Today Rockstar Games unveiled the core details of its new multiplayer service, and boy it’s a doozy. Like the gameplay trailer that came out a month ago, a lot of information is divulged in a short amount of time so let’s get right to it:
“A persistent and continually expanding world” is the mission statement of Grand Theft Auto Online. In it, up to 16 players can run amok in Los Santos, engaging in a ridiculous amount of activities that include the expected things – ‘classic online modes’ (We’re guessing team deathmatch type stuff), racing, recreational sports and random acts of violence – but also what appear to be more scripted missions similar to those featured in the single-player game. These ‘jobs’ reward the player with cash which can be used to customize characters, vehicles and weapons or homes and garages to keep some of the fancy cars, planes, boats (and telescopes?!) amassed over time. It’s basically a whole separate version of Grand Theft Auto V you can play with 15 of your friends.
What’s more, the trailer promises that Rockstar will be dedicating itself to adding more and more content to the multiplayer over time and, on top of that, a content creator is built-in to allow players to custom build their own deathmatch arenas and vehicle races. In short, GTA Online is designed to keep expanding long after its release.
A wonderful Redditor who goes by the username /u/ColdPhone compiled a list of additional details on GTAO from CVG’s impressions of a 50-minute off-hand preview:
- Characters from GTA V will appear in GTA Online
- GTA Online will not always be limited to Los Santos; additional locations are in the works
- CVG says you can do anything in GTA Online that you can do in GTA V. They list the following: heists, co-op missions, gang attacks, death matches, impromptu deathmatch, races, tennis, golf, base jumping, shooting range, ambient events (hold ups of stores, armored van robberies, crate drops, import/export missions involving car theft, bounties that you can set on other players and people can claim), betting
- If you are killed while holding money (CVG says 1million as an example) you will lose a large portion of it, and others can steal it. Use banks to keep money safe
- An in-game smartphone can call your friends whether they are in GTA Online or GTA V. You can also use this to set waypoints for your friends. While using the phone, your avatar moves their lips with yours.
- While you are driving, you can choose to grant someone else permission over the radio
- In-game AI will respond to how aggressive you are on your mic (as in, if you’re shouting during a robbery, the AI will react and speed up/become more frightened)
- Whoever sets up a heist decides who gets what cut of the final money when that money is obtained
- Garages range from two car ports to 10 car ports
- Cars can have retractable roofs controlled by the player
- Missions can be accessed by physical markers or through a quickmatch sort of menu
- User-made missions can be favorited and rated
- You can assign other players certain roles in missions based on the particular abilities they have leveled up
- You can share cash and ammunition with other players
- There are stealth kill animations, possibly with a knife. The game tracks the amount of noise your character is making, and the AI will respond accordingly
- You can steal physical items. During the demo, a mission was done in which a bike warehouse was robbed. The bikes had to be transported out in a large truck
- “RP” are the points you get to level up your character
- You can use physical gestures, such as flipping the bird
- All of your info/communications in the game appear in the “Feed.” Rockstar mentioned this as a sort of Twitter for GTA Online
- You can purchase insurance for your car. By insuring your vehicle, if it gets destroyed or stolen, you can have it replaced by paying a small premium
- Police helicopters have cameras mounted to the front of them. In real-time, you can watch on live TV (on the news channel in your apartment) players with a high wanted level being chased by the police. There are additional channels with programs such as a crime noir show
- Heists can have up to 20 different components. A heist is mentioned where a Titan (largest aircraft) is guarded by “Maryweather” (sp?). The Titan is indeed a flyable aircraft
- There is a heli-pad on the roof of (at least) the largest AmmuNation and the store can also be accessed from there
- Off the west coast of Los Santos, there is an another island with lots of buildings. This has not been seen before, but the folks at CVG saw it from afar
- There is a “passive” mode where you cannot shoot or be shot
- Your online world will always be populated with by 16 human players. You can still have friends in the game with you, but the other slots will fill up with random people around the same reputation level, as well
Some of these details, like AI reacting to your voice on-mic, sound like major gameplay breakthroughs, while others, like car insurance, are smaller elements that altogether deepen the experience considerably. This is not tacked-on multiplayer or a companion piece to the main game. GTA Online is a stand-alone, immersive world-building exercise that happens to be centered around one of the most entertaining video game franchises of all time.
Grand Theft Auto Online goes live October 1st, 2013 and access comes free with retail copies of GTA V.