Thursday, 3 November 2011

So About That Grand Theft Auto V Trailer.

Right, for those who haven't been online in the last week or two, Rockstar have announced GTAV (shocker, right?) and dropped a trailer on us. You can find it here. Essentially the trailer tells us that it's going to be set in San Andreas and in modern day. That's the two big questions answered. After watching the trailer a couple of times I have a few more speculations:
  • There'll be multiple playable characters.
  • Animals will feature (that one is pretty much fact).
  • The city will have sparse, open areas akin to Red Dead Redemption.
  • Planes are flyable.
  • There'll be a property market system.
  • Players will be able to exercise (like in GTA: San Andreas).
  • There'll be multiple playable characters.
  • Golf will be a minigame.
  • Players can ride jet skies (again, fact).
  • Convertible cars have been added.
  • Silenced weapons are now usable.  
So it's around here that I'll say that I really liked GTA IV. I thought that it had struck the perfect balance between levity and a serious story about loyalty, revenge and redemption. Graphically it had my jaw on the floor and I felt the new gameplay mechanics were an excellent evolution from the PS2 series. I believe that using an immigrant from Eastern Europe was a brave and rewarding touch to a story that really held onto me until the final act. One of my favourite things about the game was that it had taken a little step back from the, arguably, somewhat bloated San Andreas. Gone were the routine trips to the gym, underwater collectables and burglary mini games. What does any of this have to do with the trailer you've just watched? Well, I worry that that seems to be the place that the series is heading to again. Property markets, sporty minigames, bodybuilding, haven't we been here before? Shall I look forward to tattoos, customisable cars and driving tests in the next one?

Don't get me wrong, I'm damn glad we're still in modern times here. I know everyone loved Vice City, it was great, reminded them of when they were kids. But it's nearly ten years since those days and players are very much living in the here and now. Nostalgia will sell a lot of games but it sadly it doesn't last forever. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this new city. Red Dead Redemption gave me a taste for the countryside so I can't wait to nab a truck and make my way up the mountains. San Andreas on the PS2 was massive and I've little doubt they'll be aiming for something similar this time 'round. The multiple playable characters possibility is also very intriguing, opening up a bunch of story possibilities which, let's face it, the series could do with. If Rockstar can skip the whole "I was a bad guy, I wanted to stop being a bad guy, but then I kept being a bad guy" gig for just one game I'll be delighted. Graphically the game looks like it's taken a serious leap forward, and as I mentioned before GTA IV was no slouch. From what I can see they're still working off the same engine but there appears to be way more by way of props and lighting techniques. I think they'd do well to really make an engaging story this time that isn't all that predictable. It's not too much to ask really, in this day and age. I know this game will be good, they've got to grips with the PS3/360 tech now so they've room to experiment, so surprise us! I just hope that, instead of adding on cumbersome bells and whistles, they instead make a solid game with an engaging story, a world with more life than what we've become used to and some new and unpredictable features.

Oh and one more thing, Rockstar announced this game on a regular weekday and then released a trailer just over a week later. They didn't tease it for months, drop hints in magazines or even wait for a big stage show. No, one day there was no GTAV and then the next day there was. I fully applaud Rockstar and Take Two for this. I look forward to E3 as much as any partially closeted nerd but it's really refreshing to see a big publisher just fire out something to get people excited on what seems to be a fairly unspectacular day. Uncharted 3 did a much similar thing last year and it was excellent. Now if Rockstar wanna follow suit and have GTAV out within the next twelve months there'll be no complaints from this guy. 

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