The upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Grand Theft Auto V won't just include new content for new and returning players to dig into. While that, combined with the improved visuals and bigger multiplayer were probably enough to entice many to make the return trip, Rockstar has implemented an entirely new feature for the upcoming version, which is sure to push people over the edge into "well, I guess I really need to get this again" territory.
And that new feature is the once rumored first-person mode.
Would the addition of a new perspective actually change how you play Grand Theft Auto V or is it just a gimmick? According to IGN who previewed the new mode, it's a change that not only offers a new way to play, but a new way to see and interactive with every part of the world. Take a simple walk down the sidewalk, and you may now notice the subtle reactions the NPC make as you walk by. Supposedly, little details like characters glancing at you have always been in the game, but it becomes far more noticeable in first-person mode.
Unsurprisingly, development of the new mode was made possible because of the new consoles (and PC) and the power they offer. With development time representing a huge factor, implementing the new mode was much more complex that just taking the pre-existing camera and moving it to the characters' eye-level. And with Rockstar being, well, Rockstar, you either do it right or not at all.
As Rob Nelson, animation director on GTA V, explains:
"You have to change pretty much everything. I mean, if you want to do it right. We have a very solid third-person animation system, but you don’t just put the camera down there and expect to see the guns, aim, and shoot.
All those animations are new when you switch to first-person, because it all has to be animated to the camera, to make it feel like a proper first-person experience that I think people would expect. All the timings have to be re-evaluated."
Making sure the three protagonists continue to feel unique was another point of concern for Rockstar. In third-person, where you're looking down at them, you can clearly see who you're playing as and what's going on around them but that's not as easy to replicate in first-person. So the studio adjusted the animations to fit the new mode: Franklin, Michael and Trevor all have their own idle animations (and probably different hand models), and if a character is speaking to you when you look over at them, you'll see they're looking back at you, making eye-contact.
"This is new territory for us. We wanted as much as possible to retain a sense of character, whatever character you’re playing. Whether that’s little fidget or hearing them speak."
Until GTA V releases, our best look at the new first-person mode will come from the new trailer showing it off. Needless to say (but here goes) it's very impressive. Has this new feature made the game a guaranteed purchase for some of you? How about heists in first-person?
Grand Theft Auto V comes to PS4 and Xbox One on November 18, 2014; PC on January 27, 2015.