As with many open-world gaming franchises, Grand Theft Auto’s settings have never stopped growing. Whether it was its induction into the 3D era with Grand Theft Auto III, HD-era debut Grand Theft Auto IV, or now the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V whose rendition of Los Santos will eclipse the sizes of GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption combined — the cities in Rockstar’s flagship franchise have always overwhelmed in both volume and vibrance.

So what if, perhaps instead constructing one bigger metropolis with every successive title, Rockstar decided to, you know, string them all together? Liberty City, Vice City, Los Santos, San Fierro, Las Venturas: fully explorable. All in one game world. Recent comments from Rockstar North chief Leslie Benzies, as well as a rash of next-generation technology hiring, suggest that such a future could be near at hand.

Speaking with Digital Trends on the legacy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City — the game celebrated its 10th anniversary by re-releasing on iOS and Android platforms last week — Benzies provided an interesting perspective on how players could explore it once again:

“… at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas, and in that context reimagining Vice City would be very interesting.”

“Reimaging” would be the operative word; the original Vice City was set in 1986 Miami. But for a game that’s already so close to scale with its single-city models, such a design could be a viable next step for Grand Theft Auto. Yes, an Easter egg in 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas allowed players to fly to Liberty City. But was it a limited Liberty City, not the fully developed world Benzies seems to be theorizing.

In any case, though, the feat is likely something that won’t be possible in time for next Spring’s Grand Theft Auto V. Fortunately, Rockstar Games seems to be hiring (yet again) for the technology that will underpin its next-generation titles.

Grand Theft Auto Next Gen Hiring

Rockstar North, GTA’s main development wing, posted a job listing recently for a core engine programmer. Citing responsibilities for engine development aspects such as world representation, rendering, graphics and effects, the post also adds: “This is an exciting opportunity to develop cutting-edge architectures and high performance systems for current and next-gen platforms.”

Meanwhile, Red Dead Redemption outfit Rockstar San Diego is looking to implement new technology into its RAGE physics engine. A job opening for a physics programmer asks for someone who can “work closely with game teams to integrate new technologies as well as evangelize best practices and process in using those technologies across Rockstar’s studios.” Rockstar is “looking at future needs and expansion of its RAGE engine,” the listing says, and it may well be a harbinger for future work on a Grand Theft Auto game or theĀ oft-rumored next-gen development of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Grand Theft Auto Hiring Connected Cities

Between openings earlier this year for next-gen artists and a new open-world game, it’s clear the company has a number of projects spinning around in development. What do you think the next Rockstar title — and perhaps its first next-gen project — will be? Would you like to see a Grand Theft Auto that unites every city into one giant game world?

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Sources: Digital Trends [via Kotaku], Rockstar Games Careers (Core Engine Programmer, RAGE Physics Programmer)