Will GTA 5 be a Return to Form?
Ben Sheene / Sep 10th, 2012 14 Comments
GTA 5 has already become the most anticipated game for 2013 and has its hype fueled by the release of some amazing in-game GTA 5 screenshots released by Rockstar. By now you’ve already seen the screenshots that Rockstar has trickled out for Grand Theft Auto 5. While barely any facts have been spoon-fed to gamers, the screens have painted an obvious picture about what to expect: driving. Maybe even some flying. Oh, and probably shooting things. It’s also no surprise GTA 5 will look beautiful; but whether or not it will release on this current generation of consoles is not yet known (though it probably will, just don’t hold out for a 2012 release).
[adsense300itp]I’m not going to dwell on what might be in the game aside from the trademark driving and shooting because I’m certain everyone else in the world already has written about those topics. Are players going to be able to ride bicycles again? Well, they wouldn’t have shown a screen of it if you couldn’t, right? Did that teaser released forever ago really feature Tommy and CJ and Niko? I don’t know, maybe…it might not be a stretch. Though GTA 5 is certainly a new game, I’m crossing my fingers that it is going to have more in common with its Playstation 2 era counterparts rather than the Stories from Liberty City.
Don’t get me wrong, Niko Bellic was a great guy. Just like in previous entries it was nice to play as a down-on-his-luck guy and slowly build him up in the world. After a point, though, the story got way too serious and driving around the building-infested streets of Liberty City just got dull. At the time, it was beautiful to look at because it was Grand Theft Auto with a brand new engine. Then it got to where I would just take a cab to move from mission to mission doing some odd job for yet another character. I missed the days of goofing off, shooting endless waves of cops until I could steal a tank and drive over everything. I wanted to hop on a bike and pedal around Liberty City like I could in the countryside of Los Santos or even use a jetpack. I know that GTA 4 was a more mature direction for the series and really did feature a great script but sometimes I wanted a game that I could pick up and do stupid things in (I guess that’s what the multiplayer was ultimately for). Take-Two claimed that the story of GTA 5 focuses on “the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present-day Southern California” which sounds like the main goal in every GTA but hopefully this “re-imagining” is a sign of something new. Maybe you will get to play as someone who already has all the wealth but wants more and becomes a criminal—something in the vein of American Psycho.
My personal favorite in the series is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The reason: atmosphere. Placing the game in the 1980’s was a brilliant move. I remember the commercials for Vice City featuring Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran” playing over the GTA staples of vehicles and guns and it was awesome. Sure, you still died when you fell in the water and the game didn’t look much different from GTA 3 but the story and Miami setting were so perfect that it became a classic. Rockstar even made the perfect Western game in Red Dead Redemption with their attention to style and detail. If this game is going to be set in the modern day world then make sure it feels like it. Don’t just drop me in another overhauled major American city with no pulse. If this is Los Angeles then give me corrupt politicians to side with. Give me characters drowning in a crappy economy and either help them or shove them further in the gutter. Let me go onto movie sets and beat up actors. Hell, even have a series of missions where you help a rising teen pop star become famous and beat up a Justin Bieber lookalike along the way. Having a story thread like that would be a perfect foil for Rockstar’s trademark wit and it would certainly be ridiculous and fun; better yet, it would fit the setting. These modern times are full of enough stupidity, greed, corruption, and general ridiculousness that it is open season for a Grand Theft Auto game. Coupled with a great cast of characters would give the game variety. I want a character like The Truth from San Andreas not some annoying person like Brucie from GTA 4 who felt like a reason just to force some horrible racing missions on you. And please, most of all, give me some unique scenery.
Character customization has never really been an issue in Grand Theft Auto mostly because the games have always featured a strong lead role; but it would be nice to do something more with your actual avatar. San Andreas did a lot right in that department. The fact that CJ could go from being obese to muscular, change his hairstyle, get tattoos, and then not only get comments from pedestrians but get girlfriends based on those looks was a big deal at the time. The exercise mini games were a fun distraction but had a purpose. One of my favorite elements from San Andreas (aside from riding bikes) was that you could improve certainly elements of gameplay like in an RPG. The fact that you could essentially level up your gun skills, driving skills, or even your stamina gave you a reason to explore every facet of the game so you could have the best character possible. It was a great touch and something I would love to see come back in the newest installment.
I don’t doubt Rockstar at all. If anything, they will probably take experience from every game they’ve worked on and integrate them into parts of Grand Theft Auto 5. There has never been a lack of something to do in a GTA game but how to do those things can be a hit or miss. It would be great to finally see missions with true branching options and different outcomes that affect the overall game. Include some sort of customizable element so your character gets better over time instead of just simply having more money and more guns. Maybe they might even include an economy for gasoline because I always wondered how cars never ran out of gas no matter how long you drove them. All the pieces are in place for GTA 5 to be the best in the series. If they can capture the magic that made it one of the best-selling series of all time then we are in for a great sandbox to cause mayhem in. Though the newest screens barely hint at anything, maybe a trailer will come up soon and provide some answers while at the same time creating more questions.
tags: grand theft auto 5 , gta 5 , rockstar