Video Game Tourism: First-Person Grand Theft Auto V

My little cousin will freak when he sees my holiday snaps.

It’s awfully exciting. I’ve played squillions of first-person games and, thanks to mods, even first-person Grand Theft Auto. And yet, here I am, oohing and aahing like a weary traveller handed a cup of tea. The new trailer showing off Grand Theft Auto V‘s first-person mode is awfully exciting.

Not just that it’s gorgeous – it is – but that it’s surely a sign that Rockstar recognise GTA is a tourism simulator at heart, and intend to do away with all this guff about Johnny Crimes and his pals Ricky Murder and Ian Knives. GTA VI’s final mission will be to find a good vegan breakfast on a foggy San Fierro morning, mark my words.

Rockstar say they’ve boshed in “thousands of new animations” for this new view. It has an optional first-person cover system too, and players can switch between first and third-person views with a button-press. IGN have played it, and say it’s got fancy things like motorbike helmets muffling sound and vehicle dashboards modelled down to radio song displays in flash cars.

I suspect the first-person view will be more difficult for driving, flying, and, well, anything that’s not shooting men in the face. GTA missions often rely on doing silly things in tight spaces, after all. That’s fine. I intend to first-person see as much as I can, wandering the streets aimlessly and snapping photos. I now realise I’d really like proper first-person support for Mafia II – such a pretty city, Empire Bay, with so little to do.

GTA V is due to finally, finally arrive on PC on January 27th, 2015.

47 Comments

  1. cqdemal says:

    Seeing that 3D phone model is by far the best thing for me in the trailer. They know what the game can do for walking simulator enthusiasts and are willing to indulge them.

  2. c-Row says:

    “Video Game Tourism” would make for a great RPS feature article I reckon.

    • sonofsanta says:

      Did you not read your supporter post of the 25th October, The Grand Tour: Recreating Recreation? Quoth Adam:

      I want to play a game about tourism. It’s odd that I can fight in so many wars, across so many continents, planets and timeframes, but I can’t simply take a stroll around a city orf national park, taking photos and writing postcards as I go.

      Marvellous stuff as ever. The Supporter articles are genuinely my favourite reads of the day at the moment.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I’d like to know more about Ian Knives.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Descendent of the famous Erasmus Knives, inventor of knives.

      • Shiloh says:

        From Wikipedia: Erasmus Kniveš (b.1345? d. 1390?) was a Moravian blacksmith who, tired of cutting potatoes with fork and sword, decided to invent something a bit easier to wield. His first effort (“the handle”) was not a success as it was too blunt to cut the standard Mitteleuropäische Kartoffel, but dedication and perseverance (and the patronage of John Henry of Luxembourg, Margrave of Moravia and keen potato eater) led him to develop the “little bladed sword” in around 1370.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          *thunderous applause*

          • Shiloh says:

            It’s possibly a little known fact, but under John Henry’s benign stewardship, mid-14th century Moravia was actually a hotbed of potato-based innovation. Along with Kniveš, Nikolas Masher and Adolphus Peeler are names deserving of much more credit in the tuber world than they’re generally given these days.

            Source: Crusader Kings 2 events.txt

        • Smion says:

          Potatoes weren’t around in Europe at that time. Hah, I’ve seen through your cheap parlor tricks you dishonorable charlatan.

    • kobadow says:

      Due to cut backs, RPS are unable to expand on that point at this time.

    • All is Well says:

      I hear he’s very edgy.

    • Blackcompany says:

      And here I thought Ian was the first name of that Khajit from the Skyrim mod…still, its nice to learn something new.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I’d love a game involving driving that’s designed to be played from first-person. Be great with the Rift, I reckon.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    But will you be able to launch rockets from your chair?

  6. Arathorn says:

    It looks nice, but playing GTA has always felt wrong and awkward. And I don’t mean the subject matter. Does the gameplay live up to it’s content nowadays? I haven’t played a GTA game since San Andreas, and I remember that game’s awful car handling, crappy shooting mechanics and lack of save anywhere as much as it’s great music, funny characters and good voice acting/dialogue. I’d never be able to drive a car like in the trailer in those older games. This doesn’t look like steering a wet sponge like I’m used to in GTA.

