There may not be a more anticipated game right now than Grand Theft Auto VI. With 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V being one of the best-selling games of all time (and seeing a multitude of re-releases), fans are clearly more than ready for the next installment in the series. The long wait has just gotten worse as around 90 early gameplay videos for this new title were recently leaked.
Obviously, big questions have been raised about where GTA VI will take the franchise. While some would like to see the franchise continue to move in a modern direction to make it feel more like a “sequel,” others were more interested in the prospect of returning to past locations and time periods to feel more like a “prequel.” . Here are six reasons why we think Grand Theft Auto VI should move forward and become a sequel rather than a prequel.
Prequels play out
Video game prequels have become commonplace in today’s gaming industry. In the last six years alone, franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, Fallout, Pokémon and Red Dead Redemption have taken a step backwards and released new mainline entries as prequels. While they can be good, video game prequels often feel like unnecessary additions to franchises that should be further developed.
In the case of Grand Theft Auto, the games have an overarching canon, but the stories are largely independent. You don’t have to play one game to play the others in the series, as they always focus on a new cast in a new location. While the franchise consistently features compelling characters, in the current video game climate there’s not much reason to waste the resources you’d allocate to a main game on a prequel.
Save the prequels for the side games
Against this background, prequels could definitely work in the form of side games as before. 2005’s Liberty City Stories and 2006’s Vice City Stories served as prequels to Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, respectively. They were compelling titles for the PSP that took minor characters from their respective games and managed to create polished titles with them.
Although the games were well made, they operated on a much smaller scale than their respective home console counterparts. If Rockstar were to adopt the prequel approach, it would be best to do so in the form of a smaller side project. Additionally, in the current world of DLCs and expansions, a Grand Theft Auto prequel could be released as an expansion to an existing game in due course.
What would a prequel do differently than the other games?
Grand Theft Auto VI is under enormous pressure, perhaps more than almost any other upcoming game right now. Because Grand Theft Auto V was so popular, this sequel must find a way to not only live up to its predecessor, but also further innovate it. It’s hard for any franchise to make it to the sixth main installment, but it’s even harder to stay fresh once you’ve reached the much-lauded sixth title.
Taking a step back in time would potentially limit gameplay as characters would have fewer resources with which to manipulate weapons and vehicles, for example. Grand Theft Auto has always benefited from the sheer amount of content that allows players to create their own adventure, but a prequel could limit the power and amount of resources it can experiment with. With fewer opportunities for players and characters to engage in the game, the sixth entry could perhaps end up feeling like a major retread of its predecessor if they opt for the prequel approach.
Rockstar can do a more modern satire
Another important thing Grand Theft Auto is known for is its social satire. While the games often tell very serious stories with well-developed characters, they also address the socio-political climate of their respective times. However, since Grand Theft Auto has been played over several decades, returning to an earlier time period might feel like a desperate attempt to recapture something that perhaps felt a little dated.
A modern Grand Theft Auto game would be something players could relate to, as its satirical take on current culture will feel immediately familiar to younger adults jumping into the series for the first time. And even though GTA V took place in the then-modern setting of 2013, enough time has passed that Rockstar now has a lot to mock. Therefore, a return to an earlier decade may not hit as hard as in the past.
A new environment would make things feel fresh
Early reports – and the gameplay leaks mentioned above – suggest that Grand Theft Auto VI is on the way a modern return to a classic setting: Vice City. However, other reports suggest that the game could have multiple locations and can partly take place in South America. This would be a refreshing place that could provide a nice change of pace for the series.
While Grand Theft Auto has often had success with a large open world, giving players the ability to travel to several different locations would be a smart change. It could keep the game feeling fresh over a long playtime by adding variety to the level design while also making changes to gameplay depending on which particular area the player is in. This could be a huge addition to the game, pushing it to the extreme and giving the franchise another generation-defining title.
Clarify some open questions
Since GTA V has a long history of success, the cast has become fond of many players, including the main characters Franklin, Michael and Travis. So if GTA 6 goes down the sequel route, we could see this chaotic group once again, hopefully giving us an idea of what happened to them. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, as previous Grand Theft Auto characters have been brought back or discussed in various conversations.
The playable characters’ voice actors have also added more fuel to the fire by teasing their return. During one interview As for Ned Luke and Shawn Fonteno, the actors have neither confirmed nor denied Franklin and Michael’s comeback, so there’s no telling if and possibly when it might happen.
But what do you think? Should GTA VI try to be a true sequel? Or should Rockstar take a step back into the time machine and make this game a prequel? Tell us what you think in the comments!