With a recent GTA V news blowout, along with the cover story from November, we have tons of information regarding Grand Theft Auto V to tide is over. Of course, even though we now know plenty about the characters, the world and gameplay before it releases in September, Rockstar has been surprisingly quiet on the multiplayer. We know they’re integrating additional Social Club support (allowing people to bring their Max Payne crews into GTA V), but little else.


So, with a clean slate, let’s look at what GTA V should bring to the table to become a multiplayer destination.



Keep the living, breathing world:


A major problem with GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption online, is that they lacked the feel of a living, breathing world. Hot dog vendors didn’t sell hot dogs, trains were nonexistent, pedestrians and cops didn’t react like they should, etc. Red Dead Redemption in particular felt like mars with shrubbery and some AI just wandering around without the dynamic events and random characters littering the world in single player.


If players can partake in inspecting drug deals gone wrong, getting attacked by muggers, and other random events while with friends, it would greatly improve the game world online and almost seems like a natural fit.



Let us pick our loadouts in free roam:



This is something Red Dead Redemption actually did well, giving you new gear as you ranked up to use in free roam. While low level players could still find rare equipment lying around in the game world, it removed the need to spend time gathering weapons and cool cars, only to lose it all the second someone instantly murders you with a grenade.


Since we don’t know how the inventory system will work yet (whether they’ll remain with the classic limitations, impose heavy restrictions like in Max Payne 3, or let us keep it all like in Red Dead Redemption), I think they should just take care to let us decide what we bring to free roam. With some overpowered weapons (such as rocket launchers), it might be better to keep them hidden in the game world though, lest high level griefers spawn with them.



Additional match setting options:



While GTA IV allowed several modifiers (such as traffic, spawns, weaponry and police), they could definitely go further to suit certain custom game types players might be creating for themselves. Deciding the frequency of certain vehicle spawns, what weapons are allowed, police severity, damage taken, etc. GTA online is most fun when played with friends, so allowing friends to set up their own mode variants would be a great way to maintain some longevity.



User created missions:



InFamous 2 had a clever system that allowed for players to craft custom missions and even storylines and allow players to activate them at anytime throughout the game world. Somehow, that seems like a perfect fit for free roaming in GTA V’s multiplayer and would be a great way for Rockstar to show how serious they are about pushing multiplayer in their games. Imagine entire story threads or unique mission types crafted by players from the community. It's a long shot, but the series is known for having some stellar mods on PC versions, so embracing user created content seems like the way forward for the series.



Take a hint from Max Payne 3 for the versus modes:



Max Payne 3, love or hate the multiplayer, it did a fine job of giving us tight and controlled bouts of gameplay. GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption had respectable game modes and online PvP, but the free roam took the cake. Max Payne 3’s lack of free roam meant an abundance of options, rankings, unlocks, maps, features (such as online slow motions and grudges), and more to keep players interested, along with a cool feature that removed hackers and cheaters and forced them to only play against other hackers and cheaters before banning them.






This ties into the lack of a breathing world, but considering it's a big part of the actual world, it's unfortunate that Rockstar had to remov trains. They turned the subways into empty caverns, while removing a golden opportunity for a fast travel system for players who don’t want to drive all the way across Liberty City to meet with a friend. They would make for a fine hazard, and it would be even nicer if players could attack or commandeer them like single player suggests you can do. Considering the moving planes in the airport, it isn’t like Rockstar can’t at least keep them in as a part of the scenery, even if players can't ride them (though it would be nice if they could, and would serve as a really cool location for a firefight).



Fix the collision detection and polish issues:



GTA IV is kind of infamous for the collision detection issues and some of the lacking polish there was online. It was easy for a player to start flailing about for no reason because they were lightly bumped with a car, while on another player’s screen they weren’t even touched. One particular issue was when it seemed like you caused a player to go flying when you barely touched them. It happened rarely offline, but online it happened quite a bit and could really take you out of the world.



Bring the heists online:



Taking a hint from the mission based co-op in Red Dead Redemption (as well as the hideouts), the heist focus would be a great thing to bring online. Allow a team leader to decide on things such as outfits, getaway vehicles, weaponry, etc. Then, as in single player, players undergo one of various large scale heists built just for the co-op. Taking a cue from the hideouts, some locations and banks can just be rolled up on without planning if you desire, letting you grab some quick cash/XP.



More customization options:



GTA IV gave some sparse customization options to players, forcing them to rank up to get more clothing they could use. It led to lots of samey looking gangsters, while Red Dead Redemption had character selection (with a hefty amount of characters to choose), here we had a case of players sometimes running into multiple doppelgangers because one character was particularly popular.


So in keeping with potential gun customization and the highly improved character customization the single player is offering, let’s add some more stuff. Let me pick my shoes without having to change my pants as well, give me some more faces with a wider variety of hair to choose from. Really, it’s hard not to improve on the options GTA IV presented.



Instant connection, Burnout Paradise style:



Burnout Paradise developer Criterion had a mantra when designing the game that they wanted as few loading screens as possible. This belief extended all the way to the multiplayer, where players could instantly access the online portion without a single load screen, and the world modifying it’s time of day around them to accommodate the change to whatever time it was on the world you join.


With the fourth character in the character switch wheel confirmed to be your multiplayer protagonist, it would make sense to make it a chance to go immediately into online free roam as your protagonist. No loading screens, just a seamless switch into multiplayer with the game dropping you into the shoes of your character going about his or her business on the streets.



Minigames and side content online:


Red Dead Redemption had one multiplayer expansion that allowed you to play poker and other minigames with players online, called the Liar’s and Cheats pack. While I imagine many players balk at the prospect of playing virtual pool or yoga with other players online, some of the more interesting side missions would be a welcome addition, especially if they could be instantly accessed in the online world as a way to kill time while waiting for other friends to come online or for a certain match type to begin.


Minigames from the GTA series I’ve always been fond of include the golf, dancing, high/low cards, and fight club. Of course if Rockstar was willing to bring bowling online I wouldn’t be against it, especially if it was just another thing to do while waiting for some friends to get online.



Don’t cut us off from building interiors:


One pain of GTA IV multiplayer was that up until The Ballad of Gay Tony, players couldn’t enter most buildings. Cool places like the museum were off limits, which meant cool hiding spots to hole up with your crew while facing another crew were blocked off. Having access to more interiors within multiplayer opens up a lot of options, such as giving a player being hunted down by an enemy with a powerful helicopter a place to be safe and set up an ambush, or serving as a prime spawn point for a powerful weapon or vehicle.


So those are just a few things I'm really hoping Rockstar can work into Grand Theft Auto V's multiplayer. They've been pretty quiet on it so far, but either way I can expect them to do great things.