Rockstar Games' next game will be a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, and is still in early development, according to internal emails and employee interviews.
Kotaku's report has obtained and reviewed an internal email from top Rockstar executive Jennifer Kolbe, outlining the studio's plan to mitigate crunch and long working hours which affected staff during the development of games such as Red Dead Redemption 2.
Although Rockstar declined to comment on the story, interviews with 15 people who are either currently at Rockstar or left within the last year, revealed more about the development of their next game.
Next GTA game in "early development"
For fans of the series, the most crucial information from the report is that Rockstar is indeed working on the next Grand Theft Auto game as their next release.
However, the game is apparently still in early development: "One plan that management has laid out for the next game, a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, is to start out with a moderately sized release (which, by Rockstar’s standards, would still be a large game) that is then expanded with regular updates over time, which may help mitigate stress and crunch."
The report continues: "But there’s a catch: Rockstar’s next big project is still early in development."
One major piece of news to come out of the Rockstar camp in 2020 was the departure of Dan Houser, one of the lead writers on the Grand Theft Auto series, as well as one of the founders.
Rockstar employees told Kotaku that with Houser gone, there will be "fewer last-minute rewrites and overhauls" which were common for Red Dead Redemption 2.
It sounds as though the studio is making a concerted effort to reduce many of the problems that plagued the development of RDR2 with their next game, with Kolbe's email reading: "We have taken conscious steps to improve our approach to developing games in order to reduce the need for overtime."
Kolbe also said they "will continue to take steps so we can more accurately predict and schedule games and DLC in a way that is more sustainable but still allows us the creative flexibility to iterate on the incredibly ambitious and complex games we make."
This is the first time that we've heard any mention of a new Grand Theft Auto game from developers themselves, but of course, everything is still officially under wraps. We will likely know more in May, when Take-Two, the game's publishers, give their next quarterly earnings call.