It feels like only yesterday that Rockstar Games was releasing its critically-acclaimed Red Dead Redemption 2, letting us loose into a massive frontier world of bandits and shoot-outs. It surely can't have been that long beforehand when it set loose the insanely successful Grand Theft Auto 5, can it?
Well, it very much can, actually. GTA 5 may have since been re-released to lengthen its lifespan, but it originally came out in 2013. A lot has changed since then, and with a new generation of consoles around the corner, the PS5 and Xbox Series X, rumours are starting to spin that the next game in Rockstar's most famous franchise could be on its way.
We've gathered everything we know about the game right here for your delectation — let's get down to it.
GTA 6 release date
Starting with possible release dates, it's worth giving you a bit of background. While GTA 5 released in 2013, Rockstar couldn't immediately turn its full attention to developing a sequel. It apparently did start work on GTA 6 in 2014, but meanwhile had the small matter of Red Dead Redemption 2 to make, let alone the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of GTA 5, and the PC and Google Stadia versions of Red Dead Redemption 2.
All of those take work, but are now out of the way. That's the logic applied to a recent leak, purportedly from a playtester who's been in contact with GTA 6 during development. That source, which remains uncorroborated, suggests that Rockstar is aiming for a late 2020 or 2021 release date.
2020 would frankly be surprising at this stage - Rockstar would be dropping a major bombshell if it released a game of this magnitude within a year of announcing it. We're thinking the 2021 date is far more likely, with an announcement to precede it by about a year.
In fact, considering Rockstar traditionally delays its games until long after their original release schedule, we wouldn't even be surprised if it doesn't even appear until 2022.
That said, another kernel of information recently appeared, in the form of Rockstar North's claims for UK Tax Relief. There's a bit of controversy rumbling over whether you can really call the likes of GTA and Red Dead Redemption 2 "culturally British", as the tax scheme requires, but nonetheless Rockstar's accounting shows a steady flow of tax relief in recent years.
As pointed out by Tax Watch, this is suggestive of continuous development, and some are using it as an indication that GTA 6 is underway. That's a bit of a stretch, since the tax claim is entirely generic and doesn't mention any franchises, but still - we know they're up to something!
GTA 6 platforms
Probably the other key detail contained in that first big leak around GTA 6 concerned the platforms it's likely to release on. Obviously, GTA 5 came out toward the tail end of a console generation, releasing on the PS3 and Xbox 360, then being re-released with better performance and graphics on the next set of consoles.
Apparently that pattern won't be repeated with GTA 6, though. The leak suggests that the game will be exclusive to the Playstation 5 and Microsoft's recently-named Xbox Series X.
Given that both of those consoles are slated to release during the holiday season of 2020, that fits with what we've heard about the game's release window.
However, given that Red Dead Redemption 2 took a lot less time to come to PC players than GTA 5 did years ago, it would be slightly surprising if GTA 6 doesn't also make its way to PC within a year of release.
GTA 6 gameplay
Waiting for details on a new GTA game generally involves one major area of speculation - where will it be set? While characters and storylines are just as subject to interesting details, there's something about GTA's setting that feels like the most pivotal choice Rockstar has to make. Whether it's Liberty City, Los Santos or another metropolitan area, the playground in which players will run riot is a big question mark hanging over the game.
Doubtless we'll find out for sure when Rockstar first officially teases the game, but until then we've got basically nothing to go on. Unsubstantiated rumours have suggested that the developers plan to revisit Vice City, GTA 3's much-loved, neon-soaked alternative version of Miami, but we can't exactly find much to back that up.
There are also suggestions that Liberty City (from GTA III), San Andreas (from GTA: San Andreas, natch), and the Mid West could feature. Maybe even all of them for different sections.
Regardless, expect the game to push the boundaries of what the new hardware from Sony and Microsoft is capable of. There's no guarantee that the game world will be bigger and more detailed than the map from GTA 5, but that's certainly how things seem to be trending.
We'll keep adding more details to this round-up as and when new information comes out or actual announcements are made, so be sure to keep checking back.