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November 2, 2011 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The Grand Theft Auto V trailer is out. This time, in sunny California.
posted by empath (198 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oooh. The last one was like playing inside a terrarrium filled with jello. Hopefully they've improved on that.
posted by griphus at 9:07 AM on November 2, 2011


After my lukewarm feelings on the last one, I didn't think I would get excited.

I'm excited. I'm excited because the city looks more lively ... the people on the streets look more like individuals and less like replicants. I can't wait to explore.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:11 AM on November 2, 2011


really hoping this is the San Andreas for the current generation...
posted by ReeMonster at 9:11 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


That sounds like a fun game that I would buy -- Jello Fighter: Terrarium Edition.

Ideally, it would be a life-size, full-immersion game.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you thinking of Ubisoft's Imagine: Jello™ Terrariumz for Wii
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I haven't been a video game player since Half Life...but these Rockstar games make me want to go out an by an xbox like yesterday. They do such a good job of capturing the feeling of a place...that trailer has a great take on LA, its fun how I recognize the locations and just how accurate they are...
posted by jnnla at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2011


And isn't there some better URL than Rockstar.com? This will change in a few weeks, possibly while the thread is still open for commenting
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oooh. The last one was like playing inside a terrarrium filled with jello. Hopefully they've improved on that.

I think after RDR what I'm most excited about is improvements in story telling. They keep getting better at it.
posted by empath at 9:13 AM on November 2, 2011


And isn't there some better URL than Rockstar.com? This will change in a few weeks, possibly while the thread is still open for commenting

Not yet. It literally got released 5 minutes before I posted it and that's the only URL.
posted by empath at 9:14 AM on November 2, 2011


really hoping this is the San Andreas for the current generation...

The original was epic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:15 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks like they're sticking with the more "serious" tone of GTAIV, which means it's unlikely we'll be able to have dildo fights in this one.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:15 AM on November 2, 2011


Looks as if this one as a big recession theme.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011


Permalink. I don't know. Looks absolutely gorgeous, but it's doing nothing for me. I think Saint's Row has spoiled me.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]



Definitely looking forward to seeing this.

(how can anyone, much less a cutting edge video game company, field a website that won't work with an iDevice?)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me know when they have a control scheme that works.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Other link options: Rockstar's Newswire article; Gamespot (HD)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:17 AM on November 2, 2011


They keep getting better at it.

They really do. Hopefully they won't hinder their advancements by making all the cars drive like fucking yachts.
posted by griphus at 9:17 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like an educational game. They are teaching us that V == 5 in some strange and inscrutable game universe.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:17 AM on November 2, 2011


This time, in sunny California San Andreas.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:18 AM on November 2, 2011


Excellent song choice in the trailer.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:18 AM on November 2, 2011


I was hoping for lizard-nazis :( :( :(
posted by griphus at 9:19 AM on November 2, 2011


Oooh. The last one was like playing inside a terrarrium filled with jello. Hopefully they've improved on that.

It was much more entertaining after you added negative friction to the car tires...
posted by the_artificer at 9:20 AM on November 2, 2011 [28 favorites]


Let's hope it controls more like Red Dead Redemption and less like GTA: IV.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:20 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never finished IV, or even probably gotten more than half way through guessing by the amount of city I got into. And it all comes down to the pacing of tough missions in clusters that has left me picking the game back up every six months and trying to crack one of the two or three available missions and being annoyed all over again and putting it the fuck down. Which sucks, because IV was easily the most engaging one to me in terms of a game world rather than just a place to crash cars into people and blow up helicopters.

I'm hoping maybe they'll change the approach a little bit in V to iterate a little more toward making the game about exploration of the world they're bothering to build in such detail into and less about telling me to perform a series of complicated broad-daylight murders. I know gunning and running will never disappear from the franchise, but more driving chaos and weird discovery and less sub-par third-person-shooter bottlenecks would really, really make me happier with the franchise.
posted by cortex at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


Hmm, I thought San Andreas was already supposed to be an LA analog.
posted by Think_Long at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2011


Eh, GTA IV controls just fine! I've played through the game, and episodes, twice now without any real issues... both on console and on the PC.
posted by utsutsu at 9:23 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


More a teaser than a trailer. It didn't really show me much. I mean, I didn't really get a vibe for the theme like you'd get from the previous 3D GTAs. It just seemed like a big, generic LA. For example, GTA4 was clearly to me a satirical portrait of post-9/11 post-millennial NYC/America. Anyone get any sort of vibe from this video on what their angle is? I haven't yet.

I really loved 4, +200 hours, my favorite of the series. I tend to go about it as a RPG, trying to get into my character's head. I haven't been following the news on this. Is there any word on if it 5 will ever come out for PC?
posted by Edogy at 9:25 AM on November 2, 2011


Looks awesome. I love the GTA games. I usually play missions for a week or so, and then spend the rest of my time with the game just fucking around.

I'd love to see the GTA/RDR engine ported to a sci-fi setting. I'd also kind of love it if they were to get away from the "Bad Guy Trying to Go Good" shtick--I don't mind playing a bad guy trying to go worse, or a good guy trying to go bad, even (maybe) a good guy trying to stay good. But the ex-con with one last score to settle thing is a bit old.

I'd be totally into it if you just awoke from a coma and had to decide what the point of the game is. I'd still rob banks, but only because I wanted to, not because those Rockstar fatcats told me to.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:27 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was much more entertaining after you added negative friction to the car tires...

Wow, that's a Michael Bay film waiting to happen...

In a world... [black screen]
Where Friction is everything... [A car doing one of those parking-brake 180-degree turning stops]
One mad scientist... [Kiefer Sutherland in goggles cackling with a test tube]
Goes Negative. [City scape of cars accelerating, flying, exploding.]
posted by kaibutsu at 9:27 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. How underwhelming. Looks exactly like GTA4 but sunnier. And with a biplane.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2011


If I can't run around in a pimp hat and Borat swimsuit smacking the bejesus out of people with a giant foam finger, I'm not interested.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Anyone get any sort of vibe from this video on what their angle is?

Class warfare. Here's a shot of expensive cars, high-rise apartments; now a shot of day laborers, hookers, foreclosures.

Also, Up-n-Atom Burger.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Anyone get any sort of vibe from this video on what their angle is?

Post recession? The tension of the clip hinged on a scene of a guy hammering a 'for sale' sign into his front lawn.
posted by Think_Long at 9:29 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Needed to be London.
posted by fullerine at 9:30 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any word on if it 5 will ever come out for PC?

The rumor mills say same-day release for consoles and PC.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:32 AM on November 2, 2011


No idea why there's so much GTA IV hate. I played all of it and the two DLC packages on the PC with a PS2 style controller. I've been playing the original GTA III again this past week (when I have power and Internet that is) and the cars are such garbage in the original. Way too cartoonish.

Not sure the new trailer excites me enough to justify purchasing a PS3 or 360 for one game though. I've heard Red Dead Redemption is great, but still, not great enough to buy another console. Yet Rockstar is happy to port LA Noire to the PC and it looks dreadful.
posted by inthe80s at 9:33 AM on November 2, 2011


If I can't run around in a pimp hat and Borat swimsuit smacking the bejesus out of people with a giant foam finger, I'm not interested.

I'm pretty sure the Saints Row the Third thread is over here.
posted by Alterscape at 9:34 AM on November 2, 2011


Looks darn good to me. I loved Red Dead Redemption, and that looks much more sophisticated. Probably a Day 1 purchase, here.
posted by Malor at 9:35 AM on November 2, 2011


Oh, and did anyone else get a strong 'Sims' vibe from that trailer?
posted by Malor at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2011


They are teaching us that V == 5 in some strange and inscrutable game universe.

This is a misconception. They're actually releasing GTA 55. GTA 5-54 will be released as prequels over the next few decades.
posted by kmz at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2011


4chan leaker got the city right so far.

I didn't hate 4, just got hung up on a hard mission and then a new game came out. Maybe I'll toss in 4 today and see if I can get any farther.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2011


I'm pretty sure the Saints Row the Third thread is over here.

And I'm pretty sure that someone just asked to feel Big Daddy Borat's polyurethane pimp-hand.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:37 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hmm, okay, class-warfare recessionist jaunt. I can see that. I guess that's where we are. Not sure how much fun there is to mine in that, but it's possible they can do it. Hits a little close, I suppose.
posted by Edogy at 9:37 AM on November 2, 2011


I'd love to see the GTA/RDR engine ported to a sci-fi setting.

