'Grand Theft Auto VI' trailer drops, flagging 2025 release


The first trailer for "Grand Theft Auto VI" was put on YouTube in a surprise, ahead-of-schedule post on Monday, promising a 2025 release for the latest installment in the mega-popular video game franchise.

True to rumors, the video game will be set in fictional Vice City, reminiscent of Miami, and appears to feature the first playable female character in the franchise.

The early release of the trailer, prompted by a leak of it online, came on the eve of Tuesday's scheduled first glimpse for GTA VI.

"Our trailer has leaked so please watch the real thing," Rockstar Games, the company behind GTA, said on a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The video garnered some 2.2 million likes on YouTube within about 30 minutes of being posted on the site.

Released a decade ago, GTA V has sold around 190 million copies, according to Rockstar-parent Take-Two Interactive, making it the best-selling game in the United States for the past decade based on both unit and dollar sales.

The entire GTA franchise has sold a mammoth 410 million units so far, according to Take-Two.

Wedbush analyst Nick McKay estimated that predecessor GTA V and an ongoing, online multiplayer extension of the game have brought in nearly $10 billion in revenue.

With the wild success has come a wave of controversies. Critics have from the beginning accused the series of glorifying violence and encouraging players to engage in criminal behavior -- allegations Take-Two executives have denied.

Strongly influenced by gangsta rap culture, GTA V players sell drugs, fight, rob, go on car rampages and more.

Game play options also included assaulting prostitutes and going to strip clubs.

Earlier installments also saw players take on roles in the Italian mafia or follow in the footsteps of "Scarface" kingpin Tony Montana.

GTA V included transgender characters, but "they were sex workers that were grotesque caricatures of transgender women," said Blair Durkee, associate director of gaming at nonprofit LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD.

Videos of players beating those trans characters with baseball bats in the game can readily be found online, according to Durkee.

"We certainly hope that GTA VI will reflect a more inclusive attitude toward LGBTQ characters and players," Durkee said.

GTA protagonists have historically been flawed but likable characters in a virtual world "that takes its cues from the craziness of what we read about in the news every day," according to McKay.

The release of GTA V a decade ago came with the launch of an online multiplayer option, delivering high-quality experiences in a virtual Los Angeles-like city of hijinks and criminality.

"I can play according to the main storyline, or I can just explore the world and cause mayhem to fill the time," McKay said.

"Very little is off-limits to the player."

Rockstar has consistently added fresh content to GTA online.

Playing GTA online is free, after buying the game, and users can spend money on in-game items.



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