A reader contemplates the seemingly unimaginable and wonders what would happen if GTA 6 isn’t very good or doesn’t sell that well.
We all saw the trailer announcement for GTA 6 and given that got 145 million views I can only imagine how many the trailer itself is going to get. I mean, how many people are there on the planet with internet access? We don’t know anything (official) about the game yet, but I found myself struck by thought… what if it’s no good?
That seems impossible, I know, but I’m not sure Rockstar games ever get much in the way of objective criticism. They’re so incredibly popular it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks of them, they just are. I’m not suggesting the game will be poor, but I think it’s interesting to imagine the meltdown if it does disappoint.
There are reasons to imagine it could though, most obviously the exit of a lot of important people involved in all the previous games, including the producer and the lead writer (in fact almost all the big writers). That means that, good or bad, GTA 6 is going to be a very different game to GTA 5.
Online conversations are already toxic enough amongst gamers but imagine what would happen if you had people arguing over the quality of GTA 6 for months and years on end. It would be an absolute blood bath, especially if there’s no consensus amongst critic reviews.
In terms of gameplay, it’s actually pretty easy to poke holes in GTA and Rockstar are very slow to acknowledge any faults or to improve their systems. The driving and the shooting in GTA 4 was pretty terrible and GTA 5 only improved it so much. So will they even bother to change things this time?
I also wonder whether the whole thing of travelling to a mission while someone talks your ear off is getting a bit old. In Red Dead Redemption at least you were on a horse, but in GTA it ends up looking like you’ve got a talking car – like Knight Rider or something.
And what if the game doesn’t sell as much as expected? I admit it’s extremely unlikely but it’s worth remembering that GTA 4 only sold 28 million copies. That was considered to be very good at the time but is not anywhere near the best ever, being behind relatively minor games like Diablo 3 and the Telltale Walking Dead game (according to Wikipedia).
By comparison, GTA 5 has sold 190 million, which is so far ahead of any normal competition (Mario Kart 8 on 65.5 million is arguably the closest) that it’s literally on another level. But that’s because it’s been released on three separate generations now and its continued success is almost entirely due to GTA Online.
It’s probably unlikely that GTA 6 would be on so many formats (and it’d take years to find out anyway) and unless Rockstar shut down the servers an awful lot of people might just stay playing GTA Online. I could actually see that, as it’s surprisingly difficult to get people to move from one game to another when it comes to multiplayer and even with FIFA and Call Of Duty it’s often the previous year’s game that’s the biggest seller when a new one comes out.
I admit there’s a little bit of wanting to see the world burn in me even suggesting this, but I do think that many of the problems with online arguments and people acting disappointed is unreasonable expectations. There’s no point me saying don’t get hyped because I am hyped myself, but that’s my/our problem, not the game’s.
A part of me wonders whether GTA 6 will actually launch pretty early in 2024, simply to avoid people getting themselves in knots about it. I generally agree with the idea that a game should only be shown around six months before release, so you don’t get sick of hearing about it and it’s all mostly a surprise. Let’s just hope it’s a good surprise, eh?
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