by Chris Priestman
previewed on PC
Grand Theft Auto IV was announced back in March 2006. The hype surrounding Rockstar's more gritty realisation of their figurehead series was unmatched. Until now. Grand Theft Auto V has officially arrived with the announcement trailer and the first flood of details. After all the rumors being built up by eager fans for the last year or so, what is this mammoth title all about?
Back To The Sunny City
First and foremost, it seems the voice of the fans has been heard as GTA V is set in San Andreas - a often cited fan favourite of the series is GTA: San Andreas. The fictional location of San Andreas is based on real life US cities and is comprised by three significant locations: Los Santos which corresponds to Los Angeles, San Fierro which corresponds to San Francisco, and Las Venturas which corresponds to Las Vegas. In general, the setting is paradise-like, with the trailer flaunting beautiful golden beaches, sun-glazed public parks and highrise apartment blocks. As with any mass populated city, there is another side to San Andreas; a side that fans will be familiar with. Criminals, looters, ballers and prostitutes occupy the lower ends of the city, but whereas you played an upcoming thug helmed from these parts in GTA: San Andreas, GTA V’s protagonist has moved to San Andreas with more humble intentions such as raising a family. Inevitably, the lures of the criminal life are going to derail these intentions somewhat, this is Grand Theft Auto after all. This will not be the first time the grand old American Dream is cruelly ripped out at the throat in the series, in fact it is top of the checklist if a game is to use the GTA title.
Perhaps the most revealing part of the trailer is the voiceover, which at the moment, is provided by an unknown actor and in-game character. Early speculation which picks up on the accent and clues in that this is a wealthy man, have pointed towards a return from Tommy Vercetti last seen in GTA: Vice City. The song playing in the trailer is actually ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ by The Small Faces; a 60s song, which may have some importance. The era of the character’s birth perhaps? If so, Vercetti matches on yet another front, being born and raised in the 60s.
What's Next For GTA?
The rest of the trailer details many of what is presumably in-game features. A long list can be drawn out. Jets look to be making a return as well as other models of planes; handy for speeding to the top of Mt. Chilead to relive the adrenaline-fueled base-jumping moments from San Andreas. The palm tree paradise will also feature jet skis this time around so it seems, making the chore of swimming (which was a first for the series in San Andreas) a thing of the past. Players may also remember working out in the many gyms in San Andreas, with a bunch of muscle men working out on Los Santos’ Muscle Sands, it is likely that the player can join them for some sweaty fun. Speaking of beaches, you may have missed the dog in the opening scene of the trailer. Two people were undoubtedly walking a dog on a beach - the inclusion of animals (except pigeons) is a first for Grand Theft Auto.
The rest is more standard fare for the series: bank robberies, high-speed police chases and potential golf mini-games. The usual humour is sprinkled throughout as well - the name of the bulding firm is STD Contractors, for example. What will make a striking difference to the feel of the game and no doubt the plot, is that the game is clearly set within our present, or something very close to it. The car models and building architecture on show should all be familiar to you as a modern day dweller. Again, this is speculation at best but the story could revolve around the current recession - there are several sightings of homeless people and signs offering to help with companies going out of business. Outside of the finer details, it is worth mentioning that the graphics are a clear improvement over GTA IV. The gritty feel that accompanied Niko Bellic’s story has seemingly vanished and been replaced with the sheen and shine of GTA: San Andreas.
Unfortunately no platforms or a release date has been set yet, is this a next-gen game? It looks good enough perhaps. The Wii U and the next console iterations from Microsoft and Sony could be the targets rather than the PS3, Wii or Xbox 360. Of course, we presume that the PC will get a release as well. No more repeats of the PC-absent Red Dead Redemption please, Rockstar. If early listings for pre-orders on certain online retailers are to be believed, then GTA V is more likely a current gen game. It would have been a very long pre-release PR job if the game was next-gen anyway, so fingers crossed we get it in the next year or so. Over and out.