GTA Online Standalone: What does this mean for GTA 6? (PS5 and Xbox Series X/S)

With the GTA Online Standalone and Enhanced version coming soon for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, let's explore what this means for the future of the game and for GTA 6.

We’ve had GTA Online since within 14 days post the initial release of GTA V on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. We’ve had this online game for a little over 7 years now, while new players are joining the mayhem even today.

GTA Online Standalone: Will it be Free-to-Play?

We know that the GTA Online Standalone edition is planned to be released, at least on PlayStation 5, as a free title for the first 3 months.

This is 2021, there are numerous free-to-play games like Call of Duty Warzone, Fortnite, Destiny 2 among many others. A striking difference between the free-to-play online games of today and GTA Online is a limitation on the in-game items that can be purchased for the latter. As of now, the only in-game item that could be purchased are Shark Cards, which translates to in-game money. The problem lies in the fact that these booster packs are outdated and give poor value: Shark Cards definitely need an update to be of better value.

Things being as is, there are two probable directions Rockstar can go with this: the online version of the game will carry a low price-tag, or can remain entirely free post the 3 month trial period. It is likely that GTA Online Standalone will remain as a paid game, going with what we have seen from the likes of the Standalone edition of Red Dead Online.

GTA 6 and the future of GTA Online Standalone

The Future of GTA Online Standalone & GTA 6

A popular question we had in mind for the latter half of a decade, what about GTA 6? Rockstar Games have not been following a business strategy similar to their mainstream competition. While companies like Ubisoft and EA Games release titles from their many franchises, either as a sequel or remaster, Rockstar Games have been releasing patches and free DLCs for their flagship series for over 5 years.

With GTA 5, they dropped the bombshell of a videogame that shook the whole industry and is still considered the best game ever made. We can expect a similar nuke from Rockstar any time and that is just the reality of the situation.

GTA 6 might be a Single-Player game only

With GTA Online now becoming a Standalone game, we have to wonder - what does this mean for when GTA 6 inevitably comes around? Will a new, separate version of GTA 6 Online be released? Or will GTA Online continue as it is on its own?

While Rockstar would probably like people to start over with a new Online version when GTA 6 comes out, GTA Online becoming standalone suggests it’s being decoupled from GTA V to continue as a separate entity in the future. So would this mean that GTA 6 will be exclusively a single-player game?

This could actually be a great way to go for Rockstar and great news for us gamers: GTA Online being standalone could allow Rockstar to release future GTA games (story mode only) at a quicker pace, since they won't have to develop a dedicated multiplayer component, and they won't have to "wait" for the Online component of the previous game to die down (like it's been happening with GTA 5). All while GTA Online standalone continues to generate constant revenue and budget for Rockstar.

But if this was the approach that Rockstar would take, several more questions and doubts arise. Let's explore them.

Adding the GTA 6 Map to GTA Online

Rockstar mentioned that they filled the Los Santos map to the max in GTA Online, and that’s why they started looking into a separate island expansion with Cayo Perico.

This suggests that GTA Online could see some additional map expansions in the future: for example, it would certainly be cool to see a Liberty City expansion to relive the days of GTA 4 - or to see maps from the classic GTA Trilogy if the remaster rumors are true. Flying to other cities could be done through the Airport, similar to how it works for Cayo Perico.

And this could further tie into GTA 6: if GTA 6 ends up being a Single Player game - the GTA Online standalone edition could give you the option to fly to the location where GTA 6 will be set.

Let’s say for a second that, as rumored, GTA 6 takes place in Vice City. Rockstar could make it so that you can fly to Vice City in GTA Online only if you have GTA 6 purchased and installed. So GTA Online would grab the data of the Vice City map from your installation of GTA 6. And if you don't have the game yet, your first flight to Vice City would actually cost money - requiring you to purchase GTA 6!

GTA Online Standalone: Travelling between GTA 5 and GTA 6 cities

The Technicality: Updated Engine for GTA Online

The issue with the above idea is that GTA 6 on Next Gen will obviously have a new engine, new animations, better graphics, improved physics, etc. While the current version of GTA Online is still based on an engine made before 2013.

Now, it's true that each update has significantly improved various facets of GTA Online. Rockstar Games have been silently adding attributes to the in-game vehicles, AI behavior, physics engine, etc for some time now. In the patch notes, these changes are titled “fixes” but they greatly improve how the game performs on consoles and PCs alike. As a sum of parts, GTA Online is now very different from when it started out.

However, this doesn't compare to the leap of change and improvements that GTA 6 would make. So if GTA Online allowed traveling between different cities, what would happen? Would the gameplay and mechanics be different based on the location? That wouldn’t work.

And here is where the upcoming "Expanded and Enhanced" version comes into play. Rockstar has been working on the enhanced version of GTA V and GTA Online for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, and rumors say that it will use the updated RAGE Engine used in Red Dead Redemption 2, which could bring revamped mechanics, as well as much-needed UI improvements.

Rockstar could be doing this to bring GTA Online up to par with the technology standard that will be used in GTA 6: this would allow seamless integration between Los Santos and Vice City (?) when the time for GTA 6 comes.

Will GTA Online Player Progress carry over?

Will you have to start over in GTA 6 Online?

If we continue with the idea that GTA 6 will only be a single-player game, while GTA Online would be expanded to incorporate the Vice City (?) map from GTA 6, then this would mean that your GTA Online player progress could continue to carry over into next-gen and beyond.

However, Rockstar will probably want us to have new challenges and motivation to continue playing, and let's face it, we probably want that too: what fun would it be to play the GTA 6 version of GTA Online, if we're all already at end game with tons of money and properties?

The solution could be simple - think about this: if you flew from Los Santos to Vice City, you wouldn’t bring your vehicles and weapons with you. So, in Vice City, you would have different vehicles, different garages, properties, weapons, etc. Rockstar could make it that you also have a separate bank account in Vice City.

So while you may remain the kingpin of Los Santos, you would have to start fresh in Vice City. This could be the window where the existing GTA Online players could access the newer world of GTA 6 version of GTA Online and we won’t mind starting out fresh in the new city.

Flying from Los Santos to Vice City in GTA Online Standalone

More Questions on the Enhanced & Expanded GTA V

Rockstar has announced that the Expanded and Enhanced versions of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online are arriving on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S on November 11th, 2021. But there was no mention of a PC version.

Will the enhanced version of GTA V be available for PC users? 

Well, it should be. Any additional feature above and beyond what we see in the PC version of GTA Online should ideally be added to the PC game via a Title Update.

Will the enhanced version of GTA V require a re-purchase of the title? 

The question isn’t unfair. After all, Rockstar Games is guilty of milking the life out of this title specifically. It is entirely likely that the GTA V Enhanced Edition will carry a price tag, and it is likely that they would charge the existing GTA V owners the exact same amount.

And if GTA Online doesn't become free to play, the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S owners would have to pay up for the GTA Online standalone version of the game.

However, it's hard to imagine that PC players would have to buy a separate edition of the game just to get the new graphics and improvements. We will await more information from Rockstar about this.


In the meanwhile, what do you guys think of what we talked about in this article? Do you agree with what we came up with regarding the future of GTA Online and GTA 6? Would you like GTA 6 to become only a single-player game, while GTA Online continues with map expansions?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @GTABase, on how you think GTA Online Standalone should be improved for 2021 and how you think the release of GTA 6 will affect the game!

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