(Vr)Oooo(m): Grand Theft Auto Online’s Persistent Insanity

By Nathan Grayson on August 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

You can tell this is a posed screenshot because everyone's not running into each other and careening off cliffs.

Goodness gracious, Grand Theft Auto Online sounds like quite the thing. While Grand Theft Auto IV’s multiplayer presented quite a sizable playground for nos-fueled deathmatch antics, it was just that: a playground, and nothing more. Grand Theft Auto Online’s Los Santos, meanwhile, looks like it’s trying very, very hard to be an actual¬†place – replete with its own characters, missions, silly side activities (synchronized rainbow parachuting, anyone?), and beefed up progression. Also, Rockstar plans to continually expand what almost certainly constitutes the most crime-ridden city on Fictional Earth long after launch.

It’s coming part and parcel with Grand Theft Auto V, and it sounds pretty much like the whole of GTA V but with more group-oriented missions and alternate stories. Here’s the skinny, straight from Rockstar’s crime-ridden underbelly:

“Grand Theft Auto Online is a dynamic and persistent online world for 16 players that begins by sharing gameplay features, geography and mechanics with Grand Theft Auto 5, but will continue to expand and evolve after its launch with new content created by Rockstar Games and the grand theft auto community.”

“Players can invest in their character through customizing their appearance, improving their stats, owning customized vehicles, purchasing personal property, and taking part in missions, jobs and activities to earn reputation and cash to open up new opportunities to rise through the criminal ranks. The world of grand theft auto online will constantly grow and change as new content is added, creating the first ever persistent and dynamic GTA game world.”

There are also race and deathmatch level editors, so you can make your own fun when stealing other people’s won’t suffice.

I think I might be more interested in this than the rest of GTA V, to be honest. Then again, my kind of semi-persistent action-oriented open world is Just Cause 2′s multiplayer mod, so I might be cruising (on the roof of a plane with three Humvees tethered to the back of it) for disappointment. I suppose we’ll see.

Grand Theft Auto V will almost certainly come to PC eventually. Whether that’s this year – as an errant and eventually refuted comment from Nvidia suggests – or in some harrowing, far-flung, and (blech)¬†crime-free future is anyone’s guess. Rockstar works in mysterious ways. And by that, I mean ones that don’t make a lot of sense to humans with brains and not boiling cauldrons of crazy between their ears.

BUT ANYWAY. What do you think of GTA Online?

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81 Comments »

  1. phelix says:

    BUT ANYWAY. What do you think of GTA Online?

    If it turns out to be SA-MP redux then I will very definitely buy it.

  2. namuol says:

    I can’t wait to earn money so I can buy an apartment to show off my reputation to my friends. In real life, I have to take risks to earn money, but in video games, there are no consequences! Awesome!

  3. Leaufai says:

    I think GTA Online will make GTA V an even greater seller on PC when it does come. It could probably do 32 players instead of just 16, making it a whole new experience.

    • Ztox says:

      This is why I can’t wait for a PC, 16 players doesn’t seem like enough for the size of the game. Hopefully 64+ in some cases, would be too awesome.

      • Bravey says:

        Would definitely like the option of more people in the game but I think I’d enjoy 16 man too, since it’s such a massive world I think it could be quite fun roaming around in smaller groups then maybe only sometimes coming across other players. Instead of in GTA IV’s multiplayer, you could barely drive down the street before meeting several players.

  4. Branthog says:

    I’ll wait to see if there is anyone actually playing online after the first month. If prior GTAs and Saints Row games have taught me anything, it’s that it is a ghost town after about four to six weeks.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Do the SR games have MP beyond coop?

      • Comrade Roe says:

        Only Saints Row 1 and 2, which had deathmatch and 1 or 2 somewhat interesting modes. Something about pimps. By SRTT, it got dropped whole.

    • Thirith says:

      I wonder to what extent that’ll be less of an issue on consoles. I’ve never played much GTA MP, but it’s still not a major problem finding co-players in Red Dead Redemption on the PS3.

    • Zulthar says:

      As someone who still plays GTA IV online regularly, I can say that I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • grundus says:

        This. Whenever I dip into GTA IV on either PC or PS3, it’s far from empty… Devoid of nice people, sure, but not a ghost town.

