I don’t want to play the role of Rockstar Games. The company has one of the biggest success stories in video game history thanks to the rise and explosive success of Grand Theft Auto, but it’s at a crossroads with its next game: Grand Theft Auto 6 is either a revolution or a disappointment .
I’m not a fan of extremism, the problem is that it’s not enough for GTA to be a good game. Expectations couldn’t be higher and will only continue to rise in the near future as the development period continues.
Since the release of the first game, Grand Theft Auto, in 1997, the gap between new games has never been greater. FYI: The original version of GTA 5 was released on September 17, 2013. Next year, we’ll hit the 10-year gap without a new GTA. For the first time in the franchise’s history, we’ve launched an entire generation of consoles without new games.
Rockstar Games has not been idle during this period. It gave GTA Online new content (let’s say), and still has a ton of players, released a new version of GTA 5 for PC and next-gen consoles, and gave us Red Dead Redemption 2. As we all know, video games are a medium that has recorded considerable evolution in a short period of time. The longer it takes Rockstar Games, the more it has to chase losses.
For a GTA-scale game, it’s hard to design something up-to-date. The present moves today with great agility. With the constant flow of information, the life and death of trends, the life of social networks has almost replaced reality, and everything seems insignificant. As if the current socio-cultural difficulties of contextualizing the GTA are not enough, there is still the problem of its genre saturation.
GTA remains the benchmark for open world gaming. When GTA III was released, its 3D world had enough dimensions and detail to be a revolution. Not enough today. Open world games have become commonplace. As a “leader”, expect nothing less from GTA 6 than a revolution of the type.
The first pieces of information that reached us through rumors brought good omen. The new game will have the most indoor locations in the series, which is preferable to the usual strategy of simply increasing the map size without paying attention to detail and immersion. But that alone is not enough to be a revolution, more is needed…more.
The new Sin City must be vibrant
One of the most recent rumors is that GTA 6’s story takes place in a city inspired by Miami, which means we’ll likely be heading back to Sin City. Not only did the new version of the city have to be realistic and impressive, Rockstar Games had to make it vibrant and alive, making players feel like their actions had an impact on the life of the city.
There are multiple possible ways to achieve this result. Rockstar had to find the roots of the series and draw inspiration from other genres. The San Andreas Respect System can be turned into something more substantial, making people in Sin City fear us for our actions and reputation. Likewise, a system of bribing police, politicians and other government officials would be welcome.
To me, the GTA series is based on two fundamental pillars: the first is the great freedom it has always given players; the second is its unfiltered representation of the criminal world. To outdo itself, GTA 6 has to turbocharge these two engines working together. More freedom and new ways of conducting crimes are needed.
Car theft is no longer enough
When I learned about Grand Theft Auto saga (around the time GTA 3 was about to be released), the epitome of the saga was that you could steal any car in the middle of the street, start shooting and brutally murdering pedestrians, whistling prostitutes to have sex with them ( although the animations don’t match). It was the rebellious dream of any teenager at the time.
After about 20 years, I believe it is time to better represent the criminal world. Not that the things described above don’t happen in the criminal world…as a longtime fan, I wish I could go further. I don’t just want to be called a prostitute (or prostitute, for that matter), I want the freedom to open a brothel or run a business in that area. I don’t just want to buy weapons, I want to be an arms dealer.
Some of these possibilities already exist in GTA Online today (the Gunrunning DLC introduces gunrunning, etc.), and despite the excellent support Rockstar has given (and continues to give) to the game, I feel the implementation has been lackluster. It’s possible to create multiple layers of depth, and I think that’s what players want. Look at the rise of RolePlay servers with their own rules and mechanisms.
Regardless of the rest, there must be a strong narrative
GTA V attempts to differentiate itself from the rest of the game by introducing three playable protagonists, with mechanics allowing players to switch to one of them at any time. In practice, this is a less successful idea. None of the characters stand out, and the dynamics between them are bizarre.
But the worst problem is the lack of narrative direction. Any other GTA (at least since GTA 3) has a more engaging story and characters. At first glance, GTA 6’s Bonnie and Clyde-esque dynamic seems more interesting. She has one less character than GTA V, leaving better room for each character.
It remains to be seen whether Rockstar Games can achieve all of this in one game. In terms of resources, if there’s a studio that has the financial resources to take risks and do something arrogant, it’s this one. Nearly 10 years after its release, GTA V continues to generate more revenue than most new releases. There’s no reason not to offer the most ambitious and revolutionary open world game ever made.