There aren't many bigger events in the world of entertainment than a Grand Theft Auto launch. GTA IV broke records galore when it was launched in 2008, and given the buzz surrounding its predecessor, there's every chance that it's successor will do so again. If Grand Theft Auto were a news anchor, sitting at a party in a dressing gown, it'd be entirely justified in giving you the eye while it said "I'm kind of a big deal." It'll be no surprise to any of you to hear that it will be the most expensive game ever made.
Rockstar is all too aware of the huge anticipation surrounding their game, and has been slowly and steadily revving up the PR machine in the last few months. As a result, we've got plenty of trailers and screens to share with you, and even more details that'll whet your appetite in preparation for the big launch on September 17. But before you tuck into the feast that follows, head this way to watch our History of GTA Livestream, which kicked off at 2pm GMT.
SCREEN GALLERY PART ONE
Set against the backdrop of Los Santos and Blaine County, the story of Grand Theft Auto V will play out through three different characters (who we'll get to in a minute). Without wanting to dabble with spoilers, the campaign will play out like a TV series, with individual plot lines interweaving at certain points as the story dictates. Much of the story will centre around heists, with the trio of characters pursuing riches, each with different goals and motivations.
In a first for the series, the campaign will revolve around a trio of characters rather than a solitary protagonist. Michael is a retired bank robber, living off of his ill-gotten gains in the upper-class suburb of Rockford Hills (read Beverly Hills). Trevor is his former partner in crime, and he lives alone in a trailer in Blaine County, struggling with drug addiction. Franklin works in Vespucci Beach (Venice Beach) at a car dealership, and despite his best efforts to stay out of a world of crime, he ends up there nevertheless.
Players will be able switch between the three characters at their leisure, and as their respective days are simulated even when the player is dealing with another strand of the story, swapping skins will introduce gamers to a variety of different and unexpected scenarios. There's also a practical reason behind having a trio of characters at your disposal, as players can switch between them strategically during missions and heists, offering an increased amount of tactics to players during the more action-heavy parts of the game. One character might burst through the front door, while another offers cover from a vantage point.
The factoid that instantly jumps out at you is the one that says Los Santos is bigger than San Andreas, Liberty City and the wild-western landscape of Red Dead Redemption combined. Gone is San Andreas' tri-city split focus, allowing for more detail to be lavished on the singular, grand sprawl of Los Santos.
While there's a story for players to immerse themselves in, it might well be that it's the environment that ends up being the star of the show. There a going to be dozens of ways for players to amuse themselves in the game, and multiple ways of traveling around (just looking at the screen galleries will give you some idea of the width and breadth of the options that'll be available to players, from quad bikes to helicopters). As players travel the huge world Rockstar has created for them, there'll be plenty of tunes to listen to on the way, a massive 15 radio stations and 240 licensed tracks will be available, and in addition to this Rockstar have composed ambient music enough for 20 feature films.
While GTAV is set to officially launch on September 17, the online component of the game will follow on October 1 (and will be available to everyone who owns a retail copy of the game). Up to sixteen players will be able to share Los Santos, and either tackle missions or participate in "ambient activities". We're promised that the world will grow and change over time as more content is added, eventually creating what Rockstar is calling "the first persistent and dynamic Grand Theft Auto game world". With over 700 missions included in GTA Online, it's easy to imagine this is going to be a bit of time sink.
There's three editions of the game coming, so depending on your enthusiasm towards the franchise, there's different options available. The standard edition will set you back around £40, whereas the Special Edition will cost closer to £60. The Collector's Edition, also detailed below, is not yet being stocked by UK retailers, but if and when it is, expect the price to come in at around £120.
The Grand Theft Auto V Special Edition includes:
Collectible SteelBook with Exclusive Artwork - This special SteelBook features double-sided, never-before-seen artwork of Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Custom color and metallic treatments bring out the detail of the artwork created exclusively for this SteelBook.
Blueprint Map - This exclusive, additional 21.5" x 26.75" map displays a blueprint view of Los Santos and Blaine County. Cryptic markings indicate locations for fast cash and other points of interest for the up-and-coming entrepreneur.
Special Ability Boost - Michael, Franklin and Trevor each have a unique special ability. With this boost, the special ability bar will generate 25% faster.
Stunt Plane Trials - Single player Stunt Plane Trials let you take on additional aerial challenges spread throughout Los Santos and Blaine County.
Bonus Outfits, Tattoos and More - Michael, Franklin and Trevor get bonus outfits in their wardrobes, character specific tattoos at tattoo parlors, and special deals from shopkeepers across Los Santos and Blaine County.
Additional Weapons - When visiting Ammunation stores in single player, merchants will have special weapons in their inventory available for free: the Pistol .50, Bullpup Shotgun and melee Hammer.
The Grand Theft Auto V Collector's Edition includes all the contents of Grand Theft Auto V Special Edition as described above plus:
Grand Theft Auto V Security Deposit Bag with Logo Key - Inspired by the heists in Grand Theft Auto V, this custom 10.75" x 8.5" money bag features a pop-up style lock and laser cut logo key to secure important items. The reverse side features a pressed Rockstar Games logo on the security mount with a framed ID window.
Grand Theft Auto V New Era 9FIFTY Snapback Cap - This exclusive New Era 9FIFTY cap features an embroidered Los Santos logo on the front, a stitched, black Rockstar Games logo on the wearer's left side, a Grand Theft Auto ‘V' logo applique on the opposite side, and snapback closure for an adjustable fit.
Custom Characters for Grand Theft Auto Online - Get classic Grand Theft Auto characters to use within the Grand Theft Auto Online Character Creation System.
Unique Vehicles and Garage Property - Players will instantly receive a garage to store custom vehicles. In single player, the garage will be stocked with the 1930's style Hotknife hotrod and the CarbonRS sports bike. In Grand Theft Auto Online, players will get the high-end Khamelion electric car.
SCREEN GALLERY PART 2