GTA VI, the most anticipated video game of all time


Released on December 5, 2023 and accumulating 150 million views in three weeks, the first trailer for the Grand Theft Auto VI video game has become iconic for gamers around the world, eager to experience this game considered the most anticipated of all the temperature. This trailer is the most viewed video on YouTube in 24 hours , with approximately 93 million views, excluding music videos, with only two clips from South Korean group BTS having done better.

This GTA VI trailer is also the most liked on YouTube, video games, series and films combined , which demonstrates the satisfaction and enthusiasm of the fans. They are on the lookout for the slightest information regarding the game and many rumors circulate which are sometimes very difficult to verify. Already in September 2022, when an 18-year-old hacker leaked 90 GTA VI videos on forums, this produced endless debates and sometimes very far-fetched speculation .

Elaborate and addictive gameplay in a sulphurous universe

The origin of GTA dates back to 1987 with the creation of the DMA Design studio by David Jones, a 22-year-old computer engineer and programmer. He and his team would quickly create several popular games including Lemmings . With developer Mike Dailly , they take on the challenge of programming a virtual city, a parallel open world in which police officers and gangsters clash. However, after several weeks of testing, the developers realized that playing law-abiding police officers wasn’t much fun and decided to focus the game on gangsters.

In 1995, David Scott Jones presented Race’n Chace to brothers Sam and Dan Houser of BMG Interactive who saw the potential of a game about criminals reserved for adults and agreed to launch the game but under the name Grand Theft Auto . They recruit publicist Max Clifford to warn the media and politicians of the upcoming release of a violent and immoral game, which creates a huge bad buzz and gives a sulphurous image to GTA , which is promoted massively and for free by the press.

Prohibited to those under 18, Grand Theft Auto was released on November 28, 1997 on PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64 and Gameboy Color. Thanks to the scandal, its universe and its technical qualities, it exceeded two million copies sold . Players can play as one of eight criminal characters and complete increasingly difficult and lucrative missions for the mafia of Liberty City, a fictional version of New York. They are then sent to San Andreas (San Francisco) and Vice City (Miami).

Future versions of GTA will become increasingly sophisticated and violent, with players encouraged to cause maximum destruction and carnage with new weapons and vehicles. A true revolution in the world of video games, GTA III , designed specifically to benefit from the capabilities of the PlayStation 2, will mark the franchise’s transition to 3D with much greater narrative sophistication and visual design. Freedoms are even more important in a world of infinite possibilities and lives and a game that has no end .

The GTA franchise contributed greatly to the development of open worlds , where characters can go anywhere instead of following a prescribed path, and do anything instead of being limited to certain actions. This encourages players to let off steam by committing crimes and offenses that are not part of the base missions, fueling the debate on the relationship between virtual and real violence .

After several successive acquisitions, the game publishers joined the Take-Two Interactive group under the name Rockstar Games , a division led by the Houser brothers. They will together produce all editions of GTA from the third until Dan’s departure in 2020. Sam is still today the president of Rockstar Games and executive producer of GTA VI . David Jones left in 2000 to found several successive gaming companies: Realtime Worlds, nWay, Reagent Games, and Denki.

The extraordinary performances of GTA V

Contrary to what its name suggests, GTA V is the seventh main installment in the Grand Theft Auto video game series , and the fifteenth release overall. At the time of its release in 2013, GTA V was the most expensive game ever produced , with a budget of $265 million. The game , designed like a film , takes place in Los Santos, an impressive virtual copy of Los Angeles, in an atmosphere that always mixes hip-hop, criminal networks, and parody of American society.

Despite this considerable development cost, GTA V is the most profitable cultural product of all time, far ahead of the second, James Cameron’s film Avatar . Sold more than 190 million copies , it generated more than eight billion dollars in revenue, including a billion in the first three days. In total, 410 million game units of the GTA series have been sold, all versions combined.

However, GTA V is not the best-selling video game, coming second behind Minecraft and its 300 million copies. It should also be noted that the global phenomenon Fortnite , released in 2017 and which brings together 236 million monthly active players, generated $26 billion in revenue at the end of 2022. However, this is thanks to microtransactions of virtual item purchases from a multitude of franchises, and not thanks to the sale of the game itself which is free.

It may seem surprising that a video game reserved for an informed audience and whose universe is quite exclusive becomes both a real reference and a blockbuster . The popularity of GTA V has been amplified by the explosion of streaming, with thousands of viewers congregating on Twitch and YouTube channels dedicated to the game. As of September 2023, live streams have been viewed by 152,000 concurrent viewers on average. GTA V ‘s creative modes allow you to personalize your avatar, create your own adventures, make a film, or simulate a virtual life.

GTA V is a game with exceptional longevity that has been adapted for three different generations of consoles: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, then PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the latest generation of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. For this latest launch in 2020, seven years after the game’s release, 20 million copies were sold. This latest update benefits from hyper-realistic graphics with revolutionary effects of shadows, reflections, transparency and textures. GTA V is still one of the games with the most monthly users today, just behind Fortnite and Call of Duty .

GTA VI , a social phenomenon before its release

GTA VI will be a return to basics: the game takes place in Vice City , in the Leonida region, a city inspired by Miami in Florida already present in the first version. Rockstar Games is also riding the fascination aroused by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City released in 2003, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories released in 2014. In addition to conquering a new generation of gamers, GTA VI seeks to capitalize on the nostalgia of adults who played old versions of GTA during their teenage years.

The GTA VI trailer refers to numerous news items, the deviances of American society, and memes from geek culture such as the woman with the two hammers, the alligator in the swimming pool, the twerking on the roof of a car, the naked man chased by a police officer, the Florida joker and the yellow Oldsmobile in front of the Avalon Hotel in Miami. The sheer number of views is no doubt partly due to people trying to identify all the Easter eggs hidden in the video.

GTA VI appears to center around a female character, Lucia, who will be partnered with Jason in a modern version of “Bonnie and Clyde” . It will therefore be a first for GTA to have a playable female character, and even a possible romance between the two protagonists depending on the player’s choices. The prosocial relationship established with these characters will continue on social media, with these characters appearing developed to also be virtual influencers .

You will have to wait at least a year and the year 2025 to play GTA VI , that is to say 12 years after the launch of GTA V. The publisher Rockstar Games has reportedly specially developed a new version of its game engine , the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine 9 (RAGE 9), which would achieve a level of realism never seen before  :

  • a quality of sharpness and precision of the landscapes near and far which makes the game extremely immersive;
  • a specific chronology with alternating days and nights, sunrises and sunsets;
  • striking lighting effects, particularly at night with artificial lighting;
  • real meteorology with rain, winds, clouds, and lightning, as well as their respective consequences on the environment;
  • real-time simulated water, steam, mud and sand physics;
  • a very high density of animals: dogs, cats, deer, flamingos, dolphins, alligators, sea turtles, etc.;
  • ultra-precise and specific deformation of vehicles during accidents;
  • a proliferation of photo-realistic non-player characters animated by artificial intelligence who interact with each other;
  • the bodies and clothing of the characters are much more polished, especially the skin, hair, eyes, accessories and jewelry.

GTA VI could cost two billion dollars to develop, eight times more than GTA V and twenty times more than GTA IV . Rockstar Games is therefore devoting colossal resources to the creation of GTA VI which would become the most expensive game ahead of Red Dead Redemption II which required 500 million dollars of investment and which was developed by… Rockstar Games. GTA VI could well bring in a billion dollars in 24 hours and even be profitable in the first week.

Author Bio: Oihab Allal-Chérif is a Business Professor at Neoma Business School