Whilst many a more talented, educated and optimistic journalist waxes lyrical about GTA 5’s upcoming potential to take our mind for a tour around Los Santos, making sure to smack it against every hot-dog stand, every vehicle and gang related murdered body along the way; I myself find the prospect of GTA 5 not merely an exciting one, but a chance to recapture something lost in the translation of the generation switch.
In short; GTA 4 delivered on graphics, narrative and modern setting, but in turn neutered the fun fully expressed in the tremendous video game gang opera that was Grand Theft Auto San Andreas; and it must be this that they try to recapture if they want GTA 5 to succeed.
I need to clarify here that no matter what this game is, it will succeed. The GTA tag carries with it such power within the gaming industry that it could be critically panned, be just 40 hours of gratuitous sexual violence within a game and people would still buy it no matter what.
My statement relates to the notion of fan approval, one which dipped after GTA 4 reigned in the madcap freedom given to us in GTA: San Andreas.
Would you like to fly a jetpack stolen from an Area 51 style military base in to a police station equipped with shower love toys? Feel free.
Would you like to buy as many properties as conceivable in money made through obtaining business interests, as well as carrying out missions and beating up prostitutes? Feel free.
Want to cut your hair, choose your clothes, and hone your body to look like a sexually inviting gangster or a ridiculous looking buffoon? Feel free.
You can feel free, but only with GTA: San Andreas, its expansive world detail and personality allows you to design and structure your environment and character how you see fit, GTA 4 took that away from us and gave little extra to justify it.
GTA 4 brings emotive story slightly better than San Andreas, and its graphic quality far surpasses that of its predecessor which looks like the finger paintings of torture victim subjected to finger removal.
However, Part 4 got lost in its own desire to be recognised as a game changer in the new-gen platforms to remember the fun, ludicrous missions it offered you at every single turn beforehand.
It’s with a combination of these madcap adventures, personal creation, trademark story and new gen design that will enable Grand Theft Auto V to be a contender as one of the most complete games ever made.
The style of game it used to be needs to be reinvented to help reconnect with its die-hard fan base who, unlike the critics, didn’t give 100% approval to GTA 4’s reigning in of the games previous capability to entertain with madness that stretched believability, but always felt real with Rockstar’s quality story tellers on board.
Rockstar has never failed to deliver on quality, GTA 4 was a tightly honed, engaging adventure, but whereas this games conclusion to the story was the only conclusion you were interested in, the ingenuity that previous adventures offered in its bonus missions truly kept you interested long after, and during the 100 or so hours you spend playing it.
San Andreas brought the adventure, the scope and the fun. GTA 4 brought the design, brought the story but also brought the disappointment as it tried to shed the mantle of its predecessor; if Rockstar wants to push the boundaries once more it needs to combine what these two great games had to offer.
And in a world with game franchises tiring themselves out by over hyping their own importance (COD, Battlefield), Rockstar can shake this tag off and bring the fun back, whilst improving its own brilliance.
GTA 5 is Rockstar’s chance to combine the stylish GTA of new, and the entertaining madness of Rockstar of old. It’s a chance it can’t miss if it wants to win back fan love.