I Hope A Summer Launch Is In The Cards For Grand Theft Auto 6

In an ideal world, great works of entertainment would be equally effective no matter when you experienced them. But, as anyone who has ever had a borderline religious emotional response because they discovered a work of art at the right moment in their life can tell you, that isn’t the case. Gilmore Girls and Practical Magic are for the fall. The Polar Express and It’s A Wonderful Life are for the winter. And the Grand Theft Auto games are for the summer.


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Few movies are as tailor-made for the fall as the Harry Potter series, but only half actually released at that time of year. An equal number hit cinemas in the summer.

I mean, look at the teaser for Grand Theft Auto 6. The first shot of the trailer shows the sun sinking low in the sky, casting a pinkish glow over the buildings, river, and palm trees in the background as cars and semi trucks move along a bridge in the foreground. The first few shots all take place at that same golden hour, making the sunlight feel like a crucial element of the setting. It conjures the feeling of a summer night, the time of year when you can walk outside and stroll around without a second thought, no need to grab a coat or a sweater.

The trailer then switches to its most instantly iconic shot, as the camera pans up over the crystal blue waters, onto the white sand, and then beyond to the high-rise towers of this lightly fictionalized version of Miami Beach, as seagulls fly through the air and yellow and pink umbrellas dot the beach below.

The Vice City Beach and City in GTA 6
Via Rockstar Games.

From there, the trailer is off to the races, with a variety of shots depicting Vice City nightlife and daytime tomfoolery. We see a woman twerking on top of a car; a crowd partying in a nightclub; women in bikinis hanging out by a pool; a guy in baggy jeans standing on his truck’s open door as he cruises down the highway; cars doing donuts at an intersection, lit by the headlights of the onlookers’ vehicles; people hanging out at a monster truck rally in deep, wet mud. It looks like the kind of sun-drenched summer vacation that, as a kid, I imagined I’d have when I was a grown-up.

I wrote earlier this year about how Dead Island 2 felt like the perfect summer game because of its post-apocalyptic Los Angeles setting and impressive sunlight tech that often made you feel like you were emerging into the parking lot after an afternoon spent at the movies. The GTA 6 teaser’s use of sunlight seems to be going for something similar, like no matter what time of day your mission takes place, the game will effortlessly evoke the way it should feel to be on vacation in a hot, coastal city.

Growing up, my grandparents spent half the year living in an RV park for senior citizens near Tampa. That meant that, typically, my family went down to stay with them for a week, usually over Christmas or spring break. That was where I first played my first 3D video game, when I got an N64 and Ocarina of Time as a Christmas present. GTA 6 is capturing a vision of summer, in general, but it’s also capturing Florida in a video game. As someone who started loving video games during a trip to Florida, it taps into something pretty deeply rooted inside me. I hope I can start playing it when the fickle Illinois weather matches the perfect warmth Vice City exudes.

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