GTA 5 next gen is the Holy Grail of the upcoming console launch, and the first trailer has only further stoked expectations. And GTA 5 PC would be pretty nice, too, and is a lot more likely. Like, GTA 5 PC was basically just confirmed via an internal leak. GTA 5 PS4, GTA 5 Xbox One, and GTA 5 Wii U are a bit more of a longshot. But it's not impossible by any means: Rockstar plays their cards close to vest, and they may yet give us a surprise.

GTA 5 next gen is a hot-button question for a reason. The GTA V release date, September 17, 2013, is not terribly far away. Nor is it far away from the PS4 launch and Xbox One launch. And Grand Theft Auto is the only big game for the rest of this year that is only coming out on current gen. After The Last of Us, every single big console release of note -- from Assassin's Creed 4 and Watch_Dogs to Madden and Call of Duty -- is hitting both current and next gen, albeit not always on the same day.

So why is GTA 5 the odd one out, and shunning next gen? That's not really the right question. You should ask, why does everyone think GTA 5 next gen won't happen? There is no great value in being the last great game of a console lifecycle. Such games actually tend to do pretty poorly: games like Skyward Sword, Perfect Dark, Yoshi's Island, and even Final Fantasy 9 did worse than expected because they came on the tail end of a console cycle. Cross-gen games like Twilight Princess tend to do much better.

And that makes sense for GTA 5 next gen, as well. If you're saving up for a $400 or $500 console and three or four games, a GTA game in September is less appealing than it would otherwise be. Which is still very appealing: nobody's saying the game won't do well. But GTA 4 broke every record there was. GTA 5 is very unlikely to do that with a new console just on the horizon. It will feel like yesterday's news, a nice little coda.

Contrast that to a theoretical GTA 5 next gen. All it would need, really, would be those next gen graphics. It's safe to assume gameplay would be basically the same. And I think it's safe to say GTA 5 PS4 or GTA 5 Xbox One would become the biggest system seller of the year. Almost all the major next-gen launch titles are available in some form or another on current gen. The good exclusives don't come until next year; even Xbox One flagship Titanfall is coming to 360 as well. GTA 5 is higher profile than any of the other cross-gen games coming out, arguably even higher profile than Call of Duty. It would give players a great way to christen their system.

So what's the big hold up on GTA 5 PS4 and GTA 5 Xbox One? Well, hello. They want to actually sell all these current gen ones. GTA 5 is a massive, massive investment for Rockstar, and they want to keep it as safe as possible. One way to do that is by delaying the next gen version announcement until after the current gen version launches -- which they can get away with, if GTA 5 for next gen isn't actually ready yet. But mark my words -- we'll get GTA 5 PS4 sooner or later. Maybe not in 2013, but definitely in 2014. They'd be crazy not to release it.

In other news, Rockstar is almost definitely porting GTA 5 to PC, based on recent job leaks that were quickly pulled. At the very least, we'll get high def that way. But if they're porting it to PC, that probably means the textures and other graphical foofaraws are higher quality than current-gen can handle, and that means there are no obstacles to releasing on next-gen when Rockstar is good and ready. Which, with any luck at all, will be sometime this November.

For a second opinion, here's Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria, on GTA 5 next gen:

We cannot get out. We cannot get out. [GTA 5 next gen] has taken the bridge and Second Hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there bravely while the rest retreated into Mazarbul. [...] Óin's party went five days ago but today only [GTA 5 next gen] returned. [GTA 5 next gen] is up to the wall at West-gate. [GTA 5 next gen] took Óin--we cannot get out. [GTA 5 next gen] comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep.