Can GTA VI Actually Live Up To The Hype?

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

GTA V
GTA

Given how much of a chokehold the franchise has maintained on popular culture over the past 25 years, it’s not a stretch to say that the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI is the most anticipated game of all time. At this point in their life, a new Rockstar game is a landmark event, and that’s especially true for a new GTA release, which has been yearning for a new installment considering the still played GTA V is technically a 10 year old game. That being said, can a new GTA game live up to the hype?

If we’re just going to look at Rockstar’s general track record of video game quality, you’d think it would. While Rockstar has created another incredibly popular franchise in Red Dead Redemption, GTA V on its own is considered to be the most successful piece of entertainment ever created. Few franchises can consider themselves “billion-dollar” worthy, but GTA V manages it by itself. We might still be waiting for them to pull the trigger on Bully 2, but at the end of the day, Rockstar’s overall output up until now has been excellent.

Still, the question is whether or not GTA VI will actually be able to match up with the player’s expectations. Part of that will be answered when Rockstar drops the debut trailer in December, possibly at The Game Awards but more than likely afterwards when we’ve gone on our annual Christmas Break, just to spite us. There, we’ll be able to see more about Rockstar’s vision for the future of the series, but it’s likely not everyone will be pleased with whatever Rockstar has to offer.

Anyone who has followed the timeline of GTA V will know that a lot of the game’s plans for single-player post-launch content were nixed in favor of bolstering the surprisingly popular GTA Online, which still maintains a healthy playerbase over 10 years after its original launch. Who needs to see more of Trevor, Franklin or Michael when players are spending real world money hand over fist on Shark Cards to shoot each other with space lasers?

GTA
GTA

GTA Online has become an unstoppable juggernaut at this point that you know it’s going to become a huge part of GTA VI. The question is how intrusive it’s going to be, as some (me) are worried that the actual single-player story is going to be massively overshadowed by microtransactions, seasonal content and an endless deluge of Shark Card promotions. The series that I grew up loving (by playing it before I was technically old enough to) feels like it’s now morphed into a soulless cash grab.

Speaking of the online modes, certain rumors and reports have stated that GTA VI’s online mode will take its cues from Fortnite, instituting seasonal content, an updating map and Battle Passes in order to drive player engagement. Rockstar and the Grand Theft Auto series has been a trailblazer for years now, so to see it chasing the ideas and trends that others have pioneered feels like a massive step down.

That trend-chasing vibe seems to have been confirmed when you hear how excited Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick is about the idea of implementing generative AI for NPCs. Sure, he’s also said in the past that AI won’t replace the “genius” that comes with the human touch, but he’s also said that he wants to monetize “100% of [Take-Two’s] audience”, and that game prices are supposedly “very, very low” for what they offer. Throw all these statements together, and the hopes for GTA VI might begin to dwindle for a lot of people.

Perhaps this is a very cynical outlook, but after a rough year of layoffs, along with closures for both studios and media outlets, the gaming industry inspires little other than cynicism at this point. Maybe the trailer will drop and maybe it’ll actually manage to elicit some excitement, but at this point, it feels like Grand Theft Auto 6 isn’t going to be the trendsetting blockbuster that previous games in the series managed to be.

READ MORE: 10 GTA Clones That You Totally Forgot About

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