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What's next for Grand Theft Auto after

A GTANet.com Original Presentation

It's the summer of 2004 and we're on the hinges of a new Grand Theft Auto title -- all that's needed is the screws to put the proverbial door in place really, which will come in the fall, and then we'll be playing to our heart's delight!

The question that is ultimately inevitable: what next?

But then there's the question... the question that, probably wont be widely asked immediately after the game's release, but that is ultimately inevitable: what next? Well, this article is here to answer that with the obvious, the not so obvious, and the probably technologically impossible. But hey, imagination never hurt anybody.

Crime Online

Shortly after the release of "Vice City" rumors started about the specifics of what the next title would be. The name "Crime Online" surfaced somewhere through the confusion that internet gaming sites often provide, but traces of its existence quickly subsided along with a fan site of the same name, to forever be lost in the annals of time.

I'm here to bring it back though, except I'm going to detail exactly how such a title would be if the mastermind behind its production was none other than... well, me. My concept is as follows: Crime Online is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) with its roots in different cities rife with crime and all around grit. You must control your custom player in real time through a city filled with other players like yourself... you must climb the ladder.

I'm going to detail exactly how such a Crime Online would be if the mastermind behind its production was me.

Details, anyone? You tear open the box and install the game onto your computer. You start by creating your person. You start with a name. There is an extensive list of common first names, as well as a long list of surnames. Want a name not on the list? Technology prevails. Through the latest advances in PC gaming, you can come up with your own name and through advanced phonetics understanding the game will be able to pronounce your name properly.

After that it is time to put a face and a body to the name. In a system similar to the latest Tiger Wood's title or the one in "Fight Night 2004", you choose all the characteristics of your face, hair, body type, skin tone, height, weight, etc. Then it's time to pick up the cheapest outfit available on the streets as you're only started with $1000.00 and that wont last you very long in the city. More on clothes later.

The game will be able to pronounce your name properly.

Now you need a voice. Through the implementation of an in-game interface, you will be able to type commands for speech while playing. There will be a substantial amount of different voice types to choose from though their vocabulary, understandably, is limited to some simple/moderate sentencing. However, during gameplay the cat will very rarely have your tongue. A thesaurus is implemented in the game's system and if a word or phrase isn't recorded it will quickly come up with a similar match. Impressive technology.

After this, you'll need to start in the city. From the game's release there will only be one major city open (though more will be added in expansion packs and through patches as time passes), but it will definitely be enough to keep your interest. From the beginning you need to decide which path you will choose to take: good or evil. If you choose evil you have to make a quick start and watch your back at the same time. An up and coming thug might make his start by knocking over a gas station or holding up a small bank. As time goes by and when he gets better and starts to add points to his stats, he will need to make a definitive choice... go Lone Ranger or join a gang.

A productive beginning [to a law enforcement career] is busting some low life common thugs vigilante-style during a two-bit robbery.

After a few successful solo jobs you should have gangs and crews alike knocking on your door for recruitment. This is the suggested route, most gangs will kill you for making profit on their grounds if you're alone. The only real way to go solo is by becoming a hitman -- which is a service to the gangs, so you'd be forgiven. Even this is very dangerous though.

However, if you choose the path of good then you will need to make an equally dangerous start. (If you haven't figured out already, there are no programmed NP-cops in Crime Online). A productive beginning is busting some low life common thugs vigilante-style during a two-bit robbery. Get the scouts to notice you. After that it's to the police academy you go. Not only will you get extensive and useful training there, but you will get many points added to your stats. This is an advantage of authorities, while criminals might beat the police in numbers, the good guys definitely have the upper hand when it comes to skill. That being said, it wont take too long to be in blue and driving a painted Crown Victoria with sirens on it. If you're good enough you can even graduate to the SWAT!

If you choose the path of good, you can even graduate to the SWAT!

Let's talk a bit more about your character and get one thing settled from the start... you can die. And I don't mean die and then two seconds later you're healthy and fresh from a hospital, only a few dollars extracted from your funds. I mean, you can die totally. It's hard though, so don't panic. In the beginning it's easier to die, which is convenient because it's a lot harder to die when you've been upping your player's stats for months. Here's how it works:

You're a common thug and you're on the way to your first petty job robbing a convenience store. One problem, the clerk has a powerful shotgun behind the counter and shoots you in the face, close-range. You die instantly and have to start over (hopefully you saved your attributes and custom looks before you started an actual game, the only thing you'll have to change is your name luckily). Let's go over the reasons you died... one, it was a shotgun and it was triggered to go off in your face, and two you have no money for a highly expensive head operation. Now lets alter the situation a bit... the clerk has a small Smith and Wesson pistol and shoots you in the belly. You're taken to the hospital and are forced to blow all your money and your designer duds on an operation for your stomach.

