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GTA 6 release date, locations, and rumors for Rockstar's next crime epic

The world’s most anticipated game is still a mystery.

Rockstar games
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The GTA 6 rumor mill never stops churning. Rockstar finally announced the next installment of its blockbuster Grand Theft Auto series in 2022 (kinda), but with few solid details about gameplay or the faintest whiff of a release date, speculation still runs rampant. Despite the lack of official comment, a good deal about what GTA 6 might be has been revealed in bombshell leaks and reports in the past few years.

Here’s everything you need to know about GTA 6.

What could come next?Rockstar Games

When is the GTA 6 release date?

Rockstar has not announced a GTA 6 release date, or even a tentative release window. However, the anticipated launch is one of the biggest sources of speculation around the game.

As part of an April 2020 report, Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier’s sources told him that GTA 6 is in “early development” and is still “years away,” while a duo of popular Rockstar leakers — Yan2295 and Tezfun2 — claimed it’s more than halfway complete, which would have put its release as early as 2022. In a video published in late June of 2021, reporter and leaker Tom Henderson estimated a 2024 or 2025 release, which falls in line with most insider speculation.

The latest details on a potential GTA 6 release date came in a July 2022 Bloomberg report from Schreier on Rockstar’s work culture. Schreier said industry analysts expect the game by March 2024, but developers themselves anticipate it’s still at least two years away, in summer 2024 at the earliest.

There was some concern that the still-unannounced GTA 6 release date would be delayed after Rockstar suffered a network intrusion in September 2022. Leaks of this kind, have delayed projects before, as happened with Valve’s Half-Life 2 back in 2003. Rockstar downplayed those concerns, writing in a tweet, “we do not anticipate any disruption to our live game services nor any long-term effect on the development of our ongoing projects.”

The GTA 6 release date is still one of the most contentious rumors about the upcoming game.Rockstar Games

Which GTA 6 release date information should you trust?

It is tough to make any assessment about GTA 6's stage in development without official word from Rockstar, but Schreier has covered the working conditions of major game companies for years.

He’s built relationships with the industry's biggest players, and his reporting consistently peeled back the curtain on video game development, teasing upcoming releases, and shining a light on just how overworked developers are. Even if he doesn't often name his sources on reports like this, he's still a journalist who attaches his name and reputation to his stories.

Yan2295 is the leaker with arguably the best track record out of the bunch. He has accurately leaked information about GTA Online in the past, which proves he has some connections at Rockstar, making made him a fan-favorite insider. As the Yan2295’s decidedly early release prediction shows, unverified reports are the most likely to be way off.

Tom Henderson is a fairly trusted insider particularly when it comes to franchises like Call of Duty, but the writer does have a history of occasionally dipping his toes into other franchises as well. Henderson was recently a primary source for rumors that suggested Detroit: Become Human’s Quantic Dream may be working on a Star Wars title, which was later announced as Star Wars Eclipse.

What consoles will GTA 6 be released on?

GTA 6 will certainly launch on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, with a simultaneous or near-simultaneous release on PC. Given their massive install bases, a release on last-generation consoles may have made some sense even with the hardware past its prime. But if Rockstar doesn’t release GTA 6 until 2024 or later, the chances of a last-gen version get smaller and smaller.

Nintendo Switch owners shouldn't get their hopes up in any case. The only Grand Theft Auto games currently on the console are ports of older games, and the launch of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy was marred with bugs and poor performances.

But who knows? That could change if and when Nintendo releases an upgraded version of the Switch.

Where is the Grand Theft Auto 6 location?

Back in mid-2019, a now-deleted swath of alleged GTA 6 leaks took the internet by storm. The information was posted by a Redditor by the name of JackOLantern1982 who claimed Rockstar had codenamed GTA 6 “Project Americas” and that it would have a massive map covering part of North and South America.

According to Schreier, Rockstar did in fact have ambitions for a sprawling game set across North and South America, but trimmed out everything except “a fictional version of Miami,” which may or may not be Vice City. Schreier reports Rockstar is planning to update the game after launch — even adding new cities — as a strategy to reduce pre-release crunch.

The originally leaked details might end up being scrapped or entirely bogus, but hints in subsequent reports suggest a good amount remains intact.

A screenshot of the original “Project Americas” leak. Twitter / @crafty_dude

The massive Rockstar leak in September 2022, which exposed more than 90 videos from a development build of GTA 6, seemingly confirms the Vice City rumors were true. Footage that Rockstar admits is legitimate and had taken down shows various signs with “Vice City” written on them, and police cars are labeled VCPD. It seems unlikely at this point that a large portion of the game will take place in other cities, as was originally planned. However, the footage shows multiple locations in and around Vice City, ranging from downtown hotels to what looks like the city’s rural outskirts.