    • Random says:

      I have been playing SA-MP for years after San Andreas was released and that was a fanmade Multiplayer Mod.
      If GTA V is anything like that there will be loads of people playing.

      • Fiatil says:

        I remember playing Vice City multiplayer a couple of years after it launched, and yeah, fan-made fairly buggy multiplayer mod.

  5. Bravey says:

    I think the world really looks gorgeous and interesting and GTA Online does seem to improve significantly on GTA IV’s multiplayer. I think I will end up spending a tremendous amount of time in this game, if it comes to PC.

  6. Mr. Mister says:

    Well, since there’s no PC port talk as of yet, I’ll be satisfied with the Just Cause 2 multiplayer. 1800 players goodness.

  7. MarcP says:

    Not interested in the slightest, but I hope this turns out to be excellent so dudebros keep playing this and stop expecting Saints Row to be a tru gangsta 4 lyfe game.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      This. From the looks to archetypes to the activities, I am hugely turned off by this.

      • AlwaysRight says:

        Go anywhere, Do anything. As long as it’s shooting gangstas in the face.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        Turned off!, multiplayer with stick to cover mechanics, are you like totally insane bro.

        I’m like yeah this is like total amaze man.

        Total and I mean dictionary total wot.

        You don’t want to take virtual friends round to your virtual flat and like virtually show off, get with the script it ain’t 2012 any more bro.

        *fistpump*

        *bro pump*

        Like yeah!

        Disclaimer: non of the above actually represent my thought or feelings!

    • tellrov says:

      You know SR fans can be stereotyped just as easily.

      • MarcP says:

        Socrates is not a cat, and I made no statement on people who enjoy GTA as a whole.

        Now, the guy who believes any game featuring sandbox gameplay in a city and gangs ought to play the same way, that same guy who rails against SR not being GTA in every SR article, despite the two game series being so widely different by now and marketed as such? That specific guy, I’m calling him a dudebro.

        And I’m not disagreeing with your statement as such, either. Identifying with a fanbase, no matter which one, is a very dudebroish act in itself.

        • Bravey says:

          I gotta ask, what’s a dudebro?

          • Mad Hamish says:

            It’s the “other”. A fictional character made to embody all that the person rails against. A compilation of negative attributes for this person to hurl their frustrations at.

    • Kollega says:

      You gotta admit one thing, though: Saints Row 3 and 4 are not nearly as FUCKHUEG as this. The Steelport is small compared to Stilwater and tiny compared to San Andreas, “trivial” activities like driving an ambulance or a taxi were thrown out, and most importantly, Saints Row co-op mode only supports two people, and this is a co-op-if-you-want-it-as-such mode for 16 people. This is honestly pretty interesting by virtue of it’s scale and attention to detail, even if it doesn’t have outrageous activities like blowing everything up with a stolen tank or spraying shit from a sewage truck.

      (Full disclosure: i believe that Saints Row: The Third was better than GTA IV but worse than Saints Row 2, and Just Cause 2 is better than every one of them.)

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

      Dildo weapons and purple spaceships !!!!! lollolsorandom best game ever day one purchase stay away wanna be thugs true ironic humor nerd murder heads only!!!!

    • blackmyron says:

      I’m sorry, who is expecting SR4 to be a “gangsta” game? I’m expecting a “US President kicking alien ass in a virtual world” game.
      For people expecting GTA V to be something comparable to San Andreas… yeah, well, good luck with that.

  8. Cinek says:

    Erm… I’m still clueless how it’s any better than say – Planetside 2. I can quite clearly see though how it’s worse than that.
    I also don’t get what’s the point of “owning” cars, airplanes, boats, etc. when everything explodes after few shots from machine guns or single RPG – most likely in 30 minutes of multiplayer gameplay you will cycle through 20 vehicles if not more, just jump-stealing one after another.
    So…. why would I own anything in a game full of explosions and demolition? And why should I “show off” – to make myself an easier target to RPGs?
    o_O

    • Random says:

      It will most likely set a home garage for your Vehicles. As soon as it gets destroyed it will spawn there.
      Also maybe you would have to tow/repair it but I find that most unlikely.

