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GTA 6 release window could slip to 2026 under Rockstar "fallback plan", according to reports

The studio is still publicly aiming for a 2025 release date

Lucia looks back from the front seat of her car with a fistful of cash in the first GTA 6 trailer.
Image credit: Rockstar Games

GTA 6 is facing development troubles, leaving leadership “nervous” that the hotly anticipated open world crime-athon could be “falling behind’ expected schedules. That’s according to Kotaku, who were told by an anonymous source that studio heads are “worried” that the game could miss 2025 completely and not see release until 2026. Kotaku were told that the studio is still “aiming” for a Spring 2025 release date, but sources feel Fall of the same year is more plausible. However, the title could be delayed until 2026 as a “fallback plan.”

As the article notes, this fear over delays could well be a factor in Rockstar’s decisions to call for staff to return to office in April, as reported by the IWGB and recently covered by Aftermath. This decision was, understandably, unpopular with employees. Staff were initially informed of the mandate one year after submitting a petition opposing mandatory 3-day office work, which IWGB point out was “one of the UK games industry’s biggest ever trade union actions.”

“Working from home has been a lifeline for many of us at Rockstar, allowing us to balance care responsibilities, manage disabilities, and relocate as we need,” a source told IWGB back in February. “Now, Rockstar is snatching away that lifeline without a second thought for the workers who’ll be impacted most.” In a memo sent to employees, Rockstar said the decision was a result of security and productivity concerns. While sources that spoke to Aftermath say that the security justification is easier to accept, the productivity excuse seems (as per) incredibly misguided. On top of the intense disruption to developer’s lives, there are also worries that fears over delays at the leadership level will inevitably lead to more crunch for developers.

It’s all another big reminder that games of this size and scope are starting to feel like ridiculous, unsustainable indulgences that put quarterly profits ahead of the wellbeing of developers. Obviously, I’m excited to see what ridiculous tiny details they can squeeze into GTA 6, but I think it would behoove Rockstar to just let their staff cook, to borrow phrases both medieval and Gen Z. Delay it forever, honestly, if this sort of nonsense is going to be the result of trying to keep both audience and shareholders happy at the expense of the creatives involved.

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