GTA 6 has seemingly raised the bar for open-world AAA games. While the game is still two years away from release, audiences can’t stop marveling at its complex world and lifelike visuals.
Rockstar Games has traditionally pushed the limits of visuals, animations, physics, and dynamic systems in its games. From the looks of the first GTA 6 trailer, this game will be no different.
However, the game’s frame rate target is still the elephant in the room. With the studio pushing the limits of the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X, I am left to wonder if GTA 6 will be among the notorious games limited to 30FPS this generation.
There is a very real possibility that GTA 6 will not run at 60FPS on consoles. However, I believe this is okay, and there is no need to panic.
Why it matters: Games that launch with a 30FPS cap on modern consoles are usually frowned upon. However, Rockstar Games may be able to get away with this limit.
Aging Zen 2 CPUs In Consoles
While there is no doubt that the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X are quite capable, their CPUs are far from the best.
During the last generation, the Jaguar CPU of the PS4 and Xbox One also became a major bottleneck, holding those consoles back from achieving 60FPS on various PS3 and Xbox 360 games, one of which was GTA 5.
Both consoles feature custom 8-core AMD Zen 2 processors, and while these are a massive step up over the last generation CPUs, I have a hunch they may not be able to handle a dynamic and sprawling open world like the one showcased in the first GTA 6 trailer.
While these processors are custom-made for the consoles, real-world performance is often similar to the Ryzen 5 3600 on PC. This CPU is less capable than the recommended mid-range processors from AMD and Intel, making it questionable if it will keep up with Vice City.
GTA 5 Beach VS GTA VI Beach ⛱️ pic.twitter.com/ZVYVaxdWYL
— GTA 6 NEWS (@GTAVInewz) December 6, 2023
Complex Systems In A Massive Open World
The scale of Vice City leads me to believe that 60FPS might be too ambitious of a goal.
During the trailer, we saw hundreds of NPCs on screen during various scenes. In addition to the NPCs, the footage showcased tightly packed streets with numerous cars on screen, highlighting a focus on density at all times.
This, combined with the traditional attention to detail from Rockstar Games, might be too heavy of a burden for the console CPUs to bear. One could argue games like Spider-Man 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 already demonstrate similarly dense open worlds at 60FPS on these consoles.
However, the former lacks the detail shown in GTA 6, and the latter was always designed around the PS4 and Xbox One as base targets. Moreover, Rockstar Games is also famous for its physics systems, and GTA 6 will likely be no different.
If last year’s leaks are any indication, the studio has packed tiny details in each part of the game, including animations and physics, that will further strain these consoles, making 60FPS hard to achieve.
This trailer has already prompted discussions about the frame rate, with experienced tech channels like Digital Foundry speculating that GTA 6 might be limited to 30FPS. While this may be disappointing, as a fan, I believe the compromise will be worth it.
Unlike Redfall or Gotham Knights, which did not appear to do anything revolutionary at 30FPS, the same will not be true for GTA 6. The overall experience could end up being so immersive in this open world that it would be hard to complain about 30FPS.
Cutting-Edge Visuals On Massive Scale
A GTA 5 animator recently claimed that the GTA 6 trailer represents Rockstar Games’ final product, so there is little room for doubt.
Apart from CPU-intensive elements, GTA 6 is pushing the boundaries of visuals in open worlds. Analysis of the trailer shows that Rockstar Games is using ray-traced global illumination and ray-traced reflections in the game.
An argument can be made that ray-tracing could be removed for Performance mode. However, if the ray-tracing is essential to the overall atmosphere and look of GTA 6, I believe the developer might refrain from skipping it.
Ultimately, Rockstar Games appears to be doing everything possible on the PS5 and the Xbox Series S|X. If the game can live up to its first trailer, I would be more than happy to play at 30FPS.
30FPS Will Be Worth It
Sony is currently rumored to be working on the PS5 Pro. Akin to last generation’s PS4 Pro, this console will offer beefier hardware, allowing it to break past the base model’s limitations.
This console could add an element of unpredictability to this argument, but this remains to be seen.
Anyhow, because of everything going on in GTA 6 and the dynamic nature of Vice City, 30FPS might be justified for the first time on current-gen consoles.
In my opinion, console gamers should not fret about this supposed frame rate cap. While 60FPS is now a necessity for many, GTA 6 is building up to be a once-in-a-generation experience.
In this instance, aiming for 60FPS may have been limiting to Rockstar Games’ vision, and I don’t mind losing this experience if it means the developers can realize their goals for the first Grand Theft Auto title in 10 years by sacrificing the frame rate.
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Avinash is currently pursuing a Business degree in Australia. For more than three years, he has been working as a gaming journalist, utilizing his writing skills and love for gaming to report on the latest updates in the industry. Avinash loves to play action games like Devil May Cry and has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as IGN, GamesRadar, GameRant, Dualshockers, CBR, and Gamespot.