Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, on 18 November 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on 14 April 2015 for Microsoft Windows. It is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series since 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player story follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas' open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles.
The game is played from either a third-person or first-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. Players control the three lead protagonists throughout single-player and switch between them both during and outside missions. The story is centred on the heist sequences, and many missions involve shooting and driving gameplay. A "wanted" system governs the aggression of law enforcement response to players who commit crimes. Grand Theft Auto Online, the online multiplayer mode, lets up to 30 players explore the open world and engage in cooperative or competitive game matches.
Development began soon after Grand Theft Auto IV's release and was shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide. The development team drew influence from many of their previous projects such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, and designed the game around three lead protagonists to innovate on the core structure of its predecessors. Much of the development work constituted the open world's creation, and several team members conducted field research around California to capture footage for the design team. The game's soundtrack features an original score composed by a team of producers who collaborated over several years.
Extensively marketed and widely anticipated, the game broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, earning US $800 million in its first day and US $1 billion in its first three days. It received widespread critical acclaim, with praise directed at its multiple protagonist design, open world, presentation and gameplay. However, it caused controversies related to its depiction of women and a mission featuring torture during a hostage interrogation. Considered one of seventh generation console gaming's most significant titles and among the best games ever made, it won year-end accolades including Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications. It has shipped over 80 million copies and is one of the best-selling video games of all time.
Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure game played from either a first-person[b] or third-person perspective. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. Outside the missions, players may freely roam the open world. Composed of the San Andreas open countryside area and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series.[c] It may be fully explored after the game's beginning without restriction, although story progress unlocks more gameplay content.Players may take cover behind objects during firefights to avoid taking damage from enemies.
Players use melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies,[d] and may run, jump, swim or use vehicles to navigate the world.[e] To accommodate the map's size, the game introduces vehicle types absent in its predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV, such as fixed-wing aircraft. In combat, auto-aim and a cover system may be used as assistance against enemies. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate to its halfway point.[f] Players respawn at hospitals when their health depletes. If players commit crimes, law enforcement agencies may respond as indicated by a "wanted" meter in the head-up display (HUD). Stars displayed on the meter indicate the current wanted level (for example, at the maximum five-star level, police helicopters and SWAT teams swarm to lethally dispatch players).[g] Law enforcement officers will search for players who leave the wanted vicinity. The meter enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes when players are hidden from the officers' line of sight that displays on the mini-map.[h]
The single-player mode lets players control three characters: Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips and Franklin Clinton—criminals whose stories interconnect as they complete missions. Some missions are completed with only one character and others feature two or three. Outside the missions, players may switch between characters at will by means of a directional compass on the HUD. The game may switch characters automatically during missions to complete certain objectives. A character's compass avatar will flash red if he is in danger and needs help, and flash white if he has a strategic advantage. Though players complete missions as any of the three protagonists, the more difficult heist missions require aid from AI-controlled accomplices with unique skill sets like computer hacking and driving. If an accomplice survives a successful heist, they take a cut from the cash reward and may be available for later missions with improvements to their unique skills. There are multiple options for completing heists; in a holdup mission, players may either stealthily subdue civilians with an incapacitating agent or conspicuously storm the venue with guns drawn.
Each character has a set of eight skills that represent their ability in certain areas such as shooting and driving. Though skills improve through play, each character has a skill with expertise by default (i.e. Trevor's flying skill). The eighth "special" skill determines the effectiveness in performing an ability that is unique to each respective character. Michael enters bullet time in combat, Franklin slows down time while driving, and Trevor deals twice as much damage to enemies while taking half as much in combat. A meter on each character's HUD depletes when an ability is being used and regenerates when players perform skilful actions (for example, drifting in vehicles as Franklin or performing headshots as Michael).
While free roaming the game world, players may engage in context-specific activities such as scuba diving underwater or BASE jumping via parachute. Each character has a smartphone for contacting friends, starting activities and accessing an in-game Internet. The Internet lets players trade in stocks via a stock market. Players may purchase properties such as garages and businesses, upgrade the weapons and vehicles in each character's arsenal, and customise their appearance by purchasing outfits, haircuts and tattoos.
