The GTA V trailer that Rockstar Game release today is already being dissected frame by frame all over the internets but we decided to ditch all the “omg there’s a bodybuilding area meaning working out will be back” speculation and focus on the highly plausible things instead. So here’s a list of things that we learn from the trailer that are either features that are new or returning to the Grand Theft Auto franchise as well as observations that strongly indicate certain conclusions about GTA V.
The game engine is the same as GTA IV
There was some interesting speculation last week about whether or not GTA V will push visual graphics to a whole new level, Battlefield 3 style. Kotaku even speculated that this will mean that some platforms might get excluded because of the enhancements. However, Rockstar Games is sticking to its GTA IV engine roots, just like it did with Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Yes, there are graphical improvements but the improvements are equal to the jump in improvements between GTA III and Vice City instead of the jump between San Andreas and GTA IV. Does this mean that GTA VI will have the same engine? Given the four-year gap between GTA IV and GTA V, it is highly unlikely that GTA VI will feature the same game engine unless it gets released within a year or two of GTA V, and even that is pushing it.
The place is Los Santos and the time is now
This might be a bit nitpicky, but the location of GTA V is not San Andreas, but Los Santos. San Andreas is the fictional west coast area made up of Los Santos, San Fiero, and Las Venturas, three fictional cities based off of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas respectively. The trailer did visually mention San Andreas a few times, especially in the license plates of cars, but everything else about the location (the skyline, signs, advertisements, etc) all either explicitly said Los Santos or were a visual replica of Los Angeles. So yes, the general geographic area the game takes place in is San Andreas but it only includes the city of Los Santos. Wild speculation here, but this might mean that San Fiero and Las Venturas might become available later as DLC or standalone games that can later merge into one big game if you own all three. Or it could mean that Rockstar only revealed the Los Santos part of the game with this trailer, but even that is questionable considering the scale of Los Santos that was shown so far. Lastly, the time period GTA V takes place in is definitely the present, following suit with GTA IV.
It isn’t all urban
We do see hints of some rural areas being used so GTA V won’t be constrained to a sprawling metropolis like GTA IV was. This doesn’t mean that traveling in those rural areas will take you to San Fiero or Las Venturas like in San Andreas.
Although we do not know his name (yes, it is a guy…again), the protagonist is a middle-aged graying Caucasian who moves to Los Santos to put behind him his life of crime and to settle down with his family. We don’t know for sure but we believe that there is a high chance that the protagonist is the one pictured in these screenshots.
Fully randomized license plates
Vehicle license plates has been a thing Rockstar Games has wrangled with since GTA III. Rockstar’s first attempt at “unique” license plates for each vehicle came in San Andreas where each car had its own randomly generated license plate but it had its limitations. While playing, every vehicle during gameplay would have the same license plate, meaning a generated plate number for one Admiral would be displayed on all Admirals during a gameplay and changed only when a new game session was loaded. GTA IV ditched the license plate concept, opting to go to its GTA III roots where every car had the same license plate texture, in GTA IV’s case all plates read “LIBERTY CITY.” The GTA V trailer shows that Rockstar has once again chosen random license plate numbers that are unique to each vehicle, and it is expected that the plate generator won’t have the same limitations as the San Andreas one. All cars seemed to have the same plate pattern: a set of two numbers followed by a set of three letters and ending with a set of three numbers. There was one exception to this rule that we spotted (see the screenshot on the real estate section below) but we suspect that the Grand Theft Auto franchise finally has truly unique license plates generated for every vehicle on the road.
Animals, specifically dogs, are in the game
One of the things that hasn’t made it into a GTA game before has been animals (aside from pigeons). There’s probably some Red Dead Redemption influence on the game engine with this, but the inclusion of animals, in particular pets, adds to the game experience. And what better place to bring pets into the scene than Vinewood, where every trophy wife or wannabe actress is strutting around with a puppy in her purse or on a leash? There aren’t any indications that the dogs will play any role other than cosmetic in the game and there’s no evidence in the trailer that you can commit Grand Theft Caballo either, but domesticated animal presence is definitely a new feature in GTA IV.
Buying real estate might be back
This one might be a stretch, but a man hammering down a For Sale due to foreclosure sign on his front lawn may indicate that you will be able to buy real estate in the game, like you were able to do in Vice City and San Andreas. The acquisition of real estate in GTA IV was absent as Rockstar opted to give you pre-defined safe houses as checkpoints during the game. The purchase of income-generating businesses also was a thing of the third era of Grand Theft Auto. However, since this game takes place in the present the subprime mortgage crisis might be a bit dated to use simply as a historical marker for the time period. The foreclosure crisis was most prominent between 2004 and 2008, the time frame in which GTA IV was developed, released, and linked to in its storyline. Using foreclosures as a “sign of the times” in GTA V, a game that isn’t coming out until 2012, seems a bit dated. Unless of course the time period in which this game takes place is in fact the mid-to-late 2000s instead of “the present.” We could be reading too much into this, but there’s a 50/50 chance that the For Sale reference means that property purchasing is making a comeback in GTA V.
You can fly airplanes again?
Don’t get too excited about this one. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas you were able to jump in a variety of airplanes, including a military jet, and fly around the San Andreas landscape because the map was not only big, but it also gave you the illusion that you were covering a very large distances between cities. In GTA IV you were limited to a helicopter even though the game map was bigger than that of San Andreas, however the map consisted entirely of one city meaning that airplane usage would not offer much to the gameplay as you would just have one airport and you would be flying between skyscrapers the whole time. The GTA V trailer shows a crop duster, a leer jet, and a military jet being flown. There is a big chance that these are from mission cut scenes and not directly controllable by the player but given the multiple locations (urban and rural) we think that players will be able to control an airplane like the crop duster or some other small aircraft that isn’t made for long distance and super fast travel. A small short-distance plane will definitely allow for faster travel over a long distance without making the map feel small or limited.
Jet skis and golf carts
The Caddy hasn’t been around since San Andreas (unless you include its presence in the GTA IV expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony) and it looks like it is coming back full-time in GTA V! Now you can get the same excitement of running over golfing retirees as you did in Vice City. A new vehicle in GTA V is the jet ski, or SpeedoPhile 2000. Although boats were present in GTA IV, the SpeedoPhole 2000 expands the marine vehicle offerings in GTA V with something that is both fast and maneuverable.
These are all things to get excited about in anticipation of next year’s GTA V release and although not too much was revealed in the trailer, lots of questions still remain. Of course, there may be some Easter eggs or very subtle hints that we may have missed in the trailer, but we think these points are the ones that are most reinforced and grounded in reality. Of course, keep reading The Noisecast as we will cover any future news or developments that happen with GTA V over the next year!