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Grand Theft Auto V

What We Know About Grand Theft Auto V: The Overview

Our 18-page cover story goes into great detail about the narrative, characters, mission structure, setting, and extracurricular activities, but if you’re looking for a brief overview on the game here is a concise summary.

The Characters

  • Building off the idea of multiple playable characters introduced in Episodes of Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto V stars three main protagonists.
  • Michael is a retired bank robber who is living a life of luxury thanks to a sweetheart deal with the FIB. But when his wife burns through all his money he is forced to get back in the game.
  • Trevor is a frequent drug user who is prone to violent outbursts. A former military pilot, he used to rob banks but now he scrapes to get by living on the fringes of Los Santos society.
  • Franklin is a hustler who works for an Armenian scam artist who sells young kids cars they can’t afford. When they default on the loans, Franklin repossesses the cars. He crosses paths with Michael when looking for a bigger score.
  • Players can switch between these characters at any time when they are off mission.
  • Rockstar says due to the heavy volume of voiceover recording sessions, celebrities don’t make sense as options for lead characters. Like Niko Bellic before them, Michael, Franklin, and Trevor will all have unknown voice actors.
  • Each main character has a few unique hobbies that only they can participate in.
  • Though Rockstar wouldn’t name specific characters, it confirmed that some familiar faces from Grand Theft Auto IV and Episodes From Liberty City may resurface in Los Santos.
  • Niko Bellic will not be one of the recurring characters.
  • Characters from the PS2 era of Grand Theft Auto games will not appear, either.

The Missions

  • The story missions feature a healthy variety of styles. Some feature one protagonist, while others have two or three participants.
  • When a mission features multiple protagonists, players are often given the option of switching between them at will in the middle of the job. Rockstar chose this approach to always keep the player in the action and eliminate the flat spots.
  • Each of the three main characters has a fully fleshed-out story arc, but instead of waiting for the finale to introduce complex missions, Grand Theft Auto V peppers several complicated, multi-tiered heists in the vein of Grand Theft Auto IV’s popular “Three Leaf Clover” mission across the narrative. These missions will including prepping for the heists and the break-ins themselves.
  • The mission we watched during the live gameplay demo started with Trevor and Michael taking a helicopter to the IAA headquarters, which is the GTA equivalent to the CIA.
  • When they arrive at the skyscraper, Michael repels down the side of the building until he locates their target – a person being interrogated that the FIB wants removed from the hands of the IAA. 
  • When Michael breaks through the glass and grabs the target, a switch option appears for the player. From here you could stay as Michael or switch to Franklin, who is positioned with a sniper rifle in an adjacent building, to take out the startled IAA agents. These changes happen instantaneously and smoothly, with cinematic angles that help you re-orient yourself in the new perspective.
  • Once the player clears the room of IAA agents and Michael safely makes it into the chopper with the extraction target, a helicopter chase ensures. During this sequence, the player can switch freely between piloting the chopper as Trevor and shooting out the back toward the tailing helicopters with either Franklin or Michael.
  • For the first time in a GTA game, Rockstar is using a score to bring some tension to the missions.

The World

  • Taking the interiors and exteriors into account, the world of Los Santos is bigger than the worlds of GTA IV, San Andreas, and Red Dead Redemption combined, with room to spare.
  • Grand Theft Auto V combines the best of both GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, giving players the largest open-world playground in Rockstar history with a huge and diverse city serving as the epicenter.
  • Locations include beachfronts, wine country, a large wilderness area surrounding a fully explorable Mt. Chiliad, a region modeled after the Salton Sea called the Alamos Sea, a military base, and of course the sprawling suburban hills leading up to the bustling urban center of Los Santos. Bring your scuba equipment, too, because you can even explore the fully detailed ocean floor along the Los Santos coastline.

