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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

GTA 6 Rumors: Project Americas, Female Protagonist, And Release Date Speculation

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GTA 6 has no release date or even official confirmation from Rockstar Games, but rumors about the next big Grand Theft Auto game continue to swirl, fueled by fan speculation and unverified leaks on everything from potential location, setting, and time period, to which platforms it will hit and details about what a new game could mean for the future of GTA Online.

In lieu of any official information about Grand Theft Auto 6, here’s a history of every major GTA 6 rumor and supposed leak from the last couple of years. Remember that none of the rumors discussed in this article have been verified by GameSpot, and very few have been verified by other news outlets as coming from reputable sources–they should be treated strictly as rumors and fan speculation and not official information from Rockstar, unless otherwise stated.

Rumor: GTA 6 will feature a female protagonist

In January 2021, rumors about GTA 6 featuring a playable female character began to make the rounds after Tom Henderson (known for his Call of Duty leaks) posted on Twitter, “For the first time ever in a GTA title, GTA 6 will have a playable female and male protagonist.”

Grand Theft Auto protagonists have encompassed a variety of fictional criminal archetypes–Vice City’s hot-tempered Tommy Vercetti, GTA 4’s mature, yet cynical Eastern European refugee Niko Bellic, and the naïve but good-hearted street gang underboss Carl “CJ” Johnson of San Andreas, to name a few. GTA 5 did something new for the series with its trio of playable characters, ranging from a retired career criminal living in luxury to a trailer park weapons dealer to a young gangbanger looking to make it big. And yet, the series has never featured a woman as a playable protagonist beyond the ability to customize your character in GTA Online. If this rumor is true it would be huge for the series.

Promotional art for GTA Online's Lowriders: Custom Classics content update.
Promotional art for GTA Online’s Lowriders: Custom Classics content update.

In an interview with The Guardian back in 2013, Rockstar co-founder Dan House expressed the studio’s interest in exploring a female character at some point, stating, “In the future, could we do a game with a lead female character? Of course. We just haven’t found the right game for it yet, but it’s one of the things that we always think about.”

But Rockstar has yet to comment on anything regarding GTA 6’s story or characters in any official capacity, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be set in Miami or Vice City

Back in 2018, an “inside source” allegedly told Inside Gaming that GTA 6 will be set in Miami–likely meaning Vice City, given GTA’s history with fictionalized cities based on real ones. But as Inside Gaming mentions, Miami also technically exists within the GTA universe. Inside Gaming points to a Digital Trends interview with Leslie Benzies, the now-former president of Rockstar North, to further probe this rumor. When asked if GTA will ever return to Vice City, Benzies stated, “It is always a possibility.” Not a lot to go off of exactly.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be set in both the US and South America

Inside Gaming’s “inside source” also claims that GTA 6 is codenamed Project Americas, which refers to a feature that will allow players to fly between two settings, one in the United States, and one in South America. As Inside Gaming points out, the South American drug trade–notably the “cocaine highway” between Colombia and Miami in the ’80s–has been the subject of tons of popular media, so if GTA 6 were to return to Vice City, it would also make sense for it to be a period piece like 2002’s Vice City. According to Benzies, “Vice City, perhaps more than any other GTA game, was as much about the era as the setting. Miami in the 1980’s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period.”

As with everything else in this story, Rockstar has yet to comment officially on GTA 6’s setting, so we have only rumors from anonymous sources and fan speculation to go off of.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be set in Liberty City and Vice City

In 2019, an anonymous Pastebin post made the rounds after the author, claiming to be an Environment Artist at Rockstar Games, leaked unverified information about GTA 6. The post alleges the “Project Americas” codename from Inside Gaming’s coverage is correct, as well as the claim about South America featuring as a setting. It also elaborated on the Vice City setting, stating that the game will take place not just in the fictionalized Florida city, but also Liberty City, the fictionalized NYC at the heart of GTA 4, with a stretch of smaller towns and swamplands between the two cities on the game map.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)

This vibes with something Benzies stated in that Digital Trends interview mentioned earlier, “[…] at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas,” though we should restate that this interview was from 2012 and Benzies is no longer at the company.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be set in multiple eras

The same Pastebin leak from 2019 claimed that the story for GTA 6 will be set in the ’70s or ’80s, but that several environmental assets are also modern day, speculating about either a campaign set across two eras or a separate GTA Online mode set in modern day.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be released in late 2021 or 2022

The 2019 Pastebin leak seems to have mixed information about GTA 6’s release date, claiming first “mid-to-late 2020” (which we know is false), then “late 2021 or 2022 at the latest” in the case of a delay. This seems the most obviously unbelievable piece of information from an already questionable “leak,” given more reputable sources have stated the release date is quite a ways away.