    • Volcanu says:

      Depends on who you ask probably.

      The cars handle like go karts in GTA V and bounce off objects like a dodgem. Most people seem happy with this, but a sizeable minority (myself included) preferred the more realistic handling on offer in GTA IV.

      The shooting sections are still pretty ‘meh’. They are passable for sure, but nothing excellent. Which is odd seeing’s as how Rockstar know how to make good third person shooty-fun (Max Payne etc).

      As for the saving issue, there are a lot more checkpoints in GTA V meaning that you dont have to do the whole driving back to start a mission thing, and often dont have to repeat the whole mission again either if you fail. This is probably a good thing, but does remove a lot of the challenge.

      All in all my verdict on GTA V is that it doesnt do a huge amount new, but if you love the formula then you’ll get on really well with it. If you dont (and it sounds like you havent to date) then I doubt there is much on offer to change your mind.

      • iainl says:

        Anything in-car in GTA IV was a bit of a nightmare not because of the handling (though it certainly feels like that at first) but the sloppy camera that pans around the corner so slowly that I oversteer like crazy every single time. Eventually, I realised that if you push right on BOTH sticks, to pan the camera around a bit more promptly, or just take every single corner with the handbrake (while the handbrake’s on, the camera locks to the car’s orientation) it’s an awful lot less bad.

        So I’ve got high hopes for me playing pretty much the whole of V in 1st-person mode.

        • Rob Maguire says:

          So that’s why I never minded the driving in GTA4 even though everyone I talked to hated it. I exclusively use handbrake turns in every GTA-alike so I never noticed the sluggish camera.

          That PC optimization, though. Here’s hoping GTA5 does it right this time.

        • Jason Moyer says:

          The third person driving camera in GTA4 is pretty much the worst thing ever, and I have no idea why so few people complain about it.

          • gmillar says:

            Wasn’t a problem for me – I drive with my right hand on the mouse, and it’s useful to be able to look around corners and whatnot. Not to mention headshotting cops as they chase you…

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      the save points are definitely a lot better.
      As for the car feel etc, that seems to be down to personal choice. Do you know someone with a console copy you could try out for a bit maybe?

    • fish99 says:

      From GTA:SA to GTA4 there was a new 3D engine, new vehicle physics, and new character animation system, so the gameplay improved across the board (IMO). The guns still lack some impact though.

  7. kikito says:

    Oculus Rift.

  8. Chaz says:

    Oh wow, that looks amazing!

    Man I hope it has Track IR and Rift support.

  9. unangbangkay says:

    Anyone have ideas as to how mod support and the like will go? Do you think Rockstar will want to lock it down more due to their investment in GTA Online et al?

    I’ve been considering getting this on PC rather than on PS4 because my graphics card can make it look really nice, but the dismal state of GTA4 PC on release has me considering sitting until Steam sales and the like make the prospects more clear.

    Thoughts?

    • phelix says:

      Well mods were never officially supported for GTA IV either, but the community developed tools themselves (SparkIV anyone?) and the mods weren’t just reskins either.

  10. MiddleIndex says:

    Come on modders get this working with the rift. Message on a bottle.

  11. drinniol says:

    I’ll wait until they mod out the story.

  12. HiFiHair says:

    I can’t get my head around how much work this must have been. All the high detail car interiors, the revised first person player animations, the high detail weapons, the aim system, balancing the control scheme overall. It’s certainly non-trivial. I’ll be fascinated to see how it feels, if they’ve actually managed to pull it off.

  13. Stevostin says:

    Every few years there is a totally unexpected and awesome news that makes my week. This is one.

    “I suspect the first-person view will be more difficult for driving, flying, and, well, anything that’s not shooting men in the face.”

    I always drive fpv. I did it for immersion first but then I realised it’s also substantially more efficient, especially for races, because you don’t loose any time having to readjust the view when you turn.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      The problem I have with first person views is they’re quite a narrow FoV, so I can’t see where I’m about to turn towards. With a zoomed out 3rd person view, you can see partially round the corner you’re about to take.
      With something like a Rift this is less of a problem because you can just turn your head and look in the direction you’re about to turn, without having to fiddle with a joystick.

