GTA 6’s first trailer has recreations of a load of real viral video moments in it, and it looks like Rockstar’s version of TikTok will play a big part

Rockstar has released the first official trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 early, and in 12 hours it’s already smashed through 60 million views (and counting). Needless to say the 90-second video is jam-packed full of details and hints about what we’ll be getting up to in Vice City, and if you want the nuts-and-bolts breakdown we’ve got you covered. But one element of the trailer really jumped out at me: TikTok framing, and the real-world parallels.

It’s no surprise that GTA 6 will incorporate its own version of TikTok, because the series has always jumped on the tech trends of the moment: characters use their iFruit phones, you can surf Live Invader (Facebook) or Bleeter (Twitter), and pretty much any piece of pop culture you can imagine has its GTA equivalent. What Rockstar’s seized upon with TikTok feels more in-depth than that though, and a reflection of how TikTokers and people filming constantly is now a fact of contemporary urban life.

What especially interested me about the GTA 6 take on this, however, is that several of the TikTok-esque clips in the trailer are lifted directly from real life. The first time I watched it I recognised GTA 6’s hammer lady (timestamped video), ostensibly protecting her property, as a pretty much 1:1 recreation of this 2017 news clip that went viral: in which a Florida woman rants and raves around her neighborhood while dual-wielding hammers.

GTA’s always sent-up the real world, but I suspect GTA 6 is going to skew closer to reality than ever before: not least because we do live in wild times, and some things are almost beyond parody. One element of the trailer many picked up on is the TikTok-like clip of a woman twerking atop a moving car, which seems absolutely absurd but, again, is pretty much a 1:1 recreation of this video.

The GTA 6 video promo is an actual representation of what happens in Miami Beach during spring break Don’t shoot the messenger 🤷🏻‍♀️ 5, 2023

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I’m not sure if every TikTok-like clip in the GTA 6 trailer can be traced back to a real world origin, even if I’m fairly certain I’ve seen footage of an alligator walking into a 7-11 before (though I may be thinking of this Thai footage of a monitor lizard). The more interesting thing is that Rockstar is looking at how the online world of virality is increasingly bleeding into real life, how it drives certain behaviours, and how one clip can travel around the world in hours.

A considerable portion of the trailer is given over to TikTok-like framing of GTA 6’s world, and there’s even a specialised filter for stuff filmed like this, which to me suggests we’ll be creating our own in-game TikToks (Rockstar: please don’t call it DickTok). GTA 6 can’t come soon enough but sadly the bad news is we have to wait till 2025 to play the thing, and on PC the wait may be even longer.

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