The rumor that GTA 6 began development in 2016, which many fans have come to cite as hard evidence, came from an anonymous source speaking to TechRadar. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, in a piece for Kotaku about the culture of Rockstar a year and a half after the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, mentioned “a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series” was in “early development.” That was in 2020. On top of COVID-19 delaying games, movies, and more, it’s likely we won’t see GTA 6 for a while–Schreier took to Twitter a few weeks after his piece published to dispel one Rockstar insider’s claim that GTA 6 was about halfway through its development cycle.

“Not what fans want to hear but that game is years away,” Schreier stated. Later, that same Rockstar insider, Yan2295, took back his claim, stating that GTA 6 was “not coming soon.” Schreier, even more recently, reiterated on Twitter that fans should expect “everything to be way later than you’d think” due to COVID-19-related delays.

Rumor: GTA 6 will be a PS5 launch exclusive

The same Pastebin leak also claims that it’s “seen rumours online” (yes, a leak citing other rumors) about a “possible PS5 deal for exclusivity.”

The Pastebin leak, more than anything, is one of the more unsubstantiated sources of GTA 6 rumors as it is completely anonymous and unverified, so it’s worth mentioning again that none of this has even come close to being confirmed by Rockstar.

Rumor: GTA Online contains a teaser for GTA 6

Despite all the rumors listed here, Rockstar has never directly confirmed or announced the existence of GTA 6. So in a way, GTA 6 is kind of a rumor in itself. Its presumed development is based entirely on that–assumption and speculation, with a sprinkling of detail from reputable outlets. With no official word straight out of Rockstar’s mouth, it’s safe to say fans are getting desperate. Pair that with GTA Online players, who are infamous for their dedication to finding Easter eggs (GTA Online players are dedicated, period–a standalone version of GTA Online is coming at some point due to its massive popularity), and you’ve got yourself a bunch of people obsessing over a dirt road somewhere in Appalachia.

In late 2020, fans got excited when a teaser for a new GTA Online update seemed to contain something more. Coordinates at the bottom of the video, when input into Google Maps, apparently brought fans to a dirt road in rural Virginia shaped coincidentally (or not?) like a VI, the roman numeral for 6.

Rumor: Rockstar is teasing GTA 6 with this robot art

A piece of art from Rockstar's website.A piece of art from Rockstar's website.
A piece of art from Rockstar’s website.

Fans are so desperate for some kind of news, they’ve taken to over-analyzing random images on Rockstar’s website. Some fans believe this image of a robot embracing the Rockstar Games logo, uploaded to its website in early 2020, is further “proof” that the game may be set in Vice City. While it seems like and most certainly is a stretch, Screen Rant points out the way Rockstar Games teased Red Dead Redemption using a graphic featuring its logo on Twitter back in 2016.

Still, it’s most likely that any real news and announcements from Rockstar Games will come the way this Red Dead tease did–framed quite forwardly as a teaser from its marketing team, rather than a random art asset on its website.

What do we know about GTA 6?

So given all of this, what do we know about Grand Theft Auto 6? Honestly, not much. Grand Theft Auto 5 and its corresponding GTA Online multiplayer mode rank as one of GameSpot’s best PC games, so the anticipation for GTA 6 is obviously high, but when it comes to real, verifiable information about what we can expect, we’re not left with much. It’s almost definitely in the works, but details like how long it’s been in development, when we can expect to see a release date, when and where it will take place, and what kind of characters it will star remain a mystery at worst and extremely divisive at best.

The biggest Grand Theft Auto news nowadays comes out of GTA Online, the sprawling and ever-popular multiplayer mode which is getting its own standalone version at some point. Whatever GTA 6 ends up looking like, we expect GTA Online to continue to be a major part of the series’ future.

Keep checking back with us as we continue to track future GTA 6 rumors and leaks.

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