After eight years since the last entry and several years of rumors, fans have recently suspected the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto 6 is getting announced soon (yet again). Although the new Grand Theft Auto is little more than a rumor, there have been some hints that suggest Rockstar is already preparing the next entry in the franchise. So far, everything seems to point to a GTA set in the '80s because there have been many references to Grand Theft Auto Vice City keeping the rumors alive.
Even though Rockstar has not made any announcements, fans have started theorizing about the next installment of the franchise. Many have started to connect the dots, and with just a job listing in Rockstar India, some have concluded that Grand Theft Auto 6 is connected to its Vice City installment which could mean that the game is returning to that era. Even though a nostalgic GTA is an interesting idea, is this really the best course of action taking into account the target audience?
These last years have been eventful, to say the least, and the Grand Theft Auto franchise could take advantage of what has been going on in the last few years to give the game a fresh feel. As far as historical context goes for a game like Grand Theft Auto, it just seems like players would feel more connected to a story that takes place in their own time.
This is not to say that the '80s were not an interesting time to explore, as there seems to be a good amount of players born in the '80s who play Grand Theft Auto in that setting. Nevertheless, it might be in Rockstar's best interest to try to grab the attention of newer generations, and it is hard to do so when the historical context seems too distant from their own (even when it's not). Besides understanding some references to Nixon, there does not seem to be much that current generations would really feel connected to.
There is something that the 1980s have definitely going on for them: the fact that the era is known for the drug and crime scene. Still, Grand Theft Auto's missions are all about criminal activities in general, and that is something that can still be accounted for today. Even more, there are many other ways to take GTA missions and add a modern twist in a more relatable way than relying on the 1980s to tell that story.
The 1980s' outfits and general aesthetic is probably the one thing that is most easily identifiable to this day. Some of the fashion that characterized the '80s has resurfaced in recent years, so this is the most exploitable element a game like Grand Theft Auto could take advantage of. The neon colors and excess hairspray could admittedly make interesting characters, but then again, is that enough to get new players interested in Grand Theft Auto?
It is not like the 2020s have any lack of subcultures with easily recognizable aesthetics that could be incorporated in a game like Grand Theft Auto, without any real risk of feeling outdated. In terms of character design, it seems like turning to modern trends could actually produce much more versatile and interesting characters than including old GTA references. Of course, this would immediately make characters a little more relatable than referencing people from a 40-year-old era.
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