Oh my god yes.
posted by pts at 9:38 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


^ spoilers!
posted by Ad hominem at 9:38 AM on November 2, 2011


Rockstar is pulling a Madden 20XX and it doesn't seem to bother anyone: take an old location and plot, polish the graphics a bit, BAM! Instant classic. $5 at GameStop before you know it.

Colour me unimpressed.
posted by spamguy at 9:39 AM on November 2, 2011


So is the VO Ray Liotta or not?
posted by uncleozzy at 9:42 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they should do Hong Kong or Tokyo. or even London.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:44 AM on November 2, 2011


I was kinda pulling for Central/South America. Has that diversity-of-easily-recognized-settings they seem to like.
posted by penduluum at 9:47 AM on November 2, 2011


Class warfare. Here's a shot of expensive cars, high-rise apartments; now a shot of day laborers, hookers, foreclosures.

OCCUPY GROVE STREET
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


Nah they can't go tropical because then the lack of a grappling hook will make everyone keep playing Just Cause 2.
posted by Peztopiary at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm firmly in the camp of "we've seen all this before". Gang warfare is back? Like the last time we were in LA?
posted by Keith Talent at 9:51 AM on November 2, 2011


Rockstar is pulling a Madden 20XX and it doesn't seem to bother anyone: take an old location and plot, polish the graphics a bit, BAM! Instant classic.

That's not really fair, is it? IV was released in 2008 and I'm guessing GTA V won't be out until 2013. (Based on Rockstar's history of one big release every spring, and Max Payne 3 already has next year's slot.) And we don't know anything about the plot yet.

Yeah, they should do Hong Kong or Tokyo. or even London.

I've heard the idea in podcasts that the Housers are just really really fascinated with America and that European studios are uniquely suited to examining and satirizing both the real America and American pop culture.
posted by kmz at 9:51 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I never played any of the older Rockstar games, but I found GTA IV to be extremely frustrating. I had fun until some of the extremely boring "date" and "go out drinking" missions. Then there was an annoying difficulty spike that I never bothered to get past... Little Jacob wanted me to follow him to some warehouse. Of course there's like ten thugs shooting at me. You run at an octogenarian's pace, and the third person shooting mechanic is terrible. Restarting the mission took a long time for the load screen, then the setup, talking, etc.

Great graphics, funny writing (what I saw at least) combined with bad gameplay. Not a fan.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:53 AM on November 2, 2011


It was always going to be set in the U.S.; that should be no surprise to anyone paying attention Rockstar's parodic sensibilities.

But but but GTA: London 1969 and 1961!

Those expansion packs predate the modern voice-acted, mo-capped, "Oscar caliber", award-winning ambitions of the Houser Brothers.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:54 AM on November 2, 2011


Gang warfare is back? Like the last time we were in LA?

The gang wars were far and away the worst thing about San Andreas. The rest of the game was fine, sort of disjointed, but I understand why people who should really be playing Saint's Row prefer it to GTA IV. But the gang wars really ruined the game for me.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:54 AM on November 2, 2011


If I can't run around in a pimp hat and Borat swimsuit smacking the bejesus out of people with a giant foam finger, I'm not interested.

Giant foam fingers for some, huge purple dildo batons for others.

Alterscape: there is no discussion of GTA V in which the Saints Row franchise is irrelevant, much to Rockstar's chagrin, I'm sure.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Small Faces on the trailer? I'm sold.
posted by Conductor71 at 9:58 AM on November 2, 2011


After playing innumerable 3rd-person shooter games in which the shooting controls are about 1000x better than GTA, it was really hard to get used to them again in IV. I'll play anyway, but I really hope they fix them in V.

I used to drive to car dealers all over LA as a job, and I'm looking forward to tracing all my old routes... why would I be looking forward to that?
posted by Huck500 at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hopefully there won't be a "All you had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!" mission.
posted by hellojed at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Madden 20XX

I don't see how you could make that comparison at all. Every time they make a new game, or episode, it has an entirely new plot, new characters, new setting (when they've done the setting in a prior game, it changes drastically. GTA 3 Liberty City vs GTA IV Liberty City is completely different).

The yearly sports titles do not have plot or storyline. Or even setting. They are literally the same game... i.e. the same sport, every time. And, this release is hardly annual.
posted by utsutsu at 10:05 AM on November 2, 2011


Wow, the gang wars made the game for me. Just at the point where the initial novelty of the game wore off and I started to lose interest, a completely different gameplay method of territorial acquisition showed up, with pretty colors on the map and lots of urban warfare strategizing. I got hooked from then out.
posted by scrowdid at 10:06 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Alterscape: there is no discussion of GTA V in which the Saints Row franchise is irrelevant, much to Rockstar's chagrin, I'm sure.

GTA IV sold double what Saint's Row 1 and 2 sold combined, so I don't think they care.
posted by empath at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2011


I'm starting to like the idea of a GTA game that somehow takes place entirely in football stadiums.
posted by cortex at 10:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, Red Dead Redemption is amazing. I have high hopes for GTA V
posted by glaucon at 10:14 AM on November 2, 2011


Looks like an educational game. They are teaching us that V == 5 in some strange and inscrutable game universe.

Are you actually trying to poke fun at the logo? They've been using roman numerals for the GTA games; the redundant wording is a US currency reference. It's not because they think people are dumb.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:15 AM on November 2, 2011


I'm starting to like the idea of a GTA game that somehow takes place entirely in football stadiums.

FOX SPORTS MONDAYS PRESENTS: the New York Giants versus a series of increasingly larger oncoming vehicles
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:15 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rockstar is pulling a Madden 20XX and it doesn't seem to bother anyone: take an old location and plot, polish the graphics a bit, BAM! Instant classic. $5 at GameStop before you know it.

Man, have you looked at San Andreas recently? My wife was playing this all day yesterday in anticipation of the new trailer appearing today, and the level of detail in this trailer was an enormous improvement.

Secondly, I'm not sure why everybody's calling the plot a rehash. Yeah, some old faces are showing up, but the "cop straddling the line between villain and vigilante" business I've been reading about is pretty distinct from previous GTAs. As long as Rockstar demonstrates that they recognize the missteps they took with GTA4, I have no problem humoring them again by guying 5—particularly since I'm already getting Saints Row 3 for free thanks to my rep at Gaming.SE.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 10:15 AM on November 2, 2011


Ideally they'll roll with the cheerful logo-mocking by the next one in the series being titled GTAV Six.
posted by Drastic at 10:17 AM on November 2, 2011


cop straddling the line between villain and vigilante

Wasn't that the premise of True Crime: Streets of LA?

Oh crap I just remembered that a game called True Crime featured a boss fight against a Chinese dragon ghost.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:18 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, the gang wars made the game for me. Just at the point where the initial novelty of the game wore off and I started to lose interest, a completely different gameplay method of territorial acquisition showed up, with pretty colors on the map and lots of urban warfare strategizing. I got hooked from then out.

Yes, this. *quits job and plays through the whole thing again right now*
posted by Kwine at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


yellowbinder, we do not speak of that game. It is forbidden.
posted by utsutsu at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2011


But I almost collected all of Snoop Dogg's bones!
posted by yellowbinder at 10:23 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nah they can't go tropical because then the lack of a grappling hook will make everyone keep playing Just Cause 2.

I have to admit, I can't wait for Just Cause 3. Avalanche have put a kibosh on rumors that JC3 is coming in 2012, but they do have two projects scheduled for 2013. Is one of them JC3? I sure fucking hope so! Or Rico might have to grapple a leaking air canister to some fools.
posted by kmz at 10:24 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I'm saying is that the grappling hook from JC 2 is how I move around in my dreams. (Also it has infinite reach. Grappling to the moon baby!)
posted by Peztopiary at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else notice that when the voiceover talked about "Being a dad like every other dad" a guy walked by wearing a "Cosby Show" style sweater? It's that sort of attention to detail and realism that keeps me coming back to the franchise.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:29 AM on November 2, 2011


It's so much the same, and so different!
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on November 2, 2011


Hopefully there won't be a "All you had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!" mission.

