We're just one day away from the Grand Theft Auto V announcement trailer. For such a big franchise, the lack of fanfare and pomp over the trailer's announcement itself was a little baffling. That said, I sort of like it. Activision is so confident in Grand Theft Auto they barely have to make much of a fuss themselves to market it.
And in this short twilight between speculation and confirmation, we at Dealspwn thought we'd put together a little list of the top ten features we'd like to see in the fifth Grand Theft Auto adventure. As always, we'd love for you to chime in with your own suggestions, and don't be shy if you're a little irked by some of our own!
10. Less Fetch Quests, Please
Grand Theft Auto has always been a big game. It can take anywhere from twenty to forty hours to complete the main quest alone. However, between their standout set-pieces and expert reversals, Rockstar pad the narrative out with all manner of different tasks disguised as fetch quests. Deliver this package. Pick up my mistress. Drop off that dead body. Be a bit more imaginative, Rockstar, please!
9. Greater Vehicle Variety
You're never short of vehicular options in Grand Theft Auto. Want to pick up a car? Well, there's hundreds to choose from, from rundown old bangers to top of the range sports cars. And while you might jump on a bike or even a helicopter here and there, I've always wanted Rockstar to think a little out of the box. I loved the BMX in San Andreas. That you simply had to work hard to cycle engendered a sort of automobile love I now question deeply, but the odd jet ski or hang-glider wouldn't go amiss.
8. Better Melee Combat
Past Grand Theft Auto games had featured pretty poor combat as a whole. Gunplay was a strictly lock-on, stilted affair and the less said of melee the better. However, in GTA IV, Rockstar upped the gunplay to a competent level, replete with a functional cover system. The melee combat, however, was still quite bad. Saints Row 3 looks to have taken a very OTT and enjoyable approach to fisticuffs. Rockstar should look to do the same.
7. Improved NPC Interaction
Yes, I know, we all love battering random passersby or hijacking their ride. It's morally questionable, but we do it all the same, and we enjoy it heartily. Screw the tabloids. That said, a little more interaction with NPCs along with mindless violence would be fun. Perhaps you could court females or aggravate their male accomplices? We're veering close to RPG territory here, but a little depth is no bad thing.
6. Real-Life Radio Stations
Grand Theft Auto's radio might actually be my favorite part of the game. I'd often find myself cruising the streets in a recently stolen car, listening to the truly laugh out loud talk shows or tuning in to the cracking musical stations. Rockstar's eclectic musical tastes and pitch-perfect satire make for a great radio. But do you know what could be better? Tuning in to actual radio stations, bridging the gap between the virtual and the real world. Whether this is possible to pull off, I don't know, but it'd be a great feature.
5. Better Checkpoint System
We put up with a lot of shortcomings in Grand Theft Auto games simply because the experience as a whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. But man, I really do hate their checkpoint system. It's simply unfair. Whether it's an oversight during testing due to the sheer size of the game or simply a philosophy Rockstar believes in, it needs to go, or undergo a big, big rethink.
4. Stronger Female Characters
Rockstar is among the best studio at characters. They're multifaceted, flawed, varied and compelling. They're almost always male, too. To their credit, the industry as a whole is male centric, but Rockstar's female cast is often a mix of washed up or suffering drug addicts, sex workers or conniving villains. We're not calling for true to life social commentary here, just make your women as compelling as your men, eh?
3. Bring Back The Army!
In Grand Theft Auto IV, the top tier of law enforcement dispatched to put an end to your violent sprees of chaos were the FBI. Or a suitably satirical Rockstar version. That said, it wasn't particularly threatening nor exciting. A fleet of menacing FBI range rovers pursuing you isn't much more exhilarating than a flock of police squad cars. So bring back the army! Armed soldiers, turret-sporting trucks, tanks! Now that's punishment.
We're all aware what we'll be doing the minute Grand Theft Auto V hits our doormats and is promptly shoved into our console of choice. We'll skip the story, the setup, and immediately car-jack an innocent passerby, chuckle at his shocked soundbite and proceed to run over hapless pedestrians. But what could make this better? Why two cars of course, sandwiching innocent pedestrians into viscera-splashing mulch. Co-operative play is an absolute must.
1. A Dynamic Hero
I loved Niko Bellic. He was brilliantly written and voiced, the mo-cap work was astonishing, and his overarching narrative was a joy to behold. However, it's difficult to consistently empathize with a character who in cutscenes claims to want nothing to do with violence, that bloody relic of a past life, and yet freed from scripting begins massacring innocent civilians. Rockstar put so much effort in their virtual worlds reacting to your actions, yet very little thought to how you, as a character, are viewed. I'm not calling for a full-on RPG system, but a little variation in scenes and setting depending on whether you avoid violence and criminality or outwardly seek them would be a most pleasing and potentially game-changing feature.