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Rockstar Games Cleaned Up Its Frat-Boy Culture — and Grand Theft Auto, Too

With a new tone at the company and a change in creative direction, GTA VI will probably feel very different from its predecessor

Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto VPhotographer: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

In the summer of 2020, after a police officer killed George Floyd, Rockstar Games quietly shelved a mode of play it had planned to release for its Grand Theft Auto Online game.

Called Cops ‘n’ Crooks, the mode was a twist on the children’s game where players organize into teams of good guys and bad guys, but seemed especially tone-deaf during the global reckoning over police violence. Senior executives at the company, concerned about how the narrative might be interpreted during a time of heightened skepticism and mistrust of American police, put it aside. They still haven’t made plans to bring it back, according to people familiar with development.