We know absolutely nothing about “Grand Theft Auto VI.” The game is seemingly years away from even an official announcement or reveal, as developer Rockstar Games is still updating “GTA Online.”
Considering the first PlayStation 5 console reveal stream began with a “GTA V” trailer, it’ll be a very long time before we can even dream about the next game in the long-running series.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still criticize or improve a fictional game before it exists!
What Is “GTA Online 2,” Existentially Speaking?
What if the next “GTA Online” was its own game, independent from “GTA VI’s” development?
What if Rockstar envisions a GTA MMO, set in different cities with different goals and features that don’t limit its scope?
Knowing that a sequel — built from the ground up for multiplayer — was coming would definitely assuage the fears of fans. It’s now arguable that the online parts of “Grand Theft Auto” have become more popular than the open world sandbox the games were previously known for.
Reworking the structure and point of playing “GTA Online 2,” or whatever it ends up being called, could be a huge benefit.
Character customization could be expanded upon, a traditional storyline/co-op campaign could be integrated into the game for a group of friends, completing missions and earning money could be used for more than just buying cars and apartments.
The ideas are limitless.
But it would be nice to know if this was just going to be another mode, or something standalone from “GTA VI.”
Are they combining the single-player narrative and multiplayer elements into one cohesive experience? And if they’re going to split the two more evenly, maybe give us some new modes while you’re at it Rockstar; we will take a zombie hoard mode, a city builder like “Sim City,” hide and go seek on steroids, prop hunt, and an “Among Us” clone. Thank you.
Leaning Into A New City Or Cities?
The mechanics and mini-games for each title have been dictated by the city — whether it’s shooting pigeons in Liberty City, gambling in Las Venturas, or enjoying the pools of Vice City (except you couldn’t swim in the PS2 era games).
Whichever locale(s) they choose for the next game has, it has to be a jumping-off point creatively. Because doing the same handful of activities in a different city might not be enough. If they go with a really flat place geographically, then parachuting from mountains or rooftops is impossible. Same for boat races or beach fun in a landlocked state.
The “Yakuza” games do a wonderful job of showing the idiosyncratic oddities of Tokyo. If “GTA VI” wants to stand out from its predecessor in any way, picking the right city has to be a priority.
Just make sure that the setting and the gameplay match — so it doesn’t feel like every feature from “GTA Online” now is being ripped off wholesale. It’s not a checklist of activities to copy, this is a chance to really mix things up.
Here’s What Rockstar Should Try Out
Maybe they go back to the United Kingdom — like in the first two games — or maybe they pick somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Outer space? Why not!
We’d love to see multiple open worlds connected by a bridge or a quick plane ride or fast travel. Maybe a nice way to speak to our current global warming crisis would be to copy what “Mafia 3” did — do a New Orleans, with natural disasters and dynamic weather systems that change how you play (heavy winds and rain, lightning strikes that knock things over, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, etc.).
Destructible environments that change the game world — and that react along the way — would be a far cry from the way people play in Los Santos now, which is just landing on tall things with a parachute. Also, please make more interior locations, more verticality that isn’t just flying. Add climbing, parkour and the jetpack from San Andreas. That would be sick.
A larger open world might be what “GTA VI” aims for, but a denser more detailed world is what Rockstar should be looking to achieve.
This would allow for a jump in player count — how battle royales standardized 100-player matches — to allow for not only a living and breathing online experience — but also the ability to do actual competitive game modes, like team deathmatch properly (like “Battlefield .”)
And instead of artificially making things just bigger for the sake of it, imagine if “GTA VI” focused on player input the way that “Minecraft” does. Letting players interact and change the map, their missions, or how they play could make for infinite replayability. Don’t like where you are? Create your own city! Hate the types of missions offered? Design your own! Don’t like who you’re playing with or what you’re doing? Come up with a custom way to enjoy “GTA VI,” instead of letting Rockstar guide you to only shoot and rob all the time.
Make missions that are more open-ended. No more bad checkpoint mission design like Rockstar games of old. If I have to eliminate a target, let me figure out how to get to them and how to kill them. No more tailing missions that end if you get too close or too far away. The “GTA” games have a history of some of the worst missions in gaming history.
In-game concerts like “Fortnite” could be amazing, considering we loved the stand-up comedy in “GTA IV” and the random assortment of jokes in their talk radio stations, websites and TV channels. Hell, add new jokes constantly to those things, keep it all fresh. More songs on the soundtrack all the time, please!
Might as well throw in all the animals and hunting/skinning from “Red Dead” while you’re at it.
More NPC interactions and dialogue choices, like from “Watch Dogs Legion” and The “Witcher 3” side quests.
More cheat codes.
Better hand-to-hand combat.
No survival mechanics like from “San Andreas” or any recent survival “Sims.”
Smarter AI, NPCs and enemies. We want more nuanced reactions to what our character does.
Add a drone into the game, just for fun.
Better 6-star wanted level and cop interactions.
Make money and the economy more meaningful, give us real stuff to buy and not fake apartments that do nothing.
More RPG upgrade options for our online custom character.
In Conclusion: Iron Out The Hiccups
“GTA Online” did not come out of the box fully featured, or really working all that well, to be honest. It took a number of years before it could sustain its growing use rbase, and still, there are lots of bugs, issues, server mis-connections and network errors.
If “GTA VI’s” online component is thought of as being the main part of the game — not something that ‘has’ to be there — then Rockstar and Take-Two will make that the focus.
There are still some achievements and activities that are too tied to having everyone on the server have a perfect connection, and the architecture of “GTA Online” is starting to feel incredibly old and outdated compared to “Fortnite.” “Fortnite,” as an example, has seamless cross-play, works on phones and tablets, constantly upgrades with new features, mechanics and events into its game.
No game can be live without its bugs, glitches and issues — but with enough time in the oven, this should be polished as all hell.
Also, it would be nice to see a “GTA” game not so relying on predatory microtransactions, but that’s a monetary complaint and not really a technical one.