Latest Updates on GTA 6 Characters, Maps, Gameplay, and Release Date

edited December 2023 in Gaming

Grand Theft Auto, or GTA, is an action-adventure game series developed by Rockstar North. The first game in the series was released in 1997, and 15 additional GTA games were released over the following years. The upcoming new installment in the series, Grand Theft Auto 6, will be the first new GTA title in more than a decade and will be the sequel to GTA 5.

The series is published by Rockstar Games, which is known for creating highly detailed, open-world games that allow players to do almost anything they want. The studio predominantly publishes games in the action-adventure and racing genres. Other popular franchises published by Rockstar Games are Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne, and Manhunt.

The GTA series holds several world gaming records and is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. It belongs to and to some extent defined the genre of free-roaming video games called sandbox games, which are games that grant a large amount of freedom to players in deciding what to do and how to do it through multiple methods of transport and weapons. Unlike most traditional action games, which are structured as a single-track series of levels with linear gameplay, GTA allows players to choose the missions they want to undertake, and player decisions affect the relationships players have with nonplayable characters. Of course, player decisions do come with limits—individual missions follow a linear, overarching plot, and some city areas must be unlocked over the course of the game. 

GTA 6: Trailer

More than a decade has passed since the last game in the series was released—the ridiculously successful GTA 5. The upcoming sequel to GTA 5 is quite possibly the most anticipated video game of all time, despite the fact that the game has been shrouded in mystery for several years. Development on the title is rumored to have started 8 years ago, but it was only in February 2022 that Rockstar Games officially announced that GTA 6 even existed. Then in September 2022, early footage of the game was leaked in one of the year’s biggest scandals. The official reveal trailer for the game shown here was finally released on December 4, 2023, alongside confirmation of a release window of some time in 2025.

GTA 6: Setting and storyline

GTA 6 will return to Vice City, with sunny skies, palm trees, beaches, a thriving nightlife, and prominent signage, including a giant “VICE” sign showcased in the trailer—all key elements of a Floridian environment. This location was first introduced to the series in GTA: Vice City (2002) and is essentially the franchise's fictional version of the City of Miami, Florida. Although the original Vice City was famously set in the 80s, GTA 6 will be set in the modern day. The first trailer shows a range of more recent tech, including smartphones, live streams, and of course, more modern cars. GTA 6's setting is likely to expand beyond the borders of Vice City, with a larger map that incorporates the Florida Everglades and smaller towns dotted around Vice City, which will serve as a central hub.

As for the storyline, there’s no doubt you’ll be indulging in the usual mix of crimes and heists with the odd look into the strange lives of the heroes and villains. And there seems to be a big focus on social media spoofing this time around as well. One leak from last year claimed we would get a story similar to that of Netflix series Narcos, heavily focused on the operations of gangs and cartels on both sides of the US–Mexico border through the eyes of a player character named Ricardo.

GTA 6: Map

In this modern-day Vice City, players will navigate what appears to be a massive map that captures the essence of Florida’s unique landscape. The trailer teases a varied terrain, from bustling city streets to swamps, hinting at a map size that promises extensive exploration opportunities. The latest rumors have suggested that the map is not only going to be the biggest Rockstar sandbox map yet, but it will also dwarf any of their previous efforts. If it’s chock full of detail and things to do, then be prepared to lose hundreds of hours exploring it.

GTA 6: Characters

The trailer appears to introduce us to the game’s new protagonists: a Bonnie and Clyde–style crime couple. We know the female half of this couple will be called Lucia, but we don’t know what the name of her male partner is going to be, although rumors suggest he is likely to be called either Jason or James.

The GTA series doesn’t follow one particular set of characters or even a single location through all of its games, so anyone hoping to see more of Michael, Franklin, and Trevor should temper their expectations. However, this doesn’t rule out possible cameo appearances by other popular characters. For example, a cameo by Tommy Vercetti, who was established as Vice City’s undisputed crime boss at the end of GTA: Vice City, would be a great premise for an exploration of how Tommy’s old-school gangster ways come into conflict with today’s criminals. Unfortunately, the death of actor Ray Liotta in 2022 makes this potential cameo unlikely. We’ll have to wait until another official trailer drops before we know more.

GTA 6: Graphics

Rockstar Games, the developer behind the GTA series, has a history of pushing the boundaries of graphical fidelity in open-world games. Red Dead Redemption 2, released in 2018, set a new standard for video game graphics, and we expect that GTA 6 will surpass this benchmark, given its larger budget and that it will be releasing exclusively on latest-gen consoles. If you watch the reveal trailer closer in high definition, you’ll notice the following intricate textures on every surface in the game:

  • Vertical cloth lines in tank tops 
  • Paintings with detailed brush-stroke and canvas textures  
  • Chip bags with lifelike wrinkles 
  • Loops and dips in power and data cables as they connect to the poles 
  • Correctly styled streetlights and freeway signs for South Florida 
  • Sand on the feet of people at the beach 
  • Moss hanging from the barbed wire at the prison 
  • Reflections of headlights in the cat’s eyes on the roads at night 
  • Real reflections in car side view mirrors

The studio’s own gaming engine, the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), will be responsible for the significant improvements in both graphics and physics in GTA 6, including improving features such as the passage of time, rendering quality, and water physics.

GTA 6: Gameplay

The official reveal trailer did not feature much in the way of gameplay. However, early development footage that was leaked in 2022 revealed that the game is at least investigating and playtesting some new mechanics. For example, it appears that a new series of stealth mechanics are being introduced. We’ve seen footage depicting characters crawling while prone and even carrying bodies. Additionally, the weapon wheel, which was overhauled for GTA 5, is likely to return in some capacity.

The leaked footage also seems to indicate that GTA 6 will have new health buff items, such as painkillers, and will bring back the Five Star “Wanted” system. Improved AI routines will likely give the VCPD more power as they track Lucia and Jason (or James) after you get on their radar.

One interesting detail from the reveal trailer is a car’s popped rear hatch in one scene. In earlier leaked gameplay, the implication was that GTA’s car storage might be used for heists and the like. Is this popped hatch a nod toward the ability to store items—clothing, weapons, and so on—as you can on your horse in Red Dead Redemption 2?

GTA 6: Soundtrack

A big part of the GTA franchise is its soundtrack. It usually features a collection of sounds split into multiple radio stations, giving the game a sense of reality, especially when you add the fact that the sounds are selected from artists and songs relevant to the period of the game’s setting.

At the time of writing, only a single artist is confirmed for the GTA 6 soundtrack: Tom Petty. His song Love is a Long Road features in the reveal trailer and will likely be a hit on one of the many radio stations within the game. The song is a surprising choice for a contemporary-set game, given that it was released in 1989; however, Rockstar Games might have picked it in part as a tribute to the Florida native. Petty, who passed away in 2017, already had a song in GTA. His song Runnin' Down a Dream featured in GTA: San Andreas, and according to Petty’s estate, Petty loved having his song in the game.

Rumors of other artists making their way into the game are just that—we’ll wait for further news before updating you on the lineup for the GTA 6 soundtrack.

GTA 6: Release date

GTA 6 will be coming exclusively to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X in 2025, with a PC version likely to be released a year later. Rockstar Games have a strategy of focusing on next-generation consoles and typically launch their major titles on consoles first before eventually expanding them to PC. 

Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.


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