Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top 5 Wishes For Grand Theft Auto 5

Earlier today Rockstar Games announced that Grand Theft Auto 5 is on the way. With no details currently known, this seems like a good opportunity to state our hopes for the upcoming sandbox game.

Connections to previous games

For whatever reason, Rockstar has made a point of never bringing back characters from previous Grand Theft Auto games. GTA IV took place in Liberty City, the same city as GTA III and GTA: Chinatown Wars. However, there's little to no link between the plots of these games. Yes, criminals die and new thugs take their place but there's gotta be some continuity in the underworld. Can't Rockstar throw us long-time fans a bone? It wouldn't kill them to insert a few cameos from old favorites, especially if GTA V returns to a city from previous games.


GTA IV was a downgrade from previous gen games in one regard: it didn't have any airplanes. While the game did offer up helicopters, it was still a step backward for sandbox gameplay. One of the biggest thrills of GTA: San Andreas came from zipping around the countryside on a fighter jet. GTA IV's expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony did add sky-diving back into the mix but by God, I want my Harrier back.

Faster pace

Traditionally, getting equipment in a GTA game required you to drive over to the nearest Ammu-Nation and buy what you need. If you were about to do a mission, you'd then ride back to your safehouse to save so you'd get all of your equipment back if you need to reload. Even with quick travel options like taxis, this can take awhile. The time spent doing these errands is time not spent actually enjoying the game.

Chinatown Wars let players order equipment from Ammu-Nation and have it delivered to their safehouse. This cuts down on the traveling quite a bit. I'd rather Rockstar take the extra step in GTA V and automatically add equipment to your inventory as soon as you buy it, but maybe that's too unrealistic for the developers' tastes. Point is, they need to figure out a way to speed up the game and make it easier for players to dive into their next mission.

No more simulation elements

In the past couple Grand Theft Auto titles, Rockstar showed a strange fascination with life simulation. In San Andreas, you controlled your character's fitness level by your choice of diet and whether or not you go to the gym. GTA IV, meanwhile, forced you to maintain friendships. A friend would call you up and ask you to go play darts or something. If you didn't, he'd like you less and you'd be one step further away from unlocking that character's special perk.

Simply put: screw my virtual character's fitness and screw his insecure friends. I play Grand Theft Auto so I can cause mayhem and laugh like a maniac while the cops chase me around the city. I don't want to spend my time hitting the virtual treadmill or taking a fellow criminal out to play darts every half-hour. It's just a hassle.

Tighter multiplayer

The best multiplayer mode for GTA IV was by far Cops 'n Crooks mode. One team of criminals tried to get to an evacuation point while a team of cops attempted to kill them. It took the highlight of the campaign - the high-speed chases - and put them into a multiplayer context.

The problem with Cops 'n Crooks mode, though, was that half the matches sucked. They were either way too fast, because one team was incompetent, or too slow because the criminals decided to take a really long and winding route to the extraction point. Maybe nothing can be done about the former situation (bad players will always be bad) but the latter seems fixable. Rockstar needs to figure out a way to make the experience a bit more consistent. Maybe the cop team could switch between several characters throughout the city at will (kind of like the Agents in The Matrix) to ensure that they're always close to the crooks? 

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