In a world where the Rockstar community sees the next Grand Theft Auto game everywhere they go – from looking at clouds, to looking at random images online, believing random delusional religious-themed riddles, or perhaps even seeing things in the pattern of their cat’s fur – today’s social media marketing posts for GTA Online: Los Santos Drug Wars certainly caused a stir, and caused much of the community to go down the proverbial rabbit hole – much like Dax would have wanted us to!
If there’s one thing that the R* community likes to do is speculate, so obviously what dropped today and the details within those social media posts had part of the community feeling like they were going on one of Dax’s trips at least for a bit.
If you haven’t paid attention, let’s break it down, just like Mutt would break down chemicals for your next LSD trip.
Table of Contents
The Original Tweet
At 5 PM GMT, midday EST, Rockstar posted a tweet that showed psychedelic effects based on the new GTA Online update, but seemingly without any rhyme or reason – they just posted those, alongside a Rockstar logo (two even), in a perfectly looping fashion.
To most this is a completely innocent update advertisement tweet, but when the first frame of the tweet (and YouTube video!) is a neon-coloured Rockstar logo, and the tweet doesn’t actually include any direct references to the recently-released GTA Online update (a hashtag, a logo, a name…), other than the YouTube video’s title – this is bound to send parts of the community into a frenzy, especially those who have notifications enabled…
As soon as it was posted, folks on GTAForums and even Twitter/Reddit started dissecting the video, because sure, it was most certainly related to the latest GTA Online content update, but there seemed to be something more to it. For instance, there are exactly six heart beats in the video alongside the psychedelic sounding audio, that only lasted until the middle of the video, where a Rockstar logo blended into the rabbit hole (what the rainbow tunnel is named within the game’s new missions).
You know what the number six means to a lot of the Rockstar community – and that is the next Grand Theft Auto game. For the next hour or so, the community was left wondering just exactly what was going on with Rockstar teasing an update that already had had a teaser and a trailer, why they were making us go through the update’s rabbit hole again, and why the audio sounded so mysterious yet revealing at the same time.
Many have speculated that the Drug Wars Dose missions could give us some sort of reference to the next GTA game (which in my opinion would be a pretty genius thing to do, catch everyone by surprise with a reference to the next game during an acid trip or something similar – after all, all the community’s speculation can sometimes feel like a trip!), so Rockstar posting a video like this certainly didn’t help the rumour mill’s speed!
Some members of GTAForums even went to the effort of looking at the audio spectrogram to look for clues in the distorted audio, and even manipulating the audio in case it was an ARG (alternate reality game), but to no success, so I won’t be posting that specific speculation here, as funny as it was to observe!
Before we move on to the next tweet that Rockstar made an hour later, let’s go back in time a few days. Since the first post about the new GTA Online content update, Rockstar have been signing off all of their posts and even emails with a little rabbit at the end. This ended up being a reference to one of the First Dose missions, and an obvious reference to being on acid, chasing the proverbial white rabbit whilst on a drug trip, and so on (e.g. Alice in Wonderland); but at the same time, some hawk-eyed community members spotted something – the rabbit is white and has reddish eyes, kind of albino… just like a Florida White Rabbit. I ended up making a small, low-effort graphic for an easier comparison.
So before the following section, people didn’t have much to go on, it’s just a rabbit, commonly associated with psychedelic trips, a reference to Alice in Wonderland (following the white rabbit – the original meaning, not the bad one from the people associated with the first letter at the top of most keyboards), no one had really thought of the Florida White Rabbit, until the follow-up tweet…
The Follow-Up Tweet
Now that the rabbit is out of the way, let’s get into what happened an hour later. While the community was already confused and hyped at what the hell was going on, wildly speculating about that short, few-second clip that R* posted and why it happened (other than advertising the update), they posted another one, but this time, simply promoting some GIF additions to Giphy, to celebrate the release of Los Santos Drug Wars.
Oh no, some people said, this is just something to advertise some GIF’s, right? Well, it just so happens that the community instantly noticed that that one 15 second video wasn’t part of the GIF collection, and the GIF they used as an example had something very particular to it…
Not only it was the the same rabbit from the marketing, it was a GIF of the rabbit’s shape getting chromatically aberrated (the dual colour distortion you see) into pink and blue.