As a character becomes exceedingly successful more of the "little people" will start appearing around them as guards and such... that will make someone think twice before trying to do a hit on someone of such stature, after all -- it'd be virtual suicide.

However, a Mafia chieftain, for example, might very well get shot in the head with that same Smith and Wesson... and survive after an expensive operation. Not only does he survive because he's got money, but also because after playing so long such a character has had their health threshold and their recovery stats worked up so extensively, where a virtual n00b has not. But even chieftain's got to die... after a certain amount of operations and life recoveries their cyber-bodies just can't take it anymore and run out of gas. Lets limit comebacks to twenty for advanced players. After all, not only is it hard to physically kill an advanced player, but it's harder to get to them. As a character gets more and more successful more of the "little people" will be around them guarding them and pampering them and such... that will make someone think twice before trying to do a hit on someone of such stature, after all -- it'd be virtual suicide.

As far as missions go, they will create themselves due to the nature of the game.

All this crime stuff too much for you? Open a business and be a civilian! In addition to NPC peds, actual players will have the chance to become one as well. Since the dietary system from "San Andreas" has been brought back player's got to eat... so a restaurant would be a perfect legit business for someone too nervous for a life of crime. And since most people will opt for some sort of path that involves violence, the market wont be saturated with the same restaurants over and over again. However, rent or land for your business costs money too... so as Balzac has said, "Behind every great fortune there is a crime."

As far as missions go, they will create themselves due to the nature of the game. In order for gangs to make their money they will have to engage in racketeering activities such as prostitution, loansharking, numbers, shaking down businesses, and so forth. With that comes greed from within gangs and from rival gangs, and with that comes violence and bosses (real players, mind you) commanding gangsters in their crew to complete personal tasks. It's a very clever system to which no coding work was needed at all.

In addition to what gangs will do, they control turf and largely how an area looks and feels. The game will evolve to its surroundings... if a majority of the businesses in the area are porn shops and if the streets are rife with hookers and shootings, the atmosphere and cosmetics of that area will naturally erode for a full effect. Likewise, if an area is rich and low-crime, the look will be charming. Back on turf... gangs will

Gangs will first establish the turf by hanging there, and then eventually officially tagging the area.
first establish turf by hanging there, doing business there, and then officially tagging the area. The city map in the game's pause interface will accurately show an area according to its gang association... if the Diablos inhabit largely one area then it will be known to the masses through great technology, each Diablos member would be represented through a tiny red blip. Therefore such a map would accurately show concentrations of a certain gang in a certain area and where their influence starts to fade. Rival gangs can move in on territory by increments through the movement of a gang war.

Lets talk about how gangs will for shall we? Firstly, there are three different syndicate classifications: crew, gang, or family. To start a crew you must have at least a few people to go along with your plans before you go publicly acting as a crew, or else a bigger crew will instinctively try and squash you for fear of losing business to you. This is also why it is essential to choose the people who you allow in on your plans carefully, as they might rat to another gang for profit.

While criminal organizations are powerful when dealt with in large numbers, a gang with fewer members might have the upper hand if their stats are more advanced than their adversaries.

Gang classification is hit when your crew surpasses 60 members. Whole gangs are pretty difficult to exterminate and disassemble, but is possible with a powerful crew or another gang. Families are defined after the 120 mark is reached. It is impossible to get rid of an entire family, unless it is attempted by a much larger and more powerful family -- and even then it is very difficult.

While criminal organizations are powerful when dealt with in large numbers, a gang with fewer members might have the upper hand if their stats are more advanced than their adversaries. Stats will be added to your character as long as you go. Your bullets will be come more effective with your aiming more dead-on, your health will be greater and your HP much higher, even your social skills will benefit at some point.

Crime syndicates are kept under control though, despite what stats are added up among gang members, and after a family has so many members things will inevitably get sloppy, police and SWAT forces will buckle down, and the problem will be contained.

Crime Online is the gift that keeps giving. Everything will be updated through either patches or expansion packs. All in all, Crime Online would be a great candidate for the next title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

As you can tell, Crime Online is a helluva game. It is also the gift that keeps giving. Everything will be updated through either patches or expansion packs. The things that will be updated through patches would be things like vocabulary enlargements, more clothing and accessory options, custom parts for cars, fronts and possibilities for legitimate businesses, and more. Things that would come available through store-bought expansion packs would be whole cities or states, additional voices, new buildings or added suburbs to urban areas, new and more powerful weapons, as well as new car models.

All in all, Crime Online would be one impressive gem of a game and a great candidate for the next title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. But lets be realistic, we wont be seeing anything of this caliber for quite some time. Maybe a toned down version, though... well... wait... not so fast. Isn't that what we all said to the thought of an entire state and all the new features in "San Andreas"... before they were confirmed? Food for thought.

On the next part of this "What's Next for Grand Theft Auto?" series, we explore the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto in the realities of Europe, and the not-so-realities of Virtual Reality...

Canofceleri

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