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We all know GTA 6 is going to be a big success. The series had always been a commercial hit, but GTA 5 took things to a new level and broke plenty of records left, right, and centre. And unlike GTA 5, GTA 6 is set to arrive with a decade of hype behind it, endless speculation, and a budget reportedly breaching $1 billion, if not more.
It would be foolish to think that GTA 6 won’t shatter those same records in time. At worst, GTA 6 will almost certainly match GTA 5’s commercial success, but at its best, GTA 6 could be one of, if not the single most commercially successful piece of media in history. GTA 6’s commercial success is not up for debate. But what is, is how good of a game it will actually be. And on that front, Rockstar are set to face off against a somewhat unexpected challenger – themselves.
GTA 5 is a great game, with over 190 million units sold worldwidesince it launched – there’s a reason why it continues to sell so well a decade on from its original release. But while the developers at Rockstar have been keeping things hush-hush on the game’s sequel, fans of GTA haven’t been sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting patiently for a new game. They want more GTA, they want it now, and the only way that’s going to happen is through modding. And boy have they been busy.
One major GTA V modding website, gta5-mods.com, plays host to more than 67,000 mods. You can play as any NPC in the game, add in completely new cities and locations, add in new customisation options, weapons vehicles, even wear your own Iron Man suit. You can turn the experience into a completely new game, adding in mechanics from Just Cause, SUPERHOT. Or if you’re me, you play as Goku and have Better Call Saul loading screens. You get the picture. It would take a lifetime to list all of the different mods available for this game. Ten years is a long time, and players have painstakingly crafted GTA 5 into such a unique and personalised experience that most players are hardly even playing the same game anymore.
So what happens when GTA 6 drops? It sells millions of copies, and people play it obsessively, blitzing through the campaign, seeing all that this new experience has to offer. But what happens once it’s over?
When GTA 5 came out, GTA 4 certainly had its fair share of mods of its own, but to nowhere near the same extent as 5 currently has. With more players comes more demand for mods, and more modders willing to supply them. Add to that a map more than six times larger than that of GTA 4, GTA 5’s vast open world provided the perfect playground for modders to create anything and everything they could imagine. GTA 4 was and still is a great game, but Rockstar had taken the series to the next level and there was no going back.
This time around, Rockstar has a much greater challenge on its plate. Even ten years after its release the concurrent users in September 2023, reached 166 thousand concurrent players on Steam. The GTA V’s modding scene is still strong which means it looks and plays like a 2023 release, with enough fresh content to keep it going long into the future. GTA 5 still has a very strong audience on streaming platforms, with the latest report on Statista showing GTA 5 events on Twitch were watched for a combined 109 million hours in September 2023.
Rockstar have a tightrope to balance when it comes to GTA 6. It needs a larger world with more things to do to keep players interested, but not so much that the quality of content takes a dip. It needs to be creative, pushing boundaries and doing new things to compete with the wildly varied worlds that modding can create.
If Rockstar want to eclipse their last title, not only do they need to craft a world that is bigger and better than the one they created a decade ago, but one that can compete with the behemoth that its modding scene has created.
GTA 5 set the bar in the stratosphere, but it also provided Rockstar with the blueprints to surpass it, and if there’s any studio with the resources and will to do it, it’s them.
- Over 190 million units sold worldwidesince it launched – Statista.com, November 2023
- Concurrent users in September 2023, reached 166 thousand concurrent players on Steam – Statista.com, November 2023
- Statista showing GTA 5 events on Twitch were watched for a combined 109 million hours in September 2023 – Statista.com October 2023, Twitch Tracker
- gta5-mods.com, plays host to more than 67,000 mods