GTA 6 release potentially delayed until 2026 as development is ‘falling behind’

GTA 6 has been a long time coming, and one of the biggest questions in gaming right now is “When is GTA 6‘s release date?” So far developer Rockstar has been tight-lipped on the matter, only teasing a 2025 launch in its first GTA 6 trailer. But even that vague launch window may change as production woes could push it back to 2026, according to the latest rumors. 

According to a new Kotaku report, the studio’s current goal is to release GTA 6 in “early 2025,” as previously rumored, but it’s “becoming more and more likely” that a delay will push it to late 2025 or even 2026, sources with knowledge of the game’s development told the outlet under the condition of anonymity. Sources say a Fall 2025 release seems more feasible at this stage of development, but delaying the game until 2026 is also being discussed as a sort of “fallback plan” or “emergency” option if needed.

While it isn’t exactly clear from the reporting why production is “falling behind” schedule, it’s enough to have Rockstar leadership worried about hitting its Spring 2025 launch window. This production setback is reportedly one of the main reasons Rockstar issued its controversial return-to-office mandate as GTA 6’s development enters the home stretch. Rockstar said the decision was for productivity and security reasons, according to an internal email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg

The short notice and drastic policy shift reportedly caught many workers by surprise. In response to news of the mandate, which begins in April, developers at the typically secretive studio spoke out to Aftermath about concerns that Rockstar could bleed talent at a critical time if frustrated remote workers start leaving. Others are worried that Rockstar may backslide into the kind of brutal crunch culture it’s been known for in the past. 

Of course, it’s important to take all this talk of GTA 6’s release with a grain of salt until Rockstar confirms anything. Still, it’s quickly becoming clear that GTA 6’s final year or so of development is shaping up to be more of a headache than Rockstar anticipated. It wouldn’t be the first time, either; GTA 5 was famously set to launch in Spring 2013 before being delayed until October of that same year. Its successor could very well share the same fate. 

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