Following a steady flow of Grand Theft Auto 5 rumors that date back to November 2009, Rockstar Games finally announced the sequel in 2011 in a countdown tease to the first official GTA 5 trailer. Given the scope of a Grand Theft Auto title (not to mention the usual marketing run-up), most gamers expected to get their hands on the game sometime in 2012 – only to see the project delayed far into 2013.
In the meantime, Rockstar battened down the hatches and refrained from revealing spoilers for the Grand Theft Auto follow-up – causing many gamers to wonder what secrets the studio might be hiding. However, now that the developer has set a firm September 17th 2013 release date, we’re beginning to see another wave of PR materials coming down the pipeline. Today, we’re getting a sneak peek at the diverse and massive environments that make-up the Los Santos sandbox.
After prior screenshots provided a closer look at Grand Theft Auto 5‘s main protagonists – not to mention everything from fighter jets to shark-infested waters – the latest batch of images is focused on selling the scale of the setting. Upon release, Grand Theft Auto 4‘s Liberty City was easily one of the impressive and intricate open-world environments ever created in a video game. An energetic, living, breathing replica of New York City, Liberty City was an enormous and highly-detailed sandbox for gamers to explore and destroy – right down to painstaking details that copied or riffed-on real-life neighborhood locales. However, since the game’s release in 2008, developers (Rockstar Games included) have significantly upped the ante for sandbox action games – Assassin’s Creed 3, Saints Row: The Third, L.A. Noire, and Red Dead Redemption to name a few.
In Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games appears to be taking a page from their western-inspired critical and commercial RDR hit – with an enormous sandbox set to include a variety of locales: a remote mountain pass, lively boardwalk amusement park, and even underwater scuba exploration.
Check out the images below (click to enlarge):
The images don’t provide additional insight into the core plot or characters (that’s why we have the Grand Theft Auto 5 story trailer) but, instead, place the city (and surrounding areas) of Los Santos front and center. Without a doubt, the Grand Theft Auto series is known for its crazy storyline and loony batch of antiheroes (and stone-cold villains) but most players will agree that the “make your own fun” aspect of the title is what keeps them coming back – trying to create enough pandemonium for a 5 Star “Wanted” level or cruising the darkened streets for ladies of the night.
As a result, it’s encouraging to see that the studio intends to deliver a bigger and more diverse playpen in their next GTA follow-up. Rockstar Games co-founder, and GTA 5 co-writer, once described Los Santos as “larger than life” and we’ll have to wait until the game releases to know for sure – but the new images certainly hint at the biggest (and possibly best) Grand Theft Auto experience to date.
Grand Theft Auto 5 releases September 17, 2012, for Xbox 360 and PS3.
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