Why GTA 6 needs to be set in the modern day

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Rockstar isn't afraid to dive into different eras and time periods.

Throughout the publisher's game library, we have gone to the 1800s, the present day, and everything in between.

When looking at GTA we have seen games set in the 60s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, and 2010s.

So for GTA 6, which time period should it be set in?


Table of Contents

The History Of GTA

Previous entries in the Grand Theft Auto series have been set in various different decades.

The two London expansion packs for the original Grand Theft Auto were set in the 1960s, Vice City was set in the 1980s, while GTA 1 and San Andreas were set in the 1990s.

3 and 4 we enjoyed the present day in the then-2000s, whilst GTA V was set in the "present" 2010s, with spin-off games have also been set in these decades too.

Rockstar has always brought the feel of those decades to the game, with period-correct music, clothing, weapons, and vehicles.

Back to the future


In a Reddit post, user u/Taistelulaama1 outlined why GTA 6 should be set in the modern day.

They highlight the differences between Miami in the 1980s and 2020s, the city Vice City is based on, as well as many aspects of modern life which add to the experience of GTA.

GTA V was set in 2013, a recent time, which meant a strong focus on the internet, social media, and apps, which added value and potential to the game, something that would be lost if the game is set during an earlier period.

Changing with the times

Vice City is rumoured to be the main location of GTA 6, along with the possibility of some secondary locations based on the cities of Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.

GTA Vice City In Game
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WELCOME TO MIAMI: Vice City is based on the Florida city

When comparing Miami from the 80s and the modern-day, the evolution of the city is clear, with the city becoming much more densely populated.

u/Taistelulaama1 noted that with the power of current PCs and Next-Gen consoles, Rockstar has the ability to make Vice City look incredibly realistic and match the density of Miami.

This will add a lot more potential for story and content, as well as areas to explore.

Lock & load

Both vehicles and weapons are a large part of GTA, if not the key component for fans.

While the original GTA Vice City was incredibly fun, it was also a PS2 game that was limited when it came to realism.

GTA V was set in the modern-day, which meant players could drive around in many vehicles we see in day-to-day life - as well as supercars.

With the game set in a previous decade, we would be limited to what was available during that time.


GTA V Michael explosion
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MODERN: Many vehicles and weapons would be excluded from an 80s setting

Granted, some classic cars are extremely beautiful and timeless, that also doesn't stop them from being a possibility in a modern GTA game, after all, classic cars are still seen today.

Setting GTA 6 in an earlier time period would hinder the possibilities rather than add to them, whereas a modern GTA could use aspects from different time periods too.


And, if the rumours are correct, the game may go back to the 1970s at some point, which would allow for many of those older weapons and vehicles to make some sort of appearance, even if they weren't a focal point of the game.

Face the music

Music is a large part of what makes GTA so great.

Players spend an incredibly large amount of time in vehicles, which usually means having the radio on.

Rockstar has always compiled a very good library of songs to play on the radio, of course being time correct too.

Vice City saw a focus on hair metal and, what we now know as, classic rock since the game was set in the mid-80s when bands like Motley Crue were ruling the music industry.

GTA Vice City Love Fist Artwork
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FIST FURY: Hair metal ruled the music industry in the original Vice City

While a lot of us prefer older music, many younger people don't pay as much attention to it, instead, they're listening to whatever song is used in the latest TikTok dance.

u/Taistelulaama1 stated that although they "prefer 80's music, there's still a lot of people who want to listen to modern pop and rap".

By having the game set in the modern-day, Rockstar can serve the best of both worlds.

GTA Online is set in the present, which means the radio stations are more up to date with current artists such as Lil Uzi Vert and DaBaby making an appearance.

But, there are still plenty of older artists on the radio stations too, such as Dr Dre, Jay-Z, 2Pac, Black Flag, even the Backstreet Boys.

And there is no reason why this couldn't be done with GTA 6 too.

The game doesn't need to be set in the 1980s to have the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and Iron Maiden rocking over the airwaves.

West Coast Classics is a personal favourite station in GTA V due to it being filled with 80s and 90s hip hop, the same could happen with GTA 6.


If the game was set in a different time period then it would limit the range of music, which could alienate fans, especially the younger players.


GTA V saw a large focus on the internet, with it being used to buy stocks, deposit money into the bank, buying vehicles and property and many more things.

It also plays a key role in GTA Online, with it being used to build your criminal empire.

GTA Online gang
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DARK WEB: The internet is key part of any modern criminal empire

By setting the game in an earlier time period it eliminates that potential, which would make the game more cumbersome as players would likely have to go back to visit each location they want to purchase or go to a real estate agent, car dealership etc to make purchases, rather than doing it on-the-fly with their in-game phone.


It would feel like a step back in time unless Rockstar figured out a way around it.

Surfing the web

GTA Online is set in the modern day, which means it will likely continue to be when GTA 6 launches.

It is also likely the Online mode will move to whichever city GTA 6 is based in, rather than staying in Los Santos.

If GTA 6 is set in another time period, such as the 80s, it would render players' previous purchases useless as those vehicles very likely couldn't be in the game.

And it could also impact potential sales of Shark Cards as some players won't want to spend real money on an old 1980s vehicle, instead, preferring to spend their hard-earned cash on the latest supercar.

GTA V Internet
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WINDOW SHOPPING: Players can purchase various vehicles and buildings online

When it comes to the longevity of the game it could have a huge impact.

GTA V was released almost 8 years ago and GTA 6 is nowhere to be seen, so longevity is key for this next entry.

u/Taistelulaama1 made an excellent point saying,

"Yes, GTA 6 will sell like crazy, But in the long term it'll sell worse than GTA 5 if the game is set in the 80's.
Today, alot of the new players in GTA 5 are kids, and we can probably expect a similar thing in GTA 6. It's quite obvious that most kids want to buy a game set in the modern day. Rockstar would miss a huge portion of buyers because the game is set in the 80's. It's also obvious that alot of older players would skip the game too, just because of the setting."

But, as one Reddit user pointed out, Rockstar could make it so "80s for the story mode, online is set in the present. And it could be like the evolution in cities like in R2D2."

However, this would require two different maps, vehicle and weapon pools, and many other mechanics.

This would likely mean that GTA 6 Online would become its own entity, much like RDR2 Online has become.


Players can purchase Red Dead Online without purchasing the story-based Red Dead Redemption 2.

Red Dead Online Gang In Game
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STAND ALONE: Players can purchase Red Dead Online without RDR2

This change has only recently happened, so it is possible that Rockstar has been testing it to see what the public perception would be.

It is possible we will see GTA 6 for sale, including Online, but also a separate online option for players that have no interest in the 80s themed GTA 6 story.

For now, this is all speculation, with the advancements in technology it will be very interesting to see what direction Rockstar decides to go with when it comes to the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series.