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GTA 6 Production Reportedly Falling Behind, Rockstar Urges Staff To Return To Office To Avoid Delay [Update]

Grand Theft Auto VI is likely one of the most anticipated games in history, with millions of players around the world waiting for any scrap of info or screenshot of the upcoming open-world crime simulator. However, as remote workers struggle with an unwanted return-to-office mandate from Rockstar Games, Kotaku has learned from sources with knowledge of the game’s development process that GTA 6 could miss its 2025 release window and slip into 2026.

You Should Play Grand Theft Auto III Before GTA VI | Total Recall

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Updated: 03/26/2024, 12:55 p.m. ET: Kotaku has now heard from more sources that while early 2025 was at one point possible, it’s no longer the target for Grand Theft Auto VI’s launch.

As for why some believed this was the case, it seems this information was out-of-date and a symptom of Rockstar Games’ tightening security and communication within the company. I’m told not everyone is always on the same page or kept up to date across the various departments and teams. Personally, I can confirm it’s become harder to nail down details since the leaks.

However, the majority of sources were certain that early 2025 is no longer possible. Instead, the target is firmly “Fall 2025” and while most seem confident of hitting that date, I’m still told there is a possibility of a delay, as previously reported.

Original story continues below

Officially unveiled in December 2023 (after a massive 2022 leak) GTA 6 is the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2013’s GTA V. Over a decade after that game’s release—and its massive, still-growing sales numbers—Rockstar Games is hard at work on the sequel, which is set in Vice City, a fictional take on Miami, Florida. The game is set to come to PS5 and Xbox Series sometime in 2025, and internally that’s still the plan. Kotaku was told by sources with knowledge of the situation that “early 2025” is currently the goal.

However, Kotaku has also learned that it’s becoming more and more likely that the sequel might not land until late 2025. It’s also possible that it could even slip into 2026 as production reportedly falls behind.

Rockstar Games

In February, following numerous leaks, Bloomberg reported that Rockstar Games was mandating its employees to return to work five days a week in the office beginning in April. The short notice and drastic change caught many by surprise and has led to frustration from staff who feel like they are being pushed out after being hired remotely, as reported by Aftermath on March 19.

While security and quality are reportedly the main reasons Rockstar is instituting the mandate to return to the office, I was told by sources—who wish to remain anonymous to avoid possible retaliation—that development on GTA 6 has started “falling behind.” I’m told this has leadership at Rockstar nervous and worried about the game missing the 2025 window and slipping into 2026, and is another big reason the company is pushing for a return to the office in April.

At the moment, I’m told that Rockstar is still “aiming” for GTA 6 to arrive in Spring 2025. While an early 2025 release is the goal, sources say they aren’t sure if this will happen and a Fall 2025 launch seems more plausible and feasible. Meanwhile, delaying the game to 2026 is on the table as a sort of “fallback plan” or “emergency” option if needed.

And of course, it should be noted—and I was reminded when talking to folks about this situation—that Rockstar Games historically waits until the “last minute” to make changes or alter plans, so the next trailer for the game—no word on when to expect that—might not reflect a delay as the company pushes forward on development.

Kotaku has contacted Rockstar Games

Speaking to Aftermath, one employee shared concerns that after improving over the last few years, Rockstar Games could slide back into dev crunch as GTA VI enters the final part of its long development.

“We’re concerned about going back to that,” said one Rockstar employee to Aftermath.

“I’ve been through a couple of projects, both of which had crunch. The first one was extremely difficult. I had way less gray hair back then. … We want to continue the strides we’ve made as a company to remove that toxic culture.”

Even if the game is internally pushed back until late 2025 or is publicly delayed until 2026, that doesn’t mean workers—who are being forced to return to the office against their wishes—won’t have to crunch. In fact, sometimes delays just mean more crunch. Regardless, it’s clear that GTA 6’s final year or so of development won’t be easy or quick as the company aims for early 2025.

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