Grand Theft Auto V redefined the open-world genre with its enormous virtual rendition of Los Angeles. Now, that Grand Theft Auto VI is in development, fans are eagerly awaiting to see how Rockstar Games will up the ante in its next debaucherous sandbox.
Unconfirmed GTA 6 rumors claim that the future title will let gamers travel to different U.S. cities — like Vice City and Liberty City — and even all-new Latin America-inspired areas. Over the past few months, fan-made maps have theorized just how vast a multi-city GTA could be, but to make GTA 6 truly next-gen, Rockstar should use real-world data to match the scale of traveling long distances, just like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 does.
While Los Santos might seem massive while gamers are weaving through traffic, it only takes a few minutes to travel anywhere in the city with a jet. It took one player just over eight minutes to fly the circumference of Los Santos in one of the game’s many airplanes. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will allow Rockstar to be much more ambitious with its world-building, and Flight Simulator 2020 servers as a great example of how the company just might pull off something much grander in scope.
Microsoft used its Bing Maps imagery and its Azure Artificial Intelligence technology to populate 2 petabytes (that's 2,000 terabytes) of geographical data. Recreating a scan of the entire world would be completely out of the question for GTA 6, but Rockstar could simply scale-down this approach and focus on only the cities it wants to include in the game.
Imagine that GTA 6 might include Vice City, Liberty City, and a rendition of Bogota, Colombia. Rockstar could leverage Bing, Google, or publicly available geographic data for those three specific cities to render those three locations in its Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE).
To fill in the space in between these hypothetical cities, the company could pull random bits of rural area and ocean surface data to create to-scale distances between each metropolis. This way the game will be far more immersive versus being able to manually travel to a different country in less than 10 minutes, and it would open up the opportunity for a ton of daring missions.
Drug smuggling is also rumored to be a major theme in GTA 6, so a to-scale map could make drug runs on land, air, and sea more realistic and exciting than any crime adventure game before it. Imagine having to chart a path through an expansive ocean to avoid running into the Coast Guard or having to land a Cessna in the boonies before daringly traversing through the wilderness to get your shipment into Liberty City.
This might be a pipe-dream on current consoles, but thanks to the solid-state drives (SSDs) that will be in the PS5 and Series X, that is no longer the case. These drives will be able to store and fetch massive amounts of data without the need of dragging loading screens. So while GTA 6 will never be at the same global scale of Flight Simulator 2020, it could be a more focused version of the sim with drugs, guns, and general GTA degeneracy.
GTA 6 is reportedly in development.