Grand Theft Auto 5, the year's most hotly anticipated game is just a month away from release and last week, developer Rockstar showed off the game's brand new Online Mode...
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GTA Online is set in the same location as GTAV – Los Santos and Blaine County (Rockstar's version of Los Angeles and its surrounding countryside). It's Rockstar's biggest open world ever: larger than GTAIV, GTA San Andreas and Red Dead Redemption combined. Sounds huge?
That's just the start. Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies told GTAVoclock that they're sitting on old content that could become part of GTAOnline - it wouldn't take a genius to speculate about visiting Liberty City or Vice City - but that the company's ultimate aim is *the world*. Mind boggling, if not slightly intimidating.
2. Team work
GTA Online allows 16 active players at any one time, and you can work in teams to performed co-ordinated heists against AI opponents. We saw a team of four Rockstar developers parachute out of a chopper (3… 2… 1… Let's go!) , landing at a waypoint before storming a heavily guarded aircraft hanger. "Behind you! Two on the left… no, three! Cover me!". The team had to bark out co-ordinated orders over their headsets, while another player kept watch in the chopper above. The scene culminates in a mad escape in a Titan cargo aircraft, as guards chase below.
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3. Every man for himself
Teamwork is one angle, sure, but GTA Online is all about expression. You can choose your characters sex and appearance, get tattoos, haircuts, buy and customise cars and weapons… all the time accruing money and Reputation Points (RP). The more you earn, the better the equipment you buy. High flyers can pick up luxury apartments with working CCTV, televisions and underground garages (where you can store up to 10 customised cars). Not bling enough? Sign up to a lifestyle agency, who'll deliver private jets, military aircraft and choppers whenever you desire them.
In one scene from the official trailer, we see a crew riding dirt bikes off a cliff - and performing a formation BASE jump as they fall into the valley below. You can perform hold ups, take part in deathmatches, form crews, Midnight Club-style streetraces… damn, you can even design your own missions, and the Creator tools will expand over time. You'll need to drop money off at the bank from time to time, because if you get killed, you'll drop a portion on the floor. Heist-leaders get all the loot, and have to choose who they share it with… so the scope for benevolence / villainy is huge.
If it all sounds too mad, just drop into passive mode, where you can't shoot or be shot. You can just take in the world listening to your favourite radio stations in your customised low rider with a team of laid-back buddies, or play some low-key tennis matches. It's like PlayStation Home, only in an infinitely more exciting world. With guns. And not, y'know, a bit rubbish like PlayStation Home.
Check out CVG's world exclusive hands-on with GTA Online here.