Grand Theft Auto 6 rumors that could change everything

It's been half a decade since the last Grand Theft Auto game hit consoles, and fans want more. Where is Grand Theft Auto VI going to be set? Where is it going to take place? Who is it going to star, and what kinds of mischief will we be able to get to when the game finally arrives — and when will that be, anyway?

We don't have the answers. Unless you work for Rockstar, you don't, either. Even then, things are a little dicey. But this is the internet, and a lack of evidence hasn't stopped people before. Why should it now? Online communities are full of rumors about what, where, and when the next Grand Theft Auto will be, and while it's likely that none of them are right, many of them would change the franchise forever — if they come true.

Here are some of the most popular (and some of the flat-out weirdest) theories about Grand Theft Auto VI currently in circulation. Take it all in alongside one giant grain of salt, but remember: if even one of these rumors is correct, Grand Theft Auto will never be the same.

A tale of two continents

The process of elimination dictates the next Grand Theft Auto game will return to the sun-soaked paradise known as Vice City. After all, Grand Theft Auto IV revisited Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto III's pseudo-New York. Grand Theft Auto V revived Los Santos, one of three locations in the California-inspired San Andreas. That only leaves a single PlayStation 2-era GTA locale without an HD makeover. Guess which one.

It might be more complicated than that, however, at least according to the YouTube channel The Know. Citing an anonymous "inside source," The Know says that Grand Theft Auto VI is currently in development under the working title "Project Americas" — note the plural. Allegedly, GTA VI will let players hop on a plane to travel between Vice City and South America, presumably while managing their own drug-smuggling empire.

As TechRadar notes, given Vice City's history, intercontinental travel makes a lot of sense. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar's fictional Florida city is bursting at the seams with cocaine (look, it was the '80s), and the drug trade plays a major role in the game. Letting players get their hands dirty — or, rather, dirtier — by controlling the supply right at the source seems like a natural progression. Besides, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars already gave us a free taste of what it's like to run our own narcotics ring, and it's incredibly addictive. We're hooked, and we want more.

Or maybe Japan? Or England? Or Colombia?

Of course, life as a cocaine entrepreneur is only an option if Grand Theft Auto VI is set in Vice City. According to other rumors, that may not be the case at all. Some reports argue that Grand Theft Auto VI will take place in Tokyo. Rockstar employees allegedly took a research trip there, although TechRadar says that the city's roads were deemed too confusing and that the potential setting was scrapped. London seems like an option — the original Grand Theft Auto got an expansion pack set in the city — although Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser told Polygon that GTA's  "D.N.A. is contemporary-ish, America-ish," which seems to rule England out.

But who knows? Way back in 2003, Rockstar filed for trademarks for Grand Theft Auto: Bogota and the mysterious Grand Theft Auto: Sin City (note that, in the GTA universe, Las Vegas is known as Las Venturas). Maybe Grand Theft Auto VI will be set in San Diego, although that seems awfully similar to Los Santos. Boston has been floated as a possibility. Middle America doesn't seem like the most exciting setting for a Grand Theft Auto game, but if Far Cry can make it work, maybe Grand Theft Auto can, too.

Look, we've been playing Grand Theft Auto for over two decades, and a new setting could help breathe new life into the franchise. There are only so many times we can visit the same old places before things start to get stale.

Or maybe everything all at once!

On the other hand, maybe Rockstar doesn't have to choose. Maybe it can cram every existing Grand Theft Auto setting into an existing game, giving players an entire country to explore, deface, and rob blind.

That sounds ambitious, but at least one Rockstar employee's given the idea some thought. In an interview Digital Trends, former Rockstar North head honcho Leslie Benzies said, "Of course at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities." In Benzies' dream game, players would be able to travel between Grand Theft Auto's various locations by airplane, catching up on what happened to their favorite neighborhoods and their inhabitants.

That's not an entirely new concept for Rockstar. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas simulated an entire state, complete with three major cities that players could visit, while Red Dead Redemption takes place across a series of smallish "western states" and border territories. Still, Benzies sure sounds like he's talking about something bigger and far more ambitious than anything we've seen so far. Of course, Benzies left Rockstar in 2014 and went on to sue his former employer for $150 million in unpaid royalties, so his vision for Grand Theft Auto VI may never come to pass. Still, causing mayhem all across the country is fun to think about — and if anyone can pull off an adventure of that scope, it's Rockstar.

