A GTA retrospective – GTA V ends an era in style

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Following the blockbuster release of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar once again got back to work on their iconic franchise in 2009. Not only aiming for a game that looked bigger, better and hewed closer to the ridiculous side of the franchise, Rockstar wanted to create a game that told a better story. And the best way to do that, was to triple down on the ambitions.

History

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Once again using the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), GTA V would boast even more technological accomplishments than its predecessor. The RAGE engine was overhauled to now include higher textures, resolutions and increased draw distances. Rockstar fielded a development team of over a 1000 people for GTA V, who would take advantage of their work done on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game to create a much larger world for players to engage in. Returning to San Andreas, Rockstar remodelled the fan favourite locale further on Los Angeles and Southern California, sending teams to properly research those areas.

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Road networks would feel more authentic, inner city areas felt more demographically correct and the entire open-world structure was once again revamped to be even more realistic than before. It was business as usual at Rockstar then, but a ton of effort was also being poured into development of the three main leads of the game. Michael, a former bank robber who got away with the score of a lifetime, Franklin, an inner-city resident who dreamed of hitting the big time and moving on from the hood and Trevor, a violent sociopath with a hair-trigger temper formed a new unholy trinity of GTA leads.

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The idea to have the game feature three protagonists instead of one  had been floated before at Rockstar when they began work on GTA: San Andreas, but the technology to properly realise that idea had yet to present itself. Now, players were able to switch on the fly between the leads, while the remaining two characters went on and lived their own lives inside the game. Played by Ned Luke, Shawn Fonteno and Steven Ogg, GTA V would mark a radical change in how players engaged in reckless violence and destruction. Rockstar would also up the music count in this GTA, with a selection of radio stations that had over 241 songs available initially.

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Officially announced on October 2011, anticipation for the game spread like wildfire, before it finally released on September 17 in 2013.

Impact

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Yet another smash hit for Rockstar, GTA V opened to rave reviews all around the world. Scores were through the roof, with our review calling it “an evolution of all their previous work, all combined into one sandbox experience on a massive scale”. IGN called the game “one of the very best video games ever made”, while Edge wrote that it was a “remarkable achievement” in open world design and storytelling.

Sales

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24 hours after release, and GTA V had already made over $800 million worldwide with an estimated 11.21 million copies sold, nearly double what analysts were predicting at the time. Three days after release, game sales passed the $1 billion mark, setting a record for the fastest-selling entertainment product in history.

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After six weeks, over 29 million copies of the game had been shipped to retailers on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 formats, with GTA V becoming the best selling game of all time on the PS3. As of August 2014, the game had sold-in over 34 million units to retailers for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. As of May 2014, the game had generated over $1.98 billion in revenue, shipping over 45 million copies to retailers as of 31 December 2014.

But the best was yet to come, as a new and improved version of GTA V would arrive on newer consoles, before finally landing on the promised LAN of the PC platform…

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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