Grand Theft Auto: Online? Well Now…
More like GTA: The MMO…
Did you all watch the trailer for Grand Theft Auto V’s multiplayer component?
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I just did, and as it so happens the next slot for today is mine to cover, so I’ve moved my original article to tomorrow (it can wait) in order to drop some early impressions of that multiplayer trailer. What’s that? You’ve not watched it yet? Have no fear, Cavie’s here:
So. Grand Theft Auto: Online.
What the fuck?! *brain explodes*
Let’s get some quick details out of the way. It’s dropping on October 1st, which is two weeks after Grand Theft Auto V’s release. It will be a freely downloadable patch for the game, but is an entirely separate entity that only shares game assets including the engine in its entirety, and the geographic map of Los Santos. The rest will be handled by a separate team on their own development cycle.
It will also include co-operative heists, as well as support user-generated context.
Here’s an extensive list of information regarding the GTA Online component, via CVG.
GTA Online general information
- Rockstar started thinking about making Grand Theft Auto Online when they began making GTA 3
- The GTA Online demo shown to press was the PS3 version
- PS3 isn’t the lead platform, GTA 5 is the first in the series to have a parallel development
- Rockstar says “there’s very, very little difference in the development state of them both. They’re both very similar. It would be hard to tell them apart.”
- GTA Online looks like GTAV with almost no compromises, though details on cars may be streamed in slightly differently
- Rockstar is already thinking about the future “in terms of missions, new content, clothes, apartments, for the next while”. It plans to use data from players in building the future of GTA Online
- Rockstar wants a player’s online identity to exist and to be shared throughout its games, Max Payne 3’s crews is an example of this
- Rockstar wants to keep adding new things to build GTA Online into a world and has set it up with no limitations: “We could, if we wanted, simulate the entire world, different countries, whatever. Whether we do that or not… But we’ve got a bunch of old stuff that we’re toying with using.”
- Rockstar is focusing on getting the current gen version out, and will “see what happens in the future” with regards to next-gen
GTA Online gameplay details
- GTA Online is a persistent online world for 16 active players, but hundreds of thousands of players (however many take part) exist in the larger universe
- It retains almost all of the core gameplay from single-player; Looting, co-op heists, deathmatches, races, gang attacks, crew vs crew playlists, sports (like tennis, BASE jumping, golf and more), plus ‘ambient’ events like armoured van robberies, crate drops, import/export car acquisition, bounties
- GTA Online looks like GTA 5, with no compromises
- Characters lip-sync “broadly” when their player speak
- Before starting heists or hold-ups, players can choose masks to disguise themselves. These can be ditched later to lose a Wanted star
- Police have a “cone of detection” which players need to stay out of
- Whoever does the job gets the cash, and can choose how to split it
- Cars can be insured and replaced
- Players complete missions and activities for Reputation Points, money and material assets
- Players can create their own missions using Creator tools
- You open up the Creator and can place all your spawn points, place some props, place cars, place planes, place anything you want around the world. It is published to the Rockstar Social Club Cloud where others can download it
- Players can pick preferred creators
- Initially players will be able to create races and deathmatches
- Rockstar will introduce new tools and content over time
- GTA Online will launch two weeks after GTA 5
- GTA Online is accessed through a fourth character slot in the selection wheel
- There may be a small download when Online is available two weeks after launch, possible a small unlock code (TBC – details to follow)
- There is a character creation system to create a multiplayer avatar, stats from the campaign will not carry over
- The world of GTA Online is set slightly before the GTA 5 story
- GTA Online will take you through some introductory missions to start with characters from the game explaining mechanics and systems
- It flows like single-player in terms of progression, but not story
- Players will be scored and ranked on individual mission types in GTA Online
- Rockstar has an “internal score” that can rank people on shooting, driving, flying, parachuting
- It will release enough data “for people to know exactly where they stand within all their skills”
- Stats and other player information will be available through Rockstar’s Social Club, it currently has no plans to release a dedicated mobile app, but you can use tablets etc to view the Social Club site
- Rockstar has implemented “good cheater management” to make sure people behave
- A “Passive mode” can be activated so players can’t shoot people, but also can’t be shot
- Carrying around lots of cash can be a risk, but players can visit the bank to deposit money and keep it safe
- Personal vehicles can’t be stolen by others as they can be locked, however they can still be damaged or blown up
- Players can be given a “Bad Sport” stat for misbehaving and if they’re too bad they will be punished
- Other players will be able to identify a player with a bad sport stat
- Cars can be bought or stolen. When stolen, players can be modified them with a custom spray jobs and plates. If they aren’t changed they may activate a wanted level if spotted by the police
- A character can be employed to repair your cars and deliver them, he won’t deal with stolen cars, however. You can phone him to drop off cars to you.
- Camera angles during driving can be manually changed, as in GTA 4
- Rockstar’s long-term vision is to let players turn their finished games into a movie. Although it says it is “doable” it’s just a dream at the moment
- You can’t share Weazel news online, you can only watch the feeds from your apartment when friends or crew members have a Wanted level
- Rockstar is still balancing the money earned from missions so it fits in with the flow of purchasing property and cars
- Investing in stock and shares is also available online, you can buy shares in a car company, target that company’s cars to have insurance replace them and the stock price will go up
- Players can form cartels but will Rockstar will assume the role of “government” to “make sure there’s nothing untoward happening”
- Press seeing GTA Online were only shown a bit of the map, ” there’s a whole other chunk of map” that wasn’t seen
- “There’s a lot of toys out there, and a lot of areas for people to use, to make their missions”
- The apartment TV airs a detective show, but Rockstar North’s president didn’t actually know what it was since the team is still adding new content into the game
- Players have access to a planning board similar to the one in single-player. It has all the maps, people, and the dots to show you where you’ve got to go
- GTA Online missions will be “simpler” than the heists in the main game at first
- Underwater gameplay isn’t going to be big part of the initial GTA Online content suite, but Rockstar will start looking at it after the initial batch of “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of missions” are delivered
- Activities such as two-player tennis will be available in GTA Online
- Players engaging in side-activities “won’t be terrorised”, they can enjoy a tennis game without being griefed
- Using their phone, players can call characters and access services to help them complete missions. For example, two players can enlist in some AI-controlled characters to complete an eight-player mission, or call in an airstrike, or turn off blips to hide from other players.
- New characters offering new services are introduced as players progress
- Rockstar is planning “huge” things for “Crews, playlists, challenges”
- The ability to mix and match missions to create playlists is a possibility
Still with me? Okay. So. Wow, hey? That really is a details overload, regarding this new component of the GTA experience.
Yeah, sure it’s not entirely new; multiplayer was a thing in Grand Theft Auto IV as well, but nothing even close to this level of scale and complexity. Nothing quite like this.
And that’s yet another game to come out following this up and coming trend of persistent worlds and online connectivity, which includes games the likes of Destiny and The Division. Even Watch Dogs has some form of this in play.
Or does all of this just feel like an MMO to you? I will say that I’ll be pretty pissed if every day I start up GTA V to play the singleplayer mode, I’m hit with yet another update for the game’s multiplayer mode. Even then, I’ll still be quite pissed at having to spend all that precious bandwidth downloading updates instead of just getting to play online. The MMO formula is old now. We all know it well.
But at the same time, I’m really looking forward to it. I mean, this is Rockstar, guys. They know how to do good and rewarding multiplayer; one needs look no further than Max Payne 3 for proof of that.
What do you think of GTA: Online? Let us know in the comments.