The Gameplay

  • Rockstar says it has rebuilt the shooting mechanics, driving, and melee combat from the ground up.
  • To encourage players to explore this vast expanse, Rockstar is giving them more vehicles than any other Grand Theft Auto to date. 
  • Confirmed vehicles include a BMX bike, mountain bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, a huge variety of cars and trucks, helicopters, planes, ATVs, and Jet Skis. You won’t have to wait until the endgame to take to the skies, either. Since Trevor is a former war veteran with flight experience, you just need to find a plane to fly it.
  • Rockstar plans to blow out off-mission activities to an even greater degree with a variety of different side missions and more sophisticated minigames in the vein of Red Dead Redemption’s poker. 
  • Confirmed activities include yoga, triathlons, Jet Skiing, base jumping, tennis, and even a full-fledged golf game.
  • Because Michael, Trevor, and Franklin are fully fleshed-out characters with specific skill traits, Grand Theft Auto V does not have the RPG-style player customization so many people loved in San Andreas. 
  • However, you can still customize the look of the characters with different clothing.
  • The dating system is not returning to GTA V, which Rockstar says is due to the nature of the characters.
  • GTA V does not allow players to buy real estate, but Rockstar knows players didn’t have much to spend their money on toward the end of GTA IV so it plans to remedy this with the sequel.

If you want a deeper dive into the world of Grand Theft Auto V and give some context to these bullet points, find out how to purchase a copy of our December issue here. To discover new content throughout the month, please check back regularly by visiting our hub:  

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  • Oh crap, I could barely get through the map of San Andreas. I guess time will tell. btw, new shooting mechanics, now talk about "its about time"
  • Finally, I can do yoga in a game without having to do it too! I'm pretty sure I'm going to be drowning with things to do in GTAV. ^_^
    Plus, I'm glad that the dating feature isn't in the game because that was kind of a hassle in IV.
  • I wouldn't mind GTA following the driving mechanics of what Ubisoft did in Driver: San Fransico. I feel like they hit the perfect balance of arcade style and simulation in that game.
  • Lot's of details in that there article. Can't wait for the new trailer!
  • One of the ugliest, dooshiest looking protag's I've ever seen in that picture at the top. He better be funny or something.
  • I'm worried about this game. Their eyes may have been bigger than their stomachs.
  • I like the idea of score being introduced to missions. IDK, I guess it's just perfectionist in me
  • "Because Michael, Trevor, and Franklin are fully fleshed-out characters with specific skill traits, Grand Theft Auto V does not have the RPG-style player customization so many people loved in San Andreas." Still a step back like GTA IV I see. Other decisons they made I don't like either but I am not gonna list them all. Gonna hold off till a price drop sounds like it'll be as boring as IV was. Sorry to anyone who loved IV.
  • Mod
    Great article Bertz! Lots of info. Never did play much of the other GTA games, I tried GTAIV, but my kid was just old enough that it wasn't a game I wanted in the house, now that he is a bit older though, and I can hide away and play it, I will get V.
  • What I want to know is...am I the only one not excited for this?
  • Looking forward to it! Sounds like they added a lot of great new features.

  • Jeez Pete from 30 Rock sure got angry-looking.

  • The dude at the top looks just like Pete (Scott Adsit) from 30 Rock. Ha-ha..

  • GTA IV was story focused, this one looks like it'll be more about gameplay. I'm looking forward to using the dirtbikes at the mountain, flying jets, and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. I'm very excited for the multiplayer as well, I just hope they don't lock out the jets, I'm crazy for aerial battles.
  • I wonder. If a new GTA game came out every year like COD, would people complain about other people who spend $60 on COD every year? Hmmm.
  • I'm not so sure I like the idea of switching between 3 playable characters, but it is Rockstar and it is GTA so it should still be loads of fun.
  • The only thing that really got me excited was the scuba diving. Hopefully there will be some Easter eggs down there.
  • This will be the best game ever. There, I said it haha.

    I also am hoping that Packie will be in the game, he was one of my favorite characters in GTA 4. It makes a lot of sense too because at the end of 4 he was heading to the airport (I think). I wouldn't be surprised to find Florian jogging somewhere in the city either, haha.
  • Staff

    The size of GTA V's open world is amazing. Can't wait to start exploring!

  • Perhaps I'm the only one, but it's a little disheartening this game doesn't appear to be coming to PC. I really have no interest in playing a game on my Xbox 360 when the console is at the very end of its life cycle.
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