GTA V was released nearly five years ago, which means that folks are waiting for news of a follow-up. GTA Youtubers are more than happy to provide the scoop, even if it means making it all up.
It’s not a new phenomenon, but it is an enduring one. For at least two years, a number of Youtubers uploaded a number of videos claiming to have new information about GTA VI. One Youtuber, Sonymouse, uploaded gameplay from Driver: San Francisco and claimed it was a trailer for GTA VI. That video went on to accrue over 23 million views, twice as many views as the official GTA V trailer on Rockstar’s Youtube channel. It’s wild.
It’s bullshit, of course. And yet, this YouTuber is not alone. Lots of people claim to have footage of GTA VI, or say they somehow have a copy of a game that does not exist.
At least some of these videos end with the “reveal” that it’s all fake, or pretend they were a part of a joke. But by then, it doesn’t matter. They get clicks thanks to the thumbnails and titles. As you can see, many of these videos have hundreds of thousands of views, if not more.
Others YouTubers go a slightly different route with the idea of “GTA VI.”In the below video by Stomedy, he pretends to not care about the next GTA game by destroying it with a hammer. To sell the illusion that he actually has this game—which again, does not exist yet—he hides the disc from the camera. Eventually you can tell it’s just a copy of Killzone, however. It has over 50k views.
Really, GTA VI has become its own genre of footage on YouTube, where hundreds of videos claim to have early copies or exclusive info. And of course, you’ve got people who treat GTA VI as kind of an ARG.
Some people believe that Rockstar left clues about the next Grand Theft Auto in older games. YouTubers use things like graffiti on a wall, a “I Love VC” towel on the beach, and plane tickets in as potential “evidence” of where GTA VI might be set. Instead as framing it as theories, titles insist that these locations have been “confirmed” or “revealed.”
Many point to a billboard in GTA III, which showcased an ad about visiting Miami, as proof that Rockstar does indeed hide clues about future games. While that billboard was definitely a nod toward Vice City, we also know that VC was being developed before GTA III was out the door. In fact, Vice City was originally intended to be a mission pack for GTA III. In that case, the overlap makes sense. And hey, it’s perfectly possible that maybe Rockstar has hidden an easter egg in GTA V—but certainly, nothing’s been officially confirmed yet.
Maybe the worst trend in GTA VI videos is Youtubers calling Rockstar’s support line to ask when the game will be released. I can’t help but feel sorry for the people just doing their job, now having to deal with people perpetually calling to ask a question they both know can’t be answered.
Luckily there are some YouTubers who debunk these types of videos or at the very least or poke fun at them. But even when that happens, YouTubers might still make the title “I GOT GTA 6 EARLY!” At this point, to compete on YouTube means to play the title and thumbnail game, even if just ironically or to crack a joke.
If nothing else, keep in mind that Rockstar is not likely to just send a retail copy of an unannounced game to anyone. And if you really want the latest info on GTA VI, don’t call Rockstar—just follow them on Twitter or something.
Zach Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.