For me, though, I think the biggest deal maker for me to buy the game day one, aside from much better written female characters, is an in-game map where there isn't just one major city to visit and live in, but two.
Hear me out as to why two cities is so important to me.
Look, firstly, I'd like to preface this by saying that, yes, of course, a game can be based around just one city and still be great. Cyberpunk 2077's Night City is a fantastic creation and one of the most detailed and immersive game worlds ever created, for example. I've played that game on PC multiple times to completion and it was buckets of fun.
However, the problem for me in games with a map with just one city on it is that, as immersive as the one city may be, as soon as you travel away from it you soon hit the barriers of the in-game map and far from having that feeling of freedom, that feeling that you can go anywhere and do anything, you get the exact opposite. The visible or invisible barriers appear and that sense of freedom is shattered. And, in the worse cases, you literally see the developer losing interest in building a great game world the further you get away from the one city.
The best open-world games try to hide this inevitable loss of freedom and immersion, and I think of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a good example of how an actually quite restricted game world continuously hides its seams and generates the feeling that you could go anywhere.
The now classic RPG Elder Scrolls V Skyrim did this, too. It took a very long time for that feeling of total freedom to wear off for me (probably like my 6th full playthrough!) and that is testament to the developer's skill.
But, you know what definitely helped that sense of freedom in Skyrim? It has multiple cities to visit, buy a home in, shop in and drink in at bars, as well as others. For me, the idea that I could live in one city and then set-out to visit another, which was different in culture, people, aesthetic and more to where I was coming from was like immersion catnip.
Rockstar has kinda already done this, too. The most immersed I've ever been in one of its titles was in Red Dead Redemption 2, as in that game there were a myriad of towns and villages to visit, and travelling across country took serious time. Yes, that game had only one major city, but the various fairly substantial towns created that same sense of freedom, exploration, discovery and immersion that Skyrim had done for me.
So if Rockstar can go one better than that an offer two, fully functioning cities in GTA 6, that I could travel between via car, bike, train, plane or maybe even boat, I'd have that $70 out of my wallet so fast it would likely set on fire.
I'm kind of obsessed right now with the idea that I could get in a cab from my home in one city, get taken to the airport, buy a ticket and then get on a plane to another city in the game world, before proceeding to stay in a hotel or buying another smaller property.
So, how likely is a GTA 6 map with two major cities on it? Well, there has been a few map-related whispers hit the web over the past year or so, but all of them have come to nothing and haven't offered any firm idea of how big the in-game GTA 6 map will be and how many cities will be involved.
We've heard from one unverified rumor-monger that the GTA 6 map "will be 3 times bigger" than that of GTA V, though, and if that does turn out to be true then there would clearly be room for two cities.
For me two cities in GTA 6 would be a day-one deal maker, and I also feel it would take open-world games to a new level of immersion and awesomeness. Here's hoping Rockstar deliver, and with the game reportedly not coming out until 2024, it sure does look like they've got the time to do it.