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Grand Theft Auto 6 Reports Point To New Live Service Structure

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New Grand Theft Auto 6 reports from a trusted source suggest that some big changes could be on the way for the franchise. Supposedly, the game could have a female protagonist, be set in Miami, and have a more staggered live service-style release structure to avoid excessive crunch for the developers.

What do these new Grand Theft Auto 6 reports suggest?

These reports come to us via Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who includes them as part of a wider report on how Rockstar’s “frat-boy” company culture has changed in recent times. According to Schreier, GTA 6 will have a female protagonist for the first time in the series’ history, and she’ll be Latina. It’ll be set in a fictional version of the city of Miami; originally, Rockstar had intended to include huge swathes of North and South America, but production was scaled back to a more realistic single city. There are also supposedly plans to “continually update the game over time”, according to Schreier, with new cities and missions being added regularly in a live service-style delivery method.

Grand Theft Auto 6 could look to GTA Online in terms of missions, adding new ones regularly rather than trying to include all of them at launch.

Supposedly, the live service-style model is as a result of Rockstar wanting to avoid excessive crunch for its developers. Crunch is a hot button issue in the games industry right now, with studios like TT Games and CD Projekt Red coming under fire for effectively forcing their employees to work huge overtime hours to finish projects. Rockstar has also been accused of putting its developers through crunch in the past, with execs notably claiming the studio worked 100-hour weeks to finish 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar founder Jamie King called this culture “unsustainable”, and employees have referred to Rockstar’s crunch periods as “death marches” in which they often had to work 14-hour days and weekends. With all this in mind, Schreier says the studio has “promised” that excessive overtime won’t be part of Grand Theft Auto 6‘s development cycle.

How has Rockstar’s corporate culture apparently changed?

According to Bloomberg and Jason Schreier, wanting to avoid crunch isn’t the only way Rockstar’s corporate culture has changed. In light of recent allegations aimed at companies like Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, an internal Rockstar culture that an employee called “a boys’ club transformed into a real company” has, according to Schreier’s sources, “attempted to reinvent itself” as a more compassionate outfit. Indications of this new approach can be seen in the removal of transphobic elements from Grand Theft Auto V: Enhanced and Expanded, a move called for by several LGBTQ+ developers. 

A player aiming a weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2
Games like GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 were produced under crunch conditions, but it looks like Rockstar wants to move away from that.

Schreier does say that Rockstar employees are uncertain that this new “kinder, gentler Rockstar” can produce the kind of massive earth-shaking open-world game for which the studio has become famous. Titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5 were, after all, produced under the kind of pressure that Rockstar doesn’t want to impose anymore, and development on GTA 6 seems to be progressing pretty slowly. There’s also a concern that Grand Theft Auto is founded on puerile humor, and that satirizing America isn’t really possible in today’s climate because it’s already essentially a surreal environment that satirizes itself. These are challenges the next Grand Theft Auto project faces, but it does seem that Rockstar is determined to face them rather than shy away from them if the Bloomberg report is to be believed.

If the Bloomberg report is to be believed, we probably won’t see Grand Theft Auto 6 until 2024 at the earliest, although since the project has apparently been in development for eight years, some Rockstar devs are skeptical. Bloomberg’s sources say that there’s no fixed release date and that staffers are quitting because of “the lack of progress”, but other employees say they’re happier working at a Rockstar that doesn’t force them to undergo crunch to finish games. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Grand Theft Auto 6, but rest assured that TechRaptor will bring you more info on the game as soon as we can.

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