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What we learned from the first trailer for GTA VI

The debut trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI has been released, offering fans their first official look at the long-awaited sequel.

More than 10 years after the last instalment hit shop shelves, developer Rockstar finally showed off what it’s been working on after the footage leaked on social media.

Sky News combed through the 91-second teaser to glean as many details as we can – here’s what we’ve learned.

The wait will go on

We’ll start at the end, with the trailer closing out with confirmation the game won’t arrive until 2025.

That’ll make it 12 years since the release of GTA V, which has sold an astonishing 185 million copies. It’s by far the longest gap between entries in the franchise.

Fitting then that Rockstar picked Tom Petty‘s Love Is A Long Road as the backing track for the trailer.

But look at this way: you’ve already waited a decade… what’s another one or two years?

GTA returns to Vice City. Pic: Rockstar
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GTA returns to Vice City, its fictionalised Miami, for the first time since 2002

Return to Vice City

Previous leaks claimed GTA would be returning to Vice City and the trailer confirmed it.

Rockstar’s fictionalised take on Miami hasn’t appeared in a mainline instalment since GTA: Vice City in 2002.

That game was set in 1986 and wore its Scarface influences on its sleeve, but the next entry follows GTA IV and V (which were set in New York and Los Angeles) in going for a contemporary setting.

GTA VI's rammed beaches. Pic: Rockstar
Sun-soaked beaches are a feature of the trailer. Pic: Rockstar
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Sun-soaked beaches are a feature of the trailer

Rockstar’s Florida looks to be called Leonida, based on a shot from a Fox News-style news channel.

The trailer suggests players will be able to explore beyond the sun-soaked streets of the city, though, with other locations resembling the real state’s Everglades and South Beach also spotted.

No sign of Disney World, though…

Locations resembling Florida's Everglades are seen. Pic: Rockstar
Image:
Locations resembling Florida’s Everglades are seen

The first female protagonist

Another detail that emerged from prior leaks was that GTA VI would boast the series’ first female protagonist.

The trailer seems to confirm that’s the case, specifically a character named Lucia. She appears to start the game in prison trying to get out, and is later joined by an apparent male co-lead.

Lucia. Pic: Rockstar
The trailer opens with Lucia in prison. Pic: Rockstar
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The trailer opens with Lucia in prison…

GTA VI has been mooted as having a Bonnie and Clyde-style story, and the trailer doesn’t dampen those reports.

There are certainly hints of romance, and it feels significant that the trailer – which doesn’t skimp on crazy set pieces (more on those next) – chooses to open and close on intimate conversations between characters.

Rockstar’s last game was the almost shockingly mature and well-written western epic Red Dead Redemption 2, so perhaps some of that will rub off on GTA.

Pic: Rockstar Games
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…but she gets out… and is joined by a friend

Satirising modern America

Rockstar has always been known for poking fun at life in the US, from excessive consumer culture and gun laws to gender politics and the banality of daytime radio.

Given quite how wild a ride the real world has been on since the last game came out, there was more curiosity than ever about how the writers could begin to satire America in 2023.

Pic: Rockstar Games
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GTA VI retains the franchise’s interest in US car culture

The trailer leans heavily on society’s obsession with social media, with pedestrians consistently seen on their phones filming wild behaviour befitting of any good “Florida man does [INSERT CRAZY THING HERE]” news report.

Florida man…
…survives hurricane by floating on sofa
…dies in gator-filled lake while looking for frisbees
…tries to reach London in makeshift hamster wheel

We see car chases, someone twerking on top of a vehicle, an alligator breaking into a corner shop, and plenty more quick cuts of wacky hi jinks fans have come to expect.

TikTok-like livestreams are seen throughout – that platform was years from launching when GTA V released.

A big step forward in tech

Inevitably, the sheer length of time between GTA V and VI means the jump in visual quality is substantial.

The last game debuted on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – that’s two entire PlayStations and Xboxes ago!

And as previously mentioned, the franchise hasn’t been to Vice City in more than 20 years.

GTA VI’s depiction of the city looks absolutely stacked with detail, whether in outdoor locations like traffic-laden highways and bustling beaches, or the insides of nightclubs, bars, and shops.

Pic: Rockstar Games
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The trailer boasts exquisitely detailed locations…

The world will no doubt be as vast as it is detailed and there seem to be plenty of ways to get around, including cars, speed boats, helicopters, quad bikes, and lorries.

Character models are also exquisitely detailed – one man even has visible acne scars.

If that’s not a sign of how far video games have come, I don’t know what is.

Pic: Rockstar Games
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…and characters

What next?

Based on the promotional cycle for GTA V, it could be another decent wait for more news on the next game.

The last entry was first announced in October 2011 and a trailer was released the following month.

But the next trailer didn’t arrive until April 2013, followed by a deeper look at gameplay footage in July, and then a launch trailer marking the game’s eventual release in September.

We also know nothing yet about GTA’s next online mode, which is one of the reasons the last game has had such incredible longevity.

Rockstar will likely take their time in sharing more. Unless, of course, the leakers beat them to it once again.

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