You could sum it up with: So a gator walks into a gas station…
Arriving earlier than expected, the GTA 6 trailer implies a lot in its brief 1 minute 16 seconds of in-game footage: sprawling urban life and mixed with rural recreation and everglades wildlife, several varieties of Florida Man and gator, influencer antics, police knocking down doors, and a prison backstory.
We’ll have more than a year to digest this along with the information to come, but here are our initial, off-the-cuff thoughts after watching the first GTA 6 trailer.
(Image credit: Rockstar)
With only two main characters, I hope GTA 6 will be more focused
GTA 5’s three protagonists gave us three very different lenses into Los Santos, but I’m glad GTA 6 is scaling back. Lucia and their partner in crime look like lower-level criminals than Michael, Trevor, and Franklin, and their lives appear more closely intertwined as well, given the intimate scene toward the end. That sounds great—GTA 5’s characters having to split the narrative left some members of the heist crew less developed than others. Hopefully GTA 6 can avoid this. —Morgan Park, Staff Writer
I’m absolutely down for Bonnie & Clyde do Florida (but I kinda hope the dude dies in act one)
First: I think the hype had reached such feverish proportions that whatever Rockstar released was going to be a bit of a let down. But… I’m not disappointed at all. Goddamn if all those GTA memories didn’t come rushing back as another All-American crime caper was sprawled out in front of us over the course of that trailer, but this time decked out in all the visual finery 2023 has to offer. (Or, in fact, 2025 by the time we actually play it).
Given that the studio had been rightfully dinged for not having a female protagonist in any of the previous games, it felt inevitable that VI would fix that, and seeing Lucia immediately feels fresh and exciting. Whether partying on a downtown Vice City rooftop or sticking up a store in a bandana, I can’t wait to play as her.
My immediate question is whether we’re also going to be playing as her partner in crime, the more generic looking buzzcut dude. (Is the voice Troy Baker, by the way? Listen to him say “Trust” again at the end, it’s practically Cole Cassidy from Overwatch.) Honestly, how amazing would it be if he is playable but catches a bullet early on. Killing off a player character would be exactly the kind of fake-out I could see Rockstar North pulling and provide instant motivation for revenge and Lucia’s inevitable descent into (even more) criminality. —Tim Clark, Brand Director
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)
Will GTA 6 have something substantial to say about America’s prison problem?
GTA Online featured a prison break heist, but for a very old franchise about being a criminal, the series hasn’t touched much on the experience of being in prison, a place that almost 2 million Americans in the United States inhabit. The US policy of mass incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color, and one of GTA 6’s leads, Lucia, is seen in and out of prison in the 90-second trailer, scenes that remind you of Orange Is the New Black. Rockstar tends to take sardonic jabs at many aspects of American society, but usually spares itself the messy work of actually taking a moral position. In this subject matter I hope they can do much more than recycle the same tropes we’ve seen in film and television. —Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief
The trailer depicts a much more chaotic, less chill open world compared to GTA 5
How can Rockstar hope to convincingly satirise post-Trump America, a place that seems to constantly parody itself? Part of the answer appears to be: double down on the chaos. In the GTA 6 reveal people are either having the hedonistic time of their lives, or they are committing crimes. Sometimes both are happening at once, but overall: shit is constantly going down. There is no chill. This stands in stark contrast to the GTA 5 reveal trailer, which featured civilians jogging along boardwalks, a spot of golf, some fun motorboating. The closest to “chill” this trailer gets is a guy fishing an alligator out of a backyard pool. I’m here for it. —Shaun Prescott, Australian Editor
I knew there was gonna be one of those swamp boats with the big fans on the back, and there was
Before the trailer dropped early, we were going to publish some predictions for what we’d see in it, and I predicted we’d see one of those swamp boats with the big fans on them, because it’s Florida and videogames love those boats, and I feel I should get credit for that, even if it was obvious. See it about 20 secs into the trailer.
The bigger picture is that I expect GTA 6 to include a lot of acreage surrounding the city, with rural and suburban areas: In the trailer, we see lots of little islands, monster trucks in the mud, and a suburban pool—with a crocodile in it, of course. —Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)
Everything is content in GTA 6
When GTA 5 released, its cultural references around social media were already a little dated. There was a mission where you infiltrate fake Facebook and accidentally help kill its CEO, which was pretty fun, but I remember it feeling a little weird since most of my friends had already moved onto Twitter. A good chunk of the GTA 6 trailer is TikTok-like vertical videos of Vice City citizens fishing gators out of pools, twerking on moving vehicles, dual wielding hammers, and chasing down men in their underwear. Twerking on the roof of a car for a TikTok video while driving really fast is an unusually good encapsulation of this moment in American culture.
Who knows for sure where internet culture will be by 2025, but it’s a good sign that GTA 6 is seemingly leaning into a social climate where everything is content. —Morgan Park, Staff Writer
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)
That’s a lot of flamingoes! GTA remains the undefeated king of detail
For Red Dead Redemption 2, my recollection is that one of Rockstar’s studios was tasked almost solely with creating that gamut of ambient wildlife that made the desert feel so much more, well, alive. RDR2’s horses were one of the studio’s technical achievements.
Cut to today and we see about a bazillion flamingoes rising up from the swampland outside Vice City. Will those birds be integral to the plot? Almost certainly not. But! It’s exactly this sort of almost aggressive level of detail that’s beyond the reach of other developers. It’s the wild scope of these games that’s the reason a new GTA game is a pop culture-dominating event and another annualised Assassin’s Creed is not.
Also pay attention to those aerial shots of packed beaches, the teen bikers flooding an already busy intersection, the freeway snaking over waterways with all sorts of different boats. In GTA IV the step up was an unprecedented level of detail brought to Liberty City, which hadn’t been seen in an open world before. In GTA V the step up was the sheer sprawl of San Andreas, bringing a massive surrounding outside the main metropolis area to explore. For VI, you’re going to get both of those things but I think the change is going to be volume. Of NPCs, vehicles, animals, everything. We’re going to be surrounded and overwhelmed by stuff and I can’t wait for it. —Tim Clark, Brand Director