After a decade of asking for it, Rockstar Games seems to have finally delivered on a Grand Theft Auto MMO with GTA V Online. Rockstar has  transferred the freedom of an open world game into something as traditionally stringent as multiplayer. You and your friends can finally team up and virtually perform your sociopathic dreams of being a professional criminal. So what’s new?

  • Story is an actual element in multiplayer. This includes cutscenes with fully voiced characters. It remains to be seen if you’re player character will be fully voiced acted, but seems unlikely.
  • A persistent world, i.e. the game world continues to exist even after you log out.
  • This is a living and shared space where many other players will be out performing their daily crimes as you do yours.
  • The posse like system from Red Dead Redemption returns with the ability to band together and form a “crew” to rob liquor stores and even perform full fledged bank heists.
  • Money from “jobs” can be used to purchase and customize looks, weapons, vehicles, even a parking garage, and probably most excitingly buying an apartment where you can socialize with your fellow gang members.
  • There’s the expected array of multiplayer dishes: deathmatch, races (by land, air, and sea this time), etc. But Rockstar has also thrown in a custom editor for these modes, allowing players to continually add new content.
  • Then there’s this. Yeah.

It appears that the painstakingly detailed world that Rockstar has suffered the last five years developing and its merger with multiplayer may finally have enough innovation and incentive to keep players committing virtual felonies long into the next generation. With the inclusion of GTA Online, Rockstar’s sequel is looking like a bigger endeavor than we could have imagined and I’m certain that what they’ve shown is only a limited view of the Los Santos gamescape. Now to figure out our fascination with the fantasy of a life a of crime . . . but we’ll leave that till the game releases September 17th.

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