An unfortunate road to release for the GTA 6 trailer - but ultimately one of the most exciting ever

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Well this was unexpected, wasn't it? Around 15 hours ahead of schedule, thanks to an unfortunate internet leak, our first official look at GTA 6 is here - courtesy of its first official trailer

It started with a gorgeous purple and orange sun-kissed establishing shot, and ended with a title card that both confirmed, yes, the imminent unannounced Grand Theft Auto game is indeed GTA 6 and it's coming in 2025. And just like that, the long-awaited, much-anticipated, and interminably speculated-on GTA 6 trailer has been and gone. Well, the premiere has been and gone. If you believe our first proper glimpse at the next mainline Grand Theft Auto series entry ended with mention of a very vague, seemingly very far away release window, then I reckon you're kidding yourself on. 

Now is where it begins, of course. In fact, if you listen carefully – just above the din of traffic beyond your window; the sirens on the road, and the planes tearing through the skies – you can hear the systematic rattle of eager fingers dancing across keyboards, hypothesizing on everything that unfolded in that oh-so-teasing 90 seconds of what life looks like in the prettiest slant on Vice City we've ever seen. From the sublime to the ridiculous, hyped-up fans are whipping themselves and anyone else who'll listen into a frenzy this very second, plotting the wheres, the whens, and the whys of what might come next. 

No one really knows, of course – despite all of the turbulence that's haunted this game already, Rockstar nevertheless has a penchant for keeping things close to its chest – but we can all expect the next several months to be a maelstrom of mostly unchecked community conjecture.  

And we wouldn't have it any other way, right?

It's here 


(Image credit: Rockstar)

So, what do we actually know right now in the immediate aftermath? I'm still unpacking everything myself (we're stirring up a more involved GTA 6 trailer breakdown as we speak – watch this space), but I think it's safe to say that the modern day Vice City setting looks stunning. In the wake of last year's unfortunate in-development leaks, Rockstar was always likely to ramp things up like never before regarding this first peak behind the curtain, and it did not disappoint. The busy beaches, busier nightclubs, neon lights, scorching weather, social media fodder, an angry Karen, and some bloody impressive hair physics blowing in the wind, for me, puts any questions about the developer's ability to impressive and once more reset expectations firmly to bed. On looks alone, I already feel like GTA 6 has already set the tone for the year(s) ahead. 

The duo of protagonists too, Lucia and the as-yet unnamed male character we believe is Jason, are indeed running the show, and both appear to be in a relationship, as referenced towards the trailer's end before they kick in a door with their guns raised and their faces covered. That dynamic alone feels really interesting from both narrative and mechanical angles - not least because we've spent the last two GTA instalments in the throes of platonic love between male protagonists. How the stakes change when romance takes centre stage feels like a simultaneously interesting and volatile dichotomy that I'm looking forward to seeing more in the weeks and months ahead.  

With all of that said, part of me does wonder if Rockstar is too big to fail at this point. GTA 5 is still an absolute powerhouse, fueled in no small part by its multiplayer offshoot GTA Online, which has somehow managed to stretch itself over three console generations, spanning over 10 years. Whether or not GTA 6 lives up to its hype, or indeed the scant glimpse of what we've now seen, feels almost irrelevant – simply because, unless it's a total train wreck on arrival, players will flock to it in the same ways they have done for over a quarter of a century. 

The Grand Theft Auto series as a whole has earned this player-side commitment through merit, of course, and while I myself am keen to swerve recency bias, it's hard to imagine a world where GTA 6 doesn't hit the ground running – especially following what we've now just seen. Sure, the nature with which it's been dropped isn't ideal - at the time of writing it's approaching midnight in Scotland - but part of the drama feels fitting for a game with so much laying on its shoulders.

How does the GTA 6 reveal trailer rank against my own previous favorite? Let me sit with it a little longer before answering that properly. Again, we'll have more once we've watched it a few more (dozen) times, before hitting our keyboards with the same frenzy-fueled enthusiasm as this series' passionate community.   

A few weeks ago, we said: The GTA 6 trailer reveal proves no one does hype quite like Rockstar Games - did we get it right? 

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.