Well, it should probably be no surprise that it was going to happen, but the first Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer is here. And it’s earlier than we expected. Rockstar Games was all set for the first official look of its next open-world console crime saga to debut on 5 December at 2pm GMT. But when a game is this hotly anticipated, it was bound to leak.
But rather than letting eager fans watch a dodgy-quality version, the studio has just decided to drop the 90-second trailer for everyone else to watch. And to say that it’s exciting is an understatement.
As you undoubtedly watch this thing over and over, here are six immediate things we’ve gleaned from the first Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer.
Vice Vice Baby
If the the big four-letter sign that flashes up wasn’t enough of a giveaway, the sixth numbered game in the series is officially returning to the Miami-inspired Vice City that first featured in the PS2 game over two decades ago. Even the roman numerals conveniently spell the first two letters of the location.
But while that game was an 80s-set period piece riffing on bright neon colours, fashion and music, this version of Vice City looks set to be in the present day, even if it still makes a nod to that era with Tom Petty’s Love is a Long Road soundtracking the trailer.
One thing is certain though. As seen in the sweeping views of the camera overlooking the beaches, high-rise apartments, and busy roads, this is looking to be a much larger and more richly realised version of Vice City. Indeed, Rockstar has confirmed the actual setting is the state of Leonida, a fictional version of Florida, meaning the game will go beyond the city and into more rural and natural environments, which we see a sneak glimpse of in the Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer.
Lucia and… Clyde?
GTA officially has its first female protagonist in its campaign, and from our first glimpse her name is Lucia, a Latina woman just fresh out of a prison sentence. While we don’t know what she was in for, when her parole officer asks her, she dryly replies, “Bad luck?”
She however won’t be the only playable protagonist it seems, as she’s later joined by an as-yet unnamed male character. We’re definitely getting Bonnie and Clyde vibes in their relationship, especially towards the end as she talks to him in bed, saying “the only way we’re gonna get through this is by sticking together, being a team. Trust?”
All GTA games have had a progression arc that involves characters working their way up from the smalltime to building their own criminal empire. We certainly get a hint of the former as the pair are shown holding up a liquor store in the closing shot. But could this relationship that ties the two characters together also mean we might get the most human story in a GTA game, leads that we might actually care about who aren’t just raging psychopaths? Cautiously optimistic.
Six is a crowd
When a new trailer drops, you can never be sure how much of it is honest-to-god genuine in-game graphics or just CG, although scripted cut scenes like what’s shown predominantly in this trailer tends to mean the visuals really get tailored specifically. But the real wow factor is the crowd density.
We’re not just talking about the small crowds that usually populate most games. The beaches, night clubs, or just the sides of the roads are teeming with people of all shapes and sizes hanging out and doing their own thing. If the AI of pedestrians in GTA 5 was already well ahead of its time, our mind just boggles at how even more realistic and reactive GTA 6’s Vice City dwellers will behave. Some of them certainly look like they’re doubling down on those Florida man memes…or I guess we should call it Leonida man here.
It’s not just people, but creatures look likely to play a significant part in GTA 6’s gameplay too, which would be a natural evolution from the systems in Red Dead Redemption 2 and make sense if the map beyond Vice City covers more natural environments. We also saw a lot of this in Los Santos’ real estate from GTA 5.
In the trailer, you can already spot flocks of birds, flamingoes, even a small pod of dolphins in the sea. But the most eye-catching creatures are the gators, who are just casually turning up in someone’s pool or barging into a convenience store. If you can actually manipulate these reptiles in helping your crimes, that sounds like a hell of a time.
Being set in the modern day, the most zeitgeisty thing about GTA 6 is undoubtedly a strong presence of social media with TikTok-style videos and live streams with comments popping off is interweaved with more traditional cinematics and news report footage.
Phones have played a part in GTA games with a few functions, including the ability to take and upload in-game photos to Rockstar’s own Social Club network, but we can imagine GTA 6 will embrace streaming culture in a whole new way. Does that mean you’re going to be playing a couple of TikTok criminals posting videos of their robberies for the likes? Or maybe as a means to find other characters and gangs out in the world? Given the dumpster fire of social media, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s something Rockstar wants to riff on.
Maybe the most important thing to learn from the trailer is just when can we expect to play GTA 6? After waiting a decade, it might be disappointing to learn that the game won’t be set for next year but rather in 2025. Unfortunately, that’s all it says, with no indication of when in that year, though a late holiday release would not be a surprise.
Rockstar has also added that this is the release window for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, meaning a PC release will be most likely be coming afterwards. That is typical of past GTA releases, though it will no doubt be a disappointment that the version that is going to inevitably be superior in terms of visuals and content from modders is the one you’ll have to be the most patient for. But hey, at least you’ve got this trailer you can keep rewatching for now.