Grand Theft Auto V: Here’s What Rockstar Should Do

November 1, 2011Written by Josh Fernandes

Tomorrow, Rockstar is going to unveil the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V. Unless they pull a Kojima and the trailer is nothing but another countdown clock, Rockstar is going to unveil something about the setting, story or main character. The series has had a wide variety of environments and an even more diverse cast of characters, so the details of the next installment of the series is hard to predict. Nevertheless, it’s time to talk about what we think Rockstar should do if they want GTA V to be as popular as previous entries.

Rockstar has tried to tell an engaging story with the latest installments of the Grand Theft Auto series. GTA games are filled with characters that you either love or hate, and the plot twists and turns with betrayals and heists gone wrong. However, The best Rockstar games not only had interesting characters, but the worlds had a distinct atmosphere that was present everywhere the player went. Because of this, GTA V should not be set in the present and should be set in either the past or future. San Andreas had a great feel of California in the 90’s, Vice City pulled off the party feel of Miami in the 80’s, and although it wasn’t a GTA game, Red Dead Redemption recreated the wild west feel almost perfectly. Compare these games to GTA III and GTA IV, which were set in modern day, realistic New York. Sure, the world looks like New York, but if you take out the characters, then there really isn’t much to be said about the world. Interaction with NPC’s is the only way to discover the significance of different parts of the city. The world should feel like it has its own identity. The best way to approach creating a world, is to pretend as if it is just another character. Don’t make it a static back drop that just serves as some box to hold all the characters. Make it capable of influencing those around it, and in return, distinguished by is inhabitants.

Rockstar has been struggling with how realistic they should make their games. There are some aspects of realism that gamers enjoy and some that ruin all enjoyment in the game. A better physics engine or more realistic shooting is a must-have to many gamers, but gamers also want cars that are more responsive than in real life and the ability to save anywhere, instead of having to go back to the apartment and take a nap. Also, I don’t think anyone enjoys having to stop at a toll booth….seriously, the guy who came up with that idea should be relocated to the basement. Rockstar needs to realize that making something more realistic doesn’t necessarily make it better. Being able to carry 20 guns, cars that drift around corners, floating health vials, and jetpacks aren’t realistic, but they make the game fun. The same can also be said for a game’s color palette. Vice City and San Andreas were full of bright colors, and that makes the world look so much better than the setting of GTA IV.

GTA San Andreas introduced RPG aspects to the GTA franchise, and the player had to upkeep their stats and relationships with NPC’s. GTA IV continued the relationship management, but dropped the other RPG aspects. GTA V needs to get rid of all of it. It serves no purpose other than to waste time; it isn’t challenging, it doesn’t help you connect with the characters, and GTA isn’t suppose to be a real life simulator.

Now, the addition of a little bit of customization would greatly improve the game. Obviously, the main character isn’t going to be a nameless, voiceless RPG character, so you shouldn’t be able to change the main character that drastically. But still, there should be options for story progression to let gamers react how they normally would. In GTA 4, there were missions where you had to decide between two NPC’s to kill and that was a nice start, but Rockstar should take it further and let players decline certain missions or refuse to stop working for certain people. Really, I wanted to stop working with some of those assholes in GTA 4 after 2 missions. The player might miss out on some of the story, but if Heavy Rain proved anything, it is that you can still feel like you had a complete experience even though you didn’t see 100% of the game. A videogame shouldn’t have to hold the players hand and point every little aspect of the story out to the player; the player should be able to explore the world and discover the information for themselves.

Rockstar seems to have a clear idea of how they want to handle their games. Most of the decisions they make are sure to be deliberate and with a lot of thought and internal discussion. Tomorrow, Rockstar will reveal the first step of the path they are taking with GTA V… fingers crossed for 2150’s Boston with laser guns and hover cars.