In June, Sony and Rockstar Games announced that in 2021, Grand Theft Auto V will be released for the PlayStation 5, shortly after the console first hits shelves at the end of this year. This new version will be “extended and enhanced”, with better graphics and exclusive features.
This means that Grand Theft Auto V will have been released on three different generations of console, without a sequel being produced.
Fans were left confused and disappointed by this announcement as many had been hoping that Rockstar would be releasing Grand Theft Auto 6 shortly after the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X went on sale. Alas, this won’t be the case and fans will likely have to wait a few more years.
Plenty of Life in GTA V
Rockstar is making a lot of money from GTA Online and is still releasing many updates to the game. Most recently, it launched the Diamond Casino & Resort, a feature that lets players wager in-game money on classic table games like roulette and blackjack, just like you’d find in a real online casino. This feature won a Golden Joystick Award for “Best Game Expansion” in November 2019.
After generating $1 billion in the first three days, sales of Grand Theft Auto V are still strong. By August 2020, more than 135 million copies of the game have been sold across all four consoles and PC, generating around $7 billion in revenue.
The game remains in the list of top 10 best-selling titles, despite being seven years old.
It seems likely that the extended and enhanced version of the game will also sell well when it’s released next year, giving plenty of incentive to Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive to eke out as much from it as they can.
Rockstar has all-but-confirmed this, saying that it will continue to release new content for GTA Online for the foreseeable future.
Rockstar keeps news about the development of Grand Theft Auto close to its chest, leaving rumour and speculation to circle among fans. However, there are sometimes clues to find that give us some reliable information.
One of these is earnings projections and forecasted marketing budgets that are published by Take-Two Interactive. The company is publicly listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, meaning it is required by law to publish this information.
In one of its most recent filings, it has forecast a huge spike in its marketing activities between Spring 2023 and the first months of 2024. In the past, such spikes have accurately predicted the release of other Grand Theft Auto games, so it seems reasonable to assume this is when the company is planning to release the much-anticipated GTA 6.
If this turns out to be correct, fans will have had to wait 10 years and an entire generation of console between releases. This is twice as long as the wait for GTA V and significantly longer than earlier releases, which occurred 1-2 years between each other.
Caption: GTA V was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a year after its initial launch on the preceding consoles
Another reason for the delay is that Rockstar has been working on other titles. Red Dead Redemption 2 was released in later 2018, after eight years of development. Since then, it has been working on Red Dead Online, an online multiplayer version of the game that’s similar to GTA Online.
The development of this took a further 13 months, requiring a lot of resources that can’t be allocated to other titles.
Although there is no official word from Rockstar about whether GTA 6 is in development, it seems pretty safe to assume that the game is being worked on by the company.
Given the ever-increasing size of the open-world games that Rockstar creates, the development time of its blockbuster titles is getting longer and longer. Red Dead Redemption 2 is smaller than Grand Theft Auto V but still took eight years to create, so it seems reasonable to assume GTA 6 will take at least just as long.
We may, therefore, need to get used to 10-year development cycles for Grand Theft Auto games, particularly if rumours like a multi-city game are to be believed. While the sheer size of the game may eventually justify the wait, it doesn’t change the fact that fans were left disheartened by the recent announcement.
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