The Leaps & Bounds Grand Theft Auto V Is Taking
Rockstar Games accomplishes two main themes that have really become a staple with any of their works. From Red Dead Redemption to Grand Theft Auto titles like GTA IV, Vice City, San Andreas and many more, Rockstar always seems to hit the mark. The first is the amount of freedom that is given to the players as they explore each environment and engage in gameplay. Secondly, each title has the cinematic prestige of most heavy hitting films, in terms of characters and plot. With GTA V being the latest game in the series, Rockstar seeks to push the boundaries of their previous games of the past.
The first step comes in the form of Michael, Trevor and Franklin, the game's three protagonists. Right off the bat, you can see where the developers are switching it up because instead of just a single character going through the story, we have three for the first time. From what Keza MacDonald stated in her article, the world of GTA V is much more alive in terms of how detailed and reactive everything appears to be. MacDonald describes how the world seems to just be bursting with life as she watched the demo:
"Watching the latest Grand Theft Auto 5 demo, I was blown away by that world. Much as I loved Liberty City, in retrospect I mostly loved looking at it; I could never forget that I could only actually enter about 1 in 500 of its gleaming buildings. As Franklin parachuted over the mountains of GTA 5’s Blaine County, I could see deer stopping for a drink by a river, hikers making their way up a dusty trail, a group of guys on a fishing trip, some ATVs racing up a mountainside… it was very much alive and inviting in a way that previous GTA games haven’t been, for me. It felt like you could go anywhere and find something to do."
Just by reading the description she gives, one can definitely see the potential that lies here. For the first time in a very long time, GTA V could grant players a living, breathing world that reacts to them or just sit back and watch the world unfold as it would in real life.
"This is best exemplified by the incredible attention to detail when you go underwater. When Trevor threw on some SCUBA gear and hopped off the side of a boat, I was expecting the usual sparse underwater trench with a few floating bits of seaweed – not circling sharks, deep underwater ridges, schools of fish, a barnacle-encrusted wreck and shafts of sunlight shimmering through the water. It’s properly explorable down there, assuming you aren’t crippled by a paralysing fear of sharks. You can literally dive for sunken treasure. This marks a huge step forward for Rockstar’s worlds."
Scuba diving in a Grand Theft Auto game? Rockstar is really taking some big steps here if they implemented a whole underwater area for players to explore. Judging from what MacDonald witnessed, when Trevor dove underwater, living things inhabited the waters and potentially deliver a completely different feel. Sharks huh? This could get very interesting, especially if they can attack.
Moving away from the world and focusing more on how Rockstar plans to make this game's story stand out from all the others. That's a tall order considering Rockstar has some pretty outstanding stories embedded in most of their games. Having three playable main characters is a huge step for Rockstar, too. Most of Rockstar's games have only a single protagonist that can be controlled, so with this advancement to three, we are probably going to see some next level stuff.
"The three-character structure potentially marks a huge step forward for Rockstar’s storytelling, too. Right now Grand Theft Auto 5 reminds me of the Sopranos, and not just because it stars a rich and miserable gangster going through a mid-life crisis on his therapist’s couch. The Sopranos tackled the dissonance between a life of crime and love for your family, between the desire to escape the life of a gangster and the dark compulsions that pulled its characters towards it. Grand Theft Auto has attempted to tackle that before with Nico Bellic, but for a lot of people it wasn’t quite successful."
Which is true to an extent; many people didn't feel for Niko like Rockstar tried to accomplish. There were moments which just didn't make any sense for his character, and it caused discord for a lot of gamers. Why is Niko killing all of these people if he doesn't want to be a killer? Why return to a life of crime when he clearly doesn't want that life? The Niko you played was very much different from the Niko during cutscenes. Cue the discord so many gamers felt during GTA IV.
The saving grace with having three different characters all comes down to maintaining their image. Let's take Michael for a second... he's a reformed gangster that's more or less trying to be a good guy. In his cutscenes, he plays that role well and could serve as the balance between the three. Now, take Michael and have him go around shooting up innocents and just being a horrible person in-game. Does that fit with his character? Not really, but could you imagine Trevor, the psychopath, doing all of that? Absolutely. For what one character can't do, the other can accomplish it no problem.
Between crafting an exceptional living world and what could be an astonishing story with developing characters, Rockstar might just be on the right track here. Grand Theft Auto 5 is really shaping up to be a game worth noting, and that's putting it lightly. If all the pieces fall together right, and it delivers on the promises, Grand Theft Auto 5 could easily take GOTY and become a monumental achievement for video games. Look for Grand Theft Auto 5 September 17th for PS3 and Xbox 360 with next-gen versions soon to follow.
After reading through MacDonald's article, my hopes went up for GTA V. The game could quite possibly be the best game to have come from Rockstar if all works out. Just thinking about a world that's actually alive and to have a story of this caliber would blow my mind away.