PlotEditSee also: List of Grand Theft Auto V characters
Michael Townley, Trevor Philips, and Brad Snider partake in a botched robbery in Ludendorff, North Yankton. Nine years later, Michael is living under witness protection with his family in Los Santos, under the alias Michael De Santa. Across town, gangbanger Franklin Clinton is working for a corrupt Armenian car salesman and meets Michael while attempting to fraudulently repossess his son's car; the two later become friends. When Michael finds his wife Amanda sleeping with her tennis coach, he and Franklin chase the coach to a mansion, which Michael destroys in anger. The owner turns out to be the girlfriend of Martin Madrazo, a Mexican drug lord who demands compensation to avoid further violence. Michael returns to a life of crime to obtain the money, enlisting Franklin as an accomplice. With the help of Michael's old friend Lester, a crippled hacker, they perform a jewellery shop heist to pay off the debt. Trevor, who now lives in a trailer park on the outskirts of Los Santos and believes Michael was killed in their failed robbery, hears of the heist and realises that it was Michael's handiwork; Trevor surprises Michael and reunites with him after tracking down his home.
The personal lives of the protagonists begin to spiral out of control. Michael's increasingly erratic behaviour prompts his family to leave him, and when he becomes a movie producer at film studio Richards Majestic, he comes into conflict with Devin Weston, a self-made billionaire venture capitalist and corporate raider who vows revenge after his attempts to shut down the studio are thwarted by Michael and his lawyer dies in an accident. Franklin rescues his friend Lamar Davis from gangster and former friend Harold "Stretch" Joseph, who repeatedly attempts to kill Lamar to prove himself to his new brethren. Trevor's reckless efforts to consolidate his control over various black markets in Blaine County see him waging war against The Lost outlaw motorcycle club, several Latin American street gangs, rival meth dealers, hillbillies, private security firm Merryweather, and Triad kingpin Wei Cheng.
Federal Investigation Bureau (FIB) agents Dave Norton and Steve Haines contact Michael and demand that he perform a series of operations to undermine a rival agency, the International Affairs Agency (IAA).[i] Under Steve's direction and with Lester's help, they attack an armoured convoy carrying funds intended for the IAA and steal an experimental chemical weapon from an IAA-controlled lab. As Steve comes under increasing scrutiny, he forces Michael and Franklin to erase any evidence being used against him from the FIB servers. Michael takes the opportunity to wipe the data on his own activities, destroying Steve's leverage over him. Michael, Trevor, Franklin, and Lester start planning their most daring feat ever: raiding the Union Depository's gold bullion reserve.
Michael reconciles with his family. However, Trevor discovers that Brad was not imprisoned as led to believe, but killed during the heist and buried in the grave marked for Michael. Trevor's feelings of betrayal cause friction within the group and threaten to undermine their Union Depository plans. When Michael and Dave are betrayed by Steve and become caught in a Mexican standoff between the FIB, IAA, and Merryweather, Trevor, feeling that he is the only one that has the right to kill Michael, comes to their aid. Despite not forgiving Michael, Trevor agrees to perform the Union Depository heist and part ways with him afterwards.
The heist is completed successfully, but Franklin is then approached separately by Steve and Dave, who contend that Trevor is a liability, and Devin, who wants retribution for Michael's betrayal. Franklin has three choices: kill Trevor, kill Michael, or attempt to save both in a suicide mission. Should Franklin choose to kill either Michael or Trevor, he ceases contact with the survivor and returns to his old life. Otherwise, the trio withstand an onslaught from the FIB and Merryweather before going on to kill Steve, Stretch, Wei, and Devin. Michael and Trevor reconcile, and the three cease working together but remain friends.
DevelopmentEditMain article: Development of Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar North began to develop Grand Theft Auto V in 2009, following Grand Theft Auto IV's release. Development was conducted by a team of more than 1,000 people, including Rockstar North's core team and staff from parent company Rockstar Games' studios around the world. The proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) was overhauled for the game to improve its draw distance rendering capabilities. The Euphoria and Bullet software handle additional animation and rendering tasks. Having become familiar with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hardware over time, Rockstar found they were able to push the consoles' graphical capabilities further than in previous games. Analyst estimations place the game's combined development and marketing budget at more than £170 million (US $265 million), which would make it the most expensive game ever made at that time.[j]
The open world was modelled on Southern California and Los Angeles, and its design and in-game render constituted much of the game's early work. Key members of the game world production team took field research trips throughout the region and documented their research with photo and video footage. Google Maps projections of Los Angeles were used by the team to help design Los Santos' road networks. To reflect and reproduce Los Angeles' demographic spread, the developers studied census data and watched documentaries about the city. The team considered creating the open world the most technically demanding aspect of the game's production.
