The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI is here, finally taking the covers off of Rockstar Games’ ambitious open world title. After years of leaks, rumours and speculation, we now finally have concrete official details about GTA 6, its world, characters, and tone. The trailer itself was published hastily ahead of schedule after it was leaked on X on Tuesday. Instead of waiting and putting out the reveal Wednesday at 9am ET (7:30pm IST) — as Rockstar initially planned, the studio released the trailer early Wednesday morning. “Our trailer has leaked so please watch the real thing on YouTube,” the publisher said in its post on X.
Every Grand Theft Auto trailer is a ‘where-were-you-when?’ moment that sparks unprecedented internet frenzy, YouTube reactions, and media discourse. GTA 6 is no different. Perhaps the most anticipated reveal in gaming history, the first trailer for the game has over 54 million views and 6.7 million likes on YouTube within hours of being posted. It arrives like rain to a parched desert, as fans who have eagerly waited and manically fantasised about the game for years finally see it in the flesh. The Grand Theft Auto VI trailer doesn’t disappoint. It showcases a visually stunning Vice City, its two main crime couple protagonists, Lucia and Jason, and a wildly eccentric cast of NPCs that populate its rich, detailed world. Fans will inevitably pick up a magnifying glass and go through the grain of every little detail in every frame, but here, we’ll look at some of the interesting details from the trailer, in addition to what we can expect from GTA 6.
Welcome to Vice City
An entire generation of gamers know Vice City better than perhaps they know their own town. One of the three iconic Grand Theft Auto cities, Vice City first served as the setting in 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and later appeared in the prequel, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, four years later. The beloved video-game version of Miami now returns in GTA 6, just as previous leaks had suggested.
The trailer gives a detailed look at the game’s neon-drenched, sun-lit and croc-infested city. From pink sunsets to the teal ocean, from its dense downtown area to its wild outskirts, and from its degenerate denizens to its fast cars, Vice City is a sight to behold. It is also packed to the brim! The streets have more cars and pedestrians than ever, with the game surely taking advantage of powerful current-gen consoles to bring as much immersive detail to its world as possible. Every generation, Rockstar sets the benchmark for bleeding edge visuals and GTA 6 bleeds all over every existing game. Leaks have suggested that the setting will be more interactive, too, with a marked jump in explorable indoor areas.
We also see a crowded Vice Beach, a packed nightclub, and a series staple strip club in the trailer. In addition to the city itself, the game will feature the larger state of Florida-inspired Leonida, with famous real-life areas like the marshy Everglades and coral cay archipelago of Florida Keys. “Grand Theft Auto VI heads to the state of Leonida, home to the neon-soaked streets of Vice City and beyond in the biggest, most immersive evolution of the Grand Theft Auto series yet,” Rockstar promised in a press release accompanying the trailer. If the world of GTA 6 turns out to be even half as immersive and interactive as Red Dead Redemption 2, it would outdo all previous GTA games by a country mile.
Lucia and Jason
Again, unsurprisingly, the GTA 6 trailer confirms its dual protagonists, Lucia and Jason — a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired crime couple trying to make it in Vice City. The trailer gives the bulk of the attention to Lucia and utilises her voiceover to set the skeletons of the story. It begins with Lucia in prison, meeting an official, and blaming her “bad luck” for ending up in jail. While details are sparse, we can presume that Lucia gets out of prison early in the game and then, together with Jason, gets her life back in order. We also see her driving off with Jason after committing a robbery, while being on the lookout for speeding cop cars. The trailer ends with the duo kicking open the doors of a convenience store they’re about to rob, bandanas up to hide their identity.
