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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Road To Release - Grand Theft Auto V

Posted on Friday, September 13 @ 15:30:00 Eastern by GR_Staff

Grand Theft Auto V is not simply the second game in the series to land on the seventh generation of home video game consoles. It's the culmination of all of Rockstar's seventh-generation games, from Red Dead Redemption's dusty plains to Max Payne 3's South American drug lords. Rockstar Games have brought together all their best talent to create their magnum opus, the apex of their development on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3… and yes, hopefully a PC version soon.

Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis

While the PS2 generation GTAs helped put the franchise on the map, Rockstar had a lot of work ahead of them bringing their massive open-world series to the HD generation of consoles. The Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (or RAGE) developed by Rockstar San Diego would be the bedrock for the next Grand Theft Auto game, this time returning to Liberty City. Of course, before we could explore a high definition Liberty City, the technology had to be finished.

With RAGE came Table Tennis, an odd departure for the developer but integral in getting the technology off the ground and running. It didn't take long for the real star of the show to appear, though.

Grand Theft Auto IV

IV returned players to Liberty City's islands, giving newly immigrated Niko Bellic a chance to relearn the different places gamers had already discovered in GTA III. Niko could unlock new safehouses, call friends to go out for different activities, or conversely have his cell phone constantly blown up by everyone he stupidly gave his number to. You'd think cousin Roman would chill the hell out about bowling, but even 70 hours into the game players found their Liberty City friends interrupting the race to complete every stunt jump.

Missions led players through Broker, Dukes, Algonquin, and Alderney, GTA stand-ins for Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and New Jersey respectively. Players could drive boats and cars or steal a helicopter for a tour around the city's looming skyscrapers. Amalgams for Times Square and the Statue of Liberty parodied the real deal and to this day Grand Theft Auto IV stands as a valid indictment and satirization of the culture and consumerism of modern-day America.

Episodes From Liberty City

Perhaps no other facet of Grand Theft Auto IV has influenced development on V as the DLC packs for the main game, with their secondary heroes and host of improvements. Episodes From Liberty City introduced players to Johnny and Luis, each with their own views and motivations in and around the world. Johnny played more heavily to Alderney with The Lost biker gang and the trouble found on roads paved with all-out gang warfare and damaging drugs. Luis gave players a unique view on Algonquin and the club scene run by Gay Tony.

While the intersecting paths of Niko, Luis, and Johnny will certainly be dialed to 11 in GTA V's narrative, the way this concept has been expanded mechanically is perhaps the biggest draw for gamers ready to enter Los Santos.

Red Dead Redemption

In addition to Episodes From Liberty City, which added more replay options to the formula, Red Dead Redemption has contributed its own mechanics to increase GTA V's overall gameplay diversity. Random, naturally occurring encounters dotted Red Dead Redemption's landscape, in addition the varied wildlife waiting for a hunter. These elements will find a place in Los Santos, but how exactly they'll be structured remains to be seen.

Rockstar San Diego's narrative might also influence GTA V with more "Stranger" encounters and a few twists you might not expect on the path to a conclusion. All told, Red Dead Redemption was Grand Theft Auto for people who didn't like Grand Theft Auto, but the maturity and emotional gravitas exemplified by Redemption's writing and voice-acting are high marks the developers will try to hit once more in V.

Max Payne 3

You might think that Max Payne's run-ins with South American drug cartels would make for poor fodder in Los Santos and you'd be right. But where Rockstar Games has drawn from its past games narratively and aesthetically or in creating more diverse gameplay loops, they've drawn from Max Payne 3 in establishing tight, responsive controls. Max Payne's third-person shooting controls have aided Rockstar in fine-tuning their open-world mechanics across Los Santos.

In Grand Theft Auto IV, for example, automobiles had varying weight and speed, but more often than not you felt like the weight was more in control of the vehicle than you were, throwing it awkwardly into turns you may have never intended. In Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar aims to bring the same level of taut feedback found in Max Payne to every activity in Los Santos.

Grand Theft Auto V will be in stores Tuesday, September 17th for Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. Special and Collector's Editions were detailed several months ago, but Rockstar have warned fans via Social Club e-mail that supply is limited.
Related Games:   Grand Theft Auto V

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