We’ve seen some bizarre rumors swirling around that Rockstar was on the cusp of cancelling it’s next Grand Theft Auto game. For our money these rumors are complete rubbish – the series is a goldmine in terms of sales and no company on the planet would turn its nose up at the chance to dive into that money pile. Yet as we wait patiently for any news on where the series goes next, we find ourselves asking what it is we want from the series. It seems to have settled into a fairly predictable manner; and for some gamers that might not be enough. In Grand Theft Auto VI, we want to see some changes.
We decided therefore to ask what five things would we want to see in the series going forward? What would make the next Grand Theft Auto remarkable for us – enough that we’d get hugely excited for it? Let us know what you want to see in the next installation of Rockstar’s hugely popular franchise.
5. Bigger = Better
There’s nothing wrong with Los Santos – I’d argue strongly it’s the best setting for a Grand Theft Auto game in the series. The problem with Los Santos is that once you breach the city’s outer-limits, there’s not all that much to explore. The endless rolls of countryside and desert have an awkward feel of emptiness. Sure they were interesting to explore when the game first arrived; but now most gamers zip past them as quickly as they can to get to the next objective.
What I’d love to see is a return to the vast scale that was hinted at in previous games.The closest we came to this was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – where gamers were afforded three distinctive cities as well as a huge variety of areas in between. Yes looking back it’s not as big as we remember, but that didn’t stop us from feeling like every journey between these three cities was a massive trek in that game. Getting lost and feeling that sense of enjoyment as you plowed through a rural village was all the more exciting when it felt like a strange place. There are various villages and trailer parks that litter the Los Santos landscape, but nothing comes close.
I’ve seen plenty of mockups from fans that point to a much larger region being the hopeful destination. In honesty I wouldn’t want the quality to diminish – but its easy to forget that Los Santos we know now was built for the last generation of consoles. Now that we’ve cut those loose – it’s time for the series to spread its wings and offer a wider scope for gamers to explore.
4. Change in Time
The push into the HD era of games has seen the games stick rigidly to the modern-day. The introduction of mobile phones has proven to be a convenient way for everything to be accessed on the go, but in sticking so close to the modern times; the games have lost something of their charm.
Both Vice City and San Andreas took a step back in time; allowing gamers to experience culture from a bygone era. This allowed the games to feel different and own their own sense of style. Who didn’t fall in love with the neon lights of 1980’s Vice City or the rough urban edge that the 1990’s Los Santos delivered in San Andreas? Shifting time periods allows the series to explore cultural touchstones of the time; pushing the boundaries and poking fun at the trends that defined the eras.
It’s something I’d like to see the series return too; even if it’s in a more restricted fashion. The 2010’s are great but video games have the power to be reflective. Grand Theft Auto works best when its poking fun and exaggerating the best and worst tropes of the period it exists in. I’d love to see a 1970’s Liberty City or a Vice City plagued by the stock market crash of the late 2000’s. The developers have said they don’t want to return to such periods unless its worth their time to do so. I feel there’s potential in the idea.
3. Stronger Central Narrative
If there’s one issue with Grand Theft Auto’s single player, it’s that it becomes slightly too muddled through the middle sections. Thanks to the introduction of several playable protagonists – story tend to interchange and meander before converging on central points. Rockstar played it safe to our mind and we’d love to see them take some much bigger risks – at least in the single player segment.
To this end I’d love to see actions that have more permanent consequences. The last two Grand Theft Auto’s have tried to throw various character deaths into the mix; but it never goes above and beyond to really shake itself up. Why not make us care for other characters – and then risk losing them on heists? Why not provide a mechanic where failing a heist in itself becomes a plot point – as your team frustrates itself over the failure to complete the job, It would add an immense sense of suspense to missions and make the stakes during these missions all the more daunting.
2. Co-Operative Story
Grand Theft Auto’s online mode points to a future for the series that I suspect we’ll be getting in bigger heaps down the line. The introduction of online heists was a game-changer – it was the first time gamers could play with their friends and take on some intensely deep story components in a way that opened the Grand Theft Auto series up to multiplayer action. I feel that in the next game, there should be an option to experience the games main story through this same lens.
Bringing friends into to control other characters you’re not playing as into your single player experience could open the door for Rockstar to add multiple layers to the games missions. Instead of relying on computer characters who are intent on killing themselves, you should be able to bring in playable friends who can help (or even hinder!) your progress and help set the story’s sequences in motion. You could even create missions where players are competing for a goal
1. VR Integration
The introduction of first person into Grand Theft Auto V showcased a direction for the series that will ultimately allow for deeper integration. While VR is still a long way off being mainstream – being able to play a Grand Theft Auto through the lens of a VR headset will ultimately open more doors for the game (both controversially and in a story sense)
Given the series fascination with experimentation; it would be a clear boon to see the series cater one of its future central outings into an experience that truly immersed the gamer and allowed them to experience the Grand Theft Auto world in such rich detail. Imagine how brutal a beat down would be if you were taking the punches yourself. Imagine the range of mini-games that could be improved or introduced into the game via VR
While VR may not be at the point yet where it can deliver a true AAA-offering; by the time Grand Theft Auto VI rolls around – gamers may be ready to take the plunge fully and experience the world of Grand Theft Auto through such realistic eyes.