Rockstar Games is much more than Grand Theft Auto. It is almost obvious but many of us forget that beyond the adventures of Trevor, Franklin or Michael —without leaving aside the beloved and classic C.J. or Niko Bellic—, we also find franchises such as Agent, Manhunt, The Warriors or Midnight Club. It is true that putting all these titles in the balance, they do not represent a shadow of what GTA has achieved in terms of numbers and influence.
That is why the arrival of GTA 6 is expected even more than that of any other game. Yes, many of you may think that Elden Ring eats it with potatoes, you are not misguided either, but even FromSoftware’s oldest bets are still enjoyed today and only three years have passed since the release of their previous work: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. On the other hand, GTA V will be a decade old next year 2023. A game that will have seen three generations of consoles by the time its version is released on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S and that many expect a continuation “like water in May”.
We too, do not think that from the writing of we are oblivious to these great titles —neither the colleagues of who already raised these same questions last 2021—, but in this case I have taken the helm for a moment and I wanted to let my mind fly and think about what Rockstar has learned in this time and what this new installment should have to fall in love with.
Let go of the culture of “anything goes”
Let me, before I get into what I’d like to see in GTA 6, take a break and discuss how Rockstar has evolved and what they are facing today with the future release of GTA 6. Their last original release was Red Dead Redemption 2 back in 2018. Four years ago, what is for me the magnum opus of the American company and a turning point for it was launched. Since then, the company of Terry Donovan, who took over from Dan Houser in 2020 after his departure, has focused on Grand Thef Auto V and its importance has been noted in each of the proposals that the company launched at the market.
Users, both assiduous and not to the online proposal of GTA V, understand Rockstar’s interest in promoting the multiplayer aspect of its most successful title, but this excuse, almost a decade after its launch, is not valid. GTA Online has exercised a spectacular domain and, in a certain way, harmful to the future of the company. We are talking about a very exclusive experience, where today it is difficult to enter due to the enormous difficulty peak that comes from facing those players who are more versed in the game.
The intentions with GTA Online were made clear with its independence from the original work. This has blinded a company with recycled and often repeated content, leaving aside even the Red Dead Redemption 2 multiplayer or offering a launch of three company classics at a level well below expectations: GTA The Trilogy : The Definitive Edition. The development times of any Rockstar IP are long, we know, but with GTA 6 they have the opportunity to improve their public opinion, one somewhat tainted by that culture of “anything goes” and waiting for their economy to work thanks to GTA Online.
The same narrative maturity as Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption
I do not protect myself in the anonymity of the internet and I assume that I enjoyed Arthur Morgan’s work more than that of the trio protagonist of GTA V. With this, I do not underestimate Franklin, Michael and Trevor, nothing is further from reality. GTA V amused me from start to finish in its PC version and giving it a second life thanks to the mods, but Red Dead Redemption 2 revealed to me a Rockstar who had grown and matured over the years.
Grand Theft Auto means mayhem, laughter and parody, yes. It is something inherent to IP and we cannot separate it. If we do, we run the risk of GTA becoming just another open world with quirky characters and dozens of missions to complete with little interest other than spending hundreds of hours. We cannot remove the social denunciation and racism of GTA San Andreas from the parody and the “neighborhood” topics; neither does the truncated “American dream” of GTA IV and how our past actions haunt us. However, GTA V was much less subtle than I would have liked. It fell into the most similar parody to Scary Movie with jokes at the wrong time and very absurd and cartoonish narrative arcs.