And while the mode doesn’t have the “V” in its title, it is launching for all players who buy the game a two weeks after launch, perhaps to give players enough time to complete the main story and master the controls and learn the environments.
GTA Online is a rather simple idea, that’s grand in scope. Up to 16 players can play on the same map of the main game – a far cry from any sort of MMO some players thought may be introduced. The kicker is that the world will continually expand and evolve with new content by Rockstar post-launch. With how many years there usually are between GTA installments, this means a lot of content should be expected.
The mode is free to all purchasers of Grand Theft Auto V but it doesn’t go live until October 1st, two weeks after the game’s launch.
Update: Added new screenshots below. Click for full-size.
The real fun will come not only from playing with friends but from customization. Since it is an online shared world, players can create and customize their own character, using money to buy additional options and upgrades. The same goes for cars and weapons. Players can even have their own garage to house their own collection and personal apartment to house their friends.
While this is a mode we’re going to jump all over, we are curious about how it’s being implemented. The “crews” in Max Payne 3 didn’t really take off or encourage us to continue playing and the ‘posse’ system in Red Dead Redemption was a big letdown as well.
With only 16 players sharing the same giant, persistent world, it’s possible to drive around and complete missions without even seeing them. The video intro to Grand Theft Auto Online fails to show what will force players together for events, or even if it does. Is it up to players to only play with friends and organize themselves? Would players ever really “hang out” in an apartment if they’re strangers? Who would drive around town showing off their custom car to NPCs?
Campaign videos for the candidates running for Governor in Grand Theft Auto V:
While the online social aspects haven’t been detailed quite yet, players playing with friends may find one of the best co-op experiences of the year in GTAV, especially when they can work together to complete missions and other neat activities – a few of which can be seen in the video up top.
There are many question marks surrounding how Grand Theft Auto Online will continue to grow post-launch, how different 16-player servers will work, skill progression and organizing multiplayer events, but Rockstar’s first attempt at creating a persistent world is exciting and noteworthy, even if odd that the “online world” has only 16 non-NPC people in it. Grand Theft Auto IV supported 32 players on PC, although those were for specific multiplayer modes and not an online world.
Ready to steal some cars… away from other players? Is it strange time to introduce an online world on the PS3 and Xbox 360 when the next-gen consoles are releasing within two-three months of the game? Where’s the PC version?
Grand Theft Auto 5 will be available worldwide on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 17.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.