Reports from TechRadar have indicated that Rockstar Games considered making a “full” Grand Theft Auto game set in Japan, even going so far as to fly staff to Tokyo for a research trip. This trip apparently took place many years around the time of GTA III and Vice City, and involved taking photos of the city and speaking with locals. Despite being so evidently serious about the project for so many years, it was allegedly scrapped for several reasons.
“The road system was seen to be problematic and became one reason the idea was canned…Our source added that, as time has gone on, Rockstar has realized the difficulty in moving Grand Theft Auto outside of the USA, where it has firmly embedded itself. There are a number of series staples, from brands to cars, that Rockstar would likely have to change if a future GTA was set somewhere else.” (from the TechRadar report)
The same report also revealed that Rockstar had filed trademark applications for this project, along with a couple of others which also never came to fruition.
However, the same source has indicated that “preliminary” production has begun on a Grand Theft Auto 6, which will most likely be set in the United States, as is tradition. The next instalment in the franchise will have considerable shoes to fill following the massive success of GTA V, which – despite boasting the largest budget for a video game to date – made its money back nearly twice over in pre-orders alone, features an online mode which continues to be popular and has shipped over 60 million copies. GTA V revitalised the popular Los Santos setting first seen in the classic GTA: San Andreas.