The GTA franchise revolutionized the industry and reinvented the modern AAA game with the introduction of the open-world structure.
The open-world genre has become synonymous with success in the AAA space, but Rockstar is constantly looking to up the ante.
In game development, studios will often look at what their competitors are doing and iterate on that idea. This means studios understand that their games will eventually affect others.
To that end, the next probable sequel in the series, GTA 6, will likely draw inspiration from other games in the open-world genre.
What features can GTA 6 borrow from other open-world games?
#5 Melee combat - Batman Arkham/ Sleeping Dogs
The Batman Arkham franchise introduced gaming fans to a combat system that would go on to become a staple of the open-world genre.
Rocksteady's original vision of the Batman Arkham combat was more in line with a rhythm-based system a la Guitar Hero. While that does sound a bit iffy, it isn't too far off from what players finally got in Batman Arkham Asylum.
Rocksteady's insanely intuitive and satisfying combat mechanics would be utilized in several games, such as Sleeping Dogs, to great effect.
The combat system is as cinematic as it is gameplay-heavy, making it perfect for open-world games like GTA. The GTA franchise has always struggled to implement a satisfying combat mechanic, but perhaps this could be a game-changer for the series.
#4 Nemesis System - Shadow of Mordor
The Nemesis System has now been patented by Warner Brothers, which is a shame since it is one of the most ingenious mechanics in the genre. However, this doesn't mean that Rockstar can't find ways to utilize the core of what makes the Nemesis System so incredibly satisfying.
Essentially, the Nemesis System gives way to emergent narrative by providing consequence to each enemy encounter. Each loss or victory causes a ripple effect within the Orc Army and allows the player to develop personal rivalries and relationships with each enemy.
A similar mechanic would work for GTA, with the player being able to affect the hierarchy of members in an organized crime family. Dismantling an enemy's operation or forging alliances should be something that the GTA franchise should look towards.
#3 Detailed Interiors - Cyberpunk 2077
Despite Cyberpunk 2077's issues, the game does a lot of things right. For instance, not too many open-world games, not even GTA, have been able to craft interiors that are as detailed and varied as the ones seen in Cyberpunk 2077.
The world of Cyberpunk not only extends horizontally but vertically as well, allowing players to get a good, immersive experience indoors. This allows the player to have a lot of breathing space in terms of gameplay indoors, especially when it comes to enemy encounters.
Detailed interiors also make the game world feel as real as possible, with the player having a ton of things to explore indoors as well as outdoors.
#2 Freedom of approach - Metal Gear Solid V
One complaint regarding the GTA franchise is the restrictive nature of the missions, which is in stark contrast to the open world. Players are usually made to complete missions by following a strict, linear path that can often feel like a totally different game.
One particularly great game that accomplishes and fully realizes the potential of the open world is Hideo Kojima's exceptional Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Instead of keeping the open world and the mission separate from one another, the game was able to marry the two into one cohesive experience.
This means the player could take several different approaches to solve the same problem and complete a mission. For instance, the player could call in an attack chopper to distract the enemy while they sneak into the base.
Taking different approaches to the same mission increases replayability and deepens the gameplay loop.
#1 Morality System - Red Dead Redemption 2 / Mass Effect / inFamous
The morality system was at the core of Red Dead Redemption 2, with its name even implying that the protagonist must go through a certain arc. GTA hasn't typically bothered itself with morality, although the franchise came quite close with GTA 4.
GTA 6 could use some of that morality system as a way for the player to craft their own unique characters as opposed to following a strict arc. Giving the player a choice to either be a good guy, a bad guy or something in between allows for far more player agency.
The morality system is still far from perfect, but if anyone can figure it out, it is Rockstar Games.