Chester Deorocki ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer / Webmaster
On Monday, December 4th, highly praised video game development studio Rockstar Games released the first trailer for their heavily awaited, up-and-coming project, Grand Theft Auto VI. Grand Theft Auto VI, otherwise known as “GTA 6,” is the sequel to perhaps the most successful game of all time, Grand Theft Auto V. GTA 6 has been in development for many years now, with a twelve year gap taking place between the release of GTA 5 in 2013, and the projected 2025 release for GTA 6. In between the release of these two gaming juggernauts, Rockstar Games released Red Dead Redemption II in 2018, the sequel to their 2010 title, Red Dead Redemption.
Although there are many differences between the two franchises, the main talking point boils down to their respective stories. Grand Theft Auto has always taken place in modern day America, with the world, characters, and overall stories depicting a satirical version of American culture. Red Dead Redemption, however, takes place in the early 20th century, and follows the stories of cowboys and outlaws, and how they survive in a rapidly changing and advancing America. The Red Dead Redemption games have much more serious stories and characters, while Grand Theft Auto focuses more on the over-the-topness and extremenites of modern American culture. But what will Grand Theft Auto VI look like? Will the story stay true to the series’ norms, or will Rockstar instead opt to go down the more serious approach like they did with Red Dead Redemption II? Or perhaps, a mix of both?
Let’s start by directly comparing the stories of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II respectively. GTA 5 follows the stories of former crime mastermind Michael De Santa, low-life thug Franklin Clinton, and Canadian redneck Trevor Philips, who is a former partner of Michael. The trio lives in and around the city of Los Santos, which is based on its real life counterpart Los Angeles, California. The story sees Michael get dragged back into his life of crime by corrupt FIB agents (a parody of the FBI.) He recruits Franklin for a small jewelry store heist, and upon succeeding, attracts the attention of Trevor, who seeks to find Michael, who Trevor believes to be dead. Although GTA 5 does tackle the themes of family separation, greed, corruption, revenge, and the quest for wealth and riches, the story still feels sort of shallow, and takes a backseat to the games’ main selling points of industry-defining gameplay and heavily detailed open world. This is vastly different to that of RDR2, which sees the narrative as the central selling point.
Red Dead Redemption II, also known as RDR2, follows the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the infamous Van Der Linde gang as they navigate through a rapidly changing and advancing America. The major difference between the two games are the playable characters: in GTA 5 there are three playable characters the story follows, while in RDR2 you can only play as Arthur throughout the entire main story. This allows the narrative to flow exclusively through him, thus tying us (the player) much more closely to his character arc and struggles. Arthur Morgan grew up as an outlaw, and outside most societal norms at the time. All he knew was trust and loyalty to the gang that took him in when he was young. The story is definitely far more mature than GTA 5, and there really isn’t an argument as to which is better. RDR2 does also contain a large, heavily detailed map similar to GTA 5, but the game does have the advantage of being released half a decade later with far more advanced technology.
Now that we know the differences between the two games and their stories, what will Grand Theft Auto VI’s look like? My guess is somewhere in the middle. Since the game is the next mainline title in the Grand Theft Auto series, it will obviously look and feel like a GTA game at heart, meaning the same explosive, over-the-top, satirical takes on modern day America will be heavily present within the story. However, based on what we already know about the game, and the game’s newly released trailer, I am expecting a level of emotion and maturity in the story similar to RDR2. GTA 6 will follow two main characters, Jason and Lucia, as they pursue a life of crime similar to the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo. Just by knowing this, there are so many stories to tell within this premise and definitely a lot of room to tie us close to these characters to extract a level of emotion similar to RDR2.
Grand Theft Auto VI is easily the most heavily awaited up-and-coming video game release ever. The game has been waited on for so long that it has essentially become a joke that the game will never actually come out. Now that we finally have our first official look at the game, and the game’s setting in a fictional version of Florida called “Leonida,” we can start to make assumptions about what the story will be and the level of seriousness it will have. Whatever the game may look like, we know it will deliver on all fronts; gameplay and story alike.