2020 has been a bumper year for gaming fans, with some hotly anticipated titles finally making their way onto consoles. The Last of Us 2, Resident Evil 3, and Minecraft Dungeons are just a few of the new games which gamer couldn’t wait to snap up on release day. But the treats don’t stop there as both Sony and Microsoft are set to drop their next generation consoles in time for Christmas.
There’s been a lot of hype from Sony about the Playstation 5, and they’ve been ‘leaking’ hints, sneak peaks and information about the console for months. As a result, we already know pretty much everything about it, from its striking new black and white look, to its VR capabilities. But top of every gamer’s list has to be back-compatibility. No one wants to splurge on a new console only to find their lovingly assembled collection of games is now unplayable. Not only is the Playstation 5 back-compatible for most PS4 games, but one of the first games announced is going to be a remaster of a perennial favourite.
Grand Theft Auto 5 was first released in 2003 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It has already seen one remaster released the following year to tie in with the upgraded consoles, and while many people were hoping to see GTA 6 announced, there will be millions of fans who won’t be disappointed to hang out with Michael, Franklin and Trevor again. GTA 5 has remained incredibly popular even seven years after its initial release. And if the scope of its first remaster is anything to go by, then it’s easy to understand why fans are so excited about the prospect of playing it on the PS5. Because while the story and characters might be the same, the way the game looks, feels and plays is going to be entirely new.
Lauded with five star reviews from almost every gaming website, magazine and journalist, GTA 5 was the most critically acclaimed entry in the franchise. Yes, it’s silly at times, but the storylines are deep and well written, the characters are understandable, if not entirely empathetic, and the city of Los Santos is a breath-taking masterpiece of open world gaming. You can explore for hours without progressing as much as 1% of the storyline. The attention to detail is amazing, especially when you consider how much is going to be unnoticed by the average player.
And it wasn’t just the critics who thought the game was amazing; it has been a huge commercial success as well, with upwards of 110 million copies sold worldwide, with total profits now standing at roughly $6 billion. GTA 5 holds the record for the fastest video game to reach $1 billion in sales revenue and it is currently third on the list of the highest-selling video games of all time.
One of the big reasons behind its continued success is the addition of GTA Online. A companion game which is accessible to everyone who purchased the original game, GTA Online is an RPG style game set in the GTA 5 universe. The developers at Rockstar have been continually adding major new updates with fresh content to keep players interested. And last year saw the biggest update of all, with the Diamond Casino and Resort finally open for business. Not only did this add new missions, including a spectacular grand heist, but it added to the open world nature of the game by letting players spend their non-entirely-hard-earned cash by playing poker, blackjack and roulette amongst Los Santos’ finest. A nice alternative to online casinos and online slots, which have also gained in popularity over the last few years, GTA players finally had something else to do with their money other than buy guns, cars and swanky new outfits.
The Diamond Casino update smashed records for users online throughout July and August. It revolutionised the gameplay, with the heist mission adapting to player failures and including them in the storyline and subsequent events, rather than automatically recording an unsuccessful attempt. Whether players chose to lead a full-on assault or plump for a more subtle approach, this new mechanic would see them having to think on their feet and adapt if anything went wrong, adding to the realism of the game.
With GTA Online having such a huge impact on the success of GTA 5, it’s unsurprising that Rockstar are keen to reward players who follow them onto the new platforms. Not only will there continue to be updates and new content released for the current version, but a standalone version of GTA Online is due to be released in the second half of 2021. PS5 players will be the first to get access, enjoying three months of exclusive use before the game becomes open to other users. Playstation Plus subscribers will also find themselves rewarded with $1 million of in-game currency for every month that they continue to play GTA Online until the new version is released.
GTA 5 has been Rockstar’s most successful game to date, so it’s unsurprising that they are keen to re-release it to a new generation of users. Players knows that they will be getting an expanded and improved game when it is finally released, and they can’t wait to see what changes the developers have in store.