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GTAV single-player and general gameplay thread

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Here's an interesting article:

http://www.1up.com/news/grand-theft-auto-5-release-date-11-analyst

This April will mark three years since the last numbered release in the Grand Theft Auto series. That's an unusually long time for the franchise, but Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter believes the wait for the next GTA game is almost over -- according to him, there's a very good chance we'll see it this year.

During a presentation of its third quarter fiscal results yesterday, Take-Two declined to offer up any release window for the inevitable follow-up to Grand Theft Auto IV. However, Pachter speculates that a release sometime prior to January 2012 makes a lot of sense. Why January? That's when the contracts for several key individuals at Rockstar expire -- namely, the Houser brothers Sam and Dan, as well as Leslie Benzies. The Housers have been an intricate part of the GTA series for years and the duo was even named to the 2009 Time 100 list.

"It seems rational to us that Take-Two management would have entered into the three-year contract only if there was some required delivery of GTA," Pachter suggested. "Equally, it makes sense that the three key employees would be motivated to deliver a GTA title before the expiration of their contract, in order to gain negotiating leverage for the next contract."

Following the release of Grand Theft Auto III in 2001, Vice City was out in 2002, followed two years later by San Andreas in 2004. There were also the two spin-offs for the PSP, Liberty City Stories (2005) and Vice City Stories (2006) which eventually came to PS2. Compare that with the last several years of GTA releases and you'll see a noticeable difference -- Grand Theft Auto IV was out in 2008, and since then we've only seen its two expansion packs and the handheld Chinatown Wars.

It would be commendable if Rockstar and Take-Two were simply attempting to avoid running the franchise into the ground (it'd be pretty smart, too, in light of what's reportedly happened to Guitar Hero). Or maybe Rockstar has been working on a fully-fledged sequel -- GTA 5 -- as opposed to the vice City/San Andreas-style sequel.

Pachter also stated that the lack of any real news on the Rockstar-published Max Payne 3 during Take-Two's financial report means the game is on the "back burner," thereby freeing up development resources to finish GTA5. If the next GTA really is going to be coming before those contracts expire in January 2012, it shouldn't be long before we hear about it -- perhaps even at this year's E3 in June.

So, sure, it's Michael Pachter again, but his logic seems pretty sound - if the key staff have their contracts running out, then surely a new GTA seems very likely.

So, would people like to see a GTA this year? And in what form?

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Absolutely! The full, next gen but better deal for me. I recently picked up GTAIV again on the PC for some fun times, and though the combat is still ropey, and it doesn't look quite as good as it once did it's still a bloody charming game with bags of character above and beyond what it's predecessors did. I'd love a new one with some more modern tweaks and bits.

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Nah we need less games, not more. Unless it's mindblowingly better than GTA4 (which got quite tiresome after a while, being the cellphone simulator that it was after all) That, plus we've already got Saints Row 3 underway so I'd rather play that.

Oh and L.A. Noire looks to be a nice departure from the usual grim shooty shooty formula so give me that instead as well!

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Even given that it's Mr Patcher again I have to admit that the logic does make sense, surely the Houser's would be tied to delivering a release of the GTA franchise within contract period and if R* North are hiring then this would make sense. Just out of curiosity, what other R* franchises are developed at R* North? I'm just wondering whether the hiring could be for anything else.

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I thought the new iterations were ok - ridiculously overpraised, but ok. I'd prefer the mission structure was gutted in favour of something more organic and natural, where a sense of stumbling over something by accident occured more often. The far more interesting RDR started in this direction, but still failed to fully give the player the sense that anything is possible if they explore; I was going to happen across a held-up stage coach or save someone's brother, sister, mother or that guy would nick my horse. They build amazing worlds - they need to go that bit further to make them truly magical.

I don't doubt for a second they can/will do this at some point - not bothered if it's in GTA/RDR or something entirely new, like Agent, really.

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I can't see any reason why a game that as of this moment has no title, no promotion, no leaked images or videos and has not even been confirmed as being worked on can't be released in the next eleven months.

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I can't see any reason why a game that as of this moment has no title, no promotion, no leaked images or videos and has not even been confirmed as being worked on can't be released in the next eleven months.

Exactly. There's no way a major release like the next GTA game wouldn't get fanfared well in advance, especially now SR3 has been announced.

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His contract point is solid but he's ignoring that the PSP games don't really count, so it was really 4 years between the last two "flagship" games, so there's no special reason to think 3 years is a long time.

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GTA5 will just feature Red Dead and LA Noire technology crushed into one game.

So its pretty much guaranteed to be good.

The question still remains though. WHERE WILL IT BE BASED?

I'd still love Paris myself.

But the game has to recreate the traffic exactly like in this picture...

Arc.jpg

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Exactly. There's no way a major release like the next GTA game wouldn't get fanfared well in advance, especially now SR3 has been announced.

