Last month Rockstar released the first gameplay trailer for Grand Theft Auto V, which set my heart and mind ablaze with dreams of bank heists, skydiving, and growing a real estate empire. What most people, still myself included, took away from it however, was the last 10 or so seconds. These 10 seconds showed off a character inside an apartment, looking down on the absolute chaos of a multiplayer match in GTA V. After that the world wondered what exactly would the game’s multiplayer be like. We now have that answer:
If you can do it in the full game, you can do it in the online component; this seems like the best takeaway from that trailer. Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series are not getting a simple multiplayer world to troll around in, but a full realization of what playing GTA online can be.
Grand Theft Auto Online is part of the Grand Theft Auto V package, coming with it is the ability to create a customized character to take out with up to 15 other people. The multiplayer mode will be easily accessible, as it will be that not-so mysterious fourth pie slice from the character selector in GTA V. From there you can play any aspect of the online game solo, but what would be the point in that? Instead, you can engage in classic online fare like deathmatches and races; both of which are fully customizable in the game’s content creator.
However, if you’re looking for something new to do, you can always form a crew and rob some banks or convenience stores. Cash acquired can then be used to further customize your character; buy and customize an apartment (!); build and fill assorted garages (!!); or even invest into the stock market (!!!) which you can then rig through assorted means.
If you tire of robbing banks and doing random stuff in-game — people tire of that? — then hop into some more structured tasks, given out by in-game characters you meet and work for. Grand Theft Auto Online at first glance appears to be working similarly to any of its numbered game equivalents, which in of itself will be worth checking out.
The other main thing to check out is the fact that Rockstar plans to grow GTA Online beyond the simple land of San Andreas. In the official description you may have noticed this: “Grand Theft Auto Online … begins by sharing gameplay features, geography and mechanics with Grand Theft Auto V, but will continue to expand and evolve after its launch.” My interpretation of this is that in the future we may be in store for visits to other locales. Vice City or Liberty City perhaps?
My only concern so far is a fear of GTA Online becoming rapidly outdated being on a current-gen console. Rockstar seems less than worried about this issue, as Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies told CVG: “It’ll be GTA Online; it’s not part of GTA V. Obviously it’s set in the GTA V engine, but it’s going to grow and evolve into its own thing.” With this comes the implication that GTA Online will eventually become
a sentient creature intent on destroying the human race its own entity, wherein the game will be either playable as a standalone product, or as a continuation throughout the future of the Grand Theft Auto series. Nothing of that is official mind you, just assumptions based on quotes and the like.
Another nugget of interesting information to come out of CVG is the fact that AI characters are capable of reacting to urgency in a person’s voice: “Suddenly, a Rockstar developer sat next to us starts chatting into his headset and his on-screen character does the same, lip-synching broadly in time.” This sounds very similar to the SOEmote feature that’s part of EverQuest and the upcoming EverQuest Next that Brad and I have harped on about in recent weeks. This version sounds like it’s taking it to another level however with the fact that your voice will actually affect how NPCs respond to you.
Grand Theft Auto Online will not be available at launch, but will open up on October 1st, which should give plenty of time to finish the single-player campaign before rolling through the meaty features of GTA Online. Features like the in-game stock market the GTA Online content creator tool will not be available immediately, but will be rolled out sometime after launch as well.
Grand Theft Auto V releases for PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 17th.
Check back to GNN on Tuesday, as we will be discussing the trailer somewhat in-depth on the upcoming Constantly Calibrating podcast.