounts vary wildly, but the most trusted voice in all of this has bad news for anyone who might want a new GTA game sooner rather than later.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier broke the news that GTA 6 is “early in development” in an April 15 report. Hours later, leakers Yan2295 and Tezfun2 both publicly responded to Schreier’s piece, claiming that GTA 6 is much further along in its development cycle and could be as much as “60 to 70 percent done.” But the saga continued Sunday when Schreier responded to Yan2295 and stuck by his report, saying that gamers shouldn’t expect GTA 6 any time soon.
“Sorry dude, it is [in early development],” he tweeted. “Not what fans want to hear but that game is years away.”
So what are the two GTA 6 timelines that have surfaced after Schreier’s piece? At face value, "years" obviously means 2022 at the earliest.
When could we see the GTA 6 release date?
According to Schreier, GTA 6 could be six or even seven years away if it’s only beginning its production phase. That point of development is dedicated to building the map, refining the world’s physics, and modeling NPCs. It took Rockstar eight years to create Red Dead Redemption 2 and based on what we’ve heard about GTA 6’s scale, it could take the same amount of time or even longer.
A batch of unconfirmed GTA 6 titled “Project Americas” has suggested that the game could be set in classic cities like Vice City or Liberty City as well as incorporate new, South American-inspired cities like Rio de Janeiro. A game of that scale might take even longer to develop than RDR 2, especially when you consider Rockstar would need to optimize its game engine for the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Yan2295 and Tezfun2 both firmly believe Rockstar has already been working on GTA 6 for quite some time. Tezfun2 even went as far as claiming that the long-awaited sequel could be as far as 70 percent done. That would mean it could arrive in as little as two to three years, if Rockstar spends as much time on GTA 6 as it did on RDR 2.
It’s been seven years since GTA 5 was released and fans are itching for a new installment of the open-world crime adventure. Some players have even noticed that Rockstar might be making items in GTA 5 Online more expensive to prepare for the imminent launch of GTA 6 Online.
Knowing who to trust in this back and forth is a challenge in itself.
The Inverse Analysis — Without Rockstar’s official word, gamers will need to look to Schreier's and the leakers’ track records to decide whose word they want to take for now.
Schreier has years of experience reporting on the politics and working conditions at major game 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 how overworked employees of AAA developers are. He rarely includes the names of his sources in reports like this to protect them from company backlash, but he attaches his name and reputation to every story he publishes.
The anonymous leaker Yan2295 has the best track record and has become a fan-favorite Rockstar insider. They accurately leaked details about GTA 5 Online before and have developed a cult following of gamers that turn to them for juicy scoops for all-things Rockstar. While Yan2295 has been correct in the past, a GTA 6 announcement any time soon seems too good to be true for two reasons.
First: GTA 5 Online had 33 million active players as of August 2019 and made Rockstar $6 billion as of April 2018, and it doesn't really show any signs of stopping. The company has consistently updated the game’s online mode, which would require members of the GTA 6 team to be actively monitoring, developing, and testing new features they want to add. There’s little reason to believe that Rockstar would rush GTA 6 when its previous game is still adored by fans.
Second: RDR 2 just came out on October 26, 2018. Rockstar’s studios could have only recently switched to focusing on GTA 6 within the last 17 months. At best, the team has a year and a half of work done for GTA 6, which isn’t anywhere near the “60 to 70 percent” figure put forth by Tezfun2.
As it stands, Schreier’s reporting fits the script while the leakers’ information seems a bit too optimistic to be realistic.