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.
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
|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.
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.
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
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.
|Gangs will first establish the turf by hanging there, and then eventually officially tagging the area.|
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
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
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.
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
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
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...