I got a lot of heat from a number of Grand Theft Auto V fans when I previously stated that the GTA V reveal trailer left me dissatisfied. A lot of these fans also made sure to air their disapproval just because my opinion didn't exactly match up with theirs. Ultimately, I stand by what I said, but that doesn't mean I don't want GTA V to succeed. I want Rockstar's next open world action-adventure game to deliver, and I want it to deliver in a big way.
Looking back at everything the series has to offer, I can't help but think about the myriad elements I hope to see in the upcoming GTA V. While the series has certainly gone in a more serious direction, there are still a lot of things I would love Rockstar to incorporate into the title, all the while retaining that GTA feel that the series is known for.
A Main Character We Can Care About
Some people loved Niko Bellic, others hated him. I wouldn't say I detested the protagonist of GTA IV, but I certainly didn't care about him. What I want is a strong main character that we can all care about. Vice City's Tommy Vercetti was a likeable guy, but Carl Johnson from San Andreas has always seemed to me like the realest character in the GTA series. CJ had fears, doubts, hopes, and dreams. He was easier to relate to than other characters in the series, and he evoked empathy in the player.
Personally, I would really like to see another character like CJ. You couldn't help but root for the guy, and everything he did seemed justified. As far as GTA protagonists go, CJ was easily one of the most interesting, if not the most. Here's hoping we get another character that we can care about wholeheartedly.
A Strong, Rewarding Plot
Every great character should star in a game with a great story, and GTA V should pose a strong emphasis on narrative. I'm compelled to bring up San Andreas again, because that game's story was so captivating. GTA V should give us a great character that we'll remember for a long time. I really hope the game delivers a plot full of twists, turns, feel-good moments, WTF moments, and strong character development. Let's hope Rockstar puts a character we care about in a situation that really makes us care about him, let's us get to know him, and see how he changes from start to finish.
Nods at GTA: San Andreas
We all saw the Vinewood sign. It looks like we're going back to Los Santos! While we're there, it would be really cool to discover some references to San Andreas. Rockstar is known for its awesome references to past titles, and I really hope the tradition stays alive in GTA V. But I want the tradition to stay alive in a different manner. Rather than seeing action figures or "wanted" posters with the faces of past characters, I want some lore. The Grove Street Families, characters from San Andreas, and events from that game are all things I would like to see mentioned in GTA V.
The subtle references are cool, but a few historical nods pertaining to the world of Los Santos would be awesome. Hell, maybe we can see CJ pop up in a mission or two. Or maybe The Truth can make a minor return. The possibilities are endless, and with a universe as grand as that of GTA's, there are a number of different directions that Rockstar can take their usual round of referencing in.
Light Yet Important RPG Elements
I like knowing that my character is changing as I progress through a game. It makes me feel as though everything I do is helping make him or her stronger and better. In San Andreas, CJ could gain muscle, increase his stamina, and get stronger depending on the activities you engaged in. Eat too much fast food, and your character began showing signs of weight gain. Lift weights, ride a bike, and run around, and your merry gang member displayed a physically fit physique. It was interesting seeing how your behavior in the game could affect your character, and this is something that Rockstar should definitely consider with GTA V.
I hate to bring up Saints Row: The Third because a lot of you get so pissed at me for doing so, but I can't help it. One of the things I loved most about that game was the leveling system. Everything you did–from stealing cars to completing missions to engaging in hand-to-hand combat–awarded you Respect. The more Respect you earned, the more abilities you unlocked to customize your character. You could then increase your guns' clip size, you could speed up your reload rate, you could give your character a health boost, and you could do plenty of other things. The leveling system in Saints Row: The Third was important, and it played a big role in the game, but it wasn't a chore. Something similar in GTA V could go a long way in adding to the game's interactivity.
How About a Flying Motorcycle?