Welcome to Achievement Pending. This weekly column is devoted to the future of gaming, specifically, what our hopes are with any given unreleased gaming product. Every Friday, we will bring you a new article with all our hopes and dreams (we know they will probably be crushed in the end. The cake is a lie). Today, I’m going to talk about the next title in the Grand Theft Auto series.
For anyone who’s even remotely interested in video games, odds are, they’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto. A small top-down game on the original PlayStation had become a worldwide phenomenon in 2001 with Grand Theft Auto III. Since then, Rockstar has released Vice City, San Andreas, GTA IV, and GTA V. All of these games have enjoyed both critical and commercial success, becoming the biggest titles of their respective gaming consoles. But, just as there is with any other game, there are always things to improve upon, and the GTA series has always been one of innovation. With that, I look towards the future. Whatever the next title will be, these are some of the things I hope Rockstar can do with it.
- Destructible environments
This is a huge no-brainer. If there is one thing that Grand Theft Auto has always been the master of, it’s chaos. What could possibly elevate that chaos? Destructible environments. Being able to take out walls, or even entire buildings. Everyone has a moment in a Grand Theft Auto game where they’re driving, and they hit an object with their vehicle. They immediately stop, even though the object should not be able to stop a vehicle going 70 MPH. This is one of the things that would be eliminated in a fully destructible environment. We’ve already seen this done in games like Batman: Arkham Knight and the Battlefield franchise. It’s time it was fully realized in the greatest sandbox games of all time.
- A New Setting
Grand Theft Auto V featured its largest and most diverse setting to date in San Andreas. Los Santos is the large city, and the heart of your missions in GTAV. From the busy Downtown, the rich-living Rockford Hills, and the Vinewood stars of film, there’s never a moment of quiet in Los Santos. As you move further away from the city, and further into Los Santos County and eventually Blaine County, we start to see a more “hillbilly”-type of living. San Andreas was a perfect transition into the new era of gaming, but it was too perfect. The vibrancy of the state gave a “too clean” feel, and that’s certainly not something you want in Grand Theft Auto. For the next setting, I’d like to see a darker tone. I’m not saying that Los Santos didn’t have its dark spots, but for a crime-sandbox, it was too proper. Many people suggest a London-esque setting, and certainly, London in the 70’s and 80’s had plenty of crime and dark times. However, if Rockstar decides that they want to keep the series in the modern day, I would suggest creating a brand new city, one that isn’t modeled solely on one real-life city. There could be aspects of many different cities brought into it. London’s city, mixed with the rural area of Seattle, and the entertainment district of New York City, for example. Something that spices things up, in a creative way.
- Create-Your-Own-Character Protagonist
This is one of the most sought after components of the series for fans. Rockstar has dabbled in changing the way your character looks. The main protagonist, CJ, in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, could exercise to build muscle, he could eat all of the time and get fat, and he could get haircuts and tattoos. Rockstar took a step back from that in IV, and dabbled again with haircuts and tattoos in V. GTAV Online was the first time we saw a character creator from Rockstar, but with very little in the way of actual character, or any speaking for that matter, it was strictly aesthetic. Fallout 4’s model of character creation was pretty dead-on to what I imagine for the next Grand Theft Auto’s. You could customize your character right down to the dimple on their cheek. Of course, all of the lines were the same throughout the game, and you couldn’t change the way your character sounded. Which leads me to my next point…
With the idea of creating your own character from scratch, wouldn’t it also be nice to choose what road that character would walk down? This is where things get interesting. You could start off the game with a couple of beginner missions, from when you are growing up. A couple of a huge events that have different endings, depending on what you choose to do. For example, you’re fifteen years old, and your father has left you and your mother. Do you choose to start selling drugs? Get a job? Ask for help from your church? These aspects can shape the way the rest of your game goes. If you chose to sell drugs, you would be led down a path of crime and gang work. If you chose to get a job, you’d work toward becoming a cop, which would lead to you patrolling the streets of the city. If you looked towards your church, you would become a man of faith, and perhaps a politician. A combination of three early-life missions could put you on numerous different paths. This would give a fresh play-through every time, and give huge differentiation to a game that has been solely based on crime.
- More Protagonists, More Diversity
Finally, to continue where they left off, Rockstar would give you the opportunity to switch between any of your characters at any time, just as they did in V. However, there will be huge differences in the type of character. There can be women, blacks, Asians, Indians, Arabs, Africans, any type of human being you can think of. And, given the huge differences in each character, some of them may never cross paths. The character that chooses the life of crime may be greatly acquainted with the cop, but never see the tax preparer. Likewise, the woman who’s a stripper may be very good friends with the politician, but never meet the priest. In other words, you may be able to see each other in the world, but the only reaction you might get from your other protagonist is a cheeky remark, or something of that nature.
These are some lofty hopes for the next Grand Theft Auto. However, technology is always advancing, and I believe it will be possible for all of these things within the next years. Still, whatever Rockstar chooses to do with the next game, I’m sure it will be every bit as amazing as its previous titles.
Is there a specific unreleased gaming topic you want us to evaluate? Let us know in the comments below!