GTA VI Set in Fictional Miami, Protagonists Inspired by the Infamous Bonnie & Clyde Duo

GTA V artwork 6 photos
Photo: Rockstar Games
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There have been a lot of rumors about Rockstar and the troubled development of Grand Theft Auto VI, a game that’s supposed to replenish the company’s coffers after a very long drought. Unfortunately, the pandemic and internal strife prevented the studio from making any meaningful progress when it comes to GTA VI development.
In a comprehensive report about Rockstar and its toxic culture, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier (behind paywall) has learned why GTA VI hasn’t been announced yet and what the game is all about. But before we deep-dive into GTA VI’s troubled development cycle, it’s important to understand the reasons it led to this and what Rockstar has done to rectify the issues.

According to the report, Rockstar has overhauled its frat-boy culture in the last four years and managed to turn into a “more progressive” company. This coming from a company that gave us Grand Theft Auto V, a parody that made fun of everyone and everything, is a really big deal.

Rockstar employees interviewed by Schreier described “a workplace culture full of drinking, brawling and excursions to strip clubs,” much like what happens in GTA V too. But it’s not just the frat-boys culture that made Rockstar a toxic, unsafe environment for employees. Rockstar was well-known for forcing employees to crunch for many hours, including nights and weekends, to meet deadlines.

GTA V screenshot
Photo: Rockstar Games
Despite the strategy leading to a huge financial success, as GTA V is the second-best selling game of all time, it also led to burnout and attrition among employees. Back in 2018, hundreds of Rockstar developers came forward about the toxic working environment, and the studio decided to take action in their favor.

It took four years, but the Rockstar employees now say “morale across the company is higher than it’s ever been.” Although everything that the studio has done in the last four years is a good thing, it led to a much slower development cycle for Grand Theft Auto VI. The good news is that we'll probably have a better game and those making it won’t suffer from the same attrition that plagued GTA V’s development.

Originally thought as a big open-world game set in large territories in North and South America, Grand Theft Auto VI’s main map has been narrowed down to a fictional Miami and its surrounding areas, the report claims.

Another major piece of information is related to the protagonists. Just like in GTA V, the next entry in the series will feature multiple leading characters. The report mentions a duo of protagonists, one of which, the woman, is Latina. These have been inspired by the story of the infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde.

GTA V screenshot
Photo: Rockstar Games
Interestingly enough, Rockstar took the decision to avoid as much as possible or completely remove “making jokes about marginalized groups,” according to people familiar with the development plans. This is something that we've expected to happen, considering Rockstar's recent decision to remove transphobic jokes from the console version of GTA V.

Now, as far as the release date, the report doesn’t have too much to say, but it does provide us with a time frame, which is better than nothing. According to Schreier, Grand Theft Auto VI is scheduled for launch sometime in Take Two’s 2024 fiscal year. If you’re not familiar with the fiscal years, basically, the game could be released anytime between April 2023 and March 2024.

If the game indeed launches in 2024, it will end a 10-year development cycle that will reshape not just the face of the series but also an entire studio's culture. Now that we know approximately when we should expect Grand Theft Auto VI to arrive, the next big question is when we will get an official announcement. The earliest we can expect one is probably going to be later this year at Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards show, which is typically scheduled to happen in December each year, so fingers crossed.
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