Before the leak, Tom Henderson also claimed GTA 6 was returning to Vice City, but said it was a smaller version of the iconic locale. To compensate for the more condensed area, Henderson says the map will evolve over time, much like we currently see in games like Fortnite. Events like a comet destroying a portion of the city could make the setting more dynamic over time.

Like the Project Americas leak, these details are at least partially in line with the most recent reporting from Schreier, which asserts Rockstar has 10 years of updates planned for GTA 6. The Project Americas leaker also suggested technology depicted in-game would change over its lifespan along with fictional economies, and weather events could reshape the landscape. As the September 2022 was mostly in-engine footage, it didn’t offer any clue as to Rockstar’s post-release plans.

GTA 6 may be set at least partially in Vice City.Rockstar Games

When does Grand Theft Auto 6 take place?

Project Americas leaks indicated GTA 6 would be set sometime between the 1970s and 1980s and be “heavily inspired by Netflix’s Narcos.Henderson, on the other hand, says GTA 6 will take place in a more modern era to make it better suited for the evolving map features described above.

The September 2022 leak seems to confirm a modern setting for the game. Footage from the leak clearly shows modern-looking cars and cell phones that aren’t the size of bricks, not to mention a distinct lack of ‘80s neon. It’s still entirely possible that some parts of the game could flash back to an earlier Vice City, but there’s no evidence of that just yet.

Much like Red Dead Redemption 2, the story could unravel through a series of chapters that take the characters to a wide variety of locations.

Who are the Grand Theft Auto 6 characters?

It seems GTA 6 will be the first series installment with a woman in a lead role. Leaks over the years mentioned a character named “Kacey” who is described as a “smuggler,” but there was some contention about her role in the story.

The Project Americas Reddit leak claims Kacey will be the protagonist, while another leak claims the story will center around an up-and-coming narcotics dealer named Ricardo. Both those theories may be partially true.

Schreier’s July 2022 report says a Latina woman will be one of two playable characters in GTA 6, and that she’ll be involved with the second protagonist in a criminal/romantic relationship inspired by Bonnie and Clyde. Some immediately took this as evidence that Rockstar’s reputation as a toxic, abusive workplace was coming to a close, but there’s valid concern that her character plays into negative stereotypes, something the studio says it’s actively trying to avoid.

The September 2022 leak confirms GTA 6 will have at least two protagonists, and the Bonnie and Clyde dynamic is intact. One clip shows the duo robbing a diner, not unlike the famous scene from Pulp Fiction. Debug menus seen on screen reference Bonnie and Clyde, and call the characters Lucia and Jason, rather than the previously suggested Kacey and Ricardo.

GTA 6 may follow GTA 5’s example with multiple playable characters.Rockstar Games

What should I know about Grand Theft Auto 6 gameplay?

The Project Americas leak said GTA 6 will be more arcade-y and less realistic than Red Dead Redemption 2, which suggests players won’t have to eat, sleep, and bathe. But elements of immersive realism were still said to affect the digital world. Cars will reportedly function exactly like horses in Red Dead Redemption 2, so say goodbye to pulling a rocket launcher out of thin air.

Players will carry their weapons in the trunk of their car when they’re in city areas, or risk being seen on the street with an AK-47 strapped to their back. But they could be free to pack more heat when they’re in rural areas of the game.

One clip from the September 2022 leak shows the player switching their active weapon to their offhand so they can pick up a new rifle from the ground, which may support the idea of a more limited weapon inventory.

Combat looks to be a little more nuanced than in previous Grand Theft Auto games. The player in the leaked footage is seen crouching, taking cover, and even carrying an NPC, so it’s likely there will be more interaction with the environment this time around.

Players may also be able to build their narcotics empire similarly to how the “Crew” system functions in GTA Online. They’ll need to complete key tasks across a massive map to amass power and turf.

As of 2021, rumors were circulating that some of GTA 6’s missions would offer real cryptocurrency as a reward. That was before crypto markets crashed and blockchain gaming became a laughing stock, so even if there were plans to that effect, their continued existence is dubious at best.

At this point, we don’t have much official word from Rockstar. Jason Schreier has reported GTA 6 will have more interior locations than earlier Grand Theft Auto games, which could significantly change how the open-world sandbox feels. The latest leak suggests this is true. We see playable characters inside multiple buildings in the footage, and one clip shows a car interior in more detail than you’d expect from previous Grand Theft Auto games.

A Rockstar VFX job description from 2021 called for someone to create “large-scale destruction events like skyscrapers crashing into the ground.” That could be tied to the reported way the GTA 6 map will change over time, but may signal that players’ actions could reshape the city as well. None of this was showcased in the September 2022 leak.

Previous versions of this article were written by Danny Paez and Giovanni Colantonio.

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