Grand Theft Auto VI might reflect evolving social attitudes as much as it does gameplay. Bloomberg sources claim Rockstar’s future open-world title will include the franchise’s first playable female lead character. The Latina woman will reportedly be part of a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired duo at the heart of the story. Developers are also trying to shake a past reputation for transphobia and won’t make jokes about marginalized groups, the tipsters said.
Rockstar’s attempt to avoid crunch time is also affecting both the scope and release date for the game, according to the sources. GTA VI was supposedly meant to cover large portions of North and South America, but was whittled back to a fictional version of the Miami area (presumably Vice City). And while financial analysts are predicting a release sometime between April 2023 and March 2024, Bloomberg’s contacts believe the game is “at least” two years away.
The company has apparently overhauled its design and management structures to reduce the need for excessive work hours. It reportedly added team members, created more opportunities for time off and fired leaders who were allegedly abusive or difficult. While the insiders described problems with bureaucratic overhead and some frustration over a lack of progress, many employees were said to be happy with the reduced pressure.
There’s enough financial breathing room, at least. GTA V and GTA Online have enjoyed success for years. GTA V only left The NPD Group’s top 20 yearly bestsellers in 2020, and that was because NPD stopped tracking digital sales from Rockstar parent company Take-Two. GTAO, meanwhile, has been popular enough that Rockstar launched a GTA+ subscription service this year to profit from the game’s biggest fans. GTA VI may arrive more than a decade after its predecessor, but its creators won’t suffer much from the long wait.