The origins of this rumor are a little difficult to trace, but one of the earliest reports stems from an old “leak” that suggested Rockstar was playing with the idea of setting Grand Theft Auto 6 in modern-day Liberty City. That same report hinted at a grittier atmosphere, which was compared to The Wire, and more of a gameplay emphasis on building a criminal empire. Subsequent rumors have suggested a similar tone, but the idea that GTA 6 will be set in the modern era has died down a bit in popularity.
But a modern-day game makes sense. Grand Theft Auto 5 was an absurdly popular title that has reportedly sold over 120 million copies to date. Making Grand Theft Auto 6 a chronological follow-up to GTA 5 is a logical move that would also allow Rockstar to release a new version of Grand Theft Auto Online that doesn’t alter the existing build’s aesthetics or design too much. We’re not saying there’s much consistency to the Grand Theft Auto Online universe, but at this point, there is a sense of continuity within the confines of the content it offers.
Speaking of continuity, the mainline GTA games since Grand Theft Auto 3 have all taken place in a more modern setting. While Rockstar doesn’t seem as interested in releasing GTA “spin-offs” these days, the notable timeline jumps in the modern GTA era have typically been limited to such games.
The 1970s and 1980s
In terms of popularity, no Grand Theft Auto 6 timeline rumor is more noteworthy than the idea that it will take place sometime during the 1970s and 1980s.
This rumor dates back to one of the most widespread GTA 6 leaks, which claimed that the game was being referred to internally by Rockstar as “PROJECT AMERICAS.” That same report alleged that GTA 6 would be split between the 1970s and 1980s and would focus on the drug trade happening between Vice City and some GTA-style variation of Rio de Janeiro. That version of the game has been compared to series like Narcos and will reportedly lean heavily on the idea of things changing over time.