The success of the GTA series is unparalleled in the gaming industry. With the franchise, Rockstar Games have proven that they are capable of putting out exceptionally well-made AAA titles that are worth every bit of their $60 price tag.
Whether it is GTA 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar have delivered exceptionally-detailed and polished open-world games that set the benchmark for an entire industry. This kind of reverence and popularity also comes with heaps of pressure and insurmountable expectations.
Ever since the release of GTA 3, Rockstar have not only surpassed those expectations but have also exceeded them. However, GTA 6 represents perhaps the biggest challenge for them to date.
Why GTA 6 is the biggest challenge for Rockstar Games so far
During the PS5 Reveal Event last year, Rockstar's logo splashed across the screen, sending millions into a frenzy as they thought GTA 6 was finally announced. However, they were let down when they realized that it was a trailer of GTA 5's "Expanded and Enhanced" edition for next-gen consoles.
For many of these fans, this reflected a sort of complacency on the part of Rockstar, with the general consensus being that the studio was "milking" GTA 5 and its Online counterpart.
Yet, it almost feels like Rockstar are being cautious of spreading themselves too thin.
Here, we break down why GTA 6 is perhaps the biggest challenge in Rockstar's history.
Departure of key personnel
Early in 2020, the gaming community was hit with a massive shocker as Dan Houser announced his departure from the studio. As a co-founder of Rockstar and the lead writer on the GTA franchise, he was one of the most influential creative voices not only in the studio but in the industry as a whole.
His contribution to GTA cannot be overstated. Therefore, his departure has given rise to doubts over whether the studio will be able to maintain their lofty standards with a sequel.
Doubling down on the loss, Lazlow Jones would also announce his departure from the company a few months later. In addition to performing motion capture and voice work as a fictionalized version of himself, Lazlow collaborated with Dan Houser on the writing of the GTA games. He was also the Audio Director and writer for Red Dead Redemption 2, which makes him an integral part of the creative process.
Lezlie Benzies, the lead designer and producer on several of Rockstar's titles also left in 2016. He is also pursuing litigation against Take-Two for unpaid royalties.
As a result of these departures, fans are understandably concerned with the quality of games that Rockstar will bring to the table next.
The expectations from Grand Theft Auto
When GTA 3 came out in the early 2000s, the gaming landscape was changed forever. The open-world genre has since dominated all facets of the gaming industry, and Rockstar were at the heart of it.
Every new Grand Theft Auto game sets the tone for the decade that follows and defines an entire generation of games. Similar to GTA, the Red Dead Redemption franchise set the bar extremely high when it comes to storytelling in video games.
As a result, many fans expect Rockstar to usher in a new era of open-world games with GTA 6, redefining what the genre is capable of.
Having said that, the kind of success that Grand Theft Auto 5 achieved is going to be extremely tough to top.
However, if there is one studio that knows exactly how to dig deep and produce monumentally impactful games, it is Rockstar.