Red Dead Redemption 2 May Hold the Secret to GTA 6's Release Date

Rockstar Games finally announced GTA 6 this week, but there was no mention of a release date, platforms, or even when the first trailer will be revealed. Many have taken this to mean the game is in the very early stages of development, but from our understanding, the game has been in development for several years at this point. Echoing this is industry insider and leaker, Tom Henderson, who claims "GTA 6 has been in development for a long time." This misconception aside, when can we expect GTA 6 to release? Well, the answer may involve Red Dead Redemption 2

The most expensive game ever released, Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced in 2016. It was teased on October 16 of that year, and then revealed on October 18. Originally it was supposed to release in 2017, but was delayed to October 26, 2018, which ended up sticking. 

The announcement of GTA 6 has been a bit different. It was confirmed, not teased, and it was done in a very sterile way that indicated more won't be said on the game for a while. In other words, don't expect a reveal this coming week. 

If Grand Theft Auto VI follows the path of Red Dead Redemption 2 in terms of announcement to release, that would put it releasing holiday 2024 or spring 2024. Now, the turnaround between RDR2's reveal and release was originally supposed to be less than year, so some may speculate that GTA 6 may be 2023 bound, and this is possible, but when Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced, it was also revealed. GTA 6 hasn't been revealed yet so to expect a release spring 2023 or holiday 2023 is wishful thinking unless the game is going to be revealed this year. 

Alas, for now, all we have is speculation, but if history is any type of indication, look for GTA 6 to release in holiday 2024. Again though, this is assuming history is an indicator. 

For what it's worth, GTA 5 was itself announced in 2011 and then released in 2013. So, again, there's precedent behind this two-year schedule from announcement to release, but its announcement was accompanied by a reveal trailer a week later. So, unless GTA 6 is going to be revealed this coming week, it's hard to put too much stock into this theory. 

It's also worth pointing out that the release of GTA 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X in March is complicating the matter, as Rockstar Games probably doesn't want to kick off the GTA 6 marketing campaign until GTA 5 is out as not only would it distract, but it would detract from GTA 5, as it would presumably make the 9-year-old game look quite dated in comparison.

Again, there are a lot of variables in play, and again 2024 looks like the most likely release window. 2023 is not out of the question, but it would require a reveal this year. And even if this does happen, and the game is given a 2023 release, Rockstar Games is good for at least one delay, so it probably wouldn't stick. And of course, a release date beyond 2024 is also in the cards, but given how long the game has been in development and given that Rockstar Games has gone ahead and announced it, we'd be surprised to see it ship 2025 or later.