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Will GTA 5 be a Return to Form?

/ Sep 10th, 2012 14 Comments


Grand Theft Auto 5

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.


I’m just glad bikes are coming back

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.


What changes will the newest entry bring?

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.

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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14 responses to “Will GTA 5 be a Return to Form?”

  1. Brad bristowe says:

    Finally an interesting article about the GTA series. So much dribble and re hashed stale information but I actually enjoyed reading this as it brought light to a lot of grievances in GTA 4. Mainly Turin of Puttzin around doing errands for some

    Vice city was probably had the best vibe as well as soundtrack.

  2. Bobby Long says:

    You forgot to mention co-op would be a nice touch in such a big lovely city. I trust Rockstar will do a fabulous job with GTAV just as they’ve done with just about every other game in their history.

    My only hope is that they don’t make it goofy and childish for all the idiots who said GTAIV wasn’t fun, so they jumped on the Saints Row bandwagon. Well Saints Row the Third barely sold 4 million copies while GTAIV is over 20 million. Rockstar needs to worry about the numbers instead of the internet’s opinions because those aren’t the people who are going our there and buying it. Either that or they most certainly not the majority.

    • Aidan Straeffer says:

      I agree, most people who said that GTA 4 sucked just weren’t into that sort of sandbox. It was a more mature story with many themes that most games haven’t had the spine to do. Never before have I seen a company with bigger balls to change so drastically what works to create a deeper narrative in their games. I applaud Rockstar for that and hope they continue with what they are doing. I just hope that GTA 5 will be as emotionally powerful as Red Dead Redmption’s ending.

      • George says:

        Agreed, also: people who thought of GTAIV as ” to serious” need to get a scarcasm detector. It was a frontal insult to modern day American thinking and society in a supurb scarcastic way. A commercial about some fat idiot who buys a wheelchair so he can ” roll his fat ass to the fridge”? Call that serious (instead of hillarious” and you really need a head doctor

  3. RedMattis says:

    I’d honestly be surprised if it wasn’t yet another criminal life-story that behaved just like GTA4, but I’d be pleasantly surprised to be wrong here. Heck if it has co-op I might even considering buying and playing it. 😛

    I probably shouldn’t be complaining though since Saints Row 2 & 3 delivered a lot of fun sandbox content, but it’s hard to be a loyal and trusting customer to Volition/THQ when they spam us with such transparently greedy DLCs (I really regret buying that season pass…)

  4. chazdogrutten says:

    Oh god, please don’t do this Rockstar! GTA has matured as the audience has matured for the games, its now available to a much wider audience and gaming as a whole is becoming a much more imersive, adult experience. The Ballad Of Gay Tony had ridiculous missions (Golf buggy shoot-outs, jumping out a plane with a journalist) but it didn’t go to the extremes of jet-packs because it didn’t need to. Jet-packs get boring after a while, and if you seriously want them that badly, play more San Andreas. The point of releasing a series of games is that they devlope and change over time, what your basically askng for is a second San Andreas. GTA 5 will have as much in common with San Andreas as GTA 4 did with GTA 3, and that’s a good thing. It will have some wackier missions because of the popularity of TBOGT, but I really hope it doesn’t go over board because it really doesn’t need to and I think it would ruin the intelligent, mature experiance that GTA 4 was.

    • RedMattis says:

      @”the audience has matured for the games”

      Speak for yourself 😛

      I really don’t see the new GTA games as part of the series. They just carry the same title. Doesn’t mean they are bad though.

    • J_Hunter says:

      GTA 4 was awful….I’d take the physics engine from that game and that’s it. GTA 4 was the worst of the series, the most dull, bland and boring game I’ve played.

    • Ben Sheene says:

      chaz, I promise that I don’t want GTA 5 to go overboard either. It would take away from the foundations of what makes a true Grand Theft Auto title what it is.
      Where I think Vice City was the master stroke of atmosphere and style, I feel that San Andreas was Rockstar creating a game where you could do almost anything with your character (even if at times it was a little much). You never had to become a master at a certain gun or riding bikes but the option was there if you wanted to take that path.
      GTA 4 was more developed script-wise and Rockstar was understandably focused on bringing GTA into the next generation. With the expansions I think they were going back to the more ridiculous and extreme roots of the series.

  5. Fuzzball says:

    This artical was a pleasure to read and in my opinion hit the nail on the head thanks Ben. I also think vice city has the best atmosphere and sound track of the gta series. I really hope rockstar gets the balance wright between realism and fun in gta5 because I’m of the opinion gta4 was way too serious which made in dull and boring. San andras in my opinion has the ballance just wright between realism and fun/freedom has the best map,characters,wepons,vehicle’s,customisation and variety of play out of the entire series. The only things that are better in gta 4 than in San andras is the graphics and physics engines. Vice city in movie terms is like scarface,San andras is like the terminator 2 doesn’t take itself too seriously and a thourably enjoyable film but is showing it’s age,gta4 is like terminator 3 all style but no substance good graphics though.

  6. In says:

    True to form? So you want it to be more like the 3 series, with their “bad racing missions” and all?

    Comparing GTA4 to San Andreas is like comparing GTA3 to San Andreas. With GTA4, Rockstar already had a lot on their plate and some of the things you are talking about just don’t fit the seting. We all loved “The Truth”, but what the hell would a guy like “The Truth” be doing in Liberty City? San Andreas was the perfect seting for him, with area 69 and all, the desert, the farmland, etc.

    Liberty city in 4 as far as I can tell has stayed true to form, the characters – mostly gangsters and mobsters – just as in GTA3. Quite frankly I think they hit a GTA-verse New York right on the head. Sure, now that the game is almost 5 years old the city isn’t as cool as it was at release.

    Neither is pong.

    • Ben Sheene says:

      For one thing, I will say that I thought there was a fair share of “bad racing missions” in GTA 4 just like there have been in all the games. As many have said, GTA 4 was proof that Rockstar had matured as a developer and I in no way would want them to abandon that. Liberty City was an amazing setting and was full of life but that doesn’t mean that some of Rockstar’s trademark quirk couldn’t have been more present in the title. Many of the storylines were good but then you would have an annoying person like Brucie come in and throw everything off.
      When the two expansions were added it seemed like the company was bringing back some of the “silly” to the game (mostly with The Ballad of Gay Tony). I’m not comparing San Andreas to Liberty City story-wise, more so I am comparing the wealth of features that were placed in San Andreas. And it wouldn’t have hurt GTA 4 to have random things like jetpacks and tanks in it. Things like that are distractions like many of the bowling and dart minigames. They don’t take away from the plot or the atmosphere because they are optional distractions.
      I’m not asking for Saint’s Row level insanity but just imagine a section of Liberty City where you could take some time off from all the drug lords and murdering and jump out a plane or fly to the top of the tallest building.

  7. Jrdf says:

    I hope to see the kill frenzy and some real vigilante missions return.

  8. Veniam says:

    I personally think that GTA 4 was a great game. One of the best actually. Don’t understand why so many people think it was boring/serious. I’m hoping GTA 5 will be similar in certain aspects to the attitude of its predecessor, but I also agree with the changes that are expect from most gamers. One thing’s for sure, I don’t want Grand Theft Auto to become the next saints row. That game is a joke. It isn’t a bad game, it’s just trash compared to what place the GTA series holds in my heart.

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