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GTA 6: How long does each GTA game usually spend in development?

Image via TechRadar
Image via TechRadar
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 17 Nov 2020, 16:32 IST

The GTA franchise is possibly the most valuable piece of property in all of entertainment, given the kind of financial success the games have seen and the prominent position it holds in pop culture and media.

It's hard to deny that Rockstar's magnum opus, GTA, is one of the greatest franchises in gaming. From courting controversy with each release to actual court cases and litigation, the GTA brand name has emerged victorious pretty much all the time.

With this kind of continued success, there is bound to be a lot of pressure on Rockstar to deliver a classic with each release. Many studios have buckled under the pressure, but Rockstar has come through with flying colors each time.

There have been a total of seven mainline entries in the GTA franchise, with each game having spent varying amounts of time in development. In this article, we take a look at Rockstar's developmental cycle for each GTA game and get an idea of when fans can expect the next one to come out.

How long does each GTA game usually spend in development?

1) Grand Theft Auto

  • Development Period: 4 April 1995-1 July 1996 (1 year and 3 months) (source)
  • Release: 21 October 1997

2) Grand Theft Auto II

  • Development Period: N/A
  • Release: 22 October 1999 (Released 2 years after the original)

3) Grand Theft Auto III

  • Development Period: Early 2000s - Early 2001 (Approximately 1 year) (source)
  • Release: 22 October 2001 in North America (2 years after the last game)

4) Grand Theft Auto Vice City

  • Development Period: Began in late 2001 and lasted approximately 9 months (source)
  • Release: 29 October 2002 (Roughly 1 year after the last game)

5) Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

  • Development Period: N/A
  • Release: 26 October 2004 (Roughly 2 years after the last game)

6) Grand Theft Auto IV

  • Development Period: November 2004 - 21 April 2008 (Approximately 3 years and 5 months) (source: GTA Gets Real. PlayStation Official Magazine (UK).)
  • Release: 2 December 2008 (Roughly 4 years and 2 months after the last game)

Between GTA IV and GTA V, Rockstar also worked on Red Dead Redemption, thus increasing the gap between the two games by a large margin.

Red Dead Redemption

  • Release: May 18, 2010 (Approximately 2 years after the last GTA game) (source)

7) Grand Theft Auto V

  • Development Period:  2008-2011 (Approximately 3 years) (source)
  • Release: 17 September 2013 (Roughly 5 years since the last entry in the franchise and 3 years after the last Rockstar project)

With this information, one can conclude that the end of the development cycle simply does not translate to a release date as Rockstar spends a considerable time in marketing.

Post GTA San Andreas, there was a massive generational upgrade that led to bigger games and resulted in the development period also being increased substantially.

Given that Red Dead Redemption II, an absolutely massive undertaking by Rockstar, was released between the release of GTA V and now, the next game is still probably a ways off.

With Rockstar spending a considerable time in the re-release of Grand Theft Auto V, fans can expect GTA VI to be way ahead in the future. While development may have already begun, expecting a release date soon might be a little too premature.

Published 17 Nov 2020, 16:30 IST
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