GTA V has had huge staying power over the last decade thanks to a multitude of factors: a great story, a developed and interesting world and, most importantly, GTA Online. This consistently pulls in tonnes of revenue for Rockstar and they have invested even more time into it, in turn. It alongside the likes of Fortnite and League of Legends, are some of the most profitable games in the world. While this success is great for the company, it could spell something bad for the future of GTA 6.
What GTA 6 Might Take from GTA Online
A little while ago, it was reported that GTA 6 would feature an evolving map. This could place it anywhere between Animal Crossing or Fortnite in regards to a changing world. It is suggested that we would receive regular events that would shape up the game and place actions through an entirely new lens.
While this is an interesting idea, GTA's singleplayer mode isn't really monetisable after the initial purchase. This suggests that the evolving map will either incorporate online play or have some form of microtransaction. They could continuously update the map but, given how little GTA 5's singleplayer has changed since launch, doesn't seem likely.
This could hint at a world that incorporates single player and online play into one entity. Perhaps, single player missions can be played solo but the world is one inhabited by other players. If this ends up being true, it could betray some of what makes these games so good.
What Makes GTA Online Work
GTA Online has managed to retain its player base for so long due to a strong community, tonnes of updates and the ability to just mess around. The way you may have fun in GTA Online is largely quite different to the single player. In the single player, the entire world revolves around you. In the multiplayer, you are just a cog in something greater.
This change of perspective allows you to do nonsensical things and take on otherworldly challenges. GTA 5's world is grounded and makes some internal sense even at its goofiest. It gets silly but rarely breaks the eternal logic it sets up. With GTA 5, you aren't often surprised by what the game is willing to do. GTA Online is entirely different. You can jump from a slow heist straight to flying in a park in the sky. This willingness to be different is perfect when retained to the online mode. A player can click on one or the other and anticipate what they're in for.
This separation allows the team to put even more stuff into GTA Online anticipating it to pay off. It means they can throw something at the wall and let the chips lie wherever they want.
What Makes Rockstar Work
The splitting of these two modes is part of what makes modern Rockstar games work so well. The singleplayer mode pays a certain respect to your time, letting you go through it at your own pace. This allows them to employ some of their world-class stories and in-depth character analysis to give something often whacky yet surprisingly nuanced. GTA V's story shines through today, even though its multiplayer is so popular. These game modes benefit from complementing each other.
On the other side, the multiplayer mode offers a level of chaos just not achievable by AI. It can't fully predict the way humans interact so it never bothers to. Your experience isn't held back in many ways, letting you and the community be as creative or weird as you want to be.
Blurring these lines would discount their strongest aspects while giving less in return. Though the idea of a shifting narrative is fun, it means that your enjoyment of the game is inconsistent at best and untenable at its worst. Though it could implement minor social features (like the app tried at the start), it won't benefit the experience enough to justify all those outside forces.
With GTA 5, a singleplayer DLC was expected pretty much since day one and we still haven't seen this. The team managed to capture something special with GTA Online and left the single player in the dust. This being said, hopefully, Rockstar will take into account how important that narrative is for me.
Rockstar has a pedigree of spectacular stories behind them and many hope that they won't stay behind them.