I really hope there's a frustratingly-difficult mission involving RC planes and David Cross whining at you, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:36 AM on November 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


The gang wars were far and away the worst thing about San Andreas. The rest of the game was fine, sort of disjointed, but I understand why people who should really be playing Saint's Row prefer it to GTA IV. But the gang wars really ruined the game for me.

This is fucking Balla talk and I will not tolerate it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:37 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really hope there's a frustratingly-difficult mission involving RC planes and David Cross whining at you, though.

Thank god you could skip those. Fuck the RC missions with an RC plane.
posted by josher71 at 10:39 AM on November 2, 2011


That's an Argyle sweater, the Cos stereotypically wore a vintage Missoni style.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



Here's what I've always wanted to see for the GTA series: Beijing Taxi (for non-Chinese speaking people). Your character wakes up on the edge of Tianamen Square. All the in-game characters, signage, etc is in Chinese.

The play of the game is not killing prostitutes, etc so much as learning how to get along in a culture where you speak none of the language and people are not specifically hostile to you. One of the first things you do is get a job as a taxi driver and start driving people around the city. Chances are you will get into organized crime, etc, but there are legitimate gigs you can choose as well.

I know, it's bascially a Chinese language class with guns and cars, but I think there would be an audience. What do you think?
posted by lon_star at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


But... what if you speak and read Chinese?
posted by kmz at 10:42 AM on November 2, 2011


This is fucking Balla talk and I will not tolerate it.

Seriously, when my territory was being attacked I was like, awesome, once they take it, I won't have to defend it anymore.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:45 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, when my territory was being attacked I was like, awesome, once they take it, I won't have to defend it anymore.

You know, all you had to do was go save the game before it got taken, and it wouldn't get taken.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:47 AM on November 2, 2011


But ... I don't want to keep it.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:49 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, GTA: Vice City had the best plot of the GTA games, because the player character is not forced to do the stuff he does through blackmail or consequences. Tommy Vercetti does really like wreaking havoc and taking shit over. Just like you, the player. Which is kind of the point: Players like playing the game, they don't need to be forced by the plot. Just give us a main character who is not such a mope for once.
posted by Authorized User at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dear Rockstar Games,

I'd like to see the following time periods and places as GTA's:

Medieval Europe
Ancient Egyptian Empire
Pre-Hispanic Mexico
Present Day North Korea
Prohibition Era-Chicago
1980's Portland, Oregon
2015 Cuidad Juarez

I have many more ideas and my hourly rate is reasonable.

Sincerely,
wcfields

posted by wcfields at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm starting to like the idea of a GTA game that somehow takes place entirely in football stadiums.

One of my favorite things in the original Carmageddon was getting into the football stadium and doing donuts through the players.

That and jumping off high-rise buildings, tumbling through the air, landing on the side of a building, and then driving sideways off the edge into a crowd.
posted by Babblesort at 10:51 AM on November 2, 2011


I don't like that kind of stuff they add to drag out the the games either. I don't want to play darts, or go on dates in a game. If I wanted to fight gang wars or go on dates I would leave the house.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:51 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist, I wasn't trying to say that discussing Saints Row and GTA together is irrelevant, or that we shouldn't discuss one or the other, just that "if you really want to do absurd things and the new GTA games aren't doing it for you, there's always Saints Row, which seems to have embraced absurdity."
posted by Alterscape at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, not for me.

Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite games this gen, but the thing I've never felt most Rockstar games get right is the focus. The core mechanics of the GTA games -- shooting/driving -- just aren't very well done. Instead of honing those elements and giving you the opportunity to do them to your hearts desire via the open world, they shoehorn in diversions. Go play pool or darts! Go watch a comedy routine! Go get fat, then go to the gym! Go pick flowers! No thanks.

The thing that games like Just Cause 2 and the Assassin's Creed series (after the first one) do better than GTA is that they know what their core mechanics are (hook & parachute traversal/shooting, and parkour/stabbing, respectively), they make them fun, and all the side goals allow you to keep doing those things. Sure, maybe I can't go watch a play in Just Cause or keep track of Ezio's calorie count, but who would want to?
posted by Amanojaku at 10:56 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really hope there's a frustratingly-difficult mission involving RC planes and David Cross whining at you, though.

Thank god you could skip those.


WHAT
posted by penduluum at 10:57 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Players like playing the game, they don't need to be forced by the plot.

Vice City is easily my fave of the GTA games, partly for that reason. Though GTA IV got one thing right: riding a motherfucking bicycle. And they made it fun. Hell ya.

On preview: that's cool, Alterscape. I wonder if GTA will intentionally move toward more serious ground in opposition to the lulzy SR approach, though how much more serious they can get I don't know.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:57 AM on November 2, 2011


Yay!
posted by ph00dz at 10:58 AM on November 2, 2011


Actually Vice City was the first step in the wrong direction in my opinion. I loved the GTA III dude who never spoke and was just a killing machine. THAT'S what I want. I don't want these well drawn characters. I want a guy who just gets it done, no muss, no fuss.
posted by josher71 at 11:01 AM on November 2, 2011


This is basically the Freeman Vs Denton argument...
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on November 2, 2011


I'd like to see the following time periods and places as GTA's:

1980's Portland, Oregon


With Tom Peterson's face textured on every flat surface for additional realism.
posted by delfin at 11:03 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I gave up on GTA4 when i got sick of having to drive 20 mins to get back to the start of every single fucking mission i failed. It really sucked the life out of it for me. I don't mind driving across the city to get there once, but once I've done that, please don't make do it every single time just because I got killed during a shootout at a bank.

If that is fixed, then I'm sure I'll give GTA5 a go.
posted by modernnomad at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2011


I don't understand any love for GTA 4 or for Red Dead Redemption. I tried to get into both of these games, but the story lines were so...dragged...out and unengaging, and the repetitive missions are repetitive. I felt like I was playing Zantar... If you eat a chieftain, you go up a level. Beauty is, you can't get to the next level--kids keep coughing up quarters.

Gelatinous cube eats village. It's terrific.
posted by fusinski at 11:08 AM on November 2, 2011


wcfields: Holy shit no... they should buy the rights to "Red Harvest" and make that into a video game.

1920's corrupt mining town, you play an angry Pinkerton with a .38 a bottle of bootleg liquor and absolutely no respect for human life, deciding he wants to play every side against the other and just tear the whole thing down.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


No idea why there's so much GTA IV hate. I played all of it and the two DLC packages on the PC with a PS2 style controller. I've been playing the original GTA III again this past week (when I have power and Internet that is) and the cars are such garbage in the original. Way too cartoonish.

Let me tell you why I hated GTA IV.

First of all, someone already mentioned it, the shooting and the driving (the theft and the auto, if you will) are both poorly done. It's an engine that does nothing right except looking pretty and being expansive. Every time I had to stop driving around aimlessly being an asshole it felt like a chore. The plot advancement just felt like the stick to get to the carrot of better weapons and cars.

Second, the story was fucking stupid, and I couldn't give a shit about Niko. Videogames aren't movies, but damned if GTA IV didn't try to be a bad movie at any rate. I agree with what someone said earlier: if you're going to put me in to a sandbox style game, then you should probably let me roll-play. If you're going to force me in to a character, then at least don't be so ham handed and serious about it.

The sandbox adds absolutely nothing to the game. You're in a giant, fully rendered city where approximately 100 of the doorways are something you can interact with, and most of those aren't until you're railroaded to that location for a mission. The half-assed RPG stuff was meaningless, and seemed like nothing more than a way to add content to the game to make people feel like their 60 dollar purchase was worth while. I don't want to play virtual friendship and girlfriend games. Basically the game could literally be played in an entirely linear way without any sandbox elements. What would be lost, in terms of the main quest, if you just went from one set piece to another doing the boring, poorly executed missions? The sandbox is filler. It's a way to trick you in to thinking you're playing something immersive, when in reality you may as well just be playing a dreck rail-shooter like Gears of War.

It's a game that pretends to be about choice, but is really just about the illusion of choice. I call it every-fucking-modern-game-itis.
posted by codacorolla at 11:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Speaking of Assassin's Creed and different time periods, I would pay an ungodly amount of money for an Assassin's Creed game set in Elizabethan England. Shakespeare, the Queen, secret Catholics, the Spanish Armada, Christopher Marlowe the playwright and part-time spy who winds up getting murdered...I'm already salivating.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Role-play, even. If you're going to let me roll-play then I better be a cosmic prince.
posted by codacorolla at 11:14 AM on November 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Go play pool or darts! Go watch a comedy routine! Go get fat, then go to the gym! Go pick flowers! No thanks.

