It’s hard to believe than in just a few weeks now, we can get our hands on Rockstar’s latest crime opus, Grand Theft Auto V. As per usual Rockstar having playing their cards close to their chest regarding the details. Well, except for an embarrassing leak of a Pre-order image on Sony’s EU PlayStation Store, which lead to some details leaking. Rockstar are masters of the “Hype Train” and once again they have controlled it perfectly for the release for this their second GTA this generation. So what do we know so far…
Early on we knew that there would be 3 main characters in the game. It wasn’t until much later that we found out that players would be able to switch between characters at a flick of a button. Not only in missions, but also in the open world. Personally I was sceptical about this and how it would work in-game. The last gameplay trailer demonstrated how it would work and my fears were put to bed. During missions each of the playable characters offer different and unique talents. Michael the hands on guy, Franklin, is the weapons expert and Trevor can drive or fly practically anything. This talent pool can be upgraded for each character. We have also seen that the character customisation from San Andreas, which was sorely missed by some in GTA IV, has returned with a variety of options. These include hairstyles, tattoos, clothing and even vehicle customisation. No mention so far as whether you will be able to change the fitness of the characters. Although the variety of outdoor pursuits shown, including golf, hill walking (yes, that’s right), rock climbing and yoga, could suggest that might be elements of this.
Where the world of GTA V will not be as vast as GTA: San Andreas, featuring just Los Santos and the surrounding area of Blaine County. Rockstar have promised that whilst there are games with a larger playable map. None of them will come close to the richness of the environment found in GTA V. Rockstar North art director Aaron Garbut recently told website Buzzfeed.
"It's absolutely not a massive, empty world. Every tree is placed with consideration; buildings aren't copied and pasted; terrain isn't procedurally generated "to pad it out". "I don't think many people will ever see everything we've put into the world. We used to call Liberty City a living, breathing world, but this is way beyond anything we've done before."
Rockstar has saved the best until last though, with the announcement of GTA V’s online element. Rather than just a multiplayer component similar to what was in GTA IV, Rockstar unveiled Grand Theft Auto Online. GTA Online allows players to enter the world of GTA V and play it in a persistant online world with up to 16 players. Players can take their own character and play with up to 16 players at once in a variety of ways. Play solo, exploring the world and taking jobs and missions from a variety of characters you encounter on your journey. Team up with other plans and create a crew and rob a bank, or maybe indulge in the more traditional multiplayer modes like team deathmatch.
Players can take their online personas and can customise their appearance, improve their stats, buy apartments and purchase garages for storing and displaying customised cars. Rockstar have vowed to continue to create and add additional content for the foreseeable future. If that won’t do, players can create their own content, starting off with making custom races and expanding to other areas as the game evolves. GTA Online comes free with every retail copy of GTA V. Thankfully, Rockstar are not launching GTA Online until the 1st October, meaning that we get a couple of weeks to focus on the splendour of the single player storyline before throwing ourselves into the dynamic, persistant online world of GTA Online.
With a game like this coming out on September 17th and with the next generation of consoles coming out in the months that follow. The need to move to next generation seems to be less of necessity. Oh, did I mention it had playable submarines? It has playable submarines!