A report on the Xbox Live Games with Gold titles available for November 2014.
My GTA V Wishlist
Grand Theft Auto is a pioneer of the sandbox genre. Anyone who enjoys an open-world action game lists Rockstar’s coveted franchise as a definite favorite. Featuring interesting stories, diverse and believable characters, and subtle satire in its clever writing, GTA gives fans an exemplary experience with every iteration released. But besides its great presentation are the little things the games give players, such as the ability to go bowling with your Romanian cousin, street race against a gang, rescue civilians in a firetruck, or kill a hooker after having sex with her to get your money back. Here are some extra features that, while not necessarily needed or even possible, would make GTA V the best one yet.
A Game Within a Game
The Grand Theft Auto series has always had extra optional activities available to do within the games, such as bowling and playing darts. But what if GTA V took that a step further and added activities so fully realized and perfectly executed that they could be considered better than titles devoted to the individual activities themselves? Imagine if Grand Theft Auto V featured an 18-hole golf minigame so good that it was considered just as great as the latest Tiger Woods title? What if there were distractions such as playing baseball or street hoops that were both done better than MLB: The Show and the NBA video game franchise? Impossible? Yes. Awesome if actually done? Yes.
Fully Rendered Interiors
What if in addition to having a sprawling, open world and a living, breathing city to explore you could also make your way inside each and every building within the game? Fathom the gameplay possibilities of being able to rob any bank, drive a motorcycle into any grocery store, or fight your way to the top floor of any skyscraper only to shoot out a window and parachute safely to the ground below. While definitely not possible (at least not on current consoles), the ability to seamlessly explore both the exterior and interior of a fully rendered city without load screens would be a dream come true, and such a feature would redefine the sandbox genre.
Rockstar proved they could make a great poker game with Red Dead Redemption. Nothing was more relaxing in that game than seeking shelter in a pub during a thunderstorm and starting a game of cards with a group of strangers, strangers that actually talked and made the game feel real. I believe the developer could take this concept ever further and include casinos in Grand Theft Auto V, complete with multiple gambling games and poker tournaments that you could even play online for in-game cash. Player characters could even be required to dress up before they’d be allowed to enter the casino to make it more realistic. Even though functional casinos existed in San Andreas, Rockstar could do a lot more to make them even more expansive and engaging.
BMX Bikes…And More
BMX bikes are something everyone wants back in Grand Theft Auto. There’s just something special about them. But Rockstar could do more than just give us this beloved transportation device back; they could also add in skateboards and roller blades while they’re at it. Maybe even water skis. And as long as they’re doing that, why not make it possible to do tricks on them as well, like ollies, grinds, flips, and so on? Nothing would be more fun than skateboarding off a skyscraper, doing a few flips, then bailing to pull your parachute and land safely on the ground below.
What I loved about San Andreas was the light role-playing elements the game provided players. I remember starting a new game and driving to the gym to buff up my character as quickly as possible. While Rockstar has confirmed that player customization isn’t possible in this sense in the next GTA, I still think it’d be a fun addition. They could even integrate a weapons proficiency stat, forcing players to go to shooting ranges before they’re considered experts with a specific gun. Other possibilities include making it easier to sprint the healthier you are and giving players better control of unique vehicles like motorcycles and jet skis the more often they drive them.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise has taken players everywhere from land to sea to air. But one place it hasn’t gone is underwater. Imagine exploring old sunken ships or beautiful coral reefs across the ocean floor. The ability to fight sharks and octopi could be a distinct possibility, as could using a new vehicle: the submarine. Pointless? Probably. Fun? Definitely. And isn’t fun what GTA is all about?
One of the things that could set GTA V apart from its predecessors (except San Andreas) would be the inclusions of locations that are a bit more diverse than the main city the game takes place in. Adding in natural forests perhaps in the form of national parks, complete with wildlife, would make for fun places to explore outside of the concrete jungles established in past games. And that leads to…
Plenty of games nowadays feature hunting. Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry made killing local fauna for their hide and meat a fun distraction, but GTA can probably do it better. Imagine walking through a woodland park, complete with tourists and family picnickers, rocket launcher in hand, blasting bears, deer, and rabbits apart to the screams of fleeing onlookers. Sometimes killing people gets boring; the addition of hunting could rectify that situation pretty quickly.
Rockstar has always utilized hidden Easter eggs to reward their vigilant Grand Theft Auto fans with secrets most players would normally miss. But the best surprises are the ones that no one can confirm. I remember hearing rumors of Sasquatch roaming the woods and driver-less cars moving over abandoned country roads in San Andreas. I recall spending hours searching for Ratman, a creature rumored to live in the abandoned subway tunnels in GTA IV. Even if these tales were myth, it was still fun to seek them out, adding a creepy and unsettling tone to an otherwise action-oriented game. I say Rockstar can do more, perhaps adding Slenderman or another disturbing creature to the game to get players spooked. Sometimes the best way to play a game is in a way that it’s not intended to be played, and pretending to be a ghost hunter of sorts provided some of the best time I spent playing the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
One thing that made Red Dead Redemption so fun was the plethora of random events that occurred as you traveled. You could be riding your horse into the sunset, soaking in the view, only to be interrupted by the cries of a couple being mugged on the side of the road. You could save them, you could keep on traveling, or you could kill everyone and take the loot for yourself. Such dynamic events added a nice flair of surprise every time you encountered one, and I think the same principle could be added to the next GTA. Imagine riding a motorcycle down the street only to see a firefight break out between two rival gangs in an alleyway. It would be the player’s choice whether to ignore the crime or engage in whatever way they want.
There’s a lot Rockstar could do to make GTA V better than I already know it’s going to be. Some of my ideas aren’t possible…yet. But I know one day they will be, and I hope by then my dreams will become reality.
What about you? What do you want to see in GTA V?