With fans speculating on what time period GTA 6 is likely to occur, it's vital not to ignore its possibility in a current setting that's familiar to its fans.
There's no news about what time GTA 6 could take place in, but fans of the highly anticipated game would likely be OK with anything. That said, some articles on this site have focused more on the past, so it wouldn't hurt to have one focus on the present for a fair comparison.
Either scenario would likely result in an excellent game, so focusing on the latter's benefits is an interesting discussion point.
As far as reasons go, the most apparent one for setting GTA 6 in a modern palette is its relatability. However, it isn't something as simple as a one-trick pony as far as discussions go.
Something as broad as a modern setting has many advantages, especially since its diversity means it can occur in any particular location.
Five reasons for GTA 6 taking place in a current setting
#5 - GTA 6 can poke fun at current affairs
Rockstar hasn't shied away from controversies in the past. There are many current events that the developer can satirize, whether it's recent US politics, COVID-19, or other questionable events too serious to mention in an article like this.
Considering GTA 5 seems more "on-the-nose" than usual Grand Theft Auto titles, GTA 6 could easily take it up a notch in that department.
GTA 5 was released in a relatively tame time by comparison, and it already made fun of a lot of topics then. Whether it's apparent issues or something more subdued, there is a lot of potential in GTA 6 to tackle these topics in a humorous matter.
#4 - It would be nice to see some old characters again
One terrific aspect that the GTA series is often good at executing is including characters from previous games into new ones. In the case of GTA 5, players were able to see how far Johnny Klebitz fell and how people like Trevor Philips were able to take advantage of that.
Now imagine if somebody from GTA 5 showed up in GTA 6. Given the ages of the characters, it couldn't take place in the distant past. However, setting the new title to take place almost ten years after the fact would allow enough time to pass for the characters to change.
#3 - Modern GTA games haven't explored everything
More specifically, modern GTA games haven't depleted every possible resource in making such games set in the contemporary era.
Liberty City and San Andreas were visited recently, but that doesn't mean old locations like Vice City, Las Venturas, or London have been touched upon in a while. Grand Theft Auto already has several great cities to utilize, especially since these places haven't been seen in decades canonly.
That's not even mentioning cities that have never been seen in the GTA universe. For example, there is no city based on Tokyo, Brasilia, or Cairo within the GTA universe. Considering how many countries there are within the real world and their unique history of crimes, it's not like the series has fully explored everything they could have within the modern era.
#2 - More technology
Predictably, modern technology is best suited for the contemporary era. While at the end of the day, GTA 6 is still just a game, there's no need to be anachronistic for the sake of it. Anachronism is especially bad if the rest of the game incorporates elements relevant to that period. However, it's easy to avoid this situation if the technology suits the era.
If a GTA game still needed all of the modern gadgets fans have grown to love, then making it take place in the modern era would be an excellent choice. Just because it's in the modern age doesn't mean that GTA 6 can't be unique thematically.
There are so many places in the world not represented by GTA 6; it doesn't need to be solely defined by the era the game is set in.
#1 - More reliability
Fans of any media can more easily relate to a piece of work taking place in the modern era in a city they know exists instead of something in the distant past or future.
While setting a game like GTA 6 in the past has its advantages, there are advantages to setting it in the present that shouldn't be ignored. The main reason being relatability.
It should go without saying that most fans can easily identify modern technology like smartphones and understand its purpose in the world that the game may take place in. Compare that to something like dial-up phones, which can alienate some fans, especially those who appreciate modern technology's convenience.
Aside from that, modern fashion trends and vehicles are also some items casual fans love. It's easier to put those items in a game in a contemporary setting than one in the past.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.