GTA V: Not Quite Dressed To Kill

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You know how we’re banging on about Grand Theft Auto V and Online this month?

There’s an aspect of the game which is really bugging me at the moment and I’m interested to know if anyone else feels the same. It’s not unique to GTA, though. That just happens to be where I’ve been annoyed about it most recently.

It’s that I have all of these outfits I can faff with in my closet at my apartment in between low level crimes and intensive heisting. I can mix and match and accessorise to my heart’s content but apparently my character cannot master the art of putting her hair in a ponytail or using a different colour of lipstick on her own.

I actually spent so much on outfits after the massive cash injection of my first heist that I couldn’t afford to buy a house in which to put them. When I finally did I really noticed the lack of styling opportunities.

GTA Online is not a fashion game so it’s not like I’m expecting them to have focused their efforts intensely on this specific aspect but they did at least think about it enough to put it into the game and design the different elements and it seems so weird that some of the options I feel are intrinsic to creating an outfit are walled off from the experience by the necessity of a car journey and an NPC.

I am going to fuck some shit up in style.

When I’m putting together something for my character to wear I like it to say something about her or who I imagine she is. I think I either made her extra tall by accident or everyone’s a similar height and the heels make her tower over my friends and their male characters.

I wanted her to be confident. She rushes about wearing clashing neon print skirts and electric blue stilettos – the sort of thing you might find Red magazine advising a head of department to wear as an alternative to the tedium of daily pinstripe. Or if she’s hanging out with friends maybe tight jeans and a black leather jacket. And nowadays neon yellow heels. I like that she can escape her terrible terrible friends who try to run her over and blow up her things in really high neon yellow heels.

Thing is, these outfits and others are attached to different moods and activities. Some would benefit from her hair in a casual ponytail, some would look better with waves. Others would be awesome with a statement red lipstick or a smokey eye. I get that you would likely go to the beauty salon for some things – a haircut or extensions – but for a ponytail or some eyeliner? That’s beyond extravagant and weird.

The way the game deals with this stuff – keeping the hair and makeup off to one side – means that it’s hard to get an idea for how something would look, whether it needs little tweaks. What I love about clothes and fashion and makeup in real life is getting to create snapshots of these different aspects of myself or embodying different characters or getting a feel for the event I’m attending.

The perfect look for parachuting into a military base and trying to steal a tank.

Getting ready is part of getting into a particular mindset. When character customisation splits off different bits of the usual process it’s jarring. You can never quite achieve what you set out to do.

Is this just a Pip thing? It might be a Pip thing. Or I might have missed a button. Have I missed a button?


  1. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    The thing that irrationally bugs me is that your character can have big hair, which then vanishes the moment they put a hat on.
    Oh, and some how my GTAO character is about 6″ shorter than everyone around him. Ho hum.

  2. melnificent says:

    Don’t forget the male swagger to your character.

    The height thing is because everyone in game is the same height. The female model is a literal reskin of the male character with the minimum effort into making a playable female character. The sad thing is that they made 100s of female character models in general, just we aren’t allowed to play with them.

  3. Premium User Badge

    MrPin says:

    On the other hand, you can style you car… that pink with the chrome bumpers is just perfect for a moonlight race on the beach!

  4. Rizlar says:

    Hair and makeup being so often tied to character creation is pretty annoying. Like, in an RPG your character will change clothes about a billion times, yet putting on a different colour lipstick or letting your hair down is reserved for complete facial reconstruction (in games that even allow it). And it generally doesn’t make sense for your humble character to begin life looking like an evil queen (or evil queen if you don’t do subtle). But by the end of the game that look may be much more fitting for an absolute badass.

    Basically what Pip said.

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    Qazinsky says:

    I ran into something similar in singleplayer. After a heist, Trevor was still wearing his heist clothes, black sweater and pants and fingerless gloves. Now, I might be blind, but I don’t think you can normally equip the trio in gloves. I put a pig mask on him and gave him a hammer to complete my Trevors outfit. Those gloves was the only thing I saw of my clothes since I played in first person. But of course, if you switch characters, the others tend to go on with their lives, which apparently includes changing clothes and my outfit is now gone forever.

    • Monggerel says:

      Of course, if you ever willingly play as anyone besides Franklin, you’re already doing it wrong, so there’s some comfort in that.

      On more helpful note, the Native Trainer Enhanced trainer (yes) has an option for changing clothes on the fly, and I believe it includes the fingerless gloves too.

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    Hodge says:

    I get more grumpy about how they keep changing clothes when you’re switched away from them. You go to all the trouble of outfitting them in the classiest duds and then they go off and accessorize without you.

    • Rizlar says:

      First teaser shots of GTA: Shoreditch released.

    • cqdemal says:

      It’s pretty neat that the game tries to sustain the illusion that these characters have actual lives when you’re not playing as or looking at them. However, it also gives me some sort of disconnect I’ve never had with any other GTA protagonist. It’s like Rockstar is consistently reminding me that this is not me, that I’m merely along for the ride – their ride.

      It doesn’t help at all that the writing in GTA V is a lot of overblown, stereotypical fluff a lot of the time. Amusing to hear, but ultimately meaningless. Character development is almost nonexistent until the game decides to tackle a major plot point it tossed aside 5 hours ago…. or in Franklin’s case simply nonexistent after the halfway mark.

  7. kregg says:

    I remember at the time GTA:O was released on consoles, people were comparing it to Saints Row, and was really disappointed by GTA:O’s offering. From what I’ve heard, it isn’t as simple or as flexible as it is in Saints Row, where you could change pretty much anything about you (Saints Row 2 had more customisation, Saints Row 3+ had more crazier customisation).

