The next Grand Theft Auto is all but inevitable for Rockstar Games as it's their biggest and most critically acclaimed franchise, and it's a license to print money.
Why such success? Outside of giving players incredible amounts of freedom to go on sprees of mayhem, Rockstar has carefully crafted an overly exaggerated world that's anchored just enough in reality to speak to everyone who plays it. Grand Theft Auto V is their greatest yet.
There is no official confirmation of GTA 6 existing behind closed doors at Rockstar Games, however we do know it's being worked on. Given that they have also announced Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming Fall 2017, a new Grand Theft Auto is quite a way off.
The wait for Grand Theft Auto 6 could be as long as 2019 or 2020.
The added complication is the continued development of GTA Online which was introduced with Grand Theft Auto V and is giving the studio and it's publisher Take-Two a steady stream of income. There's simply no going back to a single-player only GTA.
Where and When Will GTA 6 Call Home?
This is perhaps one of the wildest areas of speculation for any new Grand Theft Auto that fans obsess over. Where is Grand Theft Auto 6 going to be set? Will it remain in the state of San Andreas but expand to a different city such as San Fierro (San Francisco) or Las Venturas (Las Vegas)?
It's unclear whether the next Grand Theft Auto will be a full numerical jump or a subtitled instalment. Grand Theft Auto III wasn't followed by Grand Theft Auto IV after all, but had GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas launch between them. A strong possibility is a return to Vice City, which is a huge fan favourite for its Miami-vibe.
Another big issue isn't where but when will the next Grand Theft Auto be set? The 1970s is another exciting period culturally that Rockstar Games might want to tap, or a return to the 60s like in GTA: London? A return to the British capital, or at least a UK city, has a strong possibility.
As the franchise has marched forward there have been certain pillars Rockstar Games has put up that define the open world crime romp, and they're unlikely to skip over them with a new Grand Theft Auto.
• Multiple protagonists
An excellent addition that was at first a cause for concern among fans that having multiple characters to play as could mean each was a bit lacking in personality and could make it hard to develop much of a bond. This proved a huge success for GTA 5 however as Michael, Franklin and Trevor were approached with their own stories to tell and letting us flick between them (outside of plot) let you experience missions differently.
This is certainly going to remain in the next Grand Theft Auto and will probably be expanded. Rockstar can do very interesting things with a system like this, such as offering us the chance to play on either side of the law for example.
• Property Management
This has been a slow-burn feature of Grand Theft Auto that has expanded and contracted at times throughout the series but the recent push with GTA Online has shown players like owning and even running stuff. Safe houses are a given with GTA as they allow you to take refuge, change appearance, and sometimes interact with notable NPCs. Whether GTA 6 expands on property options remains entirely unknown but GTA 5 let you buy and 'help out' businesses you own.
• TV and Radio
Full blown radio stations really are the most consistent feature of the Grand Theft Auto series since GTA 3 with each new game only managing to outperform their previous works. Rockstar spare no expense or talent creating entirely fictional radio stations to tune in to with fully licensed music. Even their talk show stations are a huge hit thanks to their excellent comedic writing and actors.
A more recent addition to this has been TV shows such as Republican Space-Rangers from WEASEL. Again these are all heavily satirical comedy shows poking fun at pop culture that actually have their own fan following - that's how much effort Rockstar has put into them.
• Replayable Missions And Encounters
A real crime in the earlier Grand Theft Auto games, like Vice City and San Andreas, was the inability to replay some of your all-time favourite missions. Another recurring option now, partly due to a mission grading system, is to replay big missions and even smaller encounters at our leisure. This is highly likely to become a permanent feature for the series going forward.
What interesting little whispers have been carried by the winds blowing from Rockstar North?
• Female Protagonist
A girl in the boys' treehouse!? Rockstar haven't ruled out having a leading female with Rockstar co-founder and lead writer Dan Houser saying they've just been waiting 'for the right game'. They didn't feel that time was right when creating Grand Theft Auto V, he said in an interview with The Guardian in 2013.
"It didn’t feel natural for this game but definitely for the right game in the future - with the right themes, it could be fantastic. But for GTA 5, this was the organic thing that came up, these were the characters that would display the themes we wanted to think about,” said Dan Houser.
• Virtual Reality
They could possibly include support for virtual reality but this is unlikely - at least full support is unlikely. The sad truth for VR is that games must be crafted very carefully as otherwise the simple action of moving forward can induce motion sickness. This is why many VR titles 'cheat' by teleporting the user about the level.
The frantic action of Grand Theft Auto would certainly push VR limitations to their breaking point. At best they could have special VR modes or even mini-games like letting you use VR at the Ammunation shooting range etc.
We'll keep our ear to the ground for any more juicy information we get for Rockstar Games' next billion dollar Grand Theft Auto hit.