Wasn't San Andreas revealed at E3 then released that October?

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I really liked GTA4, I think I was looking for something very different from a lot of people though. It felt very transitional though, they were obviously trying to drop some of the rampage stuff in favour of a more sombre realistic approach (which I liked) but they didn't really leave enough of it behind. Consequently the story broke down, the gameplay became repetitive and the rampagey fun was all but non-existent.

However, I still found it totally engrossing and transportive.

And yes, RDR is a much better game than any of the GTAs. For me personally.

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Wow, I never thought I'd plus one you, Crispin; but that's right on the money. GTA4 was fucking dull, bland, and completely devoid of all the fun humour that the previous games are so well known for.

To be honest I agree, it may or may not be GTA's fault but I really enjoyed both Saint's Rows games more than GTA4 and I think it's a style thing. Vice City had it, SA and especially 4 a lot less so.

Actually there is one thing, if GTA5 doesn't have a "Retry mission" button it can fuck right off.

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I thought GTA4 was ace, I still play it now. The missions and structure were a little bit old-fashioned, but just driving around the city at massive speed was amazing fun. I think part of people’s dislike for it is down to the Housers buying their own hype, and thinking they were making an HBO series rather than a game. Or, more charitably, they were making a more sober, low-key crime story, as opposed to the lurid madness of San Andreas – hence the muted, autumnal colour scheme, the focus on the more low-level criminal activities, and the heavy focus on plot, character, and the mundanities of life, like hanging out with your friends, drinking and playing pool.

I quite liked this approach, up to a point. I didn’t want another San Andreas, with cartoon characters firing missiles at each other from jetpacks, while hilarious gays and various other stereotypes flail their arms and die in the background. The focus on street-level life made the city feel vivid and real in a way that a glowing icon on every corner saying “PRESS X TO START WANKING MINIGAME” or similar wouldn’t. That said, the aspect of friends ringing you up continually got pretty boring and annoying; I liked the fact that the developers tried to do something a bit different, and went in the opposite direction to San Andreas.

But at the same time, the focus on story meant that the limitations of the story were put to the front. I’m not sure a GTA game can ever have a story that’s realistic and satisfying, because the structure of the game is two minute cutscene / five minutes of driving / kill twenty people / two minute cutscene / repeat 100 times. There’s no way you can tell a proper story that way, it just gets ridiculous. New York / Liberty City may be a violent place, but it’s not the old west, or Somalia. Eventually, the endless killing overwhelms the realistic storyline.

It’ll be interesting to see where they go next with it, anyway. RDR had a much more engaging storyline than GTA4, but I guess that type of story fits better into the wild west than it does into the modern day east coast.

And then there is the awesome online racing, and the addictive free mode which I've poured an obscene amount of hours into :)

GTA IV is by far my most played game this gen.

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I hope they don't try to force the missions to go a particular way. I hated it when enemies were invincible for no reason other than you weren't supposed to kill them yet. And that you had to trigger each event by standing in the right place first.

People said Chinatown Wars was a "return to the old ways" but it really wasn't. It was exactly the same thing but viewed from above. You still had to go from glowing point to glowing point to trigger the mission sequences.

What I'd like is for missions to be open again - or better yet, do away with them entirely. In the original games, you had to make a certain amount of "money" to finish the level, but you could do it however you wanted. You could spend an hour running people over or go on a tank rampage. It didn't pay well and you were more likely to die, but you could choose to do it anyway.

Surely if they did away with all the story cutscenes and expensive actors and scriptwriters, it would be a much cheaper game to make anyway! And, hopefully, endlessly replayable.

It won't happen, of course.

(PS. I really did like GTA4 too.)

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Rockstar love making two things: living, open worlds and linear, cut-scene driven narratives. Unfortunately the two things don't gel particularly well.

By far the best bit of Red Dead Redemption is all the ambient stuff - hunting, moseying around, watching the world go by, seeing what all the little NPCs (and animals are up to). It also has a good line in side missions, with the treasure hunts and hideouts and stuff. But all the proper missions suffer from the exact same problems as GTA - way too much handholding and very little opportunity to exploit the open world they've spent so long creating.

I don't think Rockstar will ever stop trying to make movie-like experiences, but hopefully they'll have learnt from the GTAIV feedback and be reigning it in a bit. They'd be much better off spending their time making 15-20 really intricate story missions, which allow for multiple approaches and perhaps even a couple of different outcomes. This would be much better than 50 tightly-scripted and unimaginative 'drive here, shoot people' missions. It also means the main plot wouldn't drag on and on into absurdity. The player rarely gets rewarded for ingenuity in GTAIV, which is a shame, because GTA used to be all about that.

I did try and go back to Gay Tony a few weeks ago but the unruly camera, unresponsive cover system and frame-rate sapped my enthusiasm somewhat. It looks and feels dated now, not least next to RDR.

It still has the best ambience and driving of any game of its type, though.

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