Next Grand Theft Auto likely in 2012

Gamers who are chomping at the bit to strike havoc on a new virtual city may not have to wait much longer.

Rockstar, the publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto series, told the website that development is already “well under way” for Grand Theft Auto 5.

The project should wrap up within the next several months, and a 2012 release across all the major platforms is “pretty likely,” the site said

Grand Theft Auto is, of course, known for its controversial yet highly addicting and critically acclaimed portrayal of seedy, crime-filled life.

Players are rewarded for participating in underground drug markets, having random sex, and inflicting violence on innocent citizens.

But beyond its notorious relationship with media and parent activist groups, the GTA series has gained commendations for its brilliant programming, amazing graphics, and open-ended environments.

GTA 5 will take that legacy even further, with Gamespot calling it “the big one” – players will be able to roam around a huge city with vast, sweeping environments that are beyond anything previously seen in the series.

Earlier rumors have suggested that unlike the fictional cities GTA has become known for, GTA 5 will take place in a digital version of Los Angeles.

GTA 4 was available for the PS3 and Xbox 360; it’s assumed GTA 5 will be released on the same platforms and likely for the same $60 price tag.