Grand Theft Auto V: UPDATE 1 (12-9-12)
December 9, 2012

Grand Theft Auto V: UPDATE 1 (12-9-12)

For those of you who have been a fan of the series since its early days when it was a top-down, 2-Dimensional action game, you likely won’t be disappointed when the new game hits stores sometimes in the Spring of 2013 (May 3 is the unofficial date so far).

As with the past GTA games, GTAV will incorporate a lot of the same feel that superfans have come to expect, although Rockstar is shaking things up a bit with several new features that should give gamers an experience unlike anything they have ever had before in a GTA game. Of course every new release since 2001’s GTA III has shaken things up on some front, offering users something new they had not experienced in a previous setting, GTAV is likely to not only offer a new such new experiences, but is also set to literally blow your mind away.

Not since Final Fantasy X have I anticipated a game on such a level as GTAV, and after watching both the first and second trailers on various occasions, I still cannot grasp the awesomeness that is laid out before me in these videos. In trailer #1, we hear the protagonist (Michael) explaining why it was he first moved to Los Santos in San Andreas and how he planned to retire, leaving his criminalistics days behind him. Although, from the dialog, we gather that this is not likely to happen; that he is thrown back into his old life, almost out of necessity.

Immediately, when the trailer starts, the graphics draw you in. Crisp, clear, qualitative graphics that look seamless in every sense of the word. The NPCs in the game look very realistic and not so much squared and choppy as in the earlier GTA series from PS2. The background looks impressive and the vehicles seem much more true-to-life than even in the GTA IV franchise (GTAIV cars seemed boaty and clunky).

After the trailer ended, I immediately began checking forums, game preview sites, YouTube videos and wherever else I could to see if there was any more digs on the upcoming game. And while I found a little bit here and there, most of it was speculation and rumor. Then, trailer #2 was released on November 14, 2012. Here we learn more about our main protagonist Michael, his family, and two characters that will become his partners in crime, which we will also be able to freely play. These guys are Trevor and Franklin.

As with the first trailer, the graphics are amazing crisp. We also learn more about some of the game’s features here, although a lot is still under wraps, awaiting a later release… Most likely we will hear a lot at CES January 8-11, 2013. While we are waiting, we can be left to wonder what more Rockstar will share about its precious follow-up to the franchise.

Luckily you don’t have to wait that long. A few game sites have been fortunate enough to talk with Rockstar head and GTAV frontman Dan Houser, who shared some of what the new game will offer. While he didn’t get into all the juicy details, leaving that for a later reveal, he did offer some good bits of information.

Among those good bits are some of the following:

-Taking a different approach from past GTA titles where you play one protagonist character, in GTAV you will be able to play three: Michael, Trevor and Franklin. As you move from character to character, you will be amazed that you do not pick up where you left off with each character, as they all have actual lives they follow and will continue on with their activities regardless of your involvement. Eventually, the game comes together in a way that all three characters interact with each other.

-Rockstar is implementing a new economy in GTA. While all the details have not been filled in, what is known is that money will be a big factor in GTAV and characters will need to make money to survive in the gameworld. Money can be made a number of ways: either through bank heists, gambling, underworld trading of weapons, drugs and cars, or other business interests. While the details are still fuzzy, it seems that the new GTA economy will mirror that of a real-world economy.

-Interactions with NPCs is getting a reboot as well. Rockstar has decided to retire the dating aspect of the game, especially since Michael is already married and has kids and Trevor is too busy with his antics; and Franklin as well is already pursuing his love interest. But interactions with street NPCs will be a whole new ballgame. Instead of merely walking by and occasionally spouting off a few random words as they walk by, as we experienced in GTAIV, the NPCs in GTAV will carry on conversations with our protagonists and even build relationships with them, perhaps becoming contacts which some will be available for future activities or missions. While all the details have been hush hush, it seems Rockstar is adding some SIMS technology into GTAV.

-The last bit of juicy detail I will share this week revolves around the vehicles. While Rockstar has been pretty standard in its approach to the vehicles it includes throughout the series, each game has incorporated some new vehicles and left out others. While many cars from the past will show up in GTAV, many more are being added, and many of the norms are getting fresh modifications. One of the better additions this time around is the return of airplane travel. While GTAIV had flight, it was limited to a few whirlybirds. In the second GTAV trailer, we get a glimpse of an F35-like fighter jet that, as far as I know, will be usable on GTAV. Other vehicles that make a comeback are tractor-trailers, bicycles, jet-skis, four-wheelers and dune buggies.

Well that’s it for this week. Join me next week (12-16-12) when I discuss some features of the game as heard from the rumor mill and other leaks including the map, weapons, and wanted levels. Got any juicy tidbits you want to share… feel free to post them in the comments below.

Image Credit: L. LeBlond

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