Oh side missions. I hate em. Except when I love em. I would've hated the rather difficult aerial missions in SR2 except I'd already played around with planes and helicopters so much (so fun) it wasn't that hard. Destruction-based missions? Ok! Sewage-spewing missions? A couple of times, sure. Only the flaming-4-wheel annoyed me, but that was due to difficulty and not the intrinsic fun of running people down (intentionally) while wearing a a hazmat suit riding a 4-wheeler.

Make it FUN, goddamnit. Make it fun.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2011


Second, the story was fucking stupid, and I couldn't give a shit about Niko.

The only thing i thought was clever about the story was how the ending made you choose which of the two characters you loved the most and then killed them.

Other than that, there was a huge disconnect between the story and the sandbox that is just hard to get over. Gleefully encouraging mayhem and then forcing you to sit through cut scenes were niko is all broken up about having to commit crimes.
posted by empath at 11:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


[updated the post with a direct link next time please don't post until there's some there there. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2011


I like the idea that wealth disparity is the central theme of the game. The trailer shows us overt images of recession, migrant labor, unemployment, store liquidation sales, foreclosure. Knowing Rockstar's tendency to push the thematic envelope, we may be looking at a game that functions as a dark, Wire-esque examination of all aspects and perspectives of class in post-bailout America. Here's hoping...
posted by naju at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Speaking of Assassin's Creed and different time periods,

AC: Revelations is going to be set (at least in part) in Constantinople. And there are rumors that AC 3 might be set in revolutionary France (which would be insanely awesome, so I really hope that happens).

I really wish GTA V was going to take place in DC or Baltimore though. Would love driving around like an idiot in a city I see every day.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:30 AM on November 2, 2011


I hope I get to crash a helicopter, blow some stuff up, and jump a dirtbike between two rooftops.
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on November 2, 2011


THAT would be super cool, naju.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:33 AM on November 2, 2011


And if social commentary happens, it happens, but it happens in the form of explosions and bullets.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not that it's particularly relevant to a discussion of GTAV, but just going to put this out there: Saints Row 3 + Just Cause grapple + Red Faction: Guerrilla destructible environments = apotheosis of sandbox mayhem. Someone make it happen.
posted by juv3nal at 11:41 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


+ Minecraft.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


there was a huge disconnect between the story and the sandbox that is just hard to get over. Gleefully encouraging mayhem and then forcing you to sit through cut scenes were niko is all broken up about having to commit crimes.

This is what I found difficult in the little of IV that I played. San Andreas was my favorite of the series, and part of what I enjoyed was that even though the game was ridiculous it still always played by the same ridiculous rules.
posted by Hoenikker at 11:47 AM on November 2, 2011


I kinda stopped enjoying the GTA series when they quit having codes to change your character's skin. Every time I'd start GTA3 I'd spend a few minutes repeatedly entering the "random pedestrian skin" code until I got one I liked. Usually one of the women. When I played Vice City it was the same; it was HILARIOUS to see the grumpy male voice coming out of the stripper's mouth in a cutscene, especially when she dangled her gun right between widespread legs.

San Andreas? Gotta be CJ. No choice. And at the end they drag you out of a wild world of jet packs and aliens into boring small time gang wars. IV? I did not find Nico Bellic to be a person I actually cared to spend any time with, never mind being.

I guess the sum of this post is "if you want Saint's Row 3 you know where to find it" and maybe if there's a Mac version or if a 360 finds its way into my life again I'll get it. Maybe. The only GTA I ever actually bought was 2 on the Dreamcast, the others were brought into my life by roomies and boyfriends...
posted by egypturnash at 11:47 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


GTA IV cars handle all right. Brake before the turn, mes frères.

Rockstar's hand is far too heavy to do anything interesting with a theme. I just hope they avoid the feeling from GTA IV where you're playing in a huge world that they detailed lovingly, except for the part where there's much of anything do to in it.
posted by fleacircus at 11:48 AM on November 2, 2011


AC: Revelations is going to be set (at least in part) in Constantinople. And there are rumors that AC 3 might be set in revolutionary France (which would be insanely awesome, so I really hope that happens).

AC3 is supposed to conclude the main storyline so I would imaging eat least a good chunk of the game will be set in modern day to deal with the threat there. Hopefully there'll still be a new ancestor's life to explore though.

Saints Row 3 + Just Cause grapple + Red Faction: Guerrilla

Saint's Row and Red Faction are in the same universe, so that could at least sort of happen. Though RF is currently dead as a franchise.

Honestly the thing I would most want out of a Just Cause sequel is co-op. There was an attempt at it by some modders for JC2 but it didn't get too far. Multi-Ricos! Always be grappling.
posted by kmz at 11:54 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prohibition Era-Chicago

You know what game was awesome? The Godfather. yeah I know it's old now, but it was as thought they took all the awesome from GTA and plugged it into an awesome movie. Did I say awesome yet?
posted by Hoopo at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just spent 2 weeks in New York. I already knew my way around, thanks to GTA IV. It was an amazing piece of video game art, really beautiful environment. I agree the gameplay itself wasn't that fun, nor the writing, but damn if that thing was still a monument of gamemaking. Red Dead Redemption is an amazing, different take on narrative.

Two other sandbox games that worked well are Just Cause 2 and Red Faction: Guerilla. Both did the sandbox / mayhem gameplay more fun than GTA. Hopefully the Rockstar guys played them and learned something.
posted by Nelson at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2011


I agree the gameplay itself wasn't that fun, nor the writing, but damn if that thing was still a monument of gamemaking.

I don't understand this sentence.
posted by codacorolla at 12:17 PM on November 2, 2011


I just spent 2 weeks in New York. I already knew my way around, thanks to GTA IV. It was an amazing piece of video game art, really beautiful environment.

I felt the same way about L.A. Noire, but to me it was the wrong kind of art; ie: untouchable.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:25 PM on November 2, 2011


Not that it's particularly relevant to a discussion of GTAV, but just going to put this out there: Saints Row 3 + Just Cause grapple + Red Faction: Guerrilla destructible environments = apotheosis of sandbox mayhem. Someone make it happen.

I'm friends with a bunch of the guys who make Saint's Row and Red Faction. Gonna forward this comment on to them.
posted by naju at 12:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The upside of the gang warfare stuff in San Andreas was that it gave me a small sense that I could change the game world. I always end up finding the rudderless violence of the GTA games boring after a while because it's all kind of the same and there's no feeling that it's having any effect whatsoever on the world. You escape the cops and get back to the scene of the car you blew up 2 minutes previous, and it's all gone and people are walking around carefree. What I would love out of those games is some way to feel like my actions were changing the world, whether it be with increased police presence or areas becoming abandoned after you'd gone on multiple killing sprees or, I dunno, maybe a massive funeral for the dozen civilians who were wasted when I took a shortcut through a park. I don't really get the sense that Rockstar's going to take things in that direction, though, because I don't think they really want consequences for the random mayhem.
posted by Copronymus at 12:30 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I felt the same way about L.A. Noire, but to me it was the wrong kind of art; ie: untouchable.

Yep. Got it, finished it in three hours and returned it. Of course my character can careen down the street in a 50s-era automobile and scale ladders 100 feet high. But ask him to jump a three foot hedge while chasing a suspect? Unthinkable! There was so much beautiful in that game but it ended up being wasted since you couldn't interact with it unless you were in a cut-scene.

GTAV? L.A.? Again? No thanks. I'll wait until it's $9.00 at GameStop in six months.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2011


Heh. Well, I did buy a sufficient supply of the things during the Steam Sale to hold out until it's on PC and discounted.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on November 2, 2011


So was anyone here able to get to 100% in San Andreas? I did it in III and Vice City, but San Andreas was just too big, too much, and I lost interest (although I did complete all the story missions.)
posted by Rangeboy at 12:52 PM on November 2, 2011


I recently played through GTA IV up to the last mission (which was infuriating so I ragequit the game for good). Im case there are other Steam Sale GTA n00bs like me around, I offer this tip:

If you initially accept the friend/girlfriend activity and then call back to cancel, you don't lose approval points. This makes the game significantly less annoying.

Admiral Haddock: "I'd love to see the GTA/RDR engine ported to a sci-fi setting."

