Perhaps no other franchise in the history of modern AAA gaming has seen the level of success of the GTA franchise. The success of the series is not just in financial terms but also in pop culture relevance and position in popular media.
Over the years, the franchise has been a hotbed of controversy and has been the subject of many nighttime debates on news channels regarding violence in videogames. The GTA franchise often gets muddled up in controversy and labelled as voyeuristic and violent entertainment.
However, the brilliance of the studio behind GTA and their efforts to create a fantastic experience is often forgotten about. The world of GTA and its maps are nothing short of brilliance as the amount of detail and authenticity packed into the game is simply astounding.
With the next game in the franchise still not confirmed, here we take a look at what changes Rockstar Games could bring to the map of the next GTA game.
5 changes Rockstar could bring to the map of GTA 6
1) Smaller map, more detail
Games like the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 chose to go down a different path when it comes to the map of the game. Instead of expanding on previous games' map such as The Witcher 3, they chose to go smaller but denser.
This could ultimately prove to be the right decision as a smaller map opens up the possibility of filling it with more detail, making for a much richer experience.
The GTA franchise always looked to be bigger and better but not always. The map for GTA IV was a tad bit smaller than its predecessor, GTA San Andreas. The decision was made in order to better reflect the claustrophobic nature of Liberty City as opposed to the sunny LA-inspired San Andreas.
Smaller does not mean less content, for those worried about GTA not being as expansive. Instead, the amount of detail, missions and content available on a smaller map is much more accessible.
The size of maps in videogames keep getting larger but what is the point of a large map if the player doesn't get enough incentive to explore any of it?
2) Multiple cities or countries
In the past, the GTA franchise has experimented by providing a large map with more than just one city in the game. San Andreas famously included the neighbouring San Fierro and Las Venturas along with the county districts of Los Santos.
The next game could perhaps go one step further and introduce another country entirely and allow travel between them. Reports claiming that the game's development is in progress under the title "PROJECT AMERICAS" could very well point to another country being included in the mix.
This would line up perfectly with the ambitions of Rockstar to create an absolutely massive open world with multiple countries and cities.
3) Fast travel/Air travel
For all its glitz, GTA 5 shipped without the standard AAA bell-and-whistle of a fast travel system. Almost every open-world game today ships with some sort of fast travel that allows players to move quickly around the map.
While players can still hail a cab and skip the travel to reach their destination, it still isn't the smoothest fast travel system ever seen in gaming. The next GTA game could experiment with a much more efficient fast travel system.
Essentially, this would mean incentivising players to not play the game enough but large maps do require a robust fast travel system lest they become tedious. As mentioned above, the possibility of the inclusion of a foreign country in the next GTA game is a strong one.
Perhaps introducing air travel or letting players actually fly to another country by themselves would be a great feature for players to sink their teeth into. However, it'll be extremely challenging for Rockstar as they must attempt to keep load times to a minimum.
However, given the advanced hardware on the next-gen consoles, the SSDs should allow for much faster load times. Rockstar could put that to good use and introduce bigger maps without the need to separated by load screens too much.
4) Make the sea area worth exploring
Deep-sea exploration might not be the first thing on player's minds when booting up a GTA game but its absence in the franchise is quite puzzling. Every game in the franchise takes place on an island and, therefore, has plenty of opportunities to put the vast expanse of the seas and oceans to good use.
Perhaps allowing players to explore deep-sea caves and other things such as shipwrecks could prove a worthy distraction. Games such as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag had a pretty engaging sea exploration aspect, and GTA could benefit a lot from its inclusion.
This would, in turn, make the vast area worth exploring and not just as a boundary for the players. Geographically, the GTA games don't make too much sense because if each game is connected, the presence of so many major islands in one country is puzzling.
5) Combine maps from previous games
This is an idea that the internet has flirted with for a long time, and it makes sense that Rockstar could reach a level where they could include every map from their GTA games in one absolutely massive game.
This is obviously quite the task for any studio, and the hardware limitations alone will prove a challenge. However, if anyone can do it, it is probably Rockstar. To think that every city visited in past GTA games would combine to form one large map is one concept GTA fans have not been able to let go of.
While this would be in conflict with several points presented, it is still an interesting idea that has probably been thrown around the offices of Rockstar as a possibility. However, the logistics and technology involved with such a monumental task will have studios trembling at the thought.