Girls just wanna have fun

Traditionally, Grand Theft Auto's guys get to do all of the fun stuff. The women are reduced to bimbos, nagging shrews, whores, or set dressing. After all, this is the series that became famous in the mainstream media for allegedly giving players "points" for killing prostitutes. It's the franchise that famously reduced seduction to a button-pressing minigame and regularly objectifies and degrades its female characters.

Grand Theft Auto VI could change things. Oh, the game should be just as raunchy as its predecessors — like it or not, pushing buttons is what's what GTA is all about — but many fans expect that the next installment in the franchise will shake things up by introducing the very first playable female protagonist since the series made the jump into 3D (the first Grand Theft Auto game had some women on its roster, but the series has changed a lot since then).

After all, around the time that Grand Theft Auto V came out, Rockstar's Dan Houser told the Guardian that a female hero is "one of the things that we always think about." He adds, "for the right game in the future — with the right themes, it could be fantastic." Could Grand Theft Auto VI be that game? Rumor-mongers seem to think so. Seeing Grand Theft Auto VI's testosterone-driven world from a woman's perspective would mark a drastic departure from the series' traditional viewpoint — and, quite frankly, it'd be a very welcome change.

Playing for the other team

You want to really shake up the Grand Theft Auto formula? Change the focus of the game from committing crimes to stopping them. While the original source behind this rumor is hard to find, one popular theory is that Grand Theft Auto VI will turn the tables and let people assume the role of a law enforcement officer.

That wouldn't mean that you'd have to play Grand Theft Auto VI by the book, of course. The most popular version of this rumor argues that, like Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto VI will feature multiple protagonists. One will be a cop, and the other will be your standard, run-of-the-mill GTA antihero. In that situation, you'd get the best of both worlds. A variant on that story argues that you'll play a police officer, but a corrupt one, opening up a whole new world of crime and corruption to explore.

Fighting for the good guys seems like it goes against everything that Grand Theft Auto stands for, but many people already roleplay as police in Grand Theft Auto Online, so there's clearly an audience for that sort of thing. Besides, as fans know, Grand Theft Auto's police chases can get pretty crazy for participants on both sides of the law. Playing as a police officer might alter your priorities, but the unique brand of chaos that Grand Theft Auto is known for should weather the change just fine.

It's a virtual world, we're just living in it

In 2017, Rockstar released a virtual reality version of its open world detective simulator, L.A. Noire. According to reports, it works great. Still, L.A. Noire is one of the smaller franchises in Rockstar's arsenal, and it's hard not to see its VR re-release as a test for something bigger and more substantial — like, say a fully VR-compliant version of Grand Theft Auto VI.

When it comes to that conclusion, we're not alone. After all, Rockstar's been working to make Grand Theft Auto as immersive as possible. In 2014, Grand Theft Auto V's next-gen re-release came with a complete first-person overhaul that let players see Los Santos through the eyes of its three delinquent heroes. The effect is, in a word, staggering. In first-person, Grand Theft Auto feels more immediate, vibrant, and real than ever before. Playing GTA that way feels less like watching an interactive crime movie, and more like actually living in one.

As L.A. Noire proves, where VR is concerned, Rockstar still has some kinks to work out, not to mention a few ethical concerns to tackle. Does Grand Theft Auto V's violence make you uncomfortable in first person? Imagine how it'll come across when it feels like your victim is actually standing across from you. Still, other blockbuster open world games, including Skyrim and Fallout 4, have already gotten the VR treatment. If Grand Theft Auto follows suit, it won't be much of a surprise.

Bring on the polyester and disco, baby

In 1999, Rockstar released Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, an expansion pack that took the original top-down Grand Theft Auto game to the swingin' sixties. Vice City let players visit to the neon-soaked, cocaine-fueled '80s. San Andreas captured the look and vibe of '90s hood dramas like Boyz 'N the Hood and Menace II Society. The '00s got the GTA treatment twice — once in Grand Theft Auto III, and again in GTA IV — while Rockstar turned its satirical eye on the '10s' information age in the franchise's fifth numbered installment.