      • Stuart Walton says:

        The short answer is that you lose the vehicle, except:

        -You can insure the vehicle (at a cost) and use the money to buy a new one
        or
        -You can hire a personal mechanic (at a cost), who will fix it up (at a cost)

        Why would you want to own a vehicle and not just steal one?
        -You can personalize it
        -You can modify it to your needs
        -Stealing a specific vehicle type can take some time and garners police attention
        -I don’t know how GTA:V will handle ‘hot’ vehicles, but maybe the police would pull you over when you’re just cruising

        Personally, I’m looking forward to building a collection of aircraft and boosting my online avatar’s skills in aviation. I will then offer my services as a private pilot. No strip too short, no LZ too tight. En-route acrobatics come free, sick bags are by your seat.

        • Bravey says:

          If they allow us to actually be in the cargo space of the plane while flying and thus driving a car off the ramp as per one of the trailers, you’re hired!

    • Bravey says:

      Why would you ever, ever compare GTA to Planetside? Like, really?

    • Magnusm1 says:

      Is this sarcasm? I don’t understand.

    • Stevostin says:

      Well for one thing it’s not a “militarized pick your master fascist faction and be their puppet soldier thing”, which is an instant turn off for me. GTA is one of the few game that understand it’s hugely more untertaining to play a “I do stuff for my own purpose” goal. So make a planetside with the possibility to do no faction, to not care about the big scheme, to not have to synchronize with others neither to depend on other synchronizing. When someone is a sloppy player in PS2 it ruins the game, but in an GTAV paradigm it’s just fine, so while 95% of PS2 action will be hampered, this will not affect GTAV, making one absolutely not an option to me and the other one indeed. Also get PS2 to have cash, and do persistent stuff with it that serves your own ass, and maybe it will start to be interesting. (also get good design, make driving untertaining, make intersting spaces for gun fight etc. – sorry but PS2 is such a failure on the gameplay level…)

      Oh and about the car here’s my guess. When you buy a car, you buy it forever. If it destroyed, you can go to your garage and re have it rather than crusing hours for the randomized appearance for it to happen (trailer doesn’t tell but that’s how it works in other games).

      I do think your question makes sense but honestly the only good thing PS2 got vs the above is first person view (and possibly anti cheat). Big stuff, clearly, and quite possibly decision maker, but that lefts a lot… a lot in favor of GTA V

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I remember the first time I got that lovely hanger in San Andreas. I spent hours carefully parking my CH-47 Chinook, Kamov Ka-50, troop-deploying MH-6 and my CFA-44 Nosferatu (I modded that game more than Skyrim) into the hanger.

      It’s weird, I guess. Kinda like capturing all the cool Pokemon that I liked even though they had no place in my team.

      Can’t wait for this. Hoping for a bigger hanger. :)

  9. XhomeB says:

    Maybe I’m a bit anti-social or simply don’t value virtual relationships as much as the real-life ones, but I simply have neither the time nor desire to play an online-only experience.

    What I’m interested in is the single player portion of GTA V – if it ever comes to PC, thank you very much.

  10. basilisk says:

    I like how the trailer just screams “we’ve thrown obscene amounts of money into this” except for the logo which looks like it was made in two minutes in MS Paint.

  11. bad guy says:

    Looking forward to it, I loved the GTA IV multiplayer (which doesn’t work now with RDaF mod)

    Multi Theft Auto (and SAMP) has more players though. I remember 30 people in a race and ghost mode off. Pure carnage and chaos. XD

  12. cairbre says:

    My prediction is that the pc version will be announced along with the next next generation consoles (XboxOne, PS4)

    • HadToLogin says:

      Pretty sure you’re wrong, PC version will be announced after next-gen gets release. Would be stupid to lose money from people who can’t wait for PC version so they buy it on consoles and then again on PC. This time they will buy it 3 times, this-gen, next-gen for normal-PC-graphics and then PC for mods.

