GTA 6 is, perhaps, the most talked-about game that hasn't been confirmed for development by a studio or publisher.
The GTA franchise is a brand that could instantly sell billions even if a game had no promotional material or trailer. Rockstar's marketing budget alone could eclipse several indie games' entire development budget.
To those in the video game community, Rockstar has the easiest job in the world. Putting out GTA 6 is a sure-shot way of raking in billions, even if the game has a mixed reception.
Not settling for anything less than a masterpiece or cultural phenomenon is precisely what has made Rockstar the industry juggernaut that it is today.
These are the lofty expectations that a potential GTA 6 will come with.
Why Rockstar’s decision to not announce GTA 6 early is likely to pay off
Many video game developers and industry professionals have described making video games a high-stakes tightrope act and a puzzle simultaneously. The art of making video games is essentially a puzzle, and each puzzle has one single solution.
Every aspect of a game must be on point for it to be received positively and usher in success for the studio and publisher. AAA games bring this kind of pressure across the board, whether it be the art department or motion capture.
Take that pressure and multiply it by a hundred. It would still not represent the kind of pressure Rockstar have to contend with when it comes to a potential GTA 6. Every decision Rockstar makes regarding GTA 6 will come with an avalanche of consequences.
Even the decision to announce GTA 6 as the publisher's next project or confirm its existence in development is a high-stakes game.
The perils of announcing a game far too early
It does not bear repeating, but the example of CD Projekt's Red Cyberpunk 2077 is too apt. CDPR, fresh from the success of two brilliant Witcher games, was riding on a massive wave of momentum. It made sense to capitalize on it.
When The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt was in development in 2013, the studio decided to drop a bombshell by announcing the trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. The game instantly struck a chord with fans and was heralded as the studio's next big RPG masterpiece.
Before development was underway, the team focused on The Witcher 3. The Witcher 3 had an overwhelmingly positive reception. The game quickly became the most awarded game in history and held that title until The Last of Us Part II came about.
In 2020, the audience felt that Cyberpunk 2077 had been in development for a long time and should be up to mark by the time of its release. However, the game was rushed, resulting in one of the biggest disappointments of the year.
GTA 6 and the pressure of being a standard-bearer
Ever since 2002's GTA 3, studios and publishers have looked to Rockstar to push boundaries. Rockstar has continuously put out games that have been used as the yardstick against which every other game is compared to.
Even in 2021, GTA 5 is being compared to other open-world games. This is despite the game turning eight years old soon. The entire gaming industry is looking at Rockstar Games to deliver another masterpiece and usher in a new era of open-world action games.
With that kind of pressure, Rockstar must hold its cards close to its chest when it comes to announcements. After all, studios have only one chance to make a first impression.
GTA 6 will be Rockstar's most highly anticipated game ever. They simply have no room for error. This is why Rockstar needs to hold off on any announcement and only move forward when the game is in a decent state for presentation.
Any fan scrutiny and outrage will be quelled if Rockstar manages to pull off a masterpiece through GTA 6. Rockstar must not let the noise affect the process and focus on making a good game first and foremost.