GTA 5 Release Date
Last Edited by TreeFitty February 12, 2013 : 871 Comments : 1,527,743 Views
When is the GTA 5 Release Date?On January 31, 2013 Rockstar Games officially confirmed that GTA 5 will release on September 17th, 2013. All GTA 5 Release Dates which you may have seen otherwise were guesses and speculation. Many online stores put up dates as a way to encourage people to pre-order GTA 5 - they were not official. iGTA5
Pre-announcement InformationThe following is information gathered prior to the release date announcement. We'll keep this here for now to show a bit of our thinking and how it progressed leading up to the announcement.
Based on past games from Rockstar we can speculate on when the game may be released, or even when the release date may be announced...
GTA IV Development and Release ScheduleDevelopment on Grand theft Auto IV began at Rockstar North within weeks of San Andreas’ release in October 2004. While Rockstar North oversaw some of the development in other Rockstar Games titles from other studios after 2004, its main focus was on GTA IV. With an official announcement in May 2006, GTA IV was originally planned for release in October 2007, however many early previews at the time said while the game content had been all but completed, the game was riddled with bugs and suffered issues with performance. This was likely because GTA IV was the first open world game Rockstar had made using their proprietary RAGE engine (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine). Before this, the only other game that had used RAGE was Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis, which acted as a tech demo for the new engine, and featured enclosed environments.
Part of the reason for the long development time was that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game were developed side by side. Most developers tend to create the game on one console and then port it over to the other, which usually results in a poor quality game on one side. This led to another problem: as the PS3 was a newer console and its architecture meant that development was more complicated, there were reports of the PS3 version falling behind. Indeed, all of the early previews were based on the Xbox 360 version of the game. It wasn't until much later that anyone outside of Rockstar was allowed to see the PS3 version running.
In August 2007, we found out that the game had been delayed until April 2008. It took three and a half years to create GTA IV, including breaking in the new game engine and implementing the Euphoria physics/animation technology. Eventually, the game was released as promised in April 2008 - 2 years after the official announcement. iGTA5
After GTA IVAfter April 2008, some of the team at Rockstar North continued development to work on the episodic content for GTA IV. Others were split off to work on Red Dead Redemption, which was released in May 2010. Another title, AGENT, is currently being developed by Rockstar North but we know very little about this title and have no idea when it is planned for release.
Regardless, we know Rockstar North has not been free to work on GTA 5 as much as it had been for GTA IV. Rockstar may have split development up into other studios, but historically the development of GTA games has been kept within Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design), with some outsourcing to other studios for porting over to other platforms (e.g. to Xbox with GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas, and to PC for GTA IV).
So what does this mean for the GTA 5 release date?It means there are fewer developers to work on it. However, Rockstar has now had experience working with RAGE in open environments, with Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Red Dead Redemption, and most likely Rockstar's AGENT is using it. The RAGE team has also assisted Team Bondi with L.A. Noire. GTA 5 should need less tweaking to get the game running smoothly, so they can focus on content and should therefore need less manpower. That's the theory, anyway.
Enough talk! When can we expect the GTA 5 release date?If we gave them another three and a half years (i.e. the time it took for GTA IV to be made, including using a new engine), we would have expected to see it in October 2011. However with other projects going on, while they may have been developed at other studios, Rockstar Games is unlikely to promote more than one game at any one time. If they begin to hype up GTA 5 before Max Payne 3 (released in May 2012) and AGENT (TBA), much of the attention will be drawn away from these games. Grand Theft Auto is a big name and Rockstar Games would need to be careful not to let it overshadow their other titles.
A few major gaming websites reported their sources had said a 2012 GTA 5 release date is coming. Of course these sources are unnamed. In addition to that, Max Payne 3 released in May 2012 (delayed two months from the previous date) which means if GTA V does release in 2012, it will be much later in the year. Unfortunately with that two month delay putting Payne right in the middle of the year there is also the very "good" possibility that GTA V could be pushed back into 2013. Downloadable content also extends the life of games so depending on how much Payne DLC is released, GTA V could definitely be pushed into 2013.
Update May 2012:On May 1st, 2012, Rockstar announced Max Payne DLC plans that extend all the way into Fall 2012. We do not believe Rockstar would like to step on themselves and would like to sell as much DLC as possible so that would point to a 2013 release of Grand Theft Auto V.
Update August 2012:Max Payne DLC was confirmed into October. In addition to that the 10 Year Anniversary of Grand Theft Auto Vice City is also coming this October and might extend into 2013 with various things for fans - including an HD remake like GTA III this past year. These points add to the probability of a 2013 release of Grand Theft Auto 5.
Another point to bring up is Rockstar's marketing strategies. When Rockstar is ready to release a game everyone knows it. For months leading up to release the information starts flowing. So far Rockstar Games has remained very quiet about GTA 5. What little confirmed information we have learned since the announcement has come from general Rockstar gaming news such as the Crew system beginning with Max Payne 3. If an October or 2012 release was coming we would probably know it by now.
Take-Two's Q1 fiscal 2013 financial statement also shows Grand Theft Auto V in between BioShock Infinite in February 2013 and XCOM in fiscal 2014:
Update October 2012:After being rumored month after month, Game Informer finally revealed that Grand Theft Auto V would grace the cover of the December issue. Using GTA IV as reference, the GI issue featuring that game was 5 months before the original release date (May-October). Given that, GTA V could have a release in May 2013.
Looking at all of the above, we could see the GTA 5 release date to be announced sometime in late 2012, with an actual release in early 2013. If Rockstar Games wants to stick to its normal release schedule for GTA games (October) we may have a fairly long wait on our hands and won't see a release date announcement until the middle of 2013. However, with the extra development time it should be well worth the wait!
This is all speculation and you’ll probably get a different answer wherever you go. We just thought a brief history lesson might help explain why we expect to see it when we do.
Update October 30th, 2012:All the info here was built up with the knowledge we've gathered over the years (and recent months) - it definitely paid off. Rockstar Games announced that GTA V would release Spring 2013 but the exact date is still unknown. May is still looking good but that could vary by a month. Spring includes March, April, and May so GTA 5 should be released sometime in those months. Stay tuned for updates!
Update January 31st, 2013:Since the previous announcement Rockstar Games stayed relatively quiet about GTA V. With each day they were silent, our release date expectations pushed further into Spring. As January came to a close and the cover reveal loomed as promised, Rockstar never said a word which got some of us spooked the box art wouldn't release on time - little did we know...
Even with the given window of Spring 2013, Grand Theft Auto V was subject to a delay. The game was confirmed by Rockstar Games to be releasing on September 17th, 2013. Unfortunately Rockstar Games couldn't shake their delay streak with games. Max Payne 3's short delay gave us hope that Grand Theft Auto V would release when Rockstar said it would. Oh well. iGTA5
Thanks to all of you who entered our release date competition. We have plenty of time now for a new contest and more chances to win a copy of Grand Theft Auto V! Thanks again and stay tuned for further developments.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to post them in the comments below (cursing out Rockstar won't get you anything), or sign up to the GTA V forums and discuss your ideas there!