      • Stevostin says:

        That’s really small amount of money to risk to loose vs risking people wanting to play it PC only loosing their desire to do so if they feel like they’re treated like miserable shmucks. It’s not like every PC gamer is hugely confident in Rockstar doing it right after initial GTA IV release.

  13. MrPo0py says:

    I love Rockstar. I’ve got pretty much all of their games. I just think it’s incredibly disrespectfull to keep PC gamers in the dark like this. They do it every time. The biggest insult was Red Dead Redemption. Not that is didn’t come out on PC but more that they kept us in the dark for so long after first having listed the game as coming out on 360, PS3 and PC. But then much later they pretty much slapped us in the face by saying nope.

    I know Rockstar like to portray themselves as a silent mysterious dev that does things their own way but to not even acknowledge the existence of PC gamers until after the console games are out is quite infuriating. Sure Max Payne 3 was a true multi-platform but that really is the exception.

    There are so many PC gamers clamouring for GTA games but we are all to often treated as second class citezens.

    • HadToLogin says:

      They ever said RDR coming to PC? That’s something new, they are always “we don’t care about PC, why you bother us with those third-world shit?” until a month after console release…

    • tnzk says:

      No, RDR was never announced for PC. It was mistaken for coming out on PC, kinda like the nVidia blip about GTA V.

      I don’t think they’re actively shafting PC players, I just think it’s all to do with workflow. The most plausible reason Max Payne 3 was released on the PC at the same time as consoles is because Rockstar Vancouver seem to have a consistent track record with the platform. On the other hand, Rockstar San Diego, the creators of RDR, do not have as much experience with the PC platform, just consoles.

      That’s what I’m speculating because it does seem most incredibly bizarre that Rockstar does not port RDR to the PC. They would just make an insane mount of money off of it; it would be one of those rare games that a significant amount might even be triple dipping for due to having had it on 360 and PS3, let alone double dip.

      A Grand Theft Auto game is pretty much the biggest game on the planet at that point in time. Two identically powered closed-systems is a big enough job it would seem (considering GTAIV’s performance on both consoles). That’s my opinion on why they do what they do anyway.

      • fish99 says:

        I’m sure Rockstar Leeds could have ported RDR to PC just fine.

      • Werthead says:

        Apparently the developers screwed up the code for RDR to the extent that porting it to the PC would take a Herculean re-write of half the code, which would be both very time-consuming and extremely expensive. Hence why it’s never appeared, especially as it is unclear how many copies RDR would sell on PC. Didn’t LA NOIRE ‘only’ sell a million copies or so on PC? Given the workload involved in a RDR port, that might not be enough.

        GTA, on the other hand, has a much clearer PC lineage and will sell millions of copies on the format alone. So GTA5 not coming to PC is only possible if Rockstar have decided they don’t like guaranteed, easy money.

        • Stevostin says:

          “Given the workload involved in a RDR port, that might not be enough.”

          To be clear, it’s not a matter of loosing money, it’s a matter that they’ll make more using the team for something else (or so they think). One million customer means that you can rewrite the game engine entirely if needed – or something is seriously wrong in your production chain.

          • Werthead says:

            RDR took what, 4-5 years to make? And it was coded in a fairly bizarre and unclear way when it was finally done. I think we can count that as Rockstar having a problem in the production chain for that game. Fortunately for them, it paid off as the game sold like hot cakes on console.

    • MrPo0py says:

      Yes there was some initial confusion about which platforms it was to be released on. The RDR wikipedia entry says that it was originally slated as multi-platform (inluding pc) according to Game Informer but was later ‘corrected’ by Rockstar. Weather that was a mistake by Game Informer or Rockstar – who knows.

      My point, anyway, is that Rockstar completely disregards PC gamers until it has finished giving the console gamers their fullest attention. This, I find offensive and disrespectfull for someone who has purchased nearly every title they have released. Even to the point where I’ve purchased the same game on both console and PC. To not even say, ‘Yes, a PC version is on it’s way.’ just to keep us informed is infuriating and to be honest I wish RPS and the like would call them out on this a bit more.

      • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

        No videogame company owes you anything and demanding “respect” from any of them is the goofiest concept I’ve ever heard of

        • RProxyOnly says:

          They might not ‘owe’ anything by default, but they’d better give it if they want my money.

