What to expect in the GTA 6 trailer: Vice City, Florida, and beyond, as the next Grand Theft Auto is unveiled tomorrow

Mockup image of Grand Theft Auto 6 logo
(Image credit: Windows Central | Rockstar Games)

What you need to know

  • The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 is set to debut on December 5 at 9 AM ET and is expected to create a massive Internet frenzy.
  • Predicting a return to the fictional location of Vice City in a modern-day setup, GTA 6 will likely feature multiple playable characters.
  • In-game smartphones and modern music are speculated to return alongside a present-day setting, but concerns linger about excessive focus on online play and microtransactions.

Trailer release date

Rockstar Games logo

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Time: 6 AM PT, 9 AM ET, 2 PM GMT
Where to watch: Rockstar Games
Length: 1m 31s

There's no denying it: Grand Theft Auto is one of the biggest games in the world, relenting only to Minecraft in terms of sheer sales numbers. Regarding star power, however, the potential for the sixth entry of this renowned series to 'break the Internet' is legitimate as GTA 6 trends across social media like wildfire.

The first trailer for the long-awaited sequel officially drops tomorrow, December 5, at 9 AM ET and will undoubtedly hit an unprecedented view count within the opening hours of its debut.

But what should fans and newcomers expect to see in the first GTA 6 trailer? I've been a fan of Grand Theft Auto since I installed the first game on my parents' Windows 95 PC in 1997 and have played every game since. Here are my predictions based on past development patterns and hints the company dropped.

Vice City or a fictional Florida state?

The original Vice City was a tribute to the 1980s but a little cramped. (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The assumption that Grand Theft Auto 6 would take place in the established locale of Vice City, a fictional take on real-world Miami, primarily comes from its two predecessors. Grand Theft Auto IV was set in Liberty City, inspired by New York City, while GTAV chose Los Santos as a recreation of Los Angeles and its surroundings. This trilogy of cities was inspired by levels in the first game from 1997, and the pattern only strayed once in the way of a minor expansion pack set in real-world London, UK.

Since Grand Theft Auto: London presumably crossed too far over the line of parody by using an actual location from our world, Rockstar Games (or DMA Design, as it was then) pushed for tongue-in-cheek recreations of iconic American cities for its future entries. A notable exception came with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004, expanding on the original game's interpretation of San Francisco by turning San Andreas into an entire state containing Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas (a take on Las Vegas.)

Only one question remains: How big will this new version of Vice City become?

This pattern of Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City cycled throughout the 3D-era games that followed, with the most recent entries already taking the first two in GTAIV and GTAV. That only leaves the palm tree-laden shores of Vice City to appear in the modern day, and the official teaser images released by Rockstar Games show an unmistakable pastel-colored horizon that all but confirms it. Only one question remains: How big will this new version of Vice City become?

A popular fan take theorizes that GTA 6 could include all three locations, with Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City featured as a trio of land masses reachable via aircraft, but this seems highly unlikely. An expansion into areas cut from the original Vice City, like the Gator Keys (Florida Keys,) is more realistic, alongside a move into the north away from sun-soaked beaches and neon lights.

Present day or a stylized decade?

Grand Theft Auto V wasn't exactly lacking in the graphics department. (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

As iconic as the 1980s theme was for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002 and the portable follow-up Vice City Stories in 2006, the likelihood of returning to the era of rolled-up suit sleeves and sunglasses at night seems weak. Given the astronomical success of Grand Theft Auto Online, aiming for a modern-day setting seems far more likely thanks to modern luxuries like in-game smartphones allowing for a canonical mechanic that controls gameplay options.

In-game radio stations immediately became one of the most recognizable features for each Grand Theft Auto game, which comes with painful music licensing issues, causing several songs to be cut with each subsequent re-release. Sticking with an up-to-date theme will allow Rockstar Games to dive into an almost infinite back catalog of songs to choose from but also opens up options to partner with current artists and include new or exclusive tracks in GTA 6.

Besides smartphones and radio stations, there are more features to consider, but from a combined convenience and flexible gameplay perspective, setting the game in 2024 makes sense. It might be a little earlier, depending on when the fictional universe and its surrounding stories were drafted, as Grand Theft Auto titles generally take several years to develop. Nevertheless, a present-day setting seems most likely.

Multiple protagonists or a solo adventure?

The potential for playable characters in GTA 6 is huge. (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

After the ambitious move to a trio of playable characters in Grand Theft Auto V that allowed active switching at any time, it would be a shame for Rockstar Games to switch back to a solo protagonist for GTA 6. The most widespread hints around the game involve a playable duo. However, specific details interpreted from the trailer and information released on the game's official web page will bring us closer to the answer.

For now, it seems fair to assume there will be at least two playable characters in Grand Theft Auto 6. Anything more isn't impossible, and a return to three protagonists seems logical, if nothing else. Reducing the number of main characters to two would leave more breathing room for the developers without abandoning the branching story style introduced in GTAV. I expect the first GTA 6 trailer to introduce us to two new faces, with perhaps some old characters making a return.

I'm not entirely thrilled with the prospect of this upcoming trailer, as Rockstar Games' mistreatment of the series leaves me feeling utterly unexcited for Grand Theft Auto 6. Hopefully, we're teased with some genuinely groundbreaking gameplay, not just a shell of a single-player adventure designed to house an all-new avenue for Grand Theft Auto Online to dominate with microtransactions.

Do you have theories on what we'll see tomorrow? Let me know in the comments!

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @trzomb@mastodon.online to ask questions or share opinions.