Rockstar vice president Dan Houser has said the idea of a sci-fi themed open world is "very tempting" but that the studio first needs to find "a good reason" to do so.
When asked if the GTA franchise would ever leave its contemporary time period by French website Ecrans (translated by OXM), the GTA scribe and lead writer on Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 said Rockstar would do so "the very second we have an idea."
"One of our strengths is the consistency of the game world," added Houser. "We're not necessarily the best writers in the world, but we know how to write a video game."
Looking back to Rockstar's enormous success with Red Dead Redemption, Houser said Rockstar chose the Western setting "because we knew we had something to say."
"We have no interest in going into science fiction for the sake of flying cars and laser guns," he added.
What's holding Rockstar back, then, is that it doesn't yet have the right story to tell. "The best science fiction stories are those that speak about the human condition. So while this idea is very tempting and, by definition, anything's possible in a videogame, we lack the essential thing for the moment: a good reason."