Grand Theft Auto 5 has been the gold standard for open-world games since its 2013 release. Rockstar Games' virtual rendition of Los Angeles comes with extraordinary amount character cosmetics and district vehicles that make exploring Los Santos incredibly immersive.
But now that GTA 6 is reportedly in the works, Rockstar needs to turn one small detail from GTA 5 into a more fully formed feature to truly make GTA 6 the most immersive open-world game ever released: A robust and fully-functional social media platform.
GTA 5 already has parodies for Facebook and Twitter, hilariously dubbed LifeInvader and Bleeter, respectively. Both joke sites are already thoroughly detailed and can be signed into with any of the game's three protagonists, which each have drastically different newsfeeds. But what if Rockstar transformed its gag social media site into more of a primary game mechanic in the future single-player and multiplayer modes of GTA 6?
The company has tried to push in this direction by offering Stalking Perks, or in-game bonuses that are acquired by browsing the real-life LiveInvader website. The feature was pretty novel when the game first came out, but Rockstar needs to level-up this feature in GTA 6 by letting these parody sites inform players about in-game events and information about computer-controlled characters.
It would be incredibly immersive if players could, say, stalk a person or a business on LifeInvader and learn about their daily routine. They could then use this information to devise heists, robberies, or simply just messing with one of the virtual world's thousands of inhabitants.
Rockstar could try to mimic the technology that's being used by Ubisoft for the upcoming 2021 release of Watch Dogs: Legion that enables the game to generate millions of playable characters, each with their own unique traits. This way, if you stalk a fitness junkie in GTA 6, they'll be posting about protein shakes and what gym they attend, whereas an angry gamer might be trash-talking people on his timeline and posting photos of his new PC.
GTA 6 could also use these fake social media platforms to inform character about random world events they can choose to crash. For example, you could get a notification that there's going to be a limited-time exotic car showing in a very remote part of town that you can attend and either steal or buy yourself a supercar. This functionality could be extended to GTA 6 Online too as a more overt, functional social media platform.
Rockstar could create Online-specific profiles that players in a server could use to all meet up, or the developer could even let gamers use LifeInvader and Bleeter to set up their own virtual events and meet-ups, like they would with Facebook and Twitter. Imagine if Rockstar could somehow actually develop these apps and make them function both in-game, but also as real-life phone apps? It feels like a vaporware pipedream, but for a developer on the cutting edge that always like to dream big, it seems possible, if not now then sometime in the future.
The parody social platforms GTA 5 are a great gag, but it's time for Rockstar to turn them into a definitive next-generation feature.
GTA 6 is reportedly in development.