So are you thinking GTA: Mass Effect or GTA: KOTOR? I'd be perfectly pleased with either, frankly.
posted by vanar sena at 1:09 PM on November 2, 2011


So was anyone here able to get to 100% in San Andreas?

If I remember, this was actually damn near impossible because of a glitch in the tagging missions. You could run out of spray paint but it would still complete the tag, but it wouldnt' count the tag . . . something like that. So I guess you could completely start over with the tagging, but fuck that. That's why I didn't get 100%.
posted by peep at 1:18 PM on November 2, 2011


You know what game was awesome? The Godfather. yeah I know it's old now, but it was as thought they took all the awesome from GTA and plugged it into an awesome movie. Did I say awesome yet?

Veto! I got really tired of walking into the back room of every single front in all of New York already knowing the layout of the room and where the guys would be standing and which weapons they would have because every single front used the same chunk of code. I think I enjoyed the Scarface game more.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:21 PM on November 2, 2011


I want the GTA IV environment (NYC!) combined with San Andreas gameplay (a proper wanted freeze cheat, airplanes I can fly, and rocket-pack!) but in such a huge scale, it's 1:1 to the real city it's copying.
posted by grubi at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2011


I got to 99.8 or something like that, but I couldn't figure out what I'd missed and gave up. Maybe it was a glitch.
posted by Kwine at 1:34 PM on November 2, 2011


I agree the gameplay itself wasn't that fun, nor the writing, but damn if that thing was still a monument of gamemaking.

Sorry if that was opaque. Games are a lot of things. Games are gameplay, the button mashing / timing / skill stuff. Arcade games like Ikaruga are masters at this. Games are also writing, story telling. Bioware are experts at this, with franchises like Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

But games are another thing too, this immersive / transportive environment. This place you go to when in the game. Rockstar is uniquely good at this, with GTA and Bully and Red Dead Redemption (and, sorta, LA Noire). We call it "sandbox" but that's only part of it; the sandbox is incredibly intricate and detailed, ideally with story implicit in the world design. GTA IV was a major leap forward at building an open world you could roam around in, it's still uniquely amazing. (Other contenders: Bethesda's Elder Scrolls, Fallout).

Frankly I think Just Cause 2 succeeded better at combining fun gameplay with the open world roaming than any game I've played. But then the environment is kind of repetitive, it's not entirely brilliant. GTA's environment is incredibly detailed and nuanced, but the gameplay is kind of repetitive.

It's fascinating seeing a new form of art develop.
posted by Nelson at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2011


Bah. Not GTA IV but GTA San Andreas (re: the awesome bicycle riding).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2011


I would pay any feasible amount of money for a GTA-style sandbox game in the Star Wars universe.
posted by Kwine at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh hell yeah. i forgot about the bicycle thing. let's throw that into my Ulimate GTA idea.
posted by grubi at 1:42 PM on November 2, 2011


Frankly I think Just Cause 2 succeeded better at combining fun gameplay with the open world roaming than any game I've played. But then the environment is kind of repetitive, it's not entirely brilliant.

I don't know about that. There were crowded cities, deserts, jungles, snowy mountains, islands, etc. Even a club suspended from a giant airship!

RPS did a really cool tourism report from Panau.
posted by kmz at 1:49 PM on November 2, 2011


I don't know about that. There were crowded cities, deserts, jungles, snowy mountains, islands, etc. Even a club suspended from a giant airship!

JC2 was the the proverbial mile-wide inch-deep though. The traffic pattern on the road is always the same. The planes don't have rudders. It's like a poorly-researched game made by aliens.
posted by Edogy at 1:54 PM on November 2, 2011


I liked JC2 a lot as a fun Michaelbaytastic time, but I had that sense of sameness as well. There's some fun details and variety in the superficial environment, but it ended up feeling like just a lot of jungle with different skins on the stuff in between. Everything's got people who cower and MPs who show up and red-starred things that explode.

The floating club is both great in a "man look at the shit they threw into this game" way and damning in a "there's nothing there" way: most of the appeal to it was just managing to get there at all and look around for thirty seconds, because after that all you're confronted with is awkward architecture and a lack of anything interactive beside people you may or may not decide to shoot or grapple to nearby objects.

Not that GTA has typically been any better with putting depth into the scenery and NPCs. Serious depth in the details of a huge world is a hard problem for, if nothing else, reasons of sheer manpower. Until we can procedurally generate engaging nonce NPC and object interactions and dialogue, you can only have as much Stuff in a world as you can manually generate by tapping writers and programmers and artists. So you either get a huge world that is very empty of interactions and compelling NPCs, or you get a huge world that is littered with repetitive interactions and clone NPCs. There's no clear win here, just different ways to deal with that compromise issue.
posted by cortex at 1:57 PM on November 2, 2011


But games are another thing too, this immersive / transportive environment.

I disagree with this part, although you're welcome to enjoy whatever you like and I realize I'm an outlier in terms of who games are designed for.

A game is one thing, and on thing only: mechanics. The other things that you mention which GTA:IV is good at are simulation aspects that contribute to a game, but when you get down to it a game is judged on its game mechanics. If a game is attractive, but absolutely fails to provide compelling mechanics (as GTA:IV does) then it's not much of a game. It's a pretty simulation, or it's an entertaining toy, but it's not a game.

Until game designers realize that they have to make their artwork with how they design mechanics instead of aping novels and movies (which handle non-interactive narrative better since they're, like, designed for it) then AAA titles are going to be boring, barely interactive schlock like GTA:IV, Bioshock, GOW, Modern Warfare x through infinity, Halo, etc. etc.
posted by codacorolla at 1:57 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nelson: "GTA IV was a major leap forward at building an open world you could roam around in, it's still uniquely amazing. (Other contenders: Bethesda's Elder Scrolls, Fallout)."

Both GTA IV and Oblivion shared a serious flaw - the exploration rarely paid off past a very superficial level. GTA IV had generic NPCs who faded in and out of existence based on proximity to the player. Oblivion had all these hand-coded NPCs who sometimes had pretty fleshed-out lives, but any close examination revealed that they spent most of their day standing around staring or talking about mudcrabs. It's heartening to hear that the Skyrim team is treating this flaw seriously and is doing away with as much generic NPC chitchat as possible.

It's a difficult problem, and has become more difficult because gamers expect voiceovers for pretty much all dialogue now. The BG/Planescape-era developers had it easier in that sense. There are third party mods for Oblivion with plenty of complex dialogue and behaviour, but the lack of voiceover sticks out quite starkly and gives the mods a sense of lack of polish that is really not deserved.
posted by vanar sena at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I said on Twitter, I can't wait for the part where this game is over and another Red Dead comes out.

Need some more cowboy revenge in my life.
posted by HostBryan at 2:04 PM on November 2, 2011


"Game" is a word we've carried over in use to this new medium because it has momentum and there's no clear and well-liked alternative name. "Interactive multi-media experiences"? God no, what a mouthful. But while I can sympathize with the narrow "a game is its mechanics" definition, it's a mistake to think that that is the definition of what a video game is rather than one of several aspects of the emerging philosophy of video game design and practice.

So I'm very much with Nelson on this: there's a sensual (hush now) aspect to modern game design that cannot be dismissed as important to what the medium is and is becoming, regardless of whether you enjoy games that focus on that. I have clear memories of not just GTA generically as a genre and franchise but of each individual GTA entry I've played that have very little to do with how successful the mechanics or story of the games were executed, because that overall sensation of being-in-a-game-world has its own weight and power.

Different games do different things. I'm a big, big fan of good mechanics, and a good mechanic will get me some joy even in an otherwise badly made game, but by the same token a video game can have a lot of immersive or narrative or systemic value even if the mechanics are weak. Everybody has their druthers about what they actually want out of their gaming experiences, and that's fine, but games as a developing medium are bigger than those druthers.
posted by cortex at 2:05 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


cortex: "that overall sensation of being-in-a-game-world has its own weight and power."

I guess it's a matter of degree? On one hand there is a world like GTA IV, which is huge and detailed on first inspection but then fails to pay off on it (for me at least) when you really sink your teeth in because the dev team budget couldn't justify programming minutiae for such a massive world. On the other hand there are relatively smaller but more richly detailed worlds, perhaps like Fallout 1/2 where the reduction in scale allows the team to really reward deep examination and exploration.

