Despite being over a decade old, Grand Theft Auto V still looks, sounds, and plays excellent. With time comes more innovation though, and there now exist several ways in which open-world games have outgrown some of the mechanics of GTA V. With Grand Theft Auto VI inevitably on its merry way, we think the time has come to take stock of where the game could improve on its predecessor, as well as a few spots where it should hold its form.
1. Updated Graphics
This one might seem obvious, but it needs saying. Grand Theft Auto V’s updated versions for PS4, Xbox One, PS5, and Xbox Series have been just that; updates. Upping the resolution and tweaking the graphics around the edges won’t cut it for a full-on sequel, so we hope Rockstar takes full advantage of the extra power afforded to modern consoles and gaming PCs to give Grand Theft Auto VI more realistic textures, better draw distance, more elaborate weather effects, and so on with overhauled graphics. Some obvious limitations remain on how far graphics can go in large open worlds, sure, but with ten years between this new entry and the last one, surely Rockstar can squeeze a bit more out of this one.
2. New Character Types
While a good reprisal of classic characters feels right every now and then, Grand Theft Auto has benefited from new characters with every entry. That said, GTA V’s cast felt a little bit call-back-heavy. With Michael coming off as a modern-day representative of Vice City-style characters, Franklin feeling rather similar to San Andreas’ CJ both in terms of background and personality, Trevor became the only truly new type of character in the game’s main cast. Given that, a clean slate would help Grand Theft Auto VI. Backgrounds, personality types, and yes, even races and/or nationalities new to the game would be a great way for this sixth entry to differentiate itself from the others and establish its own identity.
3. Bring Back The Sixth Wanted Level
Despite Grand Theft Auto’s multiple improvements upon its predecessors, many decry its removal of the sixth wanted level tier as a bit of a drag. Sure, it’s not realistic to have the military roll in with tanks and rocket launchers to pursue a civilian criminal, but the realism boat has already sailed by the second or third wanted level anyway, so why not just bring it back? Realism or accuracy fall by the wayside when wreaking havoc and escalating the wanted level. Leaving that out of the main story makes sense, and maybe even making the bar to get that sixth star extremely high, but it should be an option. It might not add to the Grand Theft Auto VI's realism, but it does add to it’s fun-factor.
4. More Mini Games
Grand Theft Auto’s mini-games have fluctuated in terms of quantity and quality across the series. Some entries have a lot, some entries have less, and some entries have better ones than others. Grand Theft Auto VI can step it up with a new standard of great mini-games. The golf and tennis from V, San Andreas’ arcade games, and a modern version of Vice City’s keepie-uppy beach ball would add much to the game. Rockstar needs to put it all together with some new ones to give Grand Theft Auto VI the best selection of mini games yet.
5. Dual-wielding Weapons
Rockstar seems to have taken dual-wielding out of Grand Theft Auto for some odd reason. Despite having a knack for it in other games like Max Payne 3 and even the more recent Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA V has never gotten that option. It should return in Grand Theft Auto VI for obvious reasons. Perhaps it could be an unlockable skill or available for certain weapons, but we’d like to see it in some form.
6. Better Missions
While most missions play great throughout the series, each Grand Theft Auto game has a few stinkers. Now that Rockstar has decades of feedback to go on, Grand Theft Auto VI should avoid putting players in boring, bland, and otherwise monotonous situations like GTA V’s crane operating or GTA IV’s email reading. Mission variety has its virtues, as does breaking up the action here and there, but these diversions don’t have to drag either.
7. Go All-In On Cheats
All GTA games have included cheats to some degree, and the trend should continue in Grand Theft Auto VI. With most modern games doing away with such things, oftentimes in favor of sneaking them into paid DLC packs, we applaud and encourage Rockstar's willingness to keep them in some form across the vast majority of their games. A massive list of outrageous cheats in Grand Theft Auto VI would only elevate the game further.
8. More Interior Locations
With all of GTA V’s improvements, it still feels a bit over-focused on exterior locations with little in the way of inside locations to explore. Outside of buildings that players must enter, a surprising amount of locations that might as well not even be there, as they lack any sort of meaning for Los Santos. If Grand Theft Auto VI can fix this with a much greater amount of interiors that go beyond the handful that the story requires, it will add to the game’s literal and figurative depth.
9. A Female Protagonist
While technically GTA has let players step into the shoes of female characters in the past, the overwhelming majority of the series remains focused on men. Adding a female protagonist to the roster of iconic GTA main characters would step in the right direction for multiple reasons, but it would also give the sixth entry a stronger case to exist. With many of GTA’s core gameplay elements reaching their logical conclusion in GTA V, a female protagonist would inject an overdue new flavor into them. Rumors of an impending female protagonist have bubbled to the surface multiple times now, and if true, fans should get excited to jump into Grand Theft Auto VI.
10. More Orderly Online Component
GTA Online has become nonstop madness in some ways, but something with a bit more focus and identity would be best going forward. The multitude of modes dividing the fanbase and blurring the lines around what even constitutes GTA emerged as a side-effect of building out GTA V’s experience without a lot of purpose, and Rockstars should reign that in for the next iteration of GTA Online.
11. Mod Support
Rockstar’s reluctance to embrace the modding community has resulted in less enthusiasm for their games, and thus, left opportunities on the table. This time, Rockstar could take a page from Bethesda’s playbook. By cherry-picking the mods that make the most sense for their game and making them available from within the game itself, Rockstar could unlock a whole new flank of fandom and interest in their flagship series. If done wrong, it could also burn everything to the ground, so we respect the caution on Rockstar’s part. That said, they don’t need to blast open the floodgates on mods to allow for a thoughtful stream trickle out.
12. More Music Options
Hardly anybody listens to the radio anymore. Yet, flicking around from station to station remains one of Grand Theft Auto’s most iconic mechanics, and there’s nothing wrong with keeping it as an option. Rockstar should include podcasts, satellite stations, and internet-based services for maximum immersion while driving around. This, of course, depends on the era in which Grand Theft Auto VI takes place. If rumors of a story that spans across multiple decades rings true, more modern permutations of entertainment while driving around make a lot of sense.
13. Political Corruption in Grand Theft Auto VI
Turning the streets upside down with crime and violence has been and should always remain a vital component of the GTA experience. That said, what if players could run for office, or bribe those already holding power, and push an agenda upon the city? What if those pesky cops have to deal with severe budget cuts that result in fewer of them on the job? WPolitical warfare might not feel as spectacular as blowing things up, but it could introduce new layers to navigating various conflicts in GTA and broaden its appeal.