Grand Theft Auto and The Golden Era of Games Development Education

It’s been an unbelievable week. After over a decade of waiting, feverish fanbase excitement and some of the most outlandish rumours in gaming, the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 launched. Not that everything was quite as smooth as Rockstar were hoping…

Leaks are becoming a major issue within the industry, and the latest GTA hasn’t managed to escape them either. Back in September 2022, over 90 videos of stolen GTA 6 development footage was published online. And that was just the beginning. The trailer release date itself was leaked earlier this year, followed by the trailer itself, the night before the scheduled debut. It’s not an understatement then to say that this game is one of the most anticipated of this generation, but in this blog, we’re going to take a moment to dig a little deeper into games development, including Grand Theft Auto 6, what the game might mean for the future of industry benchmarks in technology and detail, and games development in general. Let’s get to it! 

If you’re not into gaming, you might have no idea what we’re on about, but that’s ok! In short, Rockstar Games is a British games developer with offices across the globe, renowned for impeccably detailed worlds and engaging stories. Their passion and commitment to raising the bar for the games industry has led to their recognition as one of the most important developers, with games consistently highly anticipated. 


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Games developed by Rockstar

Some games developed by Rockstar include: 

  • The aforementioned Grand Theft Auto series (5 main entries released so far with a series of spinoffs and smaller games that have revolutionised 3D, open world games).
  • The Red Dead series (Set in the late 19th and early 20th century in the death of the old ‘Wild West’, this series is rich and complex, like playing 20-40 hour long Clint Eastwood movies).
  • Midnight Club (a racing game focused on competitive street racing and car customisation).
  • Max Payne (based on the eponymous detective come vigilante).


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How long has GTA 6 been in development? 

We don’t know for sure how long the game has been in development, but some sources have claimed that the process began between 2014 and 2015, gearing up to full development in 2018 or 2019 after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2. 


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How much did GTA 6 cost to develop?

Again, it’s difficult to know for sure at this point in the release cycle, but it’s rumoured that the game will have cost in the region of $2 billion, making it the most expensive entertainment product of all time. Rockstar is clearly hedging their bets on this being the most successful launch they’ve ever had, and that’s a bet we’d take too…


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What can we expect from the game, and what does it mean for other games in the future? 

Rockstar builds their games on their own, in-house game engine ‘RAGE’ (AKA Rockstar Advanced Games Engine, first built in 2004 and used for the first time to create Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis in 2006). In the first trailer, which you can see for yourself below, they are clearly putting RAGE to the test with their most in-depth world yet. The trailer is one that requires multiple rewatches, but you can see everything from realistic water physics in the crystal clear, bright blue oceans, to more advanced AI that fill the world with life and deepen immersion. 

This snapshot of what’s to come shows us that Rockstar is again going really big, something their publisher Take Two admitted to in 2022, saying “With development of the next entry in the GTA series well underway, the Rockstar Games team is determined to once again set creative benchmarks for the series, our industry, and for all entertainment, just as the label has done with every one of their frontline releases” (NME, 2022)

When this releases, rest assured that the entire industry will follow and other game developers will begin to fully utilise current gen consoles, aiming for ever-more intricate worlds, better graphics and even richer stories. But that’s not to say that Rockstar is the sole lead in industry development. The games industry is a true powerhouse, worth a projected $249.6 billion in 2023 (Statista) and constantly developing. 

From new technology like VR and AR, to updated engines like the latest version of Unity that offer even more tools for developers to realise their vision and innovate, to the rapidly evolving esports industry, this is truly the new ‘roaring 20s’ for video games and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a gamer.

And with such a sustained period of success and innovation comes… 


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Jobs in Games Development and the Importance of Education

We might be stating the obvious a bit here, but new technology, bigger budgets and projects, and larger audiences increase skills gaps that need to be filled and a renewed focus on recruitment.

In the UK alone, the total workforce grew to “25,026 (in April 2023)… and annual investment by studios rose to £1.66 billion” (TIGA, 2023).

With such massive investment, industry roles should be here to stay and up for grabs for anyone with the right skills. And that’s where education comes in. Studying games development is easier than ever, with courses and guidance widely available from a variety of sources including our very own Games Development and Games Art courses

At ACC, we do things differently, with 30 years of experience in building bespoke curriculums with industry expert tutors and partnering with key industry organisations to give you the best possible start to your career. If you study with us, you’ll work in high-spec, industry standard games labs, and get direct exposure to industry through our GoLive careers programme.

The average Game Developer salary is between £30,000 and £50,000 per year, increasing as you build your career and professional experience. While studying at ACC, we’ll also work with you to refine your portfolio which can be a huge boost when joining industry and increase your chances of starting out in the best possible position. 

“On our Games Development course, learners get around 4 months to make a playable game. How much they achieve in those four months, especially compared to an 11 year triple A (AAA) game like GTA 6 is amazing and forms the basis of their careers.” – Bradley Rogers, Games and Media Pathway Manager at ACC Bristol.

We know we’re biased, but education is such a key foundation for any highly skilled role such as a games developer. If you’re feeling inspired and want to find out more about a games industry career, as well as what we can offer you, we’ve got open days coming up in your area. Book your place now on our events page.

Last updated on: 19th December 2023