Grand Theft Auto 6 is said to be two years off at least, but the biggest news is that it’s being made under improved conditions and features a female protagonist. A new report by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg has all the details.
The report mainly centers around the changes Rockstar has undergone since the company was revealed to have had poor working conditions. Developers were working under constant crunch, where they were said to have had a “frat-house” style of operations, teams worked 100-hour weeks just to finish Red Dead Redemption 2.
Once word got out of how bad the situation was, Rockstar implemented changes to improve working conditions within the company as a way to “reinvent” themselves as a more progressive workplace, while extending that to the game’s content. The report states that Grand Theft Auto 6 will include the series’ first playable, female protagonist — a Latina — as one of the lead characters; to which they’d be a Bonnie and Clyde style of a duo.
The map for the game was originally planned to feature “large swaths of North and South America” but Rockstar has opted to scale down the size to help make development of the game more manageable. The location would be focused on modern day Miami, or Vice City, with plans for the surrounding areas to be expanded over time.
Another progressive change would be that the GTA6 developers are actively avoiding jokes that “punch down” towards marginalized groups. In the same vein, Rockstar reportedly had plans to introduce a “Cops & Robbers” style of game mode in GTA Online but canned it in response to the murder of George Floyd by the police.
Other changes at Rockstar include a new flexitime policy in which employees can take time off immediately with respect to the extra time spent working on projects. The gender pay gap has also been narrowed as well as hiring additional producers to make sure workloads are better managed.
These changes have not gone smoothly though, for instance the increased amount of producers has caused miscommunication within the teams over who to follow and do tasks for. Some teams felt like they were waiting around just to communicate through middlemen, in order to get things done; or that they were being managed by multiple people, resulting in teams being unsure of who should be making final decisions.
Because of this, some of the staff have expressed their frustration over the increased time of development as well as the fact that GTA 6 remains to be a couple of years away despite being in some form of production state since 2014. Rockstar isn’t worried though, the success of GTA5 has allowed them to do better within the company as well as make compromises that would help move development along.
Among those compromises was the decision to shelve any future updates on Red Dead Redemption 2. The decision was made with the idea behind moving all working assets towards developing GTA 6. If you’d like to read more about that, you can check it out here.