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'Grand Theft Auto 6' production delay might be behind Rockstar Games' return to office mandate

GTA VI logo from the trailer displayed on a laptop screen and PlayStation DualSense controller.
GTA VI logo from the trailer is displayed on a laptop screen behind a PlayStation DualSense controller.Getty Images
  • Rockstar Games' return to office mandate is raising concerns of a delay in the release of "GTA 6."

  • Rockstar told employees they will no longer be able to work from home starting in April.

  • Kotaku reported that progress is slowing, and the game's release could "slip" into 2026.

Back-to-work mandates at Rockstar Games are prompting concerns that "Grand Theft Auto 6" might get a later release date than expected.

In December, Rockstar Games announced that "GTA 6" would come out in 2025. The announcement of the game itself was a significant online event. The title's first trailer set YouTube's record for views for a non-music video release.

Take Two Interactive, Rockstar's parent company, said in a recent earnings call that it expects to bring in $7 billion in revenue for Fiscal Year 2025. Still, news that a "GTA 6" release date was so far in the future caused stock prices for Take Two to dip as much as 7% in December.

Now, Kotaku reported that sources close to the game's development say that progress is slowing and the game's release could "slip" into 2026.

News of a possible lag in progress on "GTA 6" follows reports of a coming mandate from Rockstar that employees return to the office five days a week, which Bloomberg first reported in February. The company plans to ask remote employees to come back to the office starting in April, according to the outlet. The move has since sparked speculation that Rockstar is behind schedule and trying to amp up productivity.

Jenn Kolbe, the company's head of publishing, in fact, told staff in an email that Rockstar made the decision for productivity and security reasons, according to Bloomberg.

On the security side, Rockstar has faced several leaks of footage for "GTA 6," including clips of the game released on TikTok shortly before its trailer release that were believed to have come from an employee's child.

Some Rockstar employees told Aftermath they learned they would no longer be able to answer Slack messages and use other work communication tools from home. Employees noted that they were worried that Rockstar could be trying to start "quiet layoffs" by making relocating costs unmanageable for people hired remotely, according to the outlet.

"If you make it so that [people] can no longer work effectively at the company, then they have no choice but to leave," one employee told the outlet.

"Quiet firing" is when bosses make moves that, intentionally or not, make a worker's job less appealing, which encourages them to leave. Signs of quiet firing can include managers failing to provide clear expectations, feedback, support, career development, and recognition for an employee in a way that makes them feel ignored, according to experts.

Sources close to the game told Kotaku that Rockstar is still "aiming" for a "GTA 6" release date in the Spring of 2025 but that later in the year is more likely, and a 2026 release could be a "fallback plan."

Rockstar did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider