With just a month to go until GTA V is finally delivered into our greedy, clutching mitts, Rockstar have recently released details on the much talked about multiplayer. And it’s big news. I mean, really big. If Rockstar manages to pull this off, it will be quite spectacular. Despite the fact that it is yet to be released, GTA V was already being touted as one of, if not the, biggest game of this generation, and with a multiplayer mode this ambitious … well, I think we’re in for a treat.
So, let’s get some of the basics out of the way. GTA V multiplayer will not be released with the single player game. Instead, it will be available as a free download two weeks after the initial launch, at which point your multiplayer character will be selectable on the same wheel as the three single player characters. GTA V multiplayer will share the same city – Los Santos – as well as some of the same characters as the single player game. But don’t let this fool you, from what we’ve heard, GTA V multiplayer could be a standalone game all on its own. The progression that your multiplayer character makes will be entirely separate from the singleplayer. In fact, Rockstar intend GTA V multiplayer to spin off into its own thing altogether, with Rockstar promising to continue to add more and more content as the game evolves. We have even heard of the possibility of Rockstar adding different cities, even different countries to the multiplayer experience. Whether or not that materializes will remain to be seen but it’s an exciting prospect nonetheless.
When you select your multiplayer avatar from the character selection wheel, you will be immediately transported into a multiplayer world – a version of Los Santos existing in parallel to the main game. This version of Los Santos will be inhabited by 16 other players – with preference given to your friends, crew members, and players who match your skill and progression. There will be no lobbies and no waiting for players to join and players will have the ability to fast travel to each other in order to start a mission. Once said mission has been completed, the players who took part and placed back together in the free-roaming world. So they can cruise round, with their new loot, all smug like.
What sounds most exciting about GTA V multiplayer, to me at least, is the element of randomness and unpredictability that Rockstar are famous for in their singleplayer games. So, you might be competing in a race from one side of the map to another with one of your friends, only be run into a military road block because another player in your world has racked up a 6 star wanted level by robbing a bank. Or, you and four buddies may have just held up a gas station, only for one of the players to decide to screw you over and take all the cash himself – at which point you could give chase, or ring one of your underworld friends and place a price on his head. The game will track your rivals so you can hunt them down when you see them next online.
Of course, there are more structured, story centered missions available too. Missions that require careful planning, organization, and thought. On the whole, players will decide how to carry out these missions themselves. They will be given an objective – such as breaking into a bank vault, then given a few hints at what roles each player should take – the rest will be up to you. Rockstar are doing their best to make it easy for players to meet up for such missions. All you do is walk up to a mission marker, open a menu, and invite your friends who will be instantly transported to you position even if they are playing single player.
So, you’ve just made a clean getaway from robbing a bank and the money is safely deposited in an off-shore account. What do you do now? Well Rockstar are providing plenty of ways to spend of your hard earned cash. You will be able to purchase property, cars and weapons, of course. We can pretty much take that as standard when it comes to Rockstar. You’ll also be able to spend money on hair cuts, tattoos, and clothes for your avatar too. But more than that, you’ll be able to invest in the stocks and shares as well as spend money on customizing, housing, and insuring your cars.
It’s not only money you’ll earn when completing missions but reputation points. As you gain reputation, you’ll unlock more missions and characters, as well as the ability to call in favours. These favours can range from helping hide you from police, to full blown military air strikes.
What this all amounts to in an incredibly bold and exciting move by Rockstar. It does come with some pitfalls however. Putting players into a free roam environment with the ability to shoot and kill each other at will is a recipe for chaos. How Rockstar cope with particularly uncooperative or aggressive players, for example, is something that remains to be seen. But all in all, the sheer ambition of Rockstar is more than enough to have me salivating in expectation.