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GTA 6 release date, leaks, characters and news

GTA 6
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

GTA 6 is already a highly anticipated title, despite Rockstar seemingly being nowhere near releasing or even announcing the game. The open world crime series is one of the biggest franchises in gaming, so no wonder it's already picking up hype. It's got tonnes of player goodwill to bank on also, thanks to the excellent GTA V, the associated GTA Online multiplayer mode and its wild west sibling Red Dead Redemption 2.

This year will be the start of a new console generation, driven by the Xbox Series X and the PS5. The obvious thing for Rockstar to do is quickly capitalize on these systems' extra power with a new game, but it seems like it's going to spin out GTA V for a little longer first, bringing the game to its third console generation.

So that leaves us to wonder what GTA 6 will have in store once it eventually emerges. A new cast of characters is almost a given, a new location is possible, as is a reimagined older one. One thing that you can basically guarantee is a new online mode, given the success of the original GTA Online. But there's still a lot of blank space. Which is why we've gathered everything that's been rumored and leaked so far here, to try and fill in the gaps.

GTA 6 release date

It's basically a given that GTA 6 is in development. The only question is when precisely developer Rockstar Games will decide to launch the new installment.

The newest rumor says that GTA 6 could be released in 2023, which is based on publisher 2K's large expected marketing budget for the 12-month period ending on 31 March 2024, detailed in a recent financial statement. However, Rockstar has refuted this rumor, telling Gamesindustry.biz that those projections are related to third-party commitments. 

This spike in spending had previously been expected a year earlier, but the extra year will no doubt help 2K and Rockstar Games prepare for launch in the wake of any disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, or from further back in the game's development when staff were allegedly transferred from working on GTA to helping finish off 2016's Red Dead Redemption 2.

At the PS5 reveal event, GTA V and GTA Online were announced as coming to PS5, and then Xbox in 2021 - with Online being free to play. This news shows that Rockstar obviously is in no rush to replace the games before this point in time, but work they do in porting the games to the new console generation will definitely help the dev team when it comes to working on a new GTA instalment.

Older rumors had said we'd get a GTA 6 reveal in March this year, but since that date has come and gone, this obviously wasn't accurate.

GTA 6 platforms: PS4, PS5 and more

As for the consoles you'll be able to play it on, the 2023 release means we'll be firmly into the PS5/Xbox Series X generation, but it's possible that Rockstar will release a version for the PS4 and Xbox One if it's feeling generous. Rockstar has ported both GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2 to PC after their respective console releases, so an eventual PC port also seems likely.

GTA 6 characters and story leaks

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The GTA series doesn't follow one particular set of characters or even a single location through all its games. So anyone hoping to see more of Michael, Franklin and Trevor should temper their expectations. 

The same thing goes for the city and environs of Los Santos too. However since Los Santos has featured in previous games in the series (GTA: San Andreas to be precise), it could mean we're due another visit to Liberty City (from GTA IV), Vice City (GTA: Vice City), San Fierro or Las Venturas in GTA 6, or perhaps a whole new real-world-inspired city in the game's adaptation of the United States. 

There have been rumors that Rockstar had been taking an interest in Tokyo, but since Rockstar's vice president Dan Houser has said that he believed "GTA is America", it's unlikely we'll see the game cross virtual borders in that way. 

As for the beats of the narrative, there's no doubt you'll be indulging in the usual mix of crimes and heists with the odd look into the strange lives of the heroes and villains. One leak from last year claims we're going to get a story similar to that of Netflix series Narcos, heavily focused on the operations of gangs and cartels on both sides of the US/Mexico border through the eyes of a player character named Ricardo.

GTA 6 online

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

GTA V has enjoyed a long life after its original release in 2013 thanks to the regularly updated GTA Online mode. This lets you play a large variety of game modes or to just free-roam around the map with other players, gaining money you can then spend on cars, clothing, weapons and player housing.

It's therefore very likely we'll see a sequel arrive alongside GTA 6. However it's possible that the two experiences will end up separate. GTA Online originally arrived a month after the single player portion of the game launched, and with consoles now looking like they'll be capable of installing specific parts of a game rather than the whole package, it's possible Rockstar will decide to separate the two out.

Either way, hopefully there will be some way for long-time players of GTA Online to transfer their in-game earnings and items into the new game. Rockstar has earned a huge amount of money from players spending money on microtransactions in GTAO, and no doubt some players don't want this to all disappear with the move to a new generation.