In some ways, the wait for Grand Theft Auto 6‘s release (or even just its reveal and release date) has been a plague on gaming. Millions and millions of fans are rightfully excited for the next GTA game. However, you sometimes get the sense that GTA 6 is the only game that legions of GTA bros truly care about. That desire for one game and one game only has sparked a fervor that has only grown wilder and more powerful in the 10+ years since GTA 5‘s release.
It seems like every month (if not every week) brings some new leak or rumor regarding GTA 6‘s release or reveal. Some of those reports (like leaked development footage that was released last year) are genuine and substantial. Most are utter nonsense that are too often elevated by those looking to exploit the interest of GTA 6 fans who are rapidly turning into some of the most prolific online conspiracy theorists (which is no small feat).
However, the latest GTA 6 release date rumor may be the craziest yet. Mind you, that’s not because it’s the most absurd but rather because you too might just be desperate enough for a GTA 6 update to kind of buy into it.
This particular rumor started when Rockstar released this promotional image for GTA Online‘s Moon Festival update:
If you are like many GTA fans, you may have noticed that the Vinewood sign in that photo is framed in such a way as to isolate the letters “V” and “I.” Of course, V and I form the Roman numeral VI, and GTA games have long used Roman numerals in their titles. Put these simple pieces together, and you’ll understand why this photo got some thinking of GTA VI.
However, some fans weren’t content with accepting this as a coincidence or playful nod. Instead, they began to put together other pieces of a puzzle that likely never existed to begin with. Most notably, some looked at the design of the moon in that photo and noticed that it resembled a moon phase that was scheduled to occur in early October. Others began tracking the history of prior Rockstar reveals for additional information. Put it all together, and you end up with…this:
Right, so that blatant “VI” visual, the position of the moon, and the history of prior Rockstar reveals clearly means that GTA 6 will be revealed today, October 3, 2023. Of course, that hasn’t happened as of the time of this writing, and, at the risk of sounding cynical, it isn’t going to happen. Indeed, some are already confirming that the initial speculation was incorrect and that GTA 6 will actually be revealed later this month due to an initial misreading of the tea leaves. At the risk of sounding cynical yet again, that also probably isn’t going to happen.
For quite some time, I thought the entire GTA 6 leak scene was a little sad. However, this latest rumor has made me see it as more of a tragedy.
If it weren’t for statements regarding those leaks and some incredibly vague references to the idea that there will indeed be a sixth major GTA game, Rockstar would have pretty much been radio silent about that project for over a decade now. Previously, the longest we had to wait for a new GTA game was the five-year gap between GTA 4 and GTA 5. Mind you, Rockstar still filled that time with DLC expansions and official updates. In the 10+ years since GTA 5‘s release, we’ve gotten a ton of GTA Online updates, some GTA 5 ports, and barely an official nod towards what will likely be the biggest video game release ever. Granted, we did get the exceptional Red Dead Redemption 2 during that decade window, but even that all-time great game barely quenched the fire sparked by the seemingly simple question “Where is GTA 6?”
During that time, we’ve seen a small army of “leakers,” fans, and even major websites capitalize on the growing hunger for any GTA 6 update by legitimizing even the most blatantly false rumors and contributing to an ongoing campaign of disinformation. Then again, that’s how these often unhealthy online movements start. What were once clearly ludicrous attempts to generate interest based on lies (or perhaps just jokes) have become seemingly legitimate reveals in the minds of many who are increasingly desperate for something to latch on to.
Yet, knowing all of that, I can still look at that image above and see what so many fans want to see. That’s largely because the wait for some kind of official and meaningful update on the progress of GTA 6 has officially become absurd. I’m thrilled for those who continue to enjoy GTA Online after all these years. If you are no longer (or have never been) in that camp, though, then you too are likely becoming increasingly susceptible to GTA 6 leaks and rumors simply because it has become impossible to believe that we’ve really gone this long without a new GTA game or even something official worth looking forward to about that title.
When will GTA 6 be released? If you really want to know, publisher Take-Two recently stated during an investors call that development of the title is underway and strongly suggested GTA 6 could debut in time to positively impact the company’s Fiscal 2025 earnings (which could put its release between October 2024 to September 2025 or perhaps earlier depending on the long-term plans for the game).
However, the honest answer to that question remains “Nobody knows for sure/when it’s ready.” While it is comforting to know that GTA 6 is being afforded the resources and development time too many other games are often denied, it is still tragic to realize that misinterpreted readings of a digital picture of a moon are starting to offer as valid of a cause for excitement as Rockstar and Take-Two have seen fit to grant fans who are seemingly in desperate need of some kind of acknowledgment.