    I really wish they went the Saints Row way of doing things.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      In many ways, no game has yet to actually go as far as Saint’s Row 2 did. There were sliders for everything, big and small. I mean, gender was a slider!

    • jonahcutter says:

      Funny thing is, the GTA series was kind of on the path of offering more customization of characters. Back in San Andreas it was possible to alter CJ’s build completely, as actual gameplay. Ok, the gameplay of lifting weights wore thing pretty quick (cheat codes ftw!), but they were still featuring an alterable avatar.

      Then in the next game they dropped the feature completely. Saints Row picked it up and ran with it (and did a swan dive with it into the loony bin), and it’s one of the things people love the SR series for.

      Especially in third-person, open-world games, people love tweaking their avatar to no end. The GTA series really seems to be missing the boat on this type of feature.

  8. Cochise779 says:

    Totally agree. Never thought about it before.

  9. 9of9 says:

    Gosh, the lack of makeup and hairstyle presets isn’t even my biggest complaint with the clothing system. The whole thing just screams Corners Were Cut.

    How about accessories. What could possibly be preventing bracelets, necklaces and earrings from being worn together? Mind you, watches occupy a separate slot, you can totally wear a watch and earrings, but you can’t wear a bracelent and earrings.

    There’s a whole bunch of truly mystifying incompatibilities between clothes. Scarves can only be worn over t-shirts and replace jackets, but they cannot be worn with bodices. Boots can be worn with jeans but not with cargo pants. Heels can be worn with cargo pants unless they’re strappy heels.

    But the one thing that annoys me most is the Body Armour Gap. All GTAO outerwear sticks out about three inches in front of the character’s chest. You put on a leather jacket and it looks fine from the front, but the moment you look at yourself from the side, it’s like you’ve gained an extra twenty pounds. You look closer and you see that the front of the jacket is about four inches thick. I was puzzled, until I realised that hidden away in the Interaction Menu there’s an option that lets you display the Body Armour you’re wearing (or not wearing, if that’s just your fashion choice). Sure enough, those four inches are precisely enough to accommodate chunky body armour appearing between your tight abs and the outer edge of your jacket.

    Look, I get it that the only way around lots of these issues would be to author and reskin lots of different versions of all the different clothes types, switching between them as necessary depending on your outfit combinations. Yes, that’s more work. But that’s how it goes, and if you don’t do it, you end up with really, really janky shit like this.

    • Robert Post's Child says:

      Yeah, the incompatibility stuff is a bit weird.

  10. thedosbox says:

    Saints Row the Third’s character creator really got this right. Four years ago.

  11. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I pretty much spent the first two days of playtime in GTAO buying clothes for my character.

  12. silentdan says:

    In South Park: Stick of Truth, your haircut, freckles, scars, makeup, and facial hair were all just effectively clothing items. That’s a good system. Sometimes it prevents you from combining a scar with freckles, because there’s only one slot for that, but it’s way better than having to make an in-game journey.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    Wait, does that ID number in the top image mean you’re the first person the LSPD has ever arrested? Impressive.

    • April March says:

      She’s the first person they’ve arrested since they switched systems.

  14. James says:

    This is a sore time to see a GTA Online article. I got hacked and had all my guns wiped after they fucked up the server with exploding characters and making everyone’s cameras shake. R* about as useful as a tranquilised sloth.

  15. Radiant says:

    I WISH Gta and the like had better dress up options!

    Maybe it’s the limitations of the form?
    If I remember there was more than one clothing tie in for one of these games but I also remember [vaguely] that they were all terrible.

    I just want my char to be a hot boy doing hot boy things can I live?

  16. DigitalSignalX says:

    I have an obscene amount of time in PC GTA 5 according to steam, over 500 hours. If I had to nail one thing about fashion that is most annoying, it would be the sudden irrational incompatibility of one article of clothing in the same category over another in making up an ensemble. Certain shirts can be worn under jackets, under vests, over vests, with or without ties, with or without a certain length of pants or skirts etc – and often times it feels completely arbitrary as items from within the exact same category and style will and won’t work depending on their color.

    Don’t even get me started on accessories. It’s far worse in the same way.

    While I do appreciate what extensive customization we’re given, the lack of uniformity can be very frustrating. This extends to the vehicles too, with one car (the Coquette for example) getting no less then 8 different front bumper options, while the majority get zero, and some only 1 or 2.

  17. Robert Post's Child says:

    Never bothered with the makeup options mostly because it just never looked very good (IMO, I guess). Being able to switch outfits on the fly is a pretty sweet change from how it used to be, though, and definitely helps the clothing options be more relevant. Yesterday I tried messing about as a guy avatar for the first time, and it was fun just to see what the different options were.

  18. PopeRatzo says:

    I stopped playing when I couldn’t dress Trevor in drag.

    • Cvnk says:

      Hmm. He wakes up on top of Mount Chiliad in a dress in one of his many awesome transitions. I assumed that dress was part of his wardrobe now but I haven’t checked.

  19. drewski says:

    I can safely say that I have never once thought about this in a game. But you’re completely right.

  20. Thirdrail says:

    For years the only game I played was Second Life. (It’s still my favorite!) Every time I try to play a “normal” game, I am devastated by the lack of clothing and hair options, after growing up in a pixel world where I can do my nails and lashes and have literally hundreds (or now probably more like thousands) of different outfits, bought from pixel malls that get more new stuff every day than the RL boutiques up on Rodeo Drive.

  21. chope says:

    not that fussed about it tbh

  22. Cvnk says:

    It’s kind of amazing (from a gaming point of view) that this sort of concern can even be discussed somewhat seriously. Who would have thought 10-15 years ago that it would even be feasible for developers to put effort into stuff like this?