According to new filings from Rockstar Games, we may be seeing more news about the continuation of the Grand Theft Auto franchise a lot sooner than we thought. Tax Watch UK, an investigative think tank, has published its report on Rockstar Games’ 2018/2019 tax returns, and revealed some very interesting details about the plan the company has going into 2020. Among their findings, are suspicions that GTA 6 is in the works.
The massive success of 2013’s Grand Theft Auto 5 has led to Rockstar putting their billion dollar franchise through quite the ringer. The sheer volume of post-launch content for Grand Theft Auto Online has made it one of the most successful video games ever, pulling in millions upon millions annually through microtransactions. And even though many fans have been disappointed by the distinct lack of singleplayer DLC, there’s some good news on the horizon.
The filings also reveal that Rockstar has taken huge advantages from he UK Video Games Tax Relief fund, ones that it may have exploited unfairly. In the view of the watchdog group, Rockstar took serious advantage of the relief, which is aimed at ongoing development. And it’s this point that has led many to speculate if the game being claimed is in fact GTA 6.
Companies are able to make interim claims for the tax relief fund while a game is in development, and Rockstar Games’ claims would suggest that they may have been utilizing the system throughout the years when they paid no corporate income tax in the country. Throughout the years of 2009 to 2018, Rockstar, and many other major names in tech, retail and other industries, all took advantage of tax breaks to dodge millions in tax bills. It’s key to note that Rockstar reported £4.1 billion in revenue during those nine years. The fund is supposed to be aimed at helping smaller developers prosper and keep development within the UK. But in 2018/2019, Rockstar North in Edinburgh claimed almost 40 percent of the total tax relief claims in the video game industry.
According to Tax Watch UK, these claims constitute fair warning that active development, possibly relating to a new GTA. According to Tax Watch, the £37 million in tax relief provided to Rockstar “relates to the production of the next edition of GTA, rumored to be scheduled for release soon.” Although no official confirmation of GTA 6 has been seen, it’s very intriguing nonetheless.
With the impending launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it’s sure to balloon development costs of modern AAA games a fair bit. Hopefully the publishers don’t get greedy and start pushing more aggressive monetization, or even raise the standard price of games beyond $60. Rockstar has projected that the next iteration of GTA will cost a fair bit more than the $137 million spent on GTA 5 for example.