Grand Theft Auto 6 May be “Moderately Sized” at Launch Then Expand to Reduce Crunch

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2018 was a bit of a mixed year for Rockstar Games from a PR standpoint. On the one hand, Red Dead Redemption 2 was finally released to much critical acclaim, but on the other, some less-than-flattering reports about Rockstar’s punishing crunch culture also emerged. Thankfully, it seems conditions have changed for the better since then.

According to a new report from Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, Rockstar has made a number of behind-the-scenes changes to improve working conditions at their studios. An increasing number of employees are being offered “flextime,” allowing them to work at their own pace if need be. Additionally, a number of toxic managers have been let go, and the heads of their San Diego, California and Lincoln, UK offices have been replaced. Apparently, some are also cautiously optimistic that the recent departure of Dan Houser may result in less crunch – while Houser was an invaluable creative mind, he was also temperamental and prone to making last-minute changes that created tons of additional work. Overall, the feeling at Rockstar is one of cautious optimism, with one anonymous employee summing up the mood thusly…

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It does seem like a healthier culture overall. We’ll see in a year or two if I’m pulling my hair out, but it does seem like we’re moving in the right direction for being a company the size we are.

So, how might this new studio culture affect Rockstar’s future games? Well, according to Schreier, Rockstar’s “next big project” is Grand Theft Auto 6 (whether that means rumored games like Bully 2 aren’t in the cards is unclear). Regardless, GTA 6 is coming, and there is a plan to start with a “moderately sized” game, which will then be expanded via DLC and updates, rather than releasing one massive chunk of content all at once like Rockstar did with Red Dead Redemption 2. GTA 6 is apparently still early in development, so things could change, but “start smaller and expand” is one idea on the table.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Grand Theft Auto 6 was more reasonably-sized at launch if it helps keep Rockstar’s employees sane. Red Dead Redemption 2 was an impressive accomplishment, but you could argue it was almost too big (it took me nearly a year to finish).

What do you think? Would you be disappointed if GTA 6 wasn’t RDR2 size at launch?

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