I think I can safely say, without the use of hyperbole that the Grand Theft Auto franchise is fairly popular. The newest game in the series (that is fast becoming a decade old now), GTA V was somewhat popular too. Since its release, fans have been waiting for new game in the franchise. Today, Rockstar Games have semi-confirmed that a new GTA game is on the way.
Taken from the official Rockstar website, the developers had this to say:
“With the unprecedented longevity of GTAV, we know many of you have been asking us about a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. With every new project we embark on, our goal is always to significantly move beyond what we have previously delivered — and we are pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series is well underway. We look forward to sharing more as soon as we are ready, so please stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for official details.
On behalf of our entire team, we thank you all for your support and cannot wait to step into the future with you!”
– Rockstar Games
As someone who was been a fan since day one, since before Rockstar Games even existed. Since I became a fan of the DMA Design from the Amiga years. Since I played the very first GTA back in 1997… I just can not muster any interest here. I have been sitting here trying to work out why this announcement just made me yawn instead of making me cheer.
There really are several reasons. First up, they’ve not really confirmed GTA VI. What they have said is that they are working on a new GTA game. I mean, that could be GTA: Online 2.0 for all we know. Yeah, it most probably is a new and ‘proper’ GTA but the point is that Rockstar have not said that it is GTA VI. But let’s just say it is GTA VI. Is this not a very low-key way to announce it? Look back at other announcements in the franchise. They’ve been big reveals, trailers that just came out of nowhere. To make an announcement for one of the biggest games ever in such a small way, along with other news about updates for GTA Online… it just seems a bit underwhelming, no?
The news of a new game is at the bottom of the pile of news about new content for GTA Online, yet nobody finds that strange? Shouldn’t a GTA VI announcement be gargantuan news? Shouldn’t it have its own dedicated announcement? Shouldn’t it be top of the pile of announcements and not at the bottom, a small paragraph that could be easily missed? Imagine if all major game announcements were made like this.
This is how the announcement read to me…
Huge news, we’re re-re-re-releasing GTA V again for the next gen consoles. More Online content that’s really the same shit we’ve been releasing the last few years. More ‘new’ cars and other cosmetics for GTA Online that really make no difference…
… and GTA VI.
Then there’s the fact that a lot of the brains behind the GTA franchise have left Rockstar Games. Lazlow Jones, gone. Dan Houser, gone. Even the man who held the production of most, if not all of the studio’s games together, Leslie Benzies has gone. Those are just the big names we know about too. They have lost a lot of frontline talent over the last few years too.
For me, it’s hard to get excited when you know that a massive part of the talent who made the games is no more. Plus, Rockstar have said that active development is underway. Active development was also underway for Bully 2, Agent and other projects before they were canned. The main reason I just can’t get excited though is boredom. I am utterly bored of GTA now. Back when GTA was in its heyday, nobody could touch it. The Vice City and San Andreas days, the days of GTA IV even. The franchise plateaued years ago. I enjoyed GTA V while I was playing it but looking back on the game now, it really was a disappointment for me compared to other games in the series. The constant milking of the game and the online mode hasn’t helped much either.
See, when GTA was king, so were Rockstar Games. There wasn’t a dev team out there that could touch them in terms of quality. Now? Now there are plenty of other studios who are capable of putting out games that are as good and even better in fact. Rockstar Games lost their lustre a while back, they are no longer the kings of the open-world game. The boredom I feel also stems from the fact that Rockstar have done nothing worthy with any of their other IPs. Bully 2? L.A. Noire 2? Max Payne 4? Yeah, they did Red Dead Redemption II back in 2018, a game I have a serious love/hate relationship with. Rockstar have some amazing IPs and yet they do nothing with them.
If this was a Bully 2 announcement, I’d be over the moon, I’d be singing the praises of the studio. Or how about a new IP, something fresh and different? But it’s (possibly) just more GTA and for me, the franchise has been run into the ground.