(This is all relative of course - I mean GTA IV was incredibly detailed in so many ways, but it still felt generic after a while)
posted by vanar sena at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2011


It would appear that I am the only human who really liked GTA IV. In fact it's the only one of the series that I finished.

I used cheats. I will use cheats if a game doesn't have an Easy difficulty level. (Even with them I wasn't able to finish the earlier games due to frustration.)

If you found the main plot too somber, The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC is much sillier, and for me the skydiving mechanic was a highlight of the whole series.
posted by nev at 2:20 PM on November 2, 2011


If a game is attractive, but absolutely fails to provide compelling mechanics (as GTA:IV does) then it's not much of a game. It's a pretty simulation, or it's an entertaining toy, but it's not a game.

*watches mining laser turn over*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would appear that I am the only human who really liked GTA IV. In fact it's the only one of the series that I finished.

I love playing GTA IV, but less as the storyline but more that I enjoy the sandbox.

I used cheats. I will use cheats if a game doesn't have an Easy difficulty level.

Same here.
posted by grubi at 2:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've linked this a couple of times, probably should have just FPPed it...
Stop Teasing Me With Fake Freedom
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex: "Until we can procedurally generate engaging nonce NPC and object interactions and dialogue, you can only have as much Stuff in a world as you can manually generate by tapping writers and programmers and artists."

I haven't had the chance to read through all of it yet, but this an interesting-looking PhD thesis on story generation.

I dimly recall a well-known gaming person working on similar things some time back but the specifics are escaping me right now.
posted by vanar sena at 2:34 PM on November 2, 2011


Totally a matter of degree across a lot of different dimensions, yeah. I don't consider GTA to be the be-all-end-all of world design in gaming, I just think it does some of the things it does very well on that front (while doing others quite poorly or superficially). Same for Oblivion, for Dragon Age, for the newer Fallout games.

I love the first two Fallouts specifically because of the quality of the craftsmanship of the much less sprawling world they created; the things I like least about the new games are their failure (whether for logistical reasons or for fundamental design reasons) to really reproduce the sense of a complicated character-driven world that the originals had. Smaller world, bigger characters.

It would appear that I am the only human who really liked GTA IV.

Tons of things I liked about it, and it's like I said above a memorable world-to-be-in.

Plenty I didn't like, too, but Nico was easily the most interesting protagonist they've put forward even if they spoiled the idea of the character significantly by making him as usual be a does-murders-because-you-asked-nicely servant for everyone he met. I was thrilled when in one early mission I was given the choice to let a dude go after a rooftop chase instead of shooting him to death; when that's the level of moral nuance that gets me excited by your latest version of a game, the ability to, occasionally, refrain from reflexively murdering someone you have nothing to do with, there's a problem.
posted by cortex at 2:35 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I though John Marston was a lot more interesting in those ways than Nico was. Nico was kind of a start at trying to make a fully rounded protagonist. I hope they're getting better at it.
posted by empath at 2:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think GTA:SA was the game that prompted me to have the whole "GAMES ARE ART!" conversation with a friend. There'd been games that I thought of as great experiences that showed what was possible in the medium (Plansecape Torment, Abe's Oddysee, the original Final Fantasy for the NES) but it wasn't until I was deep into CJs story that I realized what a coherent piece of work the whole thing was. The art direction, the music, the gameplay -- it all worked together to create something that was more than an idle entertainment that still managed to by idly entertaining. It was focused and pointed and worked to push the player into situations that evoked more than just the usual adrenalin rush you usually get from button-pushing. There were quiet moments. There were beautiful moments. There were hilarious moments. And they all hung together to create something larger than their individual merits.

But the GTA games aren't even close to my being my favorite video games. I've stacked WAY more hours into Morrowind and Oblivion than into all the GTA games combined. Part of that is simple wish fulfillment: I want to play a hero, not a scumbag. I know they're just pixels, but I don't LIKE hurting innocents. I'd much rather save the world. Naive, I know. I'm probably the only GTA player ever who'd drive around carefully trying not to hit pedestrians. I loved doing the ambulance missions; "I'm HELPING!"

There's a useful distinction between the two series design philosophies, I think. GTA uses its world to flesh out its narrative goals. TES uses its narrative goals to flesh out its world. GTA is aiming to create an experience, TES is a trying to create a place.

A place filled with spoons. And tan pants. But a PLACE, not a set. Not a backdrop.

That's an interesting tension. Both GTA and TES are working at similar-seeming tasks but coming at those tasks from very different places. I think that's good for game design, good for gamers, and bodes well for a future filled with interesting things-we-call-games.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: "Same for Oblivion, for Dragon Age, for the newer Fallout games."

I've been poking around in the Oblivion/FO3 construction set for a while now, and it has only reinforced my lamentations at the missed opportunities. Just an example: I created a mostly generic experimental NPC with an unusually high energy and personality level. During his "wander aimlessly" AI downtime, he would hyperactively half-walk/half-run all over the place, chatting up absolutely everyone. I rarely noticed that kind of nuance amongst the NPCs in the stock game.
posted by vanar sena at 2:59 PM on November 2, 2011


Out of all the GTAs (and I've played them all including the old 2D version) San Andreas was the only one I bothered completing and sinking close to 150 hours into. I dunno why, I thought CJ's storyline was compelling enough to continue, plus being a Californian I recognized every environment featured.

Is it just because I'm familiar with California that I found San Andreas the most fun out of all the GTA games? Do NYers love Liberty City more than San Andreas? Can't tell if it's just my familiarity bias or that San Andreas had, indeed, the most interesting, colorful, and entertaining storyline and characters. As well as a very open feel.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:31 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


San Andreas was the first one that felt, I dunno, big to me beyond just having a lot of city and pavement with bridges between lumps. It did feel like it was stretching itself a bit more than the previous two had been, which I liked, but I'm also in the camp that was annoyed by the gangwar micromanagement thing and that's about where I put it down.
posted by cortex at 3:33 PM on November 2, 2011


Or it could be I'm over the mob genre. I liked that CJ was a different kind of gangsta.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:34 PM on November 2, 2011


I though John Marston was a lot more interesting in those ways than Nico was. Nico was kind of a start at trying to make a fully rounded protagonist. I hope they're getting better at it.

Marston was also the first Rockstar protagonist not to have their arc directly contradicted by the gameplay. You could easily play through Red Dead without harming innocent people, as I recall, which was in keeping with his "man trying to do right by his family" personality.
posted by HostBryan at 3:51 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Well, OK, maybe the kid from Bully was like that too.)
posted by HostBryan at 3:51 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn it, I never did play GTA:SA and now I want to, but it keeps crashing halfway through the first mission, right after the driveby when they roll the titles. I can't make it to a save point. Steam on Win7 64 if anyone know a fix on this one. Haven't found it yet on Steam forums.
posted by Edogy at 4:03 PM on November 2, 2011


barely interactive schlock like GTA:IV, Bioshock, GOW, Modern Warfare x through infinity, Halo, etc. etc.

Let me just say that while I very much agree overall, the place things like Halo and Modern Warfare "become" a game (and possibly even a very good one at that) is in multiplayer. All the Quick Time Event and prolonged cut-scene silliness is gone, and all that's left is the gleaming, polished obelisk of pure mechanics. There's no more story than "Kill that guy," and the games live or die in how fun they manage to make that.

A perfect example is Battlefield 3: probably the worst single-player campaign I've come across in years* but the multiplayer is wonderful, and like an entirely different game altogether.

* At one point, you're sneaking around rescuing hostages and taking out baddies with a silenced pistol and knife. Nothing new there, but it's reasonably polished. Then you get to one point where your AI partner tells you to go kill one enemy in particular, and the game takes your knife out for you. Never mind that you may have wanted to shoot him. Fine, I think, I'll go knife him like the many deceased piles of polygons before him. So I sneak over to him ... and inexplicably fall over dead. Hrm. I crouch, go slower ... and die. Go faster, but still quietly? Nope. Dead again. Finally, I just throw caution to the wind, casually walk up to him ... and am treated to a QTE where he hears me coming and we struggle as he resists my attempt to give him an uninvited tracheotomy.

So, to sum up: the game penalized me for not failing by making me fail, because that's what a cut-scene dictated. I've honestly never seen anything like it.**

** Okay, not true. Later in the same single-player campaign, your character is sitting in the back seat of a car with tinted windows. A guard approaches, and you're tasked with shooting him. Alright. The right trigger fires weapons. So how do we kill the guard? By pressing the A button. It is, of course, a QTE, never mind that the whole game revolves around you doing the thing they just made you watch in a cut scene.

