Grand Theft Auto 5 and its online counterpart (which is very much the dominant part at this point) must count among the most-milked games of all time. It’s had multiple full-price iterations across three console generations, in a phenomenon that makes me glad to be a PC gamer, where we have just the one version that we can mod and muck around with to our desired standards.
But in light of Rockstar confirming that Grand Theft Auto 6 is now in development, perhaps the series is finally ready to move on. This has been echoed by Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, who in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz said that the series can’t stay stuck in the past.
“You always have to be willing to be fresh,” Zelnick said. “You always have to be willing to bring consumers what they want. The minute you try to protect the past, you become irrelevant.”
He added that he’s “thrilled” that Rockstar is working on a new GTA game, and also went on to say that, despite their endless setbacks, NFTs are a legitimate thing. “We believe that NFTs are real, and why wouldn’t they be? We believe in digital goods and we’ve been selling digital goods for a very long time,” he said. “We believe in rare goods, we believe in collectibles. The concern we have is that there’s a speculation going on.”
So we have a new GTA to look forward to, but will the online version be the NFT-driven dystopian metaverse, just like the big tech sages foretold?
There’s also a fair bit of irony to be drawn from Zelnick’s statement about not protecting the past. The GTA: Trilogy Definitive Edition “significantly exceeded our commercial expectations,” according to Zelnick, despite being a sloppy bundle of remastered PS2-era games, and in March Rockstar are launching yet another version of Grand Theft Auto V for current-gen consoles. Rehashing past games is very much part of Rockstar’s whole deal, so it’s difficult to say whether Zelnick’s words are just corporate bluster, or a sign of change.