A fundamental design goal from the outset was to innovate on the series core structure by giving players control of three lead protagonists instead of one. The idea was first raised during Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' development, but contemporaneous hardware restrictions made it infeasible. Having developed two Grand Theft Auto IV episodic expansion packs featuring new protagonists in 2009, the team wanted to base Grand Theft Auto V around three simultaneously controlled protagonists. The team viewed it as a spiritual successor to many of their previous games (such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3), and designed it to improve upon their gameplay mechanics. They sought to improve the action gameplay by refining the shooting mechanics and cover system, and reworked the driving mechanics to correct Grand Theft Auto IV's difficult vehicle controls.
After an audition process, Ned Luke, Shawn Fonteno and Steven Ogg were selected to portray Michael, Franklin and Trevor, respectively. Their performances were mostly recorded using motion capture technology, but dialogue for scenes with characters seated in vehicles was recorded in studios instead. The game is the first in its series to feature an original score, composed by a team of producers collaborating with each other over several years. Licensed music provided by an in-game radio is also used. The team licensed more than 241 tracks shared between fifteen radio stations, with an additional two stations providing talk radio.[k] Some of the tracks were written specifically for the game, such as rapper and producer Flying Lotus' original work composed for the FlyLo FM radio station he hosts.
The game was first announced by Rockstar Games on 25 October 2011. They released its debut trailer one week later, with an official press release acknowledging its setting. Journalists noted that the announcement ignited widespread anticipation within the gaming industry, which they owed to the cultural significance of the series. The game missed its original projected Q2 2013 release date, pushed back to 17 September to allow for further polishing. To spur pre-order game sales, Rockstar collaborated with several retail outlets to make a special edition with extra in-game features. They ran a viral marketing strategy with a website for a fictional religious cult, "The Epsilon Program", that offered users the chance to feature in the game as members of the cult.A comparison of the PlayStation 4(left) and PlayStation 3 (right) versions of the game. The enhanced re-release features greater draw distances and higher-resolution textures than the original versions.
A re-release of the game was announced for Microsoft Windows (PC), PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at E3 2014. This enhanced version features an increased draw distance, finer texture details, denser traffic, upgraded weather effects, and new wildlife and vegetation. It includes a new on-foot first-person view option, which required the development team to overhaul the animation system to accommodate first-person gameplay. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were released on 18 November 2014. The PC version, initially scheduled for simultaneous release with the console versions, was delayed until 14 April 2015. According to Rockstar, it required extra development time for "polish". The PC version is capable of 60 frames per second gameplay at 4K resolution, and the Rockstar Editor lets players capture and edit gameplay videos.
Grand Theft Auto OnlineEditMain article: Grand Theft Auto Online
Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, the online multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience to be played in a continually evolving world. Up to 30 players[o] freely roam across the game world and enter lobbies to complete jobs (story-driven competitive and cooperative modes). The Content Creator toolset lets players create their own parameters for custom jobs, like racetracks and deathmatch weapon spawn points. Players may band together in organised player teams called crews to complete jobs together. Rockstar Games Social Club extends crews formed in Max Payne 3's multiplayer mode to those of Grand Theft Auto Online. Players may create their own crews and join up to five total. Crews win multiplayer matches to earn experience points and climb online leaderboards.
Grand Theft Auto Online launched on 1 October 2013, two weeks after Grand Theft Auto V's release. Many players reported connection difficulties and game freezes during load screens. Rockstar released a technical patch on 5 October in an effort to resolve the issues, but problems persisted the second week following launch as some players reported their character progress as having disappeared. Another technical patch was released on 10 October combating the issues and Rockstar offered a GTA $500,000 (in-game currency) stimulus to the accounts of all players connected to Online since launch as recompense. Because of the widespread technical issues present at launch, many reviewers bemoaned their Grand Theft Auto Online experience, but generally recognised its open-ended exploration and dynamic content as strengths.
Post-release content is continually added to Grand Theft Auto Online through free title updates. Some updates add new game modes and features, and others feature themed gameplay content, such as the Independence Day Special update that added patriotic-themed content on 1 July 2014. The widely anticipated Online Heists update launched on 10 March 2015 and suffered some initial technical difficulties due to the increased user load. Shortly after the game's PC release, some players reported being banned from Grand Theft Auto Online for using field of view and cosmetic mods in single-player. Rockstar stated in their official blog that nobody had been banned from Online for using single-players mods, but that recent updates to the PC version had the "unintentional effect" of making such mods unplayable. They stated that mods are unauthorised and may cause unforeseen technical problems and instabilities.