  14. Jamesworkshop says:

    hmmm might actually play the game, i always found the other too difficult

  15. 7vincent7black7 says:

    You know. Before I swore not to buy this game, because I figured we’d get the exact same GTA V that was released months ago. It looks like, however, that they will be giving something more than some cheap-pixel improvements as a reward for waiting almost a year for PC to get a Grand Theft Auto game after Consoles have had it. If that’s the case, then I make look at buying this if I hear if its good on PC.

  16. derbefrier says:

    This is pretty cool. GTA”s combat has always been a low point of the series for me and a big reason I haven’t bought one since vice city. First person combat in GTA just sounds like pure win to me. I was never planning on buying this but now its going on the wish list.

    • Volcanu says:

      Be interesting to try it out for sure. I do worry that it might feel ‘off”, if the game has been designed around 3rd person shooting mechanics (replete with sticky cover). For some reason I imagine movement might feel a bit sluggish compared to a typical FPS, but I cant quite say why.

      • DrollRemark says:

        “first-person cover system” – This article, above.

        • Volcanu says:

          Um what’s your point?

          My concern doesn’t relate to whether or not there is a first person cover system as you seem to think. My concern is that GTA V has been built from the ground up as a third person game and the shooting sections are all built around that viewpoint/ genre. The gameplay loop consists of pressing a button to enter cover, fighting off a few enemies and then moving to the next piece of sticky cover. That’s quite different to most FPS games where you dont need to press a button to enter cover, you just duck or move as may be appropriate. The whole pace of combat has potential to be somewhat discordant in a first person view. In much the same way a first person TLOU would be weird as the game is built around third person movement and combat and involves a lot of waist high sticky cover. Playing in first person would probably not work terribly well as you’d spend most of the time staring at a grey concrete wall and wondering why your aim was wobbling all over the place.

  17. Martel says:

    Perfect excuse for me to get this on the PC now when it comes out. This looks fabulous, especially as just wandering around has always been my favorite part of GTA games.

  18. Rian Snuff says:

    All I can think is VR.
    Cannot wait.

    Been talking since the announce of V about it’s potential for VR on PC.

    I thought the modders would be responsible.
    Very glad the team is giving them a good head-start on it if they don’t already implement rift support natively.

  19. WHS says:

    This is pretty cool.

    I’ve always felt the GTA series has gone astray by “going big” when it should be “going small.” Not in the scale of the cities or environments, but with the missions and combat. When every mission devolves into “shoot fifty guys, blow up five helicopters, and escape the city’s entire police force” even the most spectacular setpieces start to feel the same — and worse, it starts to make the game world feel less like a living city and more like a static backdrop for action sequences. My favorite GTA missions are always the very earliest ones where you’re running away from a couple guys in an alley or in a gunfight with one other dude, because they preserve the illusion of the world and consequently it feels like the small details still matter. Those early missions make the player feel like one tiny part of something much bigger: “behind this fence is a guy that I have to figure out a way to get past, but behind that guy there’s a house, and behind that, a highway, and behind that, a whole complicated world.” Later, the games always devolve into this strange solipsism, where everything in the world exists to be stolen or blown up by you, and the solution to every situation is to bring a bigger gun and shoot more guys.

    First-person obviously won’t change this in an existing game, but it requires an attention to detail that makes me hope that future installments will ditch the series’ current oneupsmanship with previous iterations and focus on building a more tightly interconnected and plausible world. It would be nice for Rockstar to realize that there’s not actually a direct correlation between the number of bullets fired while playing the game and the excitement it generates.

    …probably not, though.

  20. McCool says:

    The time has come and so have I.

  21. captain nemo says:

    First Person Shooter – The way it’s meant to be played

  22. InfamousPotato says:

    Holy halibut… that was amazing.

    This makes getting GTA V sorely tempting… I’m really unsure about playing a GTA game for several reasons, one of which is that I don’t think I’d like playing a psychopath (though at the same time, whenever I get bored in an open world I do tend to turn into one). Still, with all the detail they put into the world, and then being able to experience the whole thing first person… quite tempting indeed.