Daily Reaction: Will Three Protagonists Help or Hurt GTA V?

November 9, 2012Written by Dan Oravasaari

With the recent news about GTA V having three main protagonists, the Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan discuss the possibilities and downfalls of Rockstar’s new path.

Dan: The idea of having three main characters is an interesting concept, but as we do not know the exact details as to how Rockstar will handle having three main characters, we can only try and guess what they will do.

Details are still scarce, but what we do know is that one of the three leads is Michael, a retired criminal who is his 40’s, who is inevitably forced to return to his life as a bank robber. The second lead is Trevor, an ex-military pilot in his 40s, a drug addict, and a career criminal. Lastly we have Franklin, a much younger man in his 20s who works as a repo man and is able to work the streets better than the rest of the crew.

This trio of hustlers is an interesting concept and departure from the normal single character portrayal we have seen in GTA games, as we should be able to get a better dynamic view of the interpersonal relationships within the group. Hopefully, this new idea will be able to push out a stronger story than we have seen in the past, as I would be pissed if we have had to deal with a needy cousin, and a cell phone that should have been thrown out a window quite some time ago, for a second time around.

Seb: The news that the game will have three playable characters is the biggest, most fundamental change to the series since it stopped being top down. This isn’t just three separate characters with three separate plotlines. According to Game Informer there will be three playable characters who you can switch between “at nearly any time”, with Houser saying there will be “very different tone depending on who’s on them, how many people are on them, and how much we’re using switches”. One highlighted mission involved a getaway helicopter – you could choose to fly the helicopter as Trevor, snipe other pilots in Franklin, or shoot an assault rifle as Michael.

This takes the generic GTA formula and flips it on its head. You’re no longer ‘one guy against the world’, you’re the three musketeers. Everything changes, from plot to gameplay, to internet memes. With so many open world games having taken inspiration from GTA, with the protagonist being this singular badass who has a carefully crafted story, it’s refreshing to see change.

In a series with the size of GTA, which is key to the success of Rockstar and Take-Two, risks or huge changes are something that rarely happens. I wasn’t expecting them to do anything anywhere near as revolutionary as this, and I welcome the change.

Dan: The fundamental change for the GTA series can be a good thing, but it can also be a terrible thing, so instead of the Three Musketeers we could get the Three Stooges. As you switch between the characters you will inevitably have to rely on the AI controlling the other characters, and hope it is able to follow through with your intended actions. This is something that could completely pull gamers out of the experience, and become the biggest downfall of one of the most anticipated games of 2013.

Also, as we have seen in games that have taken to improving the scale of the environment, and the improved graphics/physics, we have also seen a great deal of technical issues. Luckily, GTA V has been in development longer than most of the titles that we have seen release lately that have become synonymous with glitches like Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed, and Fallout. This is all the more true for the PS3, as its lack of RAM has become a known issue, and really could put off PS3 gamers from other landmark titles – not only hurting the PS3, but GTA V sales overall.

Seb: Yeah, I agree, we shouldn’t get too excited yet. AI is almost always terrible, and then there’s the other issue of how is this going to work when you’re just free roaming? Will you have two guys tagging along with you at all times? Or will you end up playing as the guy who can’t fly a helicopter and then be pissed when you drive into an airport with the cops on your tail?

Luckily those are questions I can’t wait to find out about – hopefully in next Wednesday’s trailer. I’m am far more hopeful about the benefits of this announcement than pessimistic about the potential problems.

What do you think of the new take on GTA V? What new features would you like to see in the next GTA game? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us on twitter at Seb and Dan.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and general stupid stuff to [email protected] to enter a competition to win nothing.

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