What we want to see in Grand Theft Auto V
We know that Grand Theft Auto V's anti-hero is a father who relocates to San Andreas' Los Santos, and we can guess at themes of economic depression from the trailer. That's it. In its typically coy fashion, Rockstar is only serving nibbles of information - appetizers to makes us salivate over the imagined deliciousness of the main course.
As usual, it's working. GTA III's ground-breaking polygons and GTA IV's heightened fidelity give us reason to expect a big jump ahead for the series' next numbered game, but our famished dinner party can only speculate. Here's what we're hoping for while we wait for Rockstar to stop teasing us with amuse-bouche.
The GTA V trailer is never ugly, but how much better could it look while still running smoothly on high-end PCs? Based on what modders have achieved with GTA IV, we think it could be pushed further. The GTA IV iCEnhancer mod is very pretty. That stylistic result may not align with Rockstar's vision, but we at least want high-res textures and the option to slide up the draw distance until our machines smolder.
Also crucial are dramatically increased pedestrian and traffic counts, as mods did for GTA IV.
...And all the other PC-specific features we want
Save. Anywhere. Please. Restarting missions from the beginning doesn't make the game more fun.
On the topic of repetition, we'll probably be doing a lot of shooting, so give us third-person shooting that feels right with a mouse. Mass Effect 3 and Max Payne 3 have the advantage of tightly-scripted, forward-directed action, but they execute some fundamentals that GTA could do with more of. A more intelligent camera, maybe?
We do at least expect that GTA V will throw out Games for Windows Live and replace it with Rockstar Social Club, and we at least hope the networking is improved. More of the excellent sandbox multiplayer mode with less hideous networking? Yes, please. Also probable is mod support (why stop now?). It's a must, or else how will horses take it to the limit?
A world beyond the city limits
The recent screenshot dump confirms this desire, but just for the record: we want to cruise on the highway outside city limits, as we did in San Andreas.
And, if Los Santos is the only initial city, make it big. According to a supposed ex-Rockstar employee, the map is five times larger than GTA IV's, and the city of Los Santos covers just under half of it. If that's the case, there should be plenty of space to fly jets around. We'd also be happy to see San Andreas' other two cities, Fierro and Venturas, return as expansion-sized DLC.
Non-linear missions and important decisions
Why are missions in gaming’s leading open-world franchise so damn linear? How about Deus Ex style missions with multiple paths to victory? And while you’re at it, why not let player decisions affect the story? Moral agency can go further than one canned kill-or-don't mission for every 20 hours of required despicable behavior.
And if not, at least offer a story which isn't 70 hours of CSI: New York-level writing, and unlock the entire world from the start, so we can experience it without first doing prerequisite odd jobs. If we choose to dodge the story for a while, we could also use more intricate side-missions and activities. Chauffeuring an endless cycle of idiots with taxis and random vigilantism got stale after a while.
Greater freedom and fidelity
How about this: start your own Breaking Bad-esque drug empire separate from the main story. Manage supply, distribution, and fight rival dealers for territory, just for the hell of it. You'd need something much more closely approaching a simulated economy, too. No more “being a poor immigrant who has $289,000 in their wallet." That would be amazing.
But even if it isn't taken that far, at least expand on GTA IV's player agency. Riding in the backseat of a cab through Liberty City's bustling streets was one of GTA IV's most singular pleasures. Have more public transport options in GTA V, both for the scenic relaxation and to give real choice over whether to steal cars or be a good guy.
What do you want to see in GTA V?
Those are our broad GTA V wants, but there's much more we'd like to see. Share your own deepest desires in the comments and we'll compile a list to literally pin to Rockstar's door. Well, not literally. That kind of thing is generally reserved theology-related protests and can cause restraining orders.