At that point, it's not a game, it's a movie. And if it's a movie, why shouldn't I compare it to other movies? The mega-blockbuster end of the game industry likes to have it both ways: they brush off things like terrible writing by saying, "Well, we're interactive, so we can't tell stories in the same way as media that allows for a set narrative." And that's fair, but then, when it comes down to them actually being, you know, games, the defense is suddenly, "Oh, but we're trying to be atmospheric."
posted by Amanojaku at 4:04 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amanojaku: "So, to sum up: the game penalized me for not failing by making me fail, because that's what a cut-scene dictated. I've honestly never seen anything like it."

The intro mission of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault. My friend and I played it through over a dozen times (cursing each other's incompetence) before we realized that the mission failure was scripted and there was no way to avoid it.
posted by vanar sena at 4:15 PM on November 2, 2011


Fuck QTEs. If you are game developer and you are by some chance reading this, and you have ever in any way been responsible for a GTE, I SPIT AT YOU.
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on November 2, 2011


TBH that pretty much goes for mid-action cutscenes in general. And a fair few cutscenes that take place outside of the action. Really it's amazing that a decade and a bit out from Half Life cutscenes not only still exist but have actually gotten more invasive.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on November 2, 2011


I think the only game where I ever enjoyed the quick-time events was Mass Effect 2. Not too many, and completely optional - you just get a slightly different outcome, not die.
Even my Paragon Shepard couldn't resist tossing the merc out the window or lighting the ranting Krogan on fire. And I look forward to meeting the disingenuous reporter in ME3.
posted by dragoon at 4:35 PM on November 2, 2011


Admiral Haddock: "I'd love to see the GTA/RDR engine ported to a sci-fi setting."

So are you thinking GTA: Mass Effect or GTA: KOTOR? I'd be perfectly pleased with either, frankly.

Mass Effect and KOTOR were each, in their way, phenomenally boring slogs. I was thrilled to be done with them. Instead what I'd like to do is carjack a space hopper, beat up a Martian prostitute, and steal a bazillion credits from the Bank of Jupiter--not navigate endless dialogue trees and customize space-sticks.

But what the hell, I'll go back to San Andreas instead. GTA III was my favorite though--I could still navigate the map in my sleep. And I lurved the soundtrack something fierce.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:56 PM on November 2, 2011


I don't mind QTE's if they're like heavy rain when they aren't so much pass/fail as they are character revealing choices similar to dialogue trees -- ie, you need to make an immediate decision that has consequences, and you have a time limit.
posted by empath at 4:56 PM on November 2, 2011


If I wanted to do that I'd play Dragons Lair. Or just travel back to the 80s and throw all my money away.
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, but imagine a situation in a game where it's an ethical question like: Do you push the fat man in front of the runaway train, or do you let all the people in the train die? Something that's actually meaningful, not some random pattern of button presses you have to push that don't matter.
posted by empath at 5:20 PM on November 2, 2011


But....but....none of it's....real.....

I think of it personally as a great way to commit suicide:

Play Station 3, GTA V, 6 weeks and I'm dead.
I know...spent 6 months with Diablo II...
felt so empty when I won...
posted by eggtooth at 5:21 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, but imagine a situation in a game where it's an ethical question...

The much-maligned (but thoroughly excellent IMO) Alpha Protocol meets this description to T. Never have I paid more attention to cutscenes in a game, and even re-played said cutscenes over and over, constantly questioning my decisions and revising my morality as the results of seemingly insignificant choices played out. It wouldn't surprise me if this game's influence manifests very widely over the next few years; I think it's an accomplishment akin to the first Deus Ex in terms of pushing the envelope of player interaction.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:43 PM on November 2, 2011


If I can't run around in a pimp hat and Borat swimsuit smacking the bejesus out of people with a giant foam finger, I'm not interested.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:28 AM on November 2


Reverse-eponysterical!
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:47 PM on November 2, 2011


A big part of the problem with quick time events as they currently exist is that they're less about the event than they are about the quick. Prompting the player to grapple with a dilemma of morality or agency or whatever under stressful and somewhat time-limited circumstances? Sure, especially if you can present it as something that flows with the normal gameplay.

Make the player have to do twitch button presses that aren't part of the normal way the game flows? That's disruptive bullshit, that's as Artw says just rehashing Dragon's Lair in the middle of an unrelated game. Worse than just being annoying as a "how good are your twitch skills" test, it's actually putting you on notice that you can't even relax and get into the flow of the normal gameplay: you have to be ready for QTEs, or god help you and see you at your last checkpoint or save.

It's moronic design. If you want to make a button masher, make a button masher. If not, avoid the button mashing.
posted by cortex at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, but imagine a situation in a game where it's an ethical question like: Do you push the fat man in front of the runaway train, or do you let all the people in the train die? Something that's actually meaningful, not some random pattern of button presses you have to push that don't matter.

That's even worse! If it's an important part of the game then it should be done IN THE GAME.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree, in general, but in a game that's heavily focused on narrative over mechanics, that's not always possible.
posted by empath at 6:10 PM on November 2, 2011


Nah, that's just being lazy or overly controlling or most likely both.
posted by Artw at 6:19 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


For posterity, I found the fix for my issue trying to run GTA:SA. I had to set properties on gta-sa.exe for Compatibility Mode: Vista SP2. A lot of info said use XP compatibility but that wasn't working on mine. Vista SP2 did.

Proper first impressions: The BMX bike is really fun!
posted by Edogy at 9:22 PM on November 2, 2011


I know, right?

I think I mentioned in a previous thread that San Andreas also delivered the perverse experience of continuing my then-couch-potatoed existence while ensuring that my character gets down to the gym, regular-like, and busts some ass. Man's got to keep in shape.

Dissonance... achieved. Controller put down. Iron pumped for reals.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:32 PM on November 2, 2011


There's no better videogame experience than racing a jacked and smoking army tank back to your safe house garage with just a sliver of health left.
posted by Camofrog at 9:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I used to drive to car dealers all over LA as a job, and I'm looking forward to tracing all my old routes... why would I be looking forward to that?

Because this time you can ram or aggressively pass every single bad driver you encounter on your way? My office is in Venice and I'm pretty stoked to actually be able to drive on sidewalks, steal cop cars, etc in-game to actually get where I intended to go in a reasonable amount of time. It's total wish fulfillment.

Not sure I'll actually accomplish many of the game's goals, but boy howdy, as an LA driver the more verisimilitude the better.
posted by troublesome at 11:23 PM on November 2, 2011


I don't know what was up with y'all but I had plenty of fun in GTA IV. My buddy from high school and I walked over to where our school would have been, wandered the neighborhood a bit and talked about how much things had changed. And then we drove our Lamborghini's to Times Square and repeatedly rammed them into each other as fast as we could to see WHO WOULD LIVE AND WHO WOULD DIE
posted by danny the boy at 11:33 PM on November 2, 2011


Naive, I know. I'm probably the only GTA player ever who'd drive around carefully trying not to hit pedestrians. I loved doing the ambulance missions; "I'm HELPING!"

When I first played the first of the 3D Grand Theft Auto games (not sure if that's GTA 2 or 3), I had zero exposure or expectations about it. For the first several hours, I carefully obeyed traffic laws. I stayed in my lane, and didn't tailgate, and waited for red lights. It felt real enough to me that I reacted as though it were real, so even as I was on a mission to go kill someone, I drove "properly".

Eventually, as the illusion started to fade, and the idiotic nature of the traffic and the total passivity of the cops became apparent, I started driving like everyone else does in that game. But even then, for weeks of real time as I slowly worked my way through the missions, I would always shut down the game when I killed a pedestrian, so it "never really happened." It still felt real enough to me, at that point, that I wasn't willing to accept the deaths of any innocents to complete my goals.

Eventually, I gave up on that idea too, because the later missions make it nearly impossible to complete them without civilian casualties. I guess I got corrupted a little bit, too. But I felt bad about it. And it wasn't like I was trying to 'prove a point' or something. When I found out, later, just how other people played that game (driving around shooting and killing people randomly), I was genuinely shocked. It had honestly never even occurred to me to play like that. (I was similarly surprised when I found out that some people like to torture their Sims. It's just so.... alien.) It's not like I'm being some Boy Scout, I happily shot the bad guys for many many hours. I was more than happy to kill anyone trying to be violent with me first. But finding out how some people played that game was a bit distressing, especially after hearing about the 'screw a hooker to get your health back, and then beat her to death to recover your cash.' That REALLY bothered me. Still does.

