Ready to feel like time is moving too quickly? Here we go. It has been about four years since Grand Theft Auto V was first released. That’s a whole console generation ago. While it was the big dog of open world games for many years, one has to wonder if its possible for Rockstar Games to keep that up. With the evolution of such titles over even the last year, could a GTA VI have enough unique elements to keep people engrossed and guarantee it its open world crown?
It may seem sacrilegious to even question such a thing. Rockstar Games is one of the founders of the open world concept. Grand Theft Auto, Bully, Red Dead, and Midnight Club all show the company has a handle on creating large worlds for players to enjoy and explore. But, these were a rarity in the early 2000’s. Now, most major games and series attempt to do the same things, perhaps even on larger and more interactive scales, which could force a series like GTA to adapt.
Let’s use Watch Dogs 2 as an example. After a bumpy start, it implemented multiplayer that people can hop into at any time. It doesn’t detract from the main story. It just gives you an opportunity to work with or against other people who also happen to be exploring an urban environment and taking part in activities of questionable legality. You know, like GTA. Except, the online isn’t walled off into its own realm, like GTA Online. It’s cohesive and works together rather well. (Well, when the online is working.) This is one game Rockstar may want to keep in mind when it comes to a GTA VI.
Another game to consider is Horizon: Zero Dawn. I know, it’s odd to bring up a science fiction game set in a wilderness and try to see how it could impact a GTA game, but there are absolutely pointers Rockstar Games could take. For example, AI. Horizon: Zero Dawn has some rather great enemy AI, with the machine creatures having varied behavioral patterns. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that come up with GTA enemies? Maybe also bring up the same sort of variety in combat, so we aren’t relying on guns to shoot everything dead? A little nuance, like the sort we see in Horizon: Zero Dawn, would be appreciated.
Even Final Fantasy XV could rub off on a future GTA. We know the GTA series has always encouraged us to pursue silly sidequests that offered slice-of-life activities to our characters. What if it took that a step further and rewarded us for such efforts? What if we ended up seeing more tangible rewards and effects on our characters for doing something like cooking and eating? Maybe implement a photo mode mechanic that offered some kind of bonus for taking good shots which we could either share or use within the game for some sort of purpose.
If and when the next Grand Theft Auto appears, I’m sure it’ll show the same sort of detail and dedication as all of Rockstar Games’ titles. But, the company has to take into consideration the advancements made by other developers. It has to keep contemporaries in mind to ensure its open world games remain at the head of the pack.