Rockstar dev explains why it takes so long to make GTA 6 PC port

Former Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 animator explains why it will take so long for Rockstar Games to release Grand Theft Auto 6 on PC.

3 minutes & 52 seconds read time

GTA 6 won't release on PC at launch, and now a former Rockstar Games animator explains why it takes so long to make PC ports of games.

Rockstar dev explains why it takes so long to make GTA 6 PC port 2

Grand Theft Auto VI is only coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles in 2025. It's assumed a PC version is coming, but may not happen until years after launch. This revelation prompted PC Gamer to publish an article entitled "There's no technical reason Rockstar can give for why a PC version of GTA 6 isn't arriving with the console release." Now a former GTA animator explains why PC ports aren't made in tandem with console versions.

According to Mike York, who worked with Rockstar Games on titles like GTA 5 and RDR2, there's two main reasons why a PC port of GTA 6 will take a while: Focusing on what sells, and the large amount of meticulous and hard work that goes into PC versions of games.

(For reference, GTA 5 came out in September 2013, and the PC version released in April 2015.)

Below we have a transcript of what York said in a recent YouTube video:

"One of the main reasons why a PC port will take so long to come out after a console release is because the developers want to make it the best it can possibly be. They have to work out all these little bugs that they haven't been working on--they've put them to the side, they haven't seen them yet.

"One of the main things I want to touch on is that the reason why a PC port comes later and not the first thing that comes out is because they want to prioritize what sells.

"Most of the time, especially in the past, PlayStation was the big seller. PlayStation was the console to have, it sold more than any other console for the most part, everybody is playing on PlayStation

"So what the developer would do is they would focus all their energy on making sure the PlayStation port and the PlayStation game worked really well. Then they would kind of port of to the Xbox--usually they'd do it at the same time. When I was working over on GTA 5, for instance, we were concentrating on the PS3 and the Xbox at the time. But we where mainly pushing the PS3 to the limit, because the PS3 was kind of better hardware at the time to use memory and different things.

"And so we put all our energy into that, optimizing it the best we can for that console. Then we kind of port that version to the Xbox simultaneously, we're working on both versions and testing them. The PC version is kind of the version that's in the background, that's running the two versions and building them.

"There's always a PC version of the game, but it's not quite polished. It's just kind of feeding the other games and making them work.

"When you want to port the game...let's say you got the game looking really good on PlayStation, it's playing really good, it has good FPS, very few bugs. And it's ready, you release to public. Well now, you can start focusing on the PC port.

"When the developer goes into the PC port part of the process, what they're going to do is that they now have new ideas to push things. For instance, they might go into a scene and go 'oh, we're on PC now, we have a little bit more memory, we can add some fog into here like we always wanted to, but it was too much for the console.' They can do a lot of different things like adding more characters, they can populate better foliage.

"Because the PC hardware, depending on what PC you have, is going to be able to run it better. So they're going to optimize it for the best PC parts that are available today.

"But, that being said, this is very important for everyone to remember: One of the main reasons why a PC port will take so long is because it's different architecture and different kind of components. They have to accommodate for all of these different things that can happen.

"On a PlayStation and an Xbox, each one of those has one graphics card, and it's the same graphics card, the same architecture inside the box, as every single PlayStation that's shipped to millions of people. But when it comes to a PC, every single person has a different PC, they're running it differently, they have different hardware, different kind of CPUs and GPUs.

"The memory usage and different things the game is doing in the background can sometimes hit a fail and mess up during different configurations. That's what it boils down to. They need to test the game more on PC than they would on an Xbox or a PlayStation. You already have to test the game a ton in order to get it to work, so a PC version is even harder."

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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