GTA V’s first gameplay trailer showed us something that had been long rumoured, multiple protagonists. Michael, Franklin and everyone’s clear favourite Trevor. Michael is a family man who in a former life passed the time but knocking over banks, in the robbing sense, not in the Incredible Hulk sense. Now his life is filled with a underachieving son, a know it all daughter and a wife who likes to argue. Franklin is a kid, by the standards of his cohorts, from the wrong side of the tracks, growing up in the gang culture life he now wants out and to move onto bigger and better things. Trevor is your, stereotypical, run of the mill modern hillbilly, but rather than brewing up moonshine in his back shed, times have moved on, booze is now replaced by meth.
In the most recent gameplay trailer we were given some impressive views of the sprawling city, Los Santos, and given some indications of how we, as the player, were going to traverse it. Single player was the main thrust of the 5 minute video, mechanics and concepts were shown to whet the appetites of all. In the final moments of the video we were shown the scope of the multiplayer, a mere tease of what is to come. Stood at the window of a skyscraper we saw players driving cars on street below, then more players heading the opposite direction before a plane finally shoots past with a player inside. The amount of players and the amount of tasks being done at once was something to be admired and anticipated.
We have been told we will hear more about multiplayer at a later date, but will it just be competitive or will there be co-op missions? Every article I have seen with comments and all over twitter people have been talking about the potential for co-op to be introduced to the main story. With three main characters all existing at once in this world, as the Google Map character jump shows, does this mean that there could be three players at once going around the single player game and joining up to play missions?
There are so many pro’s and con’s to this idea. The first is flow and immersion; with the lack of AI influence in levels and with the lack of control of players it does mean there are chances for the single player experience to be ruined by a ‘friend’ going lone wolf non stop or deciding it’s funnier to crash a helicopter rather than play the game. GTA has always left it up to the player, they allow the gamer to choose the cars to get around town and sometimes what tact to take whilst completing a task, accounting for one wildcard is hard enough for Rockstar, there’s every chance that three players doing different things could just break the story.
The single player game is set up to be a series of heists escalating in difficulty and balls out confidence, the trailer made a point out of the fact you can play the missions how you want. Stealth: pump gas into the jewellery store you’re robbing or Guns: all blazing at anything that moves. Doing it your way may differ from another players and ruin immersion as you are no longer choosing your own fate.
Because of the heist make up of the game the levels can easily be transposed to a multiplayer setting. In this scenario it would be the same locations and objectives but the player’s main campaign is held separately. The problem is that even though the multiplayer game would have all the same aspects as the main game it will still be considered as a side element, people want it integrated and potentially for all the right reasons. Co-op has always been my go to multiplayer, I’m not a competitive person and, if I’m honest, there is something so good about experiencing a good story or game with another person, having them go through the same set ups as you means it isn’t such a lonely experience.
GTA IV’s co-op missions are some of the best multiplayer I’ve experienced. Hooking up with 3 friends on headsets and then planning and failing at a mission repeatedly was perfection in multiplayer. The long sections of GTA IV where you need to drive from one island to another can sometimes be a slog, with friends arguing over who drives and then mocking the driver relentlessly never got old. God forbid anyone even clip another car let alone crash, if that unfortunate situation arose the only inevitable course of actions was to ridicule them until they handed the steering wheel over to someone more capable.
As it stands we don’t actually know that much about GTA V, despite hypothetical articles like this, actual fact is few and far between. The heists seem like the thrust of the game and presuming the 3 players are available from the start it seems logical that co-op could be slotted into it. We’ve had some good heist games come out in recent years, obviously the GTA IV example above but also Payday: The Heist and its soon to be born sequel. Gamers are screaming for co-op but I fear that the game would lose structure and direction without it being focused on single player. I play games just because they have co-op, I am one of the many wanting it in GTA V, but that doesn’t allay the worry. Hopefully if well-integrated into the actual multiplayer, GTA WORLD, then there is a chance that it will satisfy the majority.