Grand Theft Auto is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, and for good reason. The series has helped define open-world games and has been Rockstar’s chief series since their inception.
One of the driving forces behind the studio has always been its co-founders, Dan and Sam Houser, who also functioned as producers and writers on most of Rockstar’s games.
In February 2020, Rockstar announced that Dan Houser would be stepping down from his role as Vice President and be leaving the company. Of course, the question on many fan’s minds at that point is just what that might mean for the inevitable GTA 6.
Obviously a massive series like GTA has many, many people that work and contribute to it. That said, the storytelling and tone aren’t completely from Dan Houser, but he has been a huge part of the series, in general, since its inception. Dan has been credited as one of the main writers on every single Grand Theft Auto game since the London 1969 pack for the original. He was also one of the writers on the Red Dead Redemption games. Contrast this to Sam Houser who’s been an executive producer on every GTA game, but not a writer.
Dan was one of the core creative forces for the series, and a huge reason Grand Theft Auto sports the tone it does, as well as the amalgamation of pop culture references. The Housers have chosen to mostly stay out of the spotlight, instead letting accolades go to Rockstar in general. The studio hasn’t been without its fair share of problems, however, including long-standing reports of crunch and troubling work culture. Rockstar and Houser haven’t detailed any particular reason for the departure, but it’s sure to have effects.
Rockstar has said they have multiple major games in development, and considering GTA 5 is the most successful entertainment property of all time, it’s almost confirmed that one of those has to be GTA 6. On GTA 4 and 5, Houser was joined by Rupert Humphries and Michael Unsworth.
Considering both of these writers are still working with Rockstar, they’ll likely have a large impact on GTA 6. The absence of Dan Houser shouldn’t have a drastic effect, but players could be seeing a shift in the game’s story and style. It’s possible that Rockstar will bring on a brand new writer to help helm the team, or they could simply rely on the skills of Humphries and Unsworth.
Another possibility is that the narrative and much of the writing is already finished for GTA 6. The last game released back in 2013, and while the Houser’s have been working on Red Dead Redemption since then, it’s more than likely that at least the outline is already done.
GTA 6 will undoubtedly still happen, and probably be more ambitious than ever before. However, Houser’s departure could affect the timeline of development, and even the overall tone of the experience.
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