GTA 6 has no release date as of today or even official support from Rockstar Games, but rumors about the new Grand Theft Auto game continue to wave, fueled by fan speculation and leaks on everything from possible location, environment, and time period of the game plus on which platforms it will be released and details about what a new game will be for massive GTA Online.
In regard to any official information about Grand Theft Auto 6, here’s a history of all of the major GTA 6 rumors and supposed leaks from the last couple of years.
In January 2021, there were rumors about GTA 6 featuring a playable female character started to make the rounds after Tom Henderson posted on Twitter, “For the first time ever in a GTA game, GTA 6 will have a playable female and male lead.”
Grand Theft Auto protagonists have incorporated a mixture of fictional criminal archetypes–Vice City’s hot-tempered Tommy Vercetti, GTA 4’s older, yet cynical Eastern European refugee Niko Bellic, and the naïve but good-hearted street gang boss Carl “CJ” Johnson of San Andreas, to name a few. GTA 5 did something new for the series with its band of playable characters, which are retired career criminal living in luxury to a trailer park weapons dealer to a recent gangbanger looking to make it huge. And yet, the series has never included a woman as a playable protagonist beyond the capability to customize your character in GTA Online. If this is going to be true then this will be huge.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2013, Rockstar co-founder Dan House revealed the studio’s interest in looking into a female character at some point, saying, “In the future, could we do a game with a lead female character? Of course. We just haven’t found the right game for it yet, but it’s one of the things that we always think about.”
And in 2018, an “inside source” allegedly told Inside Gaming that GTA 6 will be set in Miami–likely Vice City, given GTA’s history with fictionalized cities that are based on real ones. But as Inside Gaming specifying, Miami also technically exists within the GTA universe. Inside Gaming points to a Digital Trends interview with Leslie Benzies, the now-former president of Rockstar North, to probe this rumor. When asked if GTA will ever come back to Vice City, Benzies stated, “It is always a possibility.”
Inside Gaming’s “inside source” also said that GTA 6 is codenamed Project Americas, which leads to a feature that will enable players to fly between two settings, one in the United States, and one in South America. As Inside Gaming said, the South American drug trade–notably the “cocaine highway” connecting Colombia and Miami in the ’80s–has been the subject of tons of famous media, so if GTA 6 were to return to Vice City, it would also make sense for it to be a period piece like 2002’s Vice City. According to Benzies, “Vice City, perhaps more than any other GTA game, was as much about the era as the setting. Miami in the 1980s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period.”
Rockstar has yet to comment officially on GTA 6’s setting.
In 2019, a Pastebin post made the rounds after the author, claiming to be an Environment Artist at Rockstar Games, leaked unverified information about GTA 6. The post alleges the “Project Americas” codename from Inside Gaming’s coverage is correct, as well as the claim about South America featuring as a setting. It also elaborated on the Vice City setting, stating that the game will take place not just in the fictionalized Florida city, but also Liberty City, the fictionalized NYC at the heart of GTA 4, with a stretch of smaller towns and swamplands between the two cities on the game map.
This vibes with something Benzies stated in that Digital Trends interview mentioned earlier, “[…] at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas,” though we should restate that this interview was from 2012 and Benzies is no longer at the company.
The same Pastebin leak from 2019 claimed that the story for GTA 6 will be set in the ’70s or ’80s, but that several environmental assets are also modern-day, speculating about either a campaign set across two eras or a separate GTA Online mode set in the modern-day.
However, in April 2021, Tom Henderson (responsible for the female protagonist rumor) stated on Twitter that GTA 6 is not going to be set in the ’80s and will instead be modern-day.
The 2019 Pastebin leak seems to have mixed information about GTA 6’s release date, claiming first “mid-to-late 2020” (which we know is false), then “late 2021 or 2022 at the latest” in the case of a delay. This seems the most obviously unbelievable piece of information from an already questionable “leak,” given more reputable sources have stated the release date is quite a ways away.
The rumor that GTA 6 began development in 2016, which many fans have come to cite as hard evidence, came from an anonymous source speaking to TechRadar. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, in a piece for Kotaku about the culture of Rockstar a year and a half after the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, mentioned “a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series” was in “early development.” That was in 2020. On top of COVID-19 delaying games, movies, and more, it’s likely we won’t see GTA 6 for a while–Schreier took to Twitter a few weeks after his piece published to dispel one Rockstar insider’s claim that GTA 6 was about halfway through its development cycle.
“Not what fans want to hear but that game is years away,” Schreier stated. Later, that same Rockstar insider, Yan2295, took back his claim, stating that GTA 6 was “not coming soon.” Schreier, even more recently, reiterated on Twitter that fans should expect “everything to be way later than you’d think” due to COVID-19-related delays.
Yes GTA 6 is being developped.
No it's not coming soon.
No I don't know when it's gonna be announced or released.
You can stop asking now.
— Yan2295 (@Yan2295) January 2, 2021
The same Pastebin leak also claims that it’s “seen rumors online” about a “possible PS5 deal for exclusivity.”
The Pastebin leak, more than anything, is one of the more unsubstantiated sources of GTA 6 rumors as it is completely anonymous and unverified, so it’s worth mentioning again that none of this has even come close to being confirmed by Rockstar.
Despite all the rumors listed here, Rockstar has never directly confirmed or announced the existence of GTA 6. So in a way, GTA 6 is kind of a rumor in itself. Its presumed development is based entirely on that–assumption and speculation, with a sprinkling of detail from reputable outlets. With no official word straight out of Rockstar’s mouth, it’s safe to say fans are getting desperate. Pair that with GTA Online players, who are infamous for their dedication to finding Easter eggs, and you’ve got yourself a bunch of people talking over a dirt road somewhere in Appalachia.
In 2020, fans got fired up when a teaser for a new GTA Online update seemed to include something more. Coordinates at the bottom of the video, when input into Google Maps, apparently brought fans to a dirt road in rural Virginia shaped coincidentally (or not?) like a VI, the Roman numeral for 6.
Fans are so desperate for some kind of news, they’ve taken to over-analyzing random images on Rockstar’s website. Some fans believe this image of a robot embracing the Rockstar Games logo, uploaded to its website in early 2020, is further “proof” that the game may be set in Vice City. While it seems like and most certainly is a stretch, Screen Rant points out the way Rockstar Games teased Red Dead Redemption using a graphic featuring its logo on Twitter back in 2016.
— GTA HQ (@GTA6only) November 20, 2020
Still, it’s most likely that any real news and announcements from Rockstar Games will come the way this Red Dead tease did–framed quite forwardly as a teaser from its marketing team, rather than a random art asset on its website.
What do we know about Grand Theft Auto 6? Honestly, not much at all. Grand Theft Auto 5 and its GTA Online multiplayer mode rank as one of the best PC games, so the anticipation for GTA 6 is high, but when it comes to real, information which can we verify what we can expect, we’re not left with much. It’s definitely in the works, but details like how long it’s been in development when we can expect to see a release date, when and where it will take place, and what kind of characters it will star remain a mystery at worst and extremely divisive at best.
The most significant Grand Theft Auto news nowadays comes out of GTA Online, the sprawling and very popular multiplayer mode which is getting its own standalone version at some point. Whatever GTA 6 ends up looking like, we assume GTA Online to proceed to be a significant part of the series’ future.