So after realizing that, wow, most people didn't play that game anything like I did, I tried rampaging around and killing civvies by the score. But only once. I know they're just pixels, but killing "innocents" remains kind of horrifying for me. Even now, after all these years, and all these iterations of the franchise, I still try not to hit pedestrians if I can avoid it. I know it's stupid. I know that there's no harm in splatting someone's virtual guts all over the pavement. I know that there's absolutely no moral or ethical point being made by refusing. But I still don't enjoy it.

But I never did the ambulance missions. Not sure I would have bothered, even if I'd known they were there. Being bothered by killing pixels does not, it would appear, extend to actively going out of my way to 'save' them.
posted by Malor at 4:11 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


There must be something wrong with me, because the driving in GTAIV was my favourite part of the game. It was hard to do it well, and you had to really pay attention in order to go at full speed. Swaying between the lanes of traffic just enough to avoid a crash and actually pulling off perfect skids around corners felt incredibly satisfying.

I think games occupy a fairly fuzzy space on a line which extends both between and beyond pure mechanics through to atmospheric, uh, sensualness. They're like the visible spectrum of interactive experience.
posted by lucidium at 6:37 AM on November 3, 2011


In GTA IV, I like antagonizing the cops into chasing me to Coney Island and then either 1) racing a dirt bike back and forth on the sand, forcing them to make wild spins and crashing their cars, or 2) getting into a helicopter and shooting them from there, eventually getting them to send two choppers at a time, and wiping them out every time.

:-)
posted by grubi at 6:44 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


know that there's no harm in splatting someone's virtual guts all over the pavement. I know that there's absolutely no moral or ethical point being made by refusing. But I still don't enjoy it.

I don't do it because it's not realistic and just doesn't really fit with the world they're building. I don't like having a disconnect between the story and the game play. If you're going to have a story in a game, commit to its reality all the way through. It's the same thing that annoyed me about Deus Ex:HR -- the ability to do completely narrative-breaking shit like murdering an entire police headquarters the game doesn't react to it at all.

If you're going to allow absurd game play like that, commit to it. Make it the game, forget trying to attach a serious story to it like some frankenstein monster. Or else create meaningful consequences for it.
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're going to allow absurd game play like that, commit to it. Make it the game, forget trying to attach a serious story to it like some frankenstein monster. Or else create meaningful consequences for it.

I completely disagree. I don't play GTA games because I want realism. I live in realism. I play games for escapism. I don't want a roguelike game with permanent death, or Fable with endless decisions between good and evil. I want an endless sandbox where I can decide one session I'm a law abiding cab driver pickin' up fares, and another where I'm a mad scientist of doom seeing whether I can jump a stolen car onto a plane taxiing on the tarmac and get it to take off so I can drive off the wing mid flight.

I don't think Rockstar has any intention of building a world simulator. They're building a virtual rendition of the imaginary world you drove your matchbox cars in when you were 10. Now the police are chasing you! Now the car can fly! Now Jabba the Hut kills all the police officers! I think they do a good job.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:20 AM on November 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm not talking about that kind of realism.

Nico is someone who hates violence and wants to get out of the cycle and crime world. How does that match with someone who goes on a pedestrian killing spree, kills 500 cops and laughs about it?

If you want to create a world where mass murder and mayhem makes sense, then commit to it. I don't care if the world is realistic with reference to the real world, I just want a world that commits to its own reality.
posted by empath at 7:38 AM on November 3, 2011


Until game designers realize that they have to make their artwork with how they design mechanics instead of aping novels and movies ... then AAA titles are going to be boring, barely interactive schlock

I don't disagree but I think you're overstating the case. Some games are really great because of their amazing environments and artwork. Some games are really great because of their gameplay mechanics. Some very few special games are good at both. I put Just Cause 2 out there as an example, although of course it has its flaws. I think the original Bioshock is another one; great writing, great art, great gameplay. GTA IV is exceptional because the environment is so incredibly amazing, the art and design and sandboxy stuff. And while the gameplay mechanics fell a bit flat for me, too, let's not forget that game is a huge critical and commercial success.

The analogy to film is helpful. Some movies are really beautifully filmed. Some have great writing. Some have great acting. Very few films combine all those things into one excellent movie. Also understanding the history of film is useful in understanding where we are now with games. A lot of the beloved early movies like Battleship Potemkin, or Rain, or Birth of a Nation are hugely problematic movies with major problems in writing, or acting, or filming. But we recognize those films as great and important art because they contributed one element to the development of film as a medium. We're in that same stage with games now, where the artists are starting to work out the medium. I think GTA IV will stand strongly as a major advancement in world building.

(And since I've gone on too long already, I'll add it's interesting to look at World of Warcraft with an eye to the various aspects of game crafting. That project is just so huge, and with such a long history, and so many aspects of it are very good. For instance it's easy to overlook how, compared to other MMOs, the second-to-second button mashing game mechanics are so much fun. The WoW story is incredibly complex and rich (if often clumsily told). And the social MMO interactions are very well tuned. Unfortunately, I can't think of a movie analogy to the sheer size of WoW).
posted by Nelson at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2011


I'm not talking about that kind of realism.

Ah, I see (and agree). As I said above, it would be totally amazing if you could just "wake up from a coma" (hackneyed though that may be), and then YOU decide what the game is about. You're right that it's bizarre for the "interior" Nico as controlled by the game to be conflicted about his violent past (revenge-lust notwithstanding), and the "exterior" Nico as controlled by me to be a motorcycle psycho hell bent on terrorizing hot dog vendors.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2011


I handled gang issues in San Andreas by grabbing a trashmaster and mowin them down. Which illustrates what I like about GTA: for most missions, you have a wide variety of options. As a coward who does not like getting within getting-shot-range if I can help it, this is super duper.

Hulu has not shown me an ad for this so I was unaware. Blissfully unaware.

... Maybe I should just plan on holding off until they put me in a home.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:45 AM on November 3, 2011


As I said above, it would be totally amazing if you could just "wake up from a coma" (hackneyed though that may be), and then YOU decide what the game is about.

I don't think even that's necessary. I just think the story line in GTAIV was really misjudged. The game engine encourages comedic mayhem, the story and characterization should have reflected it.

Red Dead Redemption, OTOH, was a nearly perfect match between the gameplay and the story.
posted by empath at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2011


I wonder if their little statement, "A bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer, Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California", is an indication that they are staying away from overeaching themselves like that. Possibly it;s too vague to read anything into.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2011


"A bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer, Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California"

Ha! that "focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar" reads like an unintentionally ironic "we're pumping out another sequel in a cynical cash grab"
posted by juv3nal at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2011


The much-maligned (but thoroughly excellent IMO) Alpha Protocol meets this description to T. Never have I paid more attention to cutscenes in a game, and even re-played said cutscenes over and over, constantly questioning my decisions and revising my morality as the results of seemingly insignificant choices played out.

It continues the proud tradition of games by ex-Fallout creators being rushed and being rehabilitated after being patched by the company & fans. If only the stealth system wasn't broken for instance.
posted by ersatz at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2011


I found Alpha Protocol utterly flawed in one critical sense: you were forced to decide how to respond to what people were saying before they'd finished saying it. That was fucking ridiculous, a lame, LAME fucking mechanic to try to make game conversations sound more like movie conversations.

Neither ones sound like REAL conversations, okay? So just back the fuck off, since you can't really emulate the ability to stall and think on your feet while talking, and let me contemplate how I'm going to answer.
posted by Malor at 11:09 PM on November 3, 2011


s/ones sound/one sounds/
posted by Malor at 11:10 PM on November 3, 2011


Meanwhile, Saint's Row's absurd 13 minute.... thing by Tim & Eric.
posted by naju at 6:30 PM on November 4, 2011


What in the ever-living fuck was that.
posted by empath at 10:47 PM on November 4, 2011


A look back at GTA: London

(warning: writer thinks he's a lot funnier than he actually is)

I can see a bunch of reasons why they wouldn't revist that setting, but I kind of wish they would.
posted by Artw at 8:10 AM on November 6, 2011


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