The Next-Gen GTA will be awesome – Here’s why…

Prospective next generation gamers were somewhat disappointed by RockStar’s recent announcements stating that they have no plans to bring GTA V to the PS4 or Xbox ONE, but you know how that works – things often change very quickly when money’s on the table.  Given that Grand Theft Auto 5 is such a monumental hit, it only makes sense for people to assume that it’s eventually going to find its way onto a platform like the PS4, it seems…like an eventuality.  After all, someone did find a reference to the PS4’s codename “orbis” buried in the code of GTAV, so it would seem that they were at least considering taking it next-gen at some point.   However, even if that doesn’t occur, we’re definitely going to see the next GTA explode onto the PS4 / ONE, and that’s definitely something to be excited about.

NOTE* – there will be speculation in this article, it’s meant to spark your imagination.

First off, we have to take into account that the GTA franchise is going to meet with stiffer competition on the newer platforms.  New IP’s like Watch Dogs are poised to up the ante a bit, effectively pushing RockStar to adopt new elements, perhaps adding them to the currently established formula.  In fact, it’s not outside the realm of reason that the next GTA might be a full-on complete top-to-bottom overhaul – meaning, they might alter every single facet which currently exists. Just looking at their most current release, GTA V, it’s pretty obvious that many people weren’t prepared for just how awesome the game was actually going to be, so it makes sense to expect the next one to be even more unbelievable.

GTA V

In terms of hardware capabilities, the PS3 and Xbox 360 aren’t slouch systems, but they’re not nearly as powerful as the PS4, which will be able to easily draw bigger and deeper environments than ever before.  It is this sort of technology that the open world action genre has been waiting for, the ability to render massive worlds on hitherto unknown scales while at the same time being able to effectively manage action on the micro scale as well.

All you need to do is ask several GTA veterans what they’d most like to see added in the near future with the series and you’re likely to hear them talk about “details” or “detail-oriented gameplay”.  Don’t get the wrong idea, we’re not saying that GTA V doesn’t provide you with a wealth of activities, missions or terrain to explore, it’s just that the game sort of takes on an “always outside” sort of feel.  In other words, whereas in games like Skyrim you are free to explore hundreds of caves, buildings, etc…GTA V forces you to remain largely outdoors (sort of a reverse claustrophobia effect).

This sort of setup means that you aren’t really able to interact with the city and its inhabitants in quite the way you might want to; and let’s face it, simply attacking them gets old fast.  Instead, wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to organically establish your own operations in the city by talking to people, perhaps even getting them to invest in your (in-game) company or shake them down for “protection money”.   When many of us were first introduced to the GTA series, this is exactly what many were probably thinking the game world would be like – a fully-interactive landscape that pretty much allowed you to do whatever you want to whomever you wanted.  Of course the reality was a bit more down to Earth from there, being what amounts to a series of linear missions with similar objectives (usually to eliminate some target).

Just imagine being able to walk inside of most buildings and randomly picking someone’s room door lock, maybe sweeping the room to look for information, opening drawers and luggage.  Maybe you’ll randomly stumble across a bizarre note which says to meet a certain character in a specific location at a certain time and that will end up introducing you to a crazy mission full of intrigue and conspiracy?  In short, that’s the sort of kick in the pants the next GTA needs, a bit more depth outside of the shooter/action element, more options for gamers on how they might like to personally approach gameplay.

GTA V Map

Then of course there’s the issue of scale itself.  As many of you are probably already well aware, GTA V really “upped the ante” in terms of the map size, something which fans of open-world gaming are no doubt forever grateful for.  But what if you could create a world many times bigger than the current standard, something so massive that you might literally get lost inside of it?  Such visions are becoming distinct possibilities as we learn more about the capabilities of machines like the PS4 with each passing day.  For instance, quite a few titles which were put on display during E3 demonstrated even bigger, more detail-oriented maps were a distinct possibility.  Needless to say, the prospect of having a map at your disposal that’s big enough so that a plane is necessary in order to traverse it would be a most welcome addition.

Yet another area worth exploring is that of the first-person perspective.  Sure, the 3rd person view of the GTA series which we’ve all come to appreciate certainly is fine for most any application you can think of, but with a new slew of games allowing players to switch back and forth on the fly, you would imagine RockStar is keen on experimenting with such a mechanic.  Of course many would immediately say that “GTA in first person simply isn’t GTA”, and to a large extent that assumption may be correct, but isn’t it just a matter of time until it happens?  Well, one might argue that we’ve seen some development studios already attempt such a thing, but can you imagine how well a polished company like RockStar might pull it off?

A strict 3rd person perspective seems to create a sense of distance between the gamer and the character they’re controlling, as if the point is to clearly distinguish that this isn’t an RPG they’re playing.  If the next GTA were to push things in a more role-playing-oriented direction players could connect even further with the game, environment, characters and storyline, needless to say, it would end up being very epic indeed.  Furthermore, if we were given the option to easily switch back and forth between the two perspectives then things would be even better, affording the player the ability to perhaps pull into 1st person for gun battles or building exploration while zooming back out to 3rd when roaming around outside or driving.

GTA-v-box-art

Character creation is another element which RockStar hasn’t given much thought to with regards to the GTA franchise.  Ever since the early days of the series we’ve been tied to specific characters which we’re essentially forced to associate with.  Now, don’t get the wrong idea though, RS is great at creating protagonists, it’s just that us gamers would like the chance to create our own hero for a change (especially where female gamers are concerned, many of which might prefer to play as a non-male character).  Similarly, GTA tends to lack many of the token RPG facets which many gamers know and love, like skill trees and perks.

In other words, it’s about time we were able to build very specific characters amidst several classes, each of which might have its own leveling system and cap.  For example, a gamer might build a character that’s more focused on stealth and lockpicking, a great combination for thieves, while others might lean toward gun play and hand-to-hand combat or other activities.  Moreover, by choosing a specific class you might also alter the way the story unfolds, which would certainly be very interesting to say the least.

Just looking at the reality of the situation (and knowing how incredible GTA V actually is), the next GTA installment that comes out for the PS4 / Xbox One HAS TO be great.  RockStar isn’t known for letting their fans down and they certainly are well-aware of the situation, they are probably constantly on the lookout for new ways to expand their flagship franchise.  The sheer momentum of the entire gaming establishment alone should provide sufficient enough incentive for RS to jump into the next GTA project with intense enthusiasm, and if that’s not enough, the financial incentives should make up for what’s lacking.  Even if the next GTA (on the next-gen platforms) were just a slight improvement over the model established in V (perhaps with advanced graphics) it would still be a stunning achievement.  Knowing RockStar like we do, it’s very likely that they’ll push the envelope even further.