We get a pretty comprehensive look at the world of GTA 6 and a glance at several of the gameplay conceits. You could spend hours poring over the 90-second trailer. And lots of folks probably have already, including us.
And for good reason. Racking up more than 50 million views in under 10 hours, the GTA 6 trailer is a biggie, that promises a bigger and more detailed world than ever before. Here’s what it tells us about the game.
The trailer was leaked early
Rockstar loves its secrets and can be extremely litigious when its secrecy is threatened. You can barely find much about the massive 2022 GTA 6 leak, because it was all shut down by Rockstar’s legal team. However, the trailer did “leak”, causing it to be posted officially hours before it was meant to be.
We imagine some of the higher-ups at Rockstar HQ aren’t too happy about that.
It’s due out in 2025
The trailer confirms we can expect GTA 6 to arrive in 2025. There’s no month mentioned yet, not least because Rockstar may not be able to pinpoint the release to that extent without risking future delays.
In the past, fans have pored over such trailers and teasers to look for clues on specific dates. The one we found is during a short scene of a police raid, where the body cam potentially displays the date 08-04. In American date orientation, that would be August 4. Does it mean anything? Who knows?
Rockstar Games' titles typically aren't delayed too badly. But the PC version of GTA V had three different release dates, pushed back from January 2015 to April 2015 — a very small delay by today’s standards.
We (probably) know the full title
The trailer suggests the game, much like GTA V, will officially be called Grand Theft Auto VI. There’s no “: Vice City 2” involved here, or any other title ornamentation.
Nor did we expect there would be after a 10-year wait.
It won't be coming to PC (at least, not at first)
Just like Red Dead Redemption 2, PC gamers will have to wait to get their hands on GTA 6. Though no information was released in the trailer about which consoles the game would be coming to, an accompanying press release confirmed it would be released on Xbox X/S and PlayStation 5 first, with no mention of PC at all. The most likely scenario is that PC will follow later. Why? Who knows.
GTA 6 features a woman as a lead character
As has been widely reported, one of GTA 6’s main characters is a woman, Lucia. We see her in prison, and out of it, committing an armed robbery.
“Do you know why you’re here?” the prison counsellor asks her. “Bad luck, I guess,” she replies. The initial impression is she will be more likeable and personable than either Michael or Trevor from GTA V. It’s a welcome change of pace for the franchise, which has often been criticised for its sexualisation and degradation of women. This time around, the vibe looks to be a lot more Bonnie and Clyde, which we’re definitely here for.
It’s part love story
Speaking of Bonnie and Clyde: the other key character we see in the trailer is the woman’s partner. He’s not named (though the Rockstar leaks last year identified him as 'Jason'), but there is a borderline tender, two-second scene of the pair in a bedroom or hotel room. Each says they trust the other before the view jumps to a scene of them bursting in to a shop with guns out, presumably to rob the place.
Prepare for swamps
We already knew GTA 6 was set in Vice City, a fictional take on Miami, Florida. Loosely based on the real-life cities of Miami and Miami Beach and set in the fictional state of Leonidas, it looks gorgeous – and given Rockstar’s penchant for creating massive, detailed open worlds, it’s no surprise the game will feature Everglades-style swamp areas.
In the trailer, we see an airboat careening through a swamp. There are two quick scenes of this area. One is set on a beautiful sun-dappled morning, the other during the day, with dozens of flamingos on-screen at once.
There are alligators (and lots of them)
Swamps mean 'gators, right? On our third watch of the GTA 6 trailer, we started to realise quite how many times alligators pop up in just a 90-second clip.
We see them in the swamp scene, one being pulled out of a swimming pool and another breaking into a shop. Our best bet is there’s a mission where you need to tangle with one of these giant reptiles.
There are drones
GTA 6 features drones. No one should be surprised by this, but you can see one hanging around above people’s heads in a brief beach scene.
This may recall one of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s most infamous missions, Demolition Man. It featured the 2002 equivalent of modern drones, a remote-controlled helicopter that players had to use to plant bombs across a building. It was tricky.
There are working container ships
One conversation that used to surround the earlier 3D GTA games was, “what new vehicles are we going to get to drive?” That largely died down since San Andreas let us ride pretty much everything.
However, we did notice a scene where we get to see a beautiful aerial scene above a highway snaking over the sea. This acts as a one-screen summary of the types of vehicles you may get to captain.
The largest are giant luxury yachts and massive container ships. We see a couple of the latter moving through the water, suggesting they won’t be only sedentary dock-bound things, and that we may get to control one (and no doubt run it onto a beach).
GTA 6 is social media-drenched
The phone (or pager) has been a big thing in Grand Theft Auto since the series began. But GTA 6 is going to go heavy on social media. The franchise's reputation for withering social commentary is well known – it examined Silicon Valley culture in GTA V, and cast an illegal immigrant as its hero in GTA IV – and the same looks true here. This time, social media culture looks to be in its sights.
We counted nine mini scenes of social posts, similar to what you might see on Instagram or TikTok. These may be used to relay what’s going on around the city, and to let you see the consequences of your actions without necessarily moving to a full cutscene.
These screens also show direct messages and “like” buttons, suggesting social networking may be how GTA 6 lets you communicate with other characters.
Expect quad bike and monster truck mud racing
GTA 6 is going to feature monster trucks and, we’d bet a pack of Maltesers on it, mud-soaked racing sessions with both these trucks and quad bikes. You can see these vehicles just before the one-minute mark, on what looks to us like a muddy race track.
This is nothing new, of course. GTA games have race areas, which occasionally tie into missions.
The foliage rendering is on another level
Our first impressions of GTA 6’s visuals are super-positive, mostly based on how dense everything looks at times. There’s just so much foliage, so many flamingos, or so many people, crammed onto the screen at one time.
Head back and look at the bayou swamp scene, the club or the beach. They’re packed, and this density will likely be used to make Vice City feel vibrant and alive.
...But we’re not seeing full ray tracing
We’re not experts, but we are not seeing too much evidence of full ray-traced lighting in the trailer. This is where the path of light is modelled, resulting in far more accurate shadows and reflections than you get with other techniques.
Judging by a quick analysis of the shadows cast by people and street lights, those found under cars, and the reflections in water and on car paint jobs, ray tracing is used only in some of the trailer’s scenes, if any.
There are some missing shadows here and there. And, in the scene depicting a high-rise apartment pool, there's little sense of the transference of the colour of light seen in a full ray tracing implementation (the glass has a blue-green tint that does not affect the cast light). However, it does look fantastic, and this trailer is unlikely to be indicative of the game’s final visual quality.
The comedy may not have grown up that much
Has Grand Theft Auto grown up in GTA 6? The implementation of a female character with at least a superficial veneer of depth is something, but some of the series’s cheeky “satire” is on show here.
One of the social media shots appears to be a take-off of the “Karen” trend; we see an old guy in a G-string watering his garden and there’s a giant roadside billboard advertising a fictional antidepressant (Angstipan, America’s favourite dissociative. Tagline: it cures emotions!). All of this stuff is very, very GTA.