A new day, a new Grand Theft Auto 6 rumor. Sometimes they’re cribbed from 4chan. Sometimes they’re a couple of random tweets from mysterious figures aggregated on websites with names so inscrutable you’re sure they must be run by bots.
If you logged onto Twitter yesterday afternoon you would have thought the big one had just dropped. GTA 6 was trending with tens of thousands of people tweeting about it. Did it finally get a trailer? A release date? A mention from Rockstar that it’s currently even working on it?
No, instead GTA 6 was trending because the rumor mill had once again kicked into overdrive. The latest no-news story came yesterday from Gamespot which reported on a video by a leaker named Tom Henderson who claimed that GTA 6 would be set in a modern day Vice City, have a map that evolves over time, and come out in 2025.
Whether any of this ends up being true or not is beside the point. There is a whole cottage industry now around cataloging rumors specifically about GTA 6. Like preemptively published landing pages for reviews of big games, the first page of Google results for Rockstar’s still unannounced game is mostly taken up with explainers for all the stuff we still don’t know about it.
Just about all we do know for sure is that Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the most popular and financially successful games ever and Rockstar is currently working on a new one, as Kotaku reported back in 2020 in an update on the studio’s notorious crunch culture. High-interest coupled with low-information is basically a recipe for things to go sideways, and so it’s not entirely surprising that the hunt for GTA 6 info has created such a weird distortion field around video game news.
I joked on Twitter yesterday that Google search results for the game are the unofficial leaderboard for people who write about games. That’s not because they are some true marker of value or success. Likely, nobody actually wants to write nonesplainers for the most anticipated upcoming games.
While some of the front page posts are news stories, others have been sitting there for years, getting updates every so often to keep them fresh or as new non-news happens. The last time GTA 6 trended on Twitter was back in May after Rockstar parent company Take-Two’s earnings call. Nothing was said about GTA 6 during the call, which led to news posts about the lack of GTA 6 news to once again climb to the top of the search results.
But it’s also probably one of the purest measurements for the mythical Average Gamer. They’re the random person who hardly ever plays games and definitely almost never reads about them, but did have fun playing GTA Online that one time and is really curious when the “new one” is coming out. Reaching this chimera, who barely spends any money on games but which every big company is hunting like Moby-fucking-Dick, is as good a yard stick as any for scoring websites.
And there’s just been a re-ranking. As of this writing, GameSpot’s latest GTA 6 post has become the top search result, edging out the previous winner by GamesRadar. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone reclaims the crown.