Explaining how they felt like a first-person perspective was “one of the most compelling things you could do to make an experience people have had before feel different,” Grand Theft Auto V Animation Director Rob Nelson talked about how this couldn’t be put into the last-gen versions:
“We’ve always been in interested in it, but it’s never really been an option for us. I don’t think we could’ve put it in the [last-gen version] because we were too busy making the game. We were too busy working on our third-person controls and the missions.”
“We were out of memory on the old consoles for animations. We were constantly fighting about what we could have and what we could still push in, and what other areas you could steal memory back from – audio, art, maps – for animation. So we could’ve added all the atoms to make a first-person mode to the level we wanted. We weren’t sure the world would have held up the way we would’ve wanted it to.”
In order to make first-person a reality in GTA V, Nelson revealed that Rockstar had to go back in and rebuild the game:
You have to change pretty much everything. I mean, if you want to do it right. We have a very solid third-person animation system, but you don’t just put the camera down there and expect to see the guns, aim, and shoot. All those animations are new when you switch to first-person, because it all has to be animated to the camera, to make it feel like a proper first-person experience that I think people would expect. All the timings have to be re-evaluated.
With the game in first-person, helmets you use when driving a vehicle will authentically restrict your view, dashboards have been redesigned, all the weapons have been up-rezzed and animated properly, you’ll actually look at your phone when it’s pulled out, you can customize whether the game switches to third-person when in cover, and much more.
Grand Theft Auto V releases on November 18 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Grand Theft Auto V First-Person Mode Confirmed, Screenshots Show it Off