        • blackmyron says:

          And here I was thinking I was a consumer and a PC gamer.

          If a company acts like they don’t want my business, well then – there’s plenty of companies that do.

  14. fiendling says:

    Meh…

  15. tnzk says:

    Who knew robbing banks and liquor stores could look as boring as playing golf with 15 other guys.

    Call me pessimistic, but GTA V hasn’t been doing it for me.

  16. HadToLogin says:

    Does this announce no single-player DLC/expansions, instead bringing bazillion of shitty multiplayer DLC?
    They already cut vehicles from main game to put them as preorder bonuses…

  17. H-Hour says:

    Predicted number of hours between release of the game and the first time a player flies a plane into a skyscraper: 3

  18. Ansob says:

    Grand Theft Auto Online is a dynamic and persistent online world

    That sounds kind of neat! Oh, wait…

    for 16 players

    16 players was the size limit for a Doom server, for crying out loud.

    • LionsPhil says:

      To be fair, DOOM used lock-step networking that only worked on LANs.

      But UT2004 could do 24 or 32 over the Internet IIRC, and I’m sure someone will shout “Tribes!” or even “Planetside!” any second, so yeah.

    • Werthead says:

      16 players sounds a bit restrictive, but you’re not going to want hundreds of people playing simultaneously. It’d be like that cheat code for GTA3 which gave every civilian in the game a weapon and made them all hostile against you and one another. It was almost impossible to jump in a car and drive five feet down down the road without something taking pot shots at you with a rocket launcher.

      OTOH, 16 players on the very large map that GTA5 apparently has means people can be spread out a bit more and have more room and time to tool up and whatever before getting into fights. As the game develops, and especially if the map starts getting bigger and bigger, they can probably up the player limit.

    • Stevostin says:

      The more player, the less interesting. That being said in their logic it’s a bit different as it’s more about crossing path than playing together until you reach the point of either teaming or having nemesis. From what I understand 16 player on such a big map would mean few unintentional encounters, which may be really great in the idea of playing as single player but with a liver environnement.

  19. squirrel says:

    I hope this is not like the jet fighter in the game: add a pair of tail wings and pretend it is a new model. It is a cheap F16, don’t fool us. Gimmick is not enough, show us the real innovation.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      The moment you get your hands on that game, you should mod out that lazy design and replace it with something from Ace Combat.

      ASF-X Shinden II, anyone?

  20. Erthabutt says:

    The greatest thing about GTA Online is that it is a separate thing from the single player game. That way, mods will still be allowed somewhere. Sweet.

  21. Bimble says:

    16 players kills it for me, should be 50 player servers, 16 is barely enough for a gun fight and would be lost in a map the size of gta5′s. Still gonna be the game that I buy a this gen console for though, never thought I’d be buying a PS3 so close to PS4 release, but I’ve got a pretty good gaming PC, and next gen will have to do something pretty special to drag me across. It’s taken PS3 6 years to give me a reason (2 reasons last of me and gta) to get one and PC gaming pushes my buttons in a way that current consoles (anything after GC) just can’t. Super stoked for GTA :D

  22. Mad Hamish says:

    Damn, tough crowd here in the comments. I think it sounds splendid.

  23. racccoon says:

    GTA ONLINE! lol they pulled ya in! hook! line! and sinker!
    Trouble is ROCKSTAR are hiding behind a wall again, too afraid to launch a game on the PC that would make this 16 player world look like chicken feed.
    ITS A SHAME ROCKSTAR ARE PUSSIING ABOUT ON THE PC THEORY, TOO BUSY SAYING ‘YES SIR’ WHILE HELD TO CONSOLE WALLS AND CORPORATE CONTRACTS. Totally out of character to the way their games play. the devs aren’t really as rock hard as they make out to be. pretty feeble really while other game devs recognize the PC, ROCKSTAR just uses it to develop the game and sets it drift into the unknown and questionable. SHAME! ROCKSTAR! SHAME!

  24. Cerebulon says:

    The editor stuff makes me think they looked to SA-MP/MTA for awesome ideas that GTA fans liked, and used them.

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