Rockstar stole the gaming news limelight earlier this month by officially announcing one of the most eagerly anticipated games – Grand Theft Auto 5 which is stated to be Rockstar’s ”largest and most ambitious game”. Currently in development at Rockstar North, GTA V promises to take the series in a bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer. Rockstar also stated that GTA V “focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California.”
The Good and the Bad
The acronym ‘GTA’ is synonymous with gaming pop culture and equally synonymous with anti-gaming campaign. It almost single-handedly sparked off the campaigns against gaming and has been blamed for many simulated crime in headlines around the globe. For gamers though, the Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most enjoyed series across platforms and generations. We absolutely adore the series and still enjoy the series on consoles of old and new, PC’s and even handheld gaming devices.
GTA is Big Business
The series enjoys such a massive following that the business side of things is top of the pile in gaming business. Rockstar parent company, Take Two Interactive published their financial reports a few months ago and revealed that the gaming giant expects to exceed a net income of $2 per share in fiscal year 2013. What is so notable by fan site, GTA V.net is the fact that the last time T2 did reach such an income was during the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, in which they recorded $2.08 per share. This demonstrates the value and the importance and grandeur of a Grand Theft Auto release. Compared to another Rockstar success story – Red Dead Redemption which managed to pull an income that reached $ 1.06 per share in the year it was released – this from a critically acclaimed and well sold title. The release of a new Grand Theft Auto is a massive effect and means big business – GTA IV sold nearly 20 million copies, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold more than 12 million copies worldwide which explains just how important and popular the series is.
Rockstar have invested heavily in technology used in crafting games and have a technology group at Rockstar San Diego, a hub or library for the tech used in Rockstar titles that is contributed to by the various Rockstar developer studios. Rockstar San Diego supports the engine libraries and tools for graphics, physics, animation, networking, AI, character behaviours, core systems and other technologies that are used across in the group’s titles. The team have a massive history of titles and a plethora of tech that has seen some great innovations in the industry – this year alone saw Rockstar’s L.A. Noire set new standards in animation quality.
Grand Theft Auto titles of late use the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which is used in game development on the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. Besides the main engine, the studio has integrated some of the finest third party middleware components into RAGE like the proprietary Euphoria character animation engine and the open source Bullet physics engine. The RAGE engine drives games such as Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV.
With the proven and competent technology from a development group who invests heavily in tech, we have not only seen dramatic progression in the series but there are all indications that they will continue to do so.
The Grand Theft Auto series is known for its signature style of gameplay with the overall focus being on entertaining players while flowing. The series just about defined the open-world gaming genre and this is the principle attraction to the games over the years, along with outstanding storytelling and some of the most candid casts you will find in a game.
From brawling to ‘jacking’ vehicles for joyrides, all the aspects of the gameplay have always worked well with the fuss-free approach. The gameplay has evolved over the years and the latest GTA titles were packed with new gameplay or features that have paved the way for new activities – from bowling to paragliding, GTA V has a library of gameplay and activities to throw into the mix.
Rockstar have not confirmed the lead character that will star in Grand Theft Auto 5 and so we will steer clear of the rumours. But the lead stars of past titles in the series have always been candid, memorable and interesting, and most followers will have fond memories of their favourite character from GTA’s of the past.
GTA I allowed players to select one of eight different protagonists to play as and despite the varied selection of characters, they were no different in-game in terms of abilities. From there the GTA games have followed a single lead character. From ‘CJ’ or Carl Johnson in San Andreas to Tommy Vercetti in Vice City, from Niko Bellic to Luis Lopez in The Ballad of Gay Tony – all great characters with strong back stories and character traits.
The Grand Theft Auto series is always set in a fictional version of the world and over a number of different time periods. Liberty City was based upon New York City, Vice City was based upon Miami, and San Andreas based upon the western cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. The cities are your playground and are one of the most important aspects of GTA titles.
Rockstar have revealed on the official site that GTA V takes us to the city of Los Santos, a city in the state of San Andreas and promises to recreate a large portion of modern day Southern California. We will be treated to the countryside and beaches, and the city is said to be the largest and most ambitious Rockstar has created to date. Los Santos is also said to look twice as big as the old Los Santos from the GTA III era.
Not to be missed
So from one of the most celebrated developers in the gaming world comes the latest from a franchise with one of the richest histories. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas saw the previous generation consoles off with a bang, and if history serves as an example, we predict and hope Grand Theft Auto V could do the same with the current HD generation.