Lucia and Jason’s dynamic will perhaps be the heart of GTA 6. Previous games in the series have been a little light on story and characters, letting their immersive open worlds do the talking. But it would be interesting to see Rockstar take on a love story and do justice to both its main protagonists. With the narrative excellence of Red Dead Redemption 2 in its rearview mirror, the studio should be eager to tell a rich and layered story of crime and passion. The song used in the trailer, Tom Petty’s “Love Is a Long Road,” also seems to be an intentional choice. Would Lucia and Jason’s relationship evolve and change over time? Will they be at odds at pivotal moments in the game? Or will they stick it out together, True Romance-style? The trailer certainly hints so. “The only way we’re gonna get through this is by sticking together, being a team,” Lucia tells Jason in bed. “Trust?” she asks Jason, looking him in the eye. “Trust,” he responds. From what it seems, it will be them against the world.
Every GTA game is also an exaggerated and distorted reflection of its time and place, maintaining a specific tone and tenor. GTA: Vice City explored the drugs and disco of the 1980s, San Andreas took on the gang culture, and GTA 4 lampooned the capitalist nightmare of the American Dream. More recently, GTA 5 satirised celebrity culture of excess and the high-flying LA lifestyle. A decade on, GTA 6 has a tricky job to do. In times of political and social turmoil, the chaos of social media, and a generational clash of values, a Grand Theft Auto game in 2023 could itself become the butt of jokes. In the years since GTA 5’s release, Rockstar, a studio often criticised for its portrayal of women in games, has had to reckon with its own culture of sexism, too.
While we’ll only know how the game navigates the current cultural climate when it comes out, the GTA 6 trailer zeroes in on influencer culture and ever-present social media. From women twerking on the roof of a moving car, to a road rager grabbing his crotch on the freeway, GTA 6 trailer takes on the madness of TikTok and Instagram Reels through an in-game social media app. GTA 5 featured Life Invader, Rockstar’s twist on Facebook. The next one seems to be going a step further to drive home the influence of social media platforms in our daily lives.
Strangers and Freaks, “Florida Man” style
GTA 5 introduced Strangers and Freaks, tailored NPC encounters that led to distinct interactions and wacky side missions throughout San Andreas state. You met strange cultists and paranoid paparazzi, coked-up rednecks and fitness freaks, scattered all around the map. GTA 6’s Vice City and its surrounding areas seem primed for the same.
In true “Florida Man” fashion, the trailer showcases the deranged denizens of Vice City in their natural habitat. GTA 6 would be clever to take advantage of its setting to provide narrative context for the crazies you could meet and do missions with in its map.
While GTA 5 did feature a few animals, the next Grand Theft Auto game seems to be taking advantage of its setting to double down on wildlife. Crocodiles appear more than once in the trailer, seen being pulled out of a swimming pool and entering a store. We also see a gathering of flamingos in the marshy areas. GTA 6 is also likely to include an expanded marine wildlife, with maps featuring the sea, lakes, and multiple water bodies.
Rockstar upped the ante with Red Dead Redemption 2, bringing all variety of animals, birds, and fishes to the game, all of which could be hunted and skinned for materials. While GTA 6 will surely not dive as deep, but it could be safe to expect it to be the wildest Grand Theft Auto yet.
GTA VI does not have a concrete release date yet, with the trailer mentioning a 2025 window. Rockstar-parent Take-Two Interactive had said in its earnings call earlier this year that it expected to see a “significant inflection point” in fiscal 2025, when it expects net bookings of over $8 billion (roughly Rs. 66,242 crore). Analysts and investors say that significant boost hints at Grand Theft Auto 6 releasing in the same time period. Keeping fiscal 2025 calendar in mind, the game could arrive before April 2025.
Rockstar has also stayed tight lipped about new gameplay features and improvements coming to GTA 6, with the first trailer focused on giving a taste of the setting and its characters. We do see a host of familiar fast cars, with a glimpse of an underground street racing ring and a dirt biker gang, and we can expect a host of tune-up and customisation options for vehicles. Subsequent trailers should break down GTA 6’s mechanical enhancements. For now, what’s evident from the first trailer are the game’s graphical upgrades. If past trailers for games from the studio are any metric for accurate representation of the final product, then GTA 6 looks set to be the most immersive and detailed entry in the franchise.