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GTA 6 release date, leaks, characters and news

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

There still looks to be a long wait until GTA 6 appears, or even gets any official details revealed. However, there are still plenty of leaks and rumors going around to keep us occupied.

We were recently told that GTA V is going to get a re-release on next-gen consoles, meaning that we're unlikely to see another GTA game particularly early in the PS5 or Xbox Series X's lifecycle as it transplants its existing userbase, particularly GTA Online players, onto the new consoles. However that perhaps means we're only a year or two away, as there's only so long that a seven-year-old game designed for the Xbox 360 and PS3 will satisfy fans.

When GTA 6 finally lands, we can expect the gameplay to remain the same mix of driving, shooting and heists, but many other things will likely have changed. We'll have a new cast of characters in a new location most likely, perhaps even in a different time period. But there's still a lot of gaps to fill when it comes to details. That's why we've gathered together everything we know so far to try and figure out the answer to some of the questions we have about GTA6.

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. And so far, all Rockstar has said is "stay tuned".

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 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.

We might see some sort of announcement in 2021, given how that number's recently been found on doors around Los Santos Airport (via Dexerto). Since other doors in the area bear the number 2013 - the year GTAV was released, it's reasonable to think that this might be Rockstar teasing its users about the next generation of GTA game. Equally it could relate to a different Rockstar game entirely, a new expansion for GTA Online, or just be a cruel joke at the expense of fans desperate to know about the next game.

The latest rumor is more annoying news. Leaker Yan2295, who has had a lot to say about GTA 6 in the past, has recently said on Twitter that the game's "not coming soon".

A recent job post on Rockstar's careers page for a "Cinematic Gameplay Capture Artist" might be interpreted as a good sign for upcoming news. This position, essentially an individual who will record gameplay trailers, could indicate Rockstar has plans to reveal some GTA 6 gameplay in the near future.

(Image credit: Dexerto)

GTA 6 platforms: PS4, PS5 and more

As for the consoles you'll be able to play it on, the potential 2023/4 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 too, 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 claimed we would 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.

The so-called "Project Americas" leaks had fans very excited with claims of a game in development for almost eight years, with three cities to explore; namely Liberty City, Vice City and a new Rio de Janeiro-inspired location, set in the 1970s-80s. However it's become pretty clear that the leaker couldn't back up what they were saying, so while it's fun to imagine what this game would have been like, it's not what we'll end up getting.

GTA 6 setting

It was thought that GTA 6 could take place in the 1980s, effectively seeing the game return to Vice City, which is basically Rockstar's take on 80s Miami. But that theory may not come to fruition. 

A new job post at Rockstar India hints at a modern-day setting for GTA 6, further backed up by speculation for rather reliable tipster Tom Henderson. What form this modern-day setting will take has yet to be made clear; we're hoping for a London setting. 

As it stands a lot is open to speculation rather than hard facts and solid leaks. Either way, you can expect large areas to explore and a lot of satire. 

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 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.

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.