Trailer Breakdown: Grand Theft Auto V

After enduring months of rumors and speculation, Rockstar has finally dropped a second trailer for the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V.

But like any good trailer, it leaves us with more questions than answers. And so, we’re here to break the trailer down a bit and speculate about what the game will be like based on the morsels we’ve been given.

One of the biggest debates surrounding the game has been over who exactly the main protagonist is. While there were some who figured it was Tommy from Vice City, others argued that it was Claude from GTA III.

It wasn’t soon after that rumors surfaced that Rockstar planned to bring in only a handful of characters from GTA IV, leaving the PS2-era GTA games to exist in their own universe.

Instead, we meet our protagonist in Michael, a retired bank robber with a crooked past, alongside two others who serve as his friends. There’s been speculation that the three characters will either be a) separate characters with their own story missions and campaigns, or b) characters available for co-op play. They all weave together in an interesting way that sets up for a misfits-pull-a-heist kind of vibe; you’ve got the one crazy character, the ex-robber, and the gangster trying to go straight and find more purpose to his life. It’s brilliantly twisted in a way that looks nothing short of promising.

Probably the most interesting thing about the trailer for V is the possibility of returning characters in the game. GTA is not a series known for recurring characters, but we are supposed to have multiple playable characters in V. How these characters will play into the game’s story remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting prospect nonetheless.

It’s pretty well known at this point that the game is set in Los Santos, and the trailer gives us more than several nods to confirm this.

What’s important to consider here is the actual state of Los Santos. There’s a stark contrast going on in the trailer between luxury and poverty, and even the various conditions and environments that suggest money’s a bit tight for the average citizen of Los Santos.

So how will this play into the game’s main story? It’s common knowledge that people get desperate and willing to do what they normally wouldn’t in the most dire of circumstances, and what we’ve seen in the trailer suggests that things have taken a nose dive to the extreme.

Because of this, there’s some interesting room fora compelling story, weaving together ideas of loyalty, love, and the justification of dangerous activities and acts for the sake of survival. Sure, we don’t know all the details of the game’s campaign yet, but I’m hopeful that it takes this turn. Rockstar’s proven many times over that they know how to tell a good story, and there’s a lot of potential here.

Great voice acting and some humor indicate that the game might be changing up to become a bit more tongue-in-cheek than it has been in the past. There’s an obvious presence of drug lords and gag wars in the trailer, and a lot of contention between the two.

Probably the most interesting is the interaction between the characters in the game. There are multiple guys, each connected in a way that looks like both family ties and friendships. How do they all interact, and how will they all play into the game itself?

And the very use of “Skeletons in my closet” from Stevie Wonder’s song is more than a blatant suggestion that the main character is dealing with a not-so-great past. It’ll be cool to see how his past might play in to his current state and situation during the story as well.

Outside of the story beats and possible cameos, there’s also the business of gameplay hints that can’t be simply overlooked. If the trailer is suggesting anything meaningful to us, it’s more than likely that we’ll be able to drive dune buggies, airplanes, cars, and motorcycles, to name a few. Where you had the chance to do small minigames and activities like bowling in the past, some have even said that the game hints at the possibility to do something similar in this new installment. Combat looks to make a return and be better than ever, and more than a few weapons borrow some screen time, promising some interesting missions and great action from a game founded on the idea of an open world filled with violence and mischief. And most important of all…it looks like GTA will pull a Fable II and give you a dog friend.

Sure, it still leaves us speculating much and knowing little. But it’s a good tease, and enough to promise us that it’s an endeavor of impressive size and scope that Rockstar is taking on, and one I simply can’t wait to find out more about.

Look for GTA V in the Spring of 2013.