shut up and take my money

GTA V is likely going to be the best game this year, and maybe ever. Now of course, we haven’t seen it just yet. All we have are a couple of trailers and a few slowly-leaked morsels of information, but it feels like we’ve seen enough to know what it’s all about. And what it’s all about is being the best damned game ever.

I think this is a game that’s going to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Half-Life, Diablo and Mario 64. It’s not just going to be a great game, it’s going to change the gaming landscape for the foreseeable future. GTA V is that rare unicorn that we see a couple of times a decade, a game which is going to raise the bar on our expectations for years to come. Is this is a good thing? Honestly, that’s hard to say.


Some astute reader may be rushing to the comments section at this very moment, ready to shake an angry internet finger at me for my wanton hypocrisy. I did write just a couple of weeks ago about how I was sick of reheated franchises and the lack of original IP. That is true, but GTA V isn’t exactly (read: not at all) the kind of thing I was talking about.

While Activision might shove a new Call of Duty out the door every year in time for Christmas, Rockstar has been spending thousands of hours and millions of dollars over the last few years developing what looks like it may be the best game ever created. It’s not an original IP, but it’s also not a polished turd.

If you’ve recently woken up from a coma and haven’t actually seen the first look at GTA V gameplay, do so now. Actually, you know what? Just watch it again. It gets better every time.

I challenge anyone not named Helen Keller to not be impressed by that video. Hell, Hideo Kojima is currently in the foetal position at the bottom of his shower, cradling a half-empty bottle of sake because of that video. The Metal Gear Solid creator openly admitted that there’s no way that MGS 5 can live up to what Rockstar have done – and here’s the thing: nothing can. Not right now, anyway.

The sheer scope of this game is difficult to comprehend. The question isn’t what you can do in GTA V, it’s what you can’t. From what we’ve seen so far you can destroy anything, explore anything and play anything. After GTA V’s release it may not actually be necessary to leave the house anymore.

Round of golf? GTA V. Windsurfing? GTA V. Desk job? GTA V. Multiple homicide? GTA V. Hell, you can hunt wild animals, go for a joy ride in the desert and even have a pet. You can be a dissatisfied family man or an abusive drunken sociopath.

It's hard to believe this is a still from a Rockstar game.

It’s hard to believe this is a still from a Rockstar game.

If all of that wasn’t quite enough, there’s an entire Multiplayer component which we have not seen details of yet. We got a very brief look at it in the trailer, and it looks like it’s going to be an almost MMO experience. This should take care of the social aspect of the never-leaving-the-house plan.

Rockstar has an entire team working solely on the Multiplayer, so it’s likely to be something on a grand scale, not tacked on as an afterthought. The amount of time and effort that’s gone into this game makes me think it’s highly unlikely that there isn’t any aspect of it that hasn’t been polished and perfected.

While Hideo Kojima was the only one humble enough to admit how much GTA V intimidated him, I’m willing to wager this game will shake the industry to its core. Rockstar is going to shine a massive spotlight on what can actually be done with present technology, and with next-gen consoles on the horizon things are only going to get worse.

The problem is, once we’ve seen a game as great as I think GTA V is going to be, it’s going to be hard to go back. It’s like eating McDonald’s burgers your whole life, then one day you sit down for lunch and there’s a Spur burger in front of you. I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong, Spur burgers are world class, damnit.

Anyways, my convoluted point is that future AAA titles with big development teams and big budgets are going to have to try and match what Rockstar is doing.

On the one hand, this is fantastic. It could usher in a new era of gaming, where developers are required to put in more time and more passion into the games they produce. Story, scope and longevity are words Bobby Kotick will be required to learn, and GTA V could set the stage for these things to become a necessity.

"Longevi-what?"

“Longevi-what?”

People could start looking at Call of Duty’s 5-hour campaign and recycled multiplayer with a more critical eye – after all, they’re paying the same for that as they are for GTA V. If consumers demand more, then we’ll get more.

On the other hand, GTA V could be an impossible act to follow. It may be unreasonable to expect every subsequent release to quite match Rockstar’s performance on this one, and comparisons to it can be just as dangerous as may be beneficial. It’s going to be important to remember that a game like this may only come once every few years or so – there are good games, but only so many great ones. If GTA V becomes the yardstick by which every game is compared, then the gaming section of the internet could become even more whiney and unbearable than it is already.

That’s nearly 1000 words, and I’ve managed to not bitch once about this not being on PC. So screw you Rockstar. PC gamers are people too.

So tell me what you think – am I wrong? Is GTA V totally overrated? Did I go to sleep and wake up Peter Molyneux? Did GTA V make you reconsider what you expect from a video game? Talk to me! I’m lonely.

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