Notice anything missing? That's right: Grand Theft Auto skipped right over the '70s, despite the plethora of crime films from the era that'd be the perfect springboard for a Grand Theft Auto game. Look, Grand Theft Auto already has a little bit of The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and The French Connection in its DNA. Throw in characters and situations from flicks like Dirty Harry, Dog Day Afternoon, and Serpico, deck out the supporting cast in bell bottoms and shirts overflowing with chest hair, and borrow some of that Watergate-era corruption and paranoia, and you've got a sure-fire hit.

According to some rumors, that's exactly what Rockstar is going to do. Setting Grand Theft Auto VI in the '70s wouldn't radically change the way the game plays, but it'd give the game a unique sense of style, and would certainly help the latest GTA adventure stand out in an increasingly crowded franchise.

The future is online

Grand Theft Auto V's single-player campaign is great, but its multiplayer mode is where the money is. Grand Theft Auto Online got off to a rocky start, but thanks to a steady stream of updates and ongoing mysteries, it's transformed into one of the biggest and most popular video games of all time. In December 2017, four years after Grand Theft Auto Online launched, the online-only mode hosted more players than ever before. It's currently making enormous amounts of money through sales and microtransactions, and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon.

That's a lot of cash, and Grand Theft Auto Online's success has some people saying that the next Grand Theft Auto game will be a multiplayer-only affair. Instead of playing as predefined characters like Tommy Vercetti or Trevor Phillips, players might create their own avatars and work together to get through Grand Theft Auto VI's story missions as in GTA Online's Doomsday Heist update (notably, Grand Theft Auto Online already allows female characters). Naturally, microtransactions would play a big part in this new game, which might never actually end — Rockstar's been great about adding new stuff to GTA Online to keep things fresh, and there's no reason to think they wouldn't do so in the future, too.

It might sound crazy, but the game industry is already headed in that direction, thanks to the popularity of online-only games like Destiny, The Division, Sea of Thieves, and BioWare's upcoming Anthem. If you're wondering if Rockstar is going to follow suit, we've only got one piece of advice: follow the money.

Coming in… wait, when again?

Originally, the rumor mill argued that Grand Theft Auto VI would debut in 2018, five years after Grand Theft Auto V. Then, 2016 and 2017 came and went with nary a peep about the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and Rockstar already has a major game, Red Dead Redemption 2, slated for 2018 anyway. Getting a new GTA on top of that seems pretty darn unlikely.

As of this writing, the most commonly accepted release window for Grand Theft Auto VI seems to be sometime in 2021 or 2022, although that's not backed up by any real data. Instead, the information seems to come from two sources. One is well-known video game industry analyst Michael Pachter. The other is an "Easter egg" that some fans have discovered in Grand Theft Auto V. At an airport, you can find two doors. One is labelled 2013, the year that GTA V came out. The one next to it says 2021. Mystery solved!

Even if that's right, it's just a release date. How does that "change everything?" Quite simply, the eight years between Grand Theft Auto Games would be far and away the longest gap in the series' history, eclipsing the five years between GTA IV and GTA V. Not only is that a long time to make fans wait, especially given how popular GTA is, but with all that extra development time, Rockstar should be able to put together something special. Let's hope so, anyway, because by all indications the game isn't arriving any time soon.

But does it come with a DeLorean?

You know what would really change Grand Theft Auto forever? Time travel. Yeah, um, what?

We've got no idea where Christian Today got this information, but the outlet reports that, in addition to a 1960s setting and maps based on London, San Diego, and Rio, Grand Theft Auto VI will be the first game in the series to have a heavy science fiction bent. In its report, Christian Today says that an "alleged futuristic twist… can give the gamers the taste of time travel," and that GTA VI will come with a "feature that makes teleportation possible within a split-second." No further details are given.

That could just be an awkward way of saying that Grand Theft Auto VI will have a fast-travel system like the ones found in other open-world games, it could be an indication that the story will unfold in a non-linear fashion a la Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, or it could be a hint that GTA VI will actually let players travel between different eras. That last one seems pretty unlikely, but then again, Grand Theft Auto V has a sasquatch and a whole bunch of UFOs. Time travel is really just the next step. Hey, you never know. Stranger things have happened.