Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grand Theft Auto V is Going to Be Huge

When I say that GTA V is going to be huge, understand that I'm not stating the obvious in that it's going to sell all sorts of copies and such.  What I'm saying is that the game is going to be huge if Rockstar isn't feeding us a line of bullshit which, of all the bits of information that've been put out by GameInformer, I think is the most interesting.  And there's a whole lot of information that's been put out there, most of which I'm using ComputerAndVideoGames to go off of today.  I mean, it's pretty much out there -everywhere- as even like friggin' Forbes is reporting it according to some googling, but CAVG seems to come up a lot or maybe I'm just imagining that, so I'm checking them out for a few things and might end up sourcing from them more often in the future depending.  Regardless, the rather long list of bullet points they've got about GTA V information is tantalizing and does quite a good job of selling it to me which I had previously thought was going to be a bit of a rough job.

The hugeness of the game lies in something that has been laid out flat as almost a challenge for us to anticipate in these months before the game will be available for purchase.  The actual map, the world of Los Santos, in GTA V will be 'bigger than San Andreas, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption combined'.  That is a very, very tall statement, and I think that's aided by the fact that the ocean floor and mountain ranges will be fully explorable, meaning that every inch of territory within its borders (sans building interiors of course) is accessible through some means.  Not quite sure if that means you can scuba/deep-sea dive or if there's going to be submarines, but the ocean floor is 'fully detailed and can be explored' so take that for what you will.  As someone who thought San Andreas' map was huge, but completely underdeveloped, I am a little wary of course, because a map that takes you an actual hour to traverse one side to the other doesn't automatically make it good it there's nothing interesting in 80% of it because it's being big for the sake of it.

Still, 'scope' seems to be the name of the game here so I'm a little optimistic in assuming that it will be a fairly fleshed out map in its own right.  I say scope because not only is the map huge in scope, but so is the basic premise, the basic mechanic of the game, which is certainly a big departure for the series as a whole.  In GTA V, there will not be one protagonist, but three, all of whom are fully-realized and independent characters in their own right.  Michael, the character most figured was 'the' main character from the trailer, is a man in his 40s who is currently in the witness protection program after getting out of the business in the East Coast.  Now retired on the West Coast, he's stuck with a family that he hates (who hate him too) that is all too willing to spend all the money he made in his former life, leading him to need a new source of income and fast.  Easy come, easy go seems to be how he gets back into the game.

He's joined by the other two protagonists, Trevor and Franklin, who both have their own goals, motivations and backstories that are quite different.  Trevor is another man in his 40s, but where Michael exudes a confidence, perhaps even a bit of class, Trevor lacks that entirely.  He's grown up committing crimes and it's his main source of income.  Income which ends up funding vices - drinking and drugs, mostly - making him the 'seedy' member of the team, as well as the one that's the biggest liability.  Unlike those two, however, Franklin is a 20-something street hustler who's looking to move up into the big leagues.  I'm not quite sure myself just how these three get together to start up a little 'crew' as it were, but as the main characters, you can control any of them at just about any time through means of a quick-swap.  On missions where all three members have a separate job, you can hop into the role of any one of them (and switch part-way through if you so desire) to carry out their task, be it sniper, driver, air support or anything else under the sun.

Not only that, but apparently when you are not controlling two of the characters, they are off doing their own thing, and it is possible that, should you switch to them, you will find them directly in the middle of something, though what that is is unclear.  Doubtful that they take on 'missions', even side ones, on their own volition, but perhaps beating up pedestrians if you jump into the shoes of Trevor or hitting up some hot spots as Franklin.  Regardless of whatever they're into, you take control as soon as they come up from the Google Earth-style swap menu, so they do whatever you desire then on, but it's still interesting to consider leaving Trevor outside of an upscale neighborhood and taking control of him again to find that he's in a dumpy area of town scoring crack money or something of that sort.  Maybe even hopping into Michael's character as he's playing a round of golf to calm the nerves.  The possibilities are astounding, though I'm sure in practice they will be a lot less mind-blowing.

Ambition is the clear name of the game here, and even though it initially will not please everyone for the exact reasons we feared, if it succeeds in half the things it attempts, it'll be successful and quite so at that.  Not being able to buy property (which is slightly understandable, given the three different characters with three different lives thing) is a small price to pay for something a little different and a little more organic in the game, if just to see how it ends up playing out.  And so long as everyone's buddies aren't hitting you up every ten minutes or so to go shoot pool or look at 'giant american titties', I think we'll be juuuust fine.  After all, this stuff, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.  I'm honestly far more invested in the game than I thought I would be on concept alone, as, hey, I have dug multiple-protagonist games in the past and, done right, I'm sure this will offer something quite interesting with that type of scenario.  Even if the melee system isn't going to be focused on and just 'improved' some.  Because I'll always have Sleeping Dogs for that.

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