Why We Have To Wait So Long For ‘Grand Theft Auto 6’

Grand Theft Auto 6 is a white whale of the video game community. After going an entire console generation without a new GTA game, fans everywhere are starting to get angsty about when a new title could be on the way. We know one is in development, that was essentially confirmed by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier back in April, but rumors of the game being in development have been persisting since 2016.

Those rumors had a new fire lite under them on Tuesday when a potential release date was reportedly leaked. The downside: The date in question is 2025. Yes, that is a laughably long time, but if there’s one thing we know about Rockstar, it’s that they like to be ambitious with the games they create. That ambition is how they’re able to make such large and expansive worlds, and it also is why they don’t typically pump out GTA games as fast as, say, Call of Duty‘s yearly releases.

While 2025 is the rumored release date, that is so far in the future that it’s impossible to be a time that anyone at Rockstar can actually commit to. If the rumor is true then it is likely an internal goal that has been set by the development team. However, anyone that’s worked in game development knows that dates change and goals shift. Making a video game is hard and it’s impossible to predict what kind of roadblocks could get in the way of development. For example, if this game really did start development in 2016 like the earliest rumors suggest, then that means they have probably already scrapped whatever they were working on to start over once or twice now. Those are the kinds of challenges that video game developers go through and it’s why we can’t actually put any weight behind a 2025 release date rumor, it’s just too far in the future.

Now, some people may be wondering why it takes a video game that long to be made, especially one that is rumored to already be in development. Well, for starters, Rockstar has not given up on the cash cow that is GTA Online, not by a longshot. Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode is one of the most lucrative pieces of media ever created and so popular that it is now available on three different generations of consoles. They still have plenty of their current development staff working on and supporting GTA Online.

The other reason a game like GTA 6 is going to take such an extended period of development time is a mix of the worlds that Rockstar likes to create, as well as a shift in company culture. We’ve always known Rockstar to make huge worlds — GTA has practically defined the sandbox genre, while their most recent release in Red Dead Redemption 2 was maybe their most ambitious ever. Creating a world like that takes the kind of time that has traditionally forced companies into unhealthy crunch culture, one that they have reportedly been making efforts to work on and fix.

Of course, the heaviest amount of crunch doesn’t usually take place until the last year or two of a game’s development, but it’s possible that the reason these rumors of Rockstar giving themselves so much time to make GTA 6 is to ensure crunch doesn’t happen again. Red Dead Redemption 2 had employees working 55 to 60 hour weeks. To make sure that doesn’t happen again, and to keep employees healthy, it’s possible that Rockstar is planning out with development headaches in mind.

With all this considered, a 2025 release date sounds reasonable, but it’s just way too far off in the future to actually say it’s a sure thing. Maybe we’re lucky and every deadline is hit on time and the game comes out perfect in 2025, just as the developer reportedly wants, but that rarely happens in video games. We will just have to wait until development is farther along to know for certain when GTA 6 is coming out.