While I also owned
GTA 2 on my PS1, I was a late comer to the iconic PS2 titles, as the added realism – and subsequent negative press coverage – prompted a ban on the brand from my parents. I’d later discover an abandoned copy of San Andreas sitting under a hedge in an alleyway not far from my house, and mercifully, despite some visible scratches to the DVD, it ran perfectly. I revisited the whole series, and would go on to attend my local game store’s midnight launch party for GTA 4 having now passed the tender age of 18.
GTA 4 launched at a time when I was experiencing the “bum” portion of my life. I’d finished high school but dropped out of university (don’t worry, I got my degree in the end) and so for about six to eight months I’d play games like they were my job. I distinctly remember playing 14 hour “shifts” of the PS3 release, and when it added Trophies a little later on, I revisited Niko’s story for dozens more hours. I remember initally not being particularly excited for
Episodes from Liberty City following the Xbox 360 exclusivity, but it won me over when I finally played it.
My relationship with
GTA 5 was complicated, though. I bought the game on PS3 and PS4, and started the story dozens of times over. But for whatever reason, I’d always fall off during the submarine sequence – you know the one. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally saw the story through, fuelled by my fascination of GTA Online. I’ve always enjoyed “games within games”, and something about the business management aspect of the multiplayer mode really roped me. Owning an actual arcade in Los Santos is just genius in my opinion.
Which brings us to the upcoming GTA 6: I absolutely can’t wait. The trailer is as incredible as expected: the world looks vibrant, enormous, and unfathomably detailed. The one thing that I dislike about GTA 5 these days is that it doesn’t really reflect modern life anymore: it’s dated due to the development taking place in the 2010s as opposed to the 2020s. But all the social media references in the latest title’s trailer show that Rockstar is ready to rip contemporary life all over again.
I think the sequel has a lot to prove: the gameplay is pretty bad in GTA 5 these days, and even
Red Dead Redemption 2 – excellent as it is – feels dated when it comes to character movement. I want more responsive controls, more dynamic gun fights, and better mission design. If you’re still playing GTA Online, you’ll know Rockstar is basically still recycling the same mission types even with brand new content: drive to location, beat down some bullet sponges, and try to escape cars that spawn right in front of you.
With all the lessons that Rockstar’s learned from the past ten years, I’m excited for a more dynamic single player campaign – and an online sandbox that feels like it’s been built to expand from the beginning. The developer has tacked so much on to GTA Online in its current guise that it feels like it can’t contain all of the studio’s ideas. There’s some brilliant content buried in there, but you have to really fight to find it.
The one disappointment for me, then, is that this new game is potentially
two years away. I know a release of this scale takes time and effort to execute, and I want the developer to deliver something truly extraordinary. But it’s a long wait. Rockstar will no doubt bridge the gap with new GTA Online content, and it may even remaster Red Dead Redemption 2 for PS5 along the way. But I want its latest and greatest urban sandbox now. The wait, honestly, is going to be excruciating.
How are you feeling about the wait for GTA 6? Are you excited for the game? Did you hope it would be closer to release by now? Let it all out in the comments section below.