Does GTA 6 require prior knowledge of Grand Theft Auto 5 to understand, or can the new game be played as a standalone release? We’ve got the answer.

In most gaming franchises, playing the other games in the series can be important to understanding the plot or mechanics of the newer title.

However, in a series like GTA, where there have already been twelve mainline games and four expansions released to date, playing through your backlog can be a little daunting.

Thankfully, you won’t need to worry about getting your hands on the older games.

Do You Need to Play GTA 5 First?

No, you don’t need to play GTA 5 or any other Grand Theft Auto titles before playing GTA 6.

Rockstar Games’ latest release will be completely standalone, much like almost all other GTA experiences.

New players can hop into GTA 6 on release day and enjoy it just as much as longtime fans of the series.

GTA 5 Cop Arresting Woman in a Hat

There, all players will meet new protagonists Lucia and Jason, and explore a never-seen-before map set in Leonida, a state inspired by Florida.

However, it’s not unlikely that there will be subtle nods to past Grand Theft Auto games in GTA 6, which only those who played the older titles will understand.

In older games such as San Andreas and Vice City, having characters cross over between titles wasn’t uncommon. That said, it’s become far less common in the more recent GTA titles, and knowing who a character is never tends to impact the plot in any way.

Since GTA 5 was set in 2013, and GTA Online has since caught up with modern day, we could see recurring characters or references to past events in the new game.

What About Vice City?

What’s more, in GTA 6, we’re returning to Vice City, a location we’ve already visited in the original Grand Theft Auto, as well as in GTA Vice City and Vice City Stories.

We’d be surprised if we didn’t see at least a nod to iconic protagonist Tommy Vercetti or the events of those beloved games.

Vice City GTA 6 Sign

However, Rockstar Games actually separates its releases into three different universes: the 2D universe, the 3D universe, and the HD universe. Each of these timelines has its own canon, and characters that appear in one universe have never appeared in any other.

Since GTA 6 is set in the HD universe, it could crossover with GTA 5, GTA 4, GTA Online, or even Chinatown Wars.

But, at least in theory, it could not reference the events of the original Vice City games, which take place in the 3D universe.

But Should You Play GTA 5 Anyway?

The easy answer to this question is: yes, you absolutely should!

Grand Theft Auto 5 boasts a Metacritic score of 97 and an OpenCritic score of 92. It’s the second best-selling game of all time (behind Minecraft) and the best-selling title of the past ten years in the USA.

GTA 5 Online Heists

Its standalone multiplayer, GTA Online, can be purchased separately if you’re more of an online gamer, and contains over a decade worth of live service add-ons. This includes new ways to play, as well as story content that brings GTA 5’s Los Santos into the present day.

If you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t played GTA 5 already, we recommend giving it a shot. After all, it’ll make the wait for GTA 6 much easier to bear.

And, should you want to try out more of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, here’s how to play all GTA games in both release and timeline order!

Managing Editor
With almost a decade of experience in video game journalism, Max is a well-versed writer from Manchester, United Kingdom. His expertise shines in his comprehensive coverage of GTA 6, providing fans with the latest news and developments regarding the highly-anticipated sequel.
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