Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Straight from the GTA V Classroom Presser

An undisclosed location, a last minute notice - we had so much anticipation before going into the recent GTA V Press Conference HK edition.

Like all major releases, the rules were all strictly hush-hush; no filming, no photos, and no interviews - regardless, I'm gonna share all the facts I got from this classroom presser.

So we are sitting in front of a 52 inch TV, with all of Hong Kong's gamer press in attendance, and the presentation starts. This will be the first time for any of us there to see the game in person and in action.  

Must be nice, bro.

1) GTA V > GTA SA + GTA 4 + RDR

Fish that move out of your way on current gen!
From what we heard, the world of GTA V is 3.5 times bigger than the world of Red Dead Redemption. Now if you remember this wonderful game and how much time was spent on horseback travelling and you enjoyed this sense of space, GTA V will blow your mind caskets. If we include the FULLY EXPLORABLE OCEAN FLOOR, then you're looking at a game world that's approximately 5 times bigger than RDR. Let me repeat: 

The world itself is also fully open from the get go, and it is the cumulation of two main hubs: Los Santos and the countryside of Blaine County. These two places are lush with area specific wildlife - a first for the GTA series, and are complete with 24 hour day/night cycles and a realistic weather systems. Hail yeah~

Where the hell am I supposed to go now? Oh yeah. FREAKING EVERYWHERE.
2) Hot Protagonist Switching Action

So by now I'm assuming you've been bombarded with the whole 3 character switching deal, and you've probably seen it in a trailer video. You're body says it's ready, but it's an instinct and you don't know what to really expect. So I'mma prime your body.

Off Mission:

It was interesting though was to discover that while you are playing as one character, whenever you decide to change characters, it is guaranteed that the character you are switching to will be doing something interesting - no spoilers, but buzzword of that day was dynamic and realtime

Ok, that's too cryptic - let's just say that when you decide to switch from one character to the next, you will never see them with one hand tucked in the crotch Al Bundy style passed out with cheetos on their chest - well, maybe, but we weren't privy to this tidbit of programming. Instead, you will - in realtime - find your characters doing something dynamic like rolling down the street, smoking indo, sippin on gin and juice - laid back.

When is someone gonna switch to me? :(
On Mission:

On mission means that you'll be taking part in something that progresses the plot, and this may involve just one protagonist, a combo of two, or all of them together. In order to progress the story line, it is required that you do indeed switch to unlock the missions. The character switching mechanic still applies though, and here it really shines. As each character has their own specific strengths, jumping in and out from each character within a mission opens up replay value, strategy, tactics and the ability to experience the story from multiple points of view without skipping a beat in realtime. It is also interesting to point out that during gunfights where you have more than one lead, if an ally is in danger, you need to switch to them otherwise GAME OVER.

"Um, since we are all here, I switched with you last night when you were with your wife."
Also, speaking of characters and their strengths, there are RPG elements reminiscent of GTA San Andreas, wherein character stats will grow through repeated use. With three leads, this gives you a choice on three template classes; the only difference between characters are their individual "special" skills. Known skills are:
  • Michael - the ability to slow down time during a gunfight.
  • Franklin - the ability to slow down time while driving for complex navigation during high speeds in heavy traffic.
  • Trevor - the ability to be a damage sponge as well as dealing extra melee damage, plus a unique melee attack.

3) GTA V Online

All copies of GTA V come included with GTA V Online, and this unlocks automatically on October 1st. GTA V Online is an entirely separate experience from the traditional multiplayer modes that are already available; it is a means for players to create and customize your own character and pave their own narrative in the world of Los Santos.

An evening with 2 friends escaping from the cops. Too real.
Released facts about the GTA V Online are:
  • 16 player lobby in which 15 of your friends can participate in missions, explore the world, plan heists, and generally cause havoc.
  • You can choose your custom character at anytime from the character switch selector; this is like the cell phone in GTA 4.
  • Your crew from Max Payne 3 can be imported to GTA V Online.
  • At launch there will be over 700 missions and content; expect this to be constantly growing and developed via Rockstar and the Community.
  • Bounties can be put on other players (ie major trolling potential).
  • With the use of smart phones, you or other players can voyeuristically watch what everyone is up to on the comfort of your virtual couch.
  • Carrying too much money on your person after a heist is a potential danger, as other characters can recognise this and straight jack you.
  • A "Creator" tool set will be released for world creation.
  • Voice broadcast is now a possibility; "COME AT ME BRO" will be making a resurgence as a relevant meme.
Personally, I think the voice aspect of GTA V Online is really interesting. The fact that you can run up to someone, shout "EVERYBODY BE COOL, THIS IS A ROBBERY" or whatever nonsense you wish really makes this interesting. What's more, depending on certain phrases, NPCs will react with the appropriate reaction - this game is really dynamic!

4) Extra Facts
Franklin's top hair patch has more hair textures than all the strippers combined.
  • Michael is a huge crime movie otaku, so movie fans may recognise certain scenes during heist missions.
  • There is now ambient background music in addition to any songs from the radio stations.
  • Music is now adaptive and reactive - this is a first for any GTA and it is very similar to how Red Dead Redemption's music and sound worked. 
  • Combat has been totally refined with attention to fan input.
  • The character Franklin alone has more textures than the entire pedestrian population of GTA V combined.
  • There is no more annoying ass family member calling you up during missions; GTA Clingy Friend simulation mode has been completely removed.
So from what we saw that day, this game is looking pretty damn sharp. According to Rockstar, GTA V represents the culmination of all specialized talents from all their studios. Taking in every aspect that was positive from their previous games, creating a world of such a scale and adding a three character narrative is definitely making this game as interesting as it's been hyped to be. 

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