Grand Theft Auto V: The Method Behind Rockstar’s Madness

gtav2 Grand Theft Auto V: The Method Behind Rockstars Madness

Since the very first announcement of Grand Theft Auto V on October 25th last year, fans around the world have speculated the game’s storyline, location, characters, and the overall game itself. There have been more rumours and supposed leaks than perhaps any other GTA game in the series. By this point, Rockstar has addressed almost every one of these rumours and either confirmed them or squashed them.

But now that Rockstar has released their loads of information to Game Informer, IGN, and several other media sources, a lot of fans of the ground-breaking series have expressed concern and plain disappointment with Rockstar’s decisions in the development and features of Grand Theft Auto V.

Unfortunately, most gamers do not understand the industry or how video games work as well as they know how to play them. That being said, the controversy over a lot of Grand Theft Auto V‘s new features is something that needs to be broken down and explained from a true Rockstar perspective.

Join us as we take a look at the method behind Rockstar’s madness.

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Safety Is Not An Option

grand theft auto v gtav screens 1 Grand Theft Auto V: The Method Behind Rockstars Madness

Rockstar Games have never taken the easy road. They have continuously taken chances in their games – and not just with the Grand Theft Auto series. From Manhunt to Midnight Club, Rockstar has challenged themselves and their following by pushing the boundaries of creativity, violence, storyline and controversy.

Not a single GTA game has been released that has not garnered some form of criticism for its controversial material. However, comparing all of the games in the series, Rockstar has not repeated anything other than the general premise of crime-wrought lifestyles.

That being said, Rockstar has proven themselves to be bold developers, taking chances whenever they see fit without the fear of disappointing a few fans. As they have proven thus far, the risks that they take have taken are not necessarily in the best interest of the fans, but rather of the series itself. GTA has experienced changes like no other series in its time, spanning eras from the 60s to the 80s, and the 90s to today. Rockstar has experimented with characters, locations, story-lines, and graphics – and they have shown that change is not always a bad thing.

Rockstar Games does not play it safe when it comes to developing new games. Whether they are working on the Grand Theft Auto series, the Max Payne series, or LA Noire, the world-renowned developers take risks and accept the criticism (e.g. the mass disappointment of LA Noire). Challenges are seen as a positive thing to the company, and every opportunity they have to try something new is an opportunity they will not pass up.

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Forget One Protagonist

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One topic of interest in regards to Grand Theft Auto V is the fact that the game will now revolve around three different playable characters, as opposed to the series’s history of one character. Along with this, players will be able to switch between these three characters (Franklin, Trevor and Michael) at nearly any time during the game.

This idea has received mixed reviews from fans of the series. A lot of self proclaimed fans have complained, accusing Rockstar of straying away from the game’s roots and creating something intended for shock value.

The fact of the matter is, Rockstar is not doing this for shock value. As Rockstar’s vice president Dan Houser told Game Informer several months ago, “When [the player is] only one character, it means they always have to be driving…, shooting…, flying…, and parachuting. It can lead to things being a little ridiculous.”

Rockstar is looking out for the players’ best intentions, creating a more natural and realistic environment. In doing so, players are given three different characters with unique specialties that allows them to experience different parts of the same story without feeling like the only contributing character.

In other words, games like Call of Duty or Sleeping Dogs require the player to perform every important action with the same character. It begins to feel redundant and unbelievable in the fact that, if it were real life, the character would have been killed off a long time ago.

With Grand Theft Auto V, however, Rockstar mixes this up by allowing the player to perform the same amount of exciting and important actions, but with different characters – thus expanding the believability and excitement.

On top of all of that, Rockstar found a gap in the gaming industry that had not been filled by other developers. Yes, there are many games with multiple playable characters - Resident EvilHeavy Rain, or Dead Island – however these games restrict you to one character for each mission. Previously, no mainstream games allowed players to switch between characters at [almost] virtually any moment. Rockstar took the challenge.

