Depending on Grand Theft Auto 6’s setting, the music and radio stations have the potential to be better than ever. Grand Theft Auto is a series of action-adventure video games developed by Rockstar Games, often set in fictional cities meant to represent major American cities. For instance, Liberty City is New York, whereas San Andreas in California.
The incredibly detailed open world game series offers players the change to take part in a series of fast-paced story missions or complete side missions at their own speed. The franchise’s action, coupled with strong story lines and raunchy humor, has made the Grand Theft Auto series one of the most popular video game properties in the entire world. Although there hasn’t been any official information released about the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6, it goes without saying that fans are sitting on the edge of their seats as they wait for more details about Rockstar’s next title.
Music has always been an important feature of the Grand Theft Auto series, and one that’s always been tied to the game’s chronological and physical setting. Even though GTA 6 isn’t expected to release for a few more years – 2022 to be exact, according to current rumors – there is still much speculation over what the game will look like and where it will be set, and that leads to questions about what music players could be hearing in the next Grand Theft Auto game.
The game developers carefully curated the playlists for each of the GTA games. It’s not just for fun that there are dozens of radio stations to choose from while users drive around their city of choice, but rather the music is meant to reflect the time and place the game is set in.
Grand Theft Auto 5, for instance, was set in a fictional version of California. Rockstar’s team has admitted they chose music that had a distinct California-feel to add to the overall gameplay experience. Players will notice the music score changes with the mood and tension of the game. “You could argue that the soundtrack doesn’t supplement the narrative, but is a part of it,” Ryan Schreiber, Pitchfork Media founder, said in 2013, Polygon reports. Rockstar’s music supervisor Ivan Pavlovich admitted that the music wasn’t as big a priority in Grand Theft Auto 4 as it was in GTA 5. “So much of [the soundtrack] has to do with the world that’s created,” he explained at the time. “Look at how those stations play a role in the overall game. In this version of California, we wanted to have a lot of the stations to have that Cali feel — like the classic west coast hip hop station hosted by DJ Pooh.”
Pavlovich continued, “We’d never done a pop station [before in Grand Theft Auto] but for us… The first time you get off an airplane in L.A. and you hear the radio and the pop just seeps out… We wanted that. It really connects you to the world.” GTA 5’s soundtrack eventually included 241 songs, spread over 17 different radio stations that players can control. The team originally narrowed that down from 900 different songs. Rockstar was also careful to make sure the radio host’s personality complemented the genre of music being played on the individual radio station. Each of the three main characters (Franklin, Trevor, and Michael) were assigned different songs based on their personalities, which is why specific songs tend to play when users get into one of these character’s cars.
The era and setting of GTA 6 has not been confirmed by Rockstar. One of the biggest theories right now suggests the story will take place in both Vice City, the game’s fictional stand-in for Miami, Florida, and South America. There has also been discussion that the game may spread across multiple decades, particularly the 1970’s to 1980’s. If this is the case, players can expect the music will be a reflection of the time.
Rock n’ roll was one of the most popular genres throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Of course, in the 1970’s, other genres like disco, funk, smooth jazz, and soul were also popular, whereas in the 1980’s, new wave and dance-pop rose in popularity. Similarly, if the game does take the plot to South America, there will likely be a focus on Latin music. If Grand Theft Auto 6 has multiple main characters, players can expect each character may have a preferred genre influence by the time period.
The music and radio stations feature in the Grand Theft Auto games is a direct reflection of the plot’s location and time period, but until players know the setting for Grand Theft Auto 6, a lot of details about the game’s musical score will remain a mystery.