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Published July 12, 2013

The Grand Theft Auto V hype train shifted to top gear yesterday as developers Rockstar finally released the first official gameplay trailer for the long-awaited instalment in the much loved series. It mainly showed off elements from the single-player campaign, adding to the plethora of screenshots already teased and confirming that this may well be a title with enough depth that could be played for a decade.

Although multi-player was only teased, the details coming out from the game have already worked me up into a frenzy of excitement and ideas about how to spend hours online in San Andreas. In comparison GTA IV already looks amazingly limited in terms of activities possibly and little nuggets of fun dotted around the virtual world and that was a simply superb online experience with a few friends; the fact that V seems to improve on so much makes me more hyped about this game than I have for any in a long long time. Sandbox games are at their best when players can ignore missions and objectives and create the fun themselves and here are some things I can’t wait to do online.

Compete in the Tour de San Andreas

GTA V cycling

The return of cycling is a feature that has been confirmed for a while now but it was the two second tease in the trailer that has really got me thinking about its online capabilities. It is clear that there will be a cycling races in single player, it only makes sense to involve it with 15 other people online. Rather than selecting a pre-determined race from the menus (which, I’m sure, will be an option for players) the most fun here will come from plotting a route across the vast game yourselves before setting off, weaving in and out of traffic as you go. With the epic size of the map, these races could even be split into stages for the proper cycling enthusiasts looking to best recreate the sport in the game.

Hunting for the inevitable mythic sea monster

Looks legit. Lets get hunting!

 San Andreas turned many players into amateur crypto-zoologists as internet-based rumours of a Bigfoot existing in the country side emerged. Of course the rumours were false but that didn’t stop it gaining enough interest to make many curious gamers search for hours in vain and it even inspired a mission in Read-Dead Redemption’s expansion Undead Nightmare.

Although it size and depth of the sea is yet to be confirmed, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rockstar pay homage to the monster-hunting myth and plant some form of Lock monster, sea man, kraken or mermaid in a nook or cranny of the underwater world. Even if they don’t you could be your bottom dollar photoshop wizards from across the internet will claim sightings, sparking another great monster hunt. Doing the hunt online will not only cut the time needed to search every square-inch of the ocean floor, it will also give gamers someone to talk to as they fruitlessly waste hours of their lives searching in vain.

Rooftop sniper wars

We'd like to do this online, please.
We’d like to do this online, please.

Despite being set in a city based on Ney York, GTA IV failed to take full-advantage of the concrete jungle. Sure, players were able to grab helicopters and fly on top of Sky-scrapers but few had helipads and most had high walls blocking the views of other builders. The teaser for multi-player in the gameplay trailer showed the player not only high up a sky-scraper but inside it, watching the rest of the action unfold beneath. Although few details are confirmed,  it certainly indicates an added level of detail to the skyscrapers rather than just being rather bland elevated platforms.

The single-player footage of a heist showed buildings are certainly within sniping distance of each other, so if many are have multiple floors that are accessible it could lead to some seriously fun sniping wars. Each player picks a building and is free to travel from floor to floor, having to balance between staying still to get off the shots with keeping on the move to avoid being hit.

Playing sport

You may have just shot me in the face but you can't match my serve.
You may have just shot me in the face but you can’t match my serve.

Fingers crossed the mini-games and activities shown for the single-player game make the jump across to online – they could well be good enough to be considered games in their own rights. Rockstar showed themselves fully capable of releasing a good sports game when they made table tennis not only a viable but a genuinely fun game; if the minigames for GTA 5 are even half as fun they could prove to be much more significant diversions than bowling and darts were in IV. Chaos and mayhem are all well and fun but these mini-games could prove to be a welcome change in pace when playing in free-roam. Let’s just hope that annoying 13-year-old kid that has been attempted to ‘troll’ you all afternoon isn’t able to access the tennis court with his RPG…

Easter egg hunting

A Redditor wants to know what is in this shed. So do I.

If there is one thing that really pushes a sandbox game from great to amazing, it is exploration. GTA IV was a masterpiece in gaming but the cityscape felt a bit limited when it came to finding little treats and titbits dotted around the world. Now the expansive world of GTA 5, which combines both city and rural landscapes in a scale not yet seen in a Rockstar game, is one that just invites gamers to hunt around.

Of course now with planes and parachutes, a feature Rockstar were compelled to add into DLC of GTA IV after its absence from the main game, getting around the world to search for hidden joys is a lot easier. Imagine one player flying the plane/helicopter as everyone else gets in the back, parachutes at the ready, before they jump out one by one to different corners of the map in the hopes of stumbling across something new.

So what are you looking forward to doing online in GTA V? Is it something in the free roam? What game modes are you hoping for? Let us know in the comments below!

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