Six heartbeats, pink and blue, and something else in the mix that I’ll cover in the next section, led to the rumour mill spinning out of control on the forums, and even social-media wide, with the original video at the time of writing having more than 3.5 MILLION views on Twitter along with 129K likes, and the YouTube video having 91K views.
At this point, I was seeing comments all over the forums and social media talking about how R* had to be doing it on purpose, how the colours could not be random, plus the whole thing with the mysterious 15-second video and the six heartbeats… and – you know what, I thought, this is most certainly one of the least bonkers things that the R* community has come up with in terms of a potential GTA VI teaser, whether it’s meaningful or not (i.e. whether R* are actually meaning to tease anything or just messing with the community alongside the theme of psychedelic drugs, knowing they’d notice the details).
Some, including myself, have brought up the idea of R* doing an ARG, much like Valve did to advertise Portal 2 (extremely recommended read on the Portal Wiki!), although I personally think it would take a lot more effort to get the entire community together to decipher such complex things.
Eventually, droxcy on the forums came up with something (half as a joke, don’t take the “has to be about GTA6” too literally) that a lot of us had forgotten after being originally posted last Saturday by someone else on the forums…
Fort Myers, Florida Gets Rabbit’d IRL
First of all, a disclaimer: everything from here is just community wild speculation to add context to the reactions to today’s social posts, and because of its timing, it is not necessarily at all anything Rockstar-related. There are many street artists who do stuff like this as a prank, message spreading, or otherwise.
Reported on December 6th, Fort Myers, a city in Florida got “invaded” by a “horde” of mysterious rabbit signs (alternate link for EU users) put up on poles, alongside the regular Christmas decorations. American Venom brought this to the forums’ attention last Saturday, even including a cheeky icon representing the aforementioned LS Drug Wars rabbit. I even half-jokingly said myself “lol imagine if [it] was an actual R* ARG, hundreds of rabbit signs popping up around Florida cities at the same time the GTA Online update drops“.
ABC7 Southwest Florida even posted a video about it last week, speaking to residents, business owners, and showing the bunnies up on the poles. “Christmas is in the air… but so is something else” said one of the reporters – “a metal mystery on First St. and Hendry St., Monroe St., Jackson St., Second St. and just about every other in-between.”, meaning the rabbits were just about everywhere in the downtown area.
In the video, citizens of Fort Myers say they haven’t seen anything of the sort, other than the usual Christmas decorations that are put up at this time of year. More interestingly, after the reporter “fell down the rabbit hole” one citizen who lives downtown alleges they saw the person who put up the rabbit signs, on stilts: “It was the day after Thanksgiving, probably around 10/11 o’clock at night, he was on painter’s stilts“.
According to the video posted about 9 days ago, no one knew who was responsible and the police were investigating, but the city admitted to not being in any sort of urgency to take them down as they were otherwise harmless signs.
Obviously the happenings of today brought people back to this situation that happened a couple of weeks ago, because the timing is so close, and dots started being connected, but obviously, as the disclaimer at the top says, this is more in the territory of community speculation just to add context to today’s community craze, more than reporting on factual happenings like the Rockstar tweets including specific details.
Things like these aren’t unheard of for marketing campaigns, so obviously the more conspiratorial and curious have already been thinking on the forums if this could be traced to something, either on Google Maps or IRL… but obviously not everyone is on board with something like this, and at the end of the day, the videos, GIFs and the rabbit are referencing the recently released GTA Online update – the question in the community just is… what if there’s more? The hype train for the next GTA entry is an extraordinarily fast, out of control one, so anything goes when things like these happen, even if they’re meaningless.
And that is exactly what brought the community into ecstasy (or LSD?) today. Meaningful or not, things like this are certainly more fun to report and speculate on than weird fake “leaks” and fake information on shady websites, reddit, or even over on our own forums. Whether it was intentional or not, it’s brought Rockstar big numbers on social media, and the part of the community that is excited for the next game has gotten all perked up again, so we shall see if this is all a big acid trip leading us to a truth, or absolutely nothing.