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Real Estate Was So 2004

gtav 2 Grand Theft Auto V: The Method Behind Rockstars Madness

When Rockstar announced that the purchasing and managing of real estate would not return to Grand Theft Auto V (as it had not existed in IV, either), fans were outraged. The primary concern was that fans were tired of having millions of dollars at the end of the game, but nothing to spend it on. GTA IV was the primary source of this concern, as the only thing there seemed to purchase was a tiny collection of suits from Perseus and awkward “professional-casual” clothes from Modo, and a few games of bowling with Niko’s bipolar cousin or a night of drinking with a steroid junkie.

In short, there is no doubt that Grand Theft Auto IV was severely lacking in the economy department. Fans abound, however, expected Rockstar to bring back the real estate aspect of the series with Grand Theft Auto V, which had enormous popularity in San Andreas and Vice City. It was a slight disappointment when Dan Houser said it would not be returning – however he clarified other economic aspects that would allow players to spend their hard-earned (or more likely, hard-stolen) cash – though there were no more specifics released on this.

Regardless, so-called “fans” were disgusted. Some even went so far as to making ridiculous criticisms of Rockstar, such as one fan who justified his argument by claiming the decision to remove real estate but add in multiple playable characters was “lazy.”

Something about that logic seems slightly far-fetched. Generally speaking, there seems to be the impression that Rockstar has a reason for replacing real estate with a different economic aspect. As stated before, they like to take chances, and perhaps they are taking a leap of faith with the economy in Grand Theft Auto V and trying something new.

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Finally Bringing Back Excitement

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When Rockstar released the first trailer that showed off airplanes, convertibles and animals (which the second trailer seemed to confirm), fans were satisfied. The variety that had once existed in the series disappeared with GTA IV, so fans were more than delighted when they saw that most of these features would be returning in the newest installment.

However, there was a reason that Rockstar removed so many features with IV. It was not an attempt to play it safe, or because they were “lazy.” Fans and critics argue that other developers like Volition (Saints Row) were including features previously seen in the GTA series despite their graphical advances, and that Rockstar should have been able to include all of those features in their new game as well.

Unfortunately for the fans, there was only so much that Rockstar actually could do with their game engine. Grand Theft Auto IV was the first game the company had developed that was using the Euphoria Engine – they did not have an incredible amount of experience with it. Because of this, they were limited in the diversity of the gaming experience. This is one reason the game was so limited in size – essentially the size of the Vice City map, which paled in comparison to San Andreas.

On top of this, Rockstar wanted to stick true to Liberty City. In Grand Theft Auto III, Liberty City was a small, crowded city filled with civilians and cars. When the city returned in the High Definition universe (as Rockstar calls it), the feeling of claustrophobic and bustling streets returned. GTA IV‘s Liberty City also had strict gun laws, which prevented ridiculous weaponry that existed in previous games (such as chainsaws, katanas, and miniguns).

After six games with the Euphoria engine, Rockstar has enough practice that they feel comfortable enough to make a game as enormously vast, tediously designed, and ridiculously populous as Grand Theft Auto V.

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What’s the Verdict?

grand theft auto v gtav screens 2 Grand Theft Auto V: The Method Behind Rockstars Madness

Without question, Rockstar Games has had their fair share of criticism for their developments over the last few years – perhaps having Red Dead Redemption steal all the glory and ranking as perhaps the greatest Rockstar game of all time. However, the development company acknowledges that despite its open-world, criminalized story-line, it is on a completely different spectrum from the Grand Theft Auto series.

Very few companies have been able to take the risks that Rockstar has made with their GTA series; even fewer companies have been successful and maintained (and even strengthened) their fan following. Something about Rockstar’s ingenuity, talent, and understanding of the industry allows them to be top dogs in regards to creating debatably the most successful video game series in history.

All of that being said, there is no doubt Grand Theft Auto V will include groundbreaking features and introduce an unparalleled experience that will rock the gaming world.

Grand Theft Auto V will be released in Spring of 2013. Are you ready for it?

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