That trailer is for the latest game mode coming to Rockstar’s GTA Online. Tiny Racers takes the stunt racing gameplay and moves the camera to a top-down view, turning Grand Theft Auto V’s online circuits into a throwback facsimile of Death Rally or Micro Machines. At this point, why not? GTA Online has changed so much from its initial 2013 incarnation that adding retro arcade racing modes makes sense. It has a Tron mode. There’s werewolf hunting. It won’t be long before GTA Online adds passable Choplifter or Hello Kitty Island Adventure games.
Rockstar is updating Grand Theft Auto V next week with crew activities. The free Executives and Other Criminals patch for Grand Theft Auto Online will add ways for players to enforce their rule on underlings and the city. Along with the usual increase in opulent real estate and clothing, the update lets leaders “hire” other players to be their bodyguards and set incentives like regular pay, experience bonuses, and stat boosts. The boss will also be able to access exclusive co-op jobs and challenges to assign to their hirelings. Finally, these player-run organizations can then muscle in on each other in all-out gang warfare.
Organizations can go head to head in Freemode, with new missions that make full use of the latest executive defense options including new armored vehicle variants, the devastating Turreted Limo and the missile defense systems of the Super Yacht, which also comes with its own suite of supporting vehicle upgrades including the new SuperVolito Carbon helicopter and personal watercraft.
The Executives and Other Criminals update is launching on December 15th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Rockstar has added a Halloween event to Grand Theft Auto V’s online game. The Halloween Surprise adds a spooky hearse and a monstrous hot rod to the vehicles available for purchase, new holiday-appropriate masks and makeup, and an eight-player Slasher adversary mode.
Run, hide, and fight to survive in the darkness as the player designated as the Slasher stalks their prey with a Shotgun. Use your new Flashlight to navigate if you dare, but be careful not to reveal your position or you’ll quickly become prey. Survive for 3 minutes and you’ll get the chance to return the favor with a Shotgun of your own.
Shotgun? In a slasher? Hey, Rockstar! You have a survival knife, hatchet, and machete in your GTA Online weapons list. You could’ve gone with any of those.
The next update to Grand Theft Auto V’s GTA Online will include Freemode Events. The events feature open-world challenges that will randomly pop up while free roaming in Los Santos. You can opt out of them, but then you’d miss the insanity of hunting one player designated a “werewolf,” playing lethal king of the hill, or just arming up and going at it in an all-out turf war. Sounds good, but it’s stuff like this that are keeping single player fans from getting any story-based DLC. In an interview with IGN, Rockstar North revealed that 8 million people play GTA Online each week, and keeping those players happy (and presumably spending money on in-game currency) dominates their development resources.
“Right now our focus is on GTA Online which has exceeded our expectations. We currently have all key members of the team that launched Grand Theft Auto V focused on supporting GTA Online in every capacity.”
Stop it! Stop playing GTA Online right now! If you ever want to see Trevor’s mother again, or find out how Franklin’s ex is doing with her new husband, or what Michael’s next bad movie will be, stop playing so much GTA Online.
One of the big features of the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V is the built-in movie maker. The Rockstar Editor allows players to record and fiddle with gameplay clips. You just snapped off the perfect kill shot on a police helicopter while flipping through the air on a fiery motorcycle. Thank goodness you have the ability to record that footage with a couple of button presses, then edit it into a masterpiece worthy of YouTube or Reddit! Soon, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will have this feature as well. The two console versions are getting the editor next month.
When the update to Grand Theft Auto V hits in September, all three platforms will also get enhancements to the Rockstar Editor like ambient audio and sound effects tracks, improved Director Mode, and better camera controls. You’ll surely get the angle you need for that Trevor pooping clip now.
Oy vey! Back in January, Rockstar announced a slight delay to the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, pushing the launch date back to March. Well, it’s been pushed back again. This time, Rockstar says the PC version of the open-world crime sim isn’t launching until April 14th. By way of a small apology, the developer is offering another $200k for use in GTA Online to pre-order customers.
Oh, Heists are still coming. No, really. They are. Rockstar promises.
This tenacious member of a Rockstar crew called TeamPower AwesomeTeam uses Grand Theft Auto to demonstrate what a nightmare the already nightmarish Trials Fusion would be if it weren’t only in 2D.
Rockstar has announced a delay for the launch date of Grand Theft Auto V for PC. Instead of January 27th (which seemed suspicious with nary a word over the 2014 holidays) the open-world shooter will be launching on March 24th. The good news is that for those with the systems to support it, the game will feature 1080p with a silky-smooth 60fps with up to 4K resolution and support for triple monitor configurations.
Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
65GB HDD space
Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
65GB HDD space
GTA Online for PC will launch alongside the singleplayer game. The long-awaited Heists mode will launch on consoles in the coming weeks, and will be available for the PC version afterwards.
Grand Theft Auto in first person mode. What was once the territory of crazy mods that broke Rockstar’s open-world gameplay more than they helped, will now be official. IGN reports that the new Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto V will offer an optional first person mode. Far from being a half-baked effort, Rockstar says they’ve rebuilt aspects of the game to account for the new point of view.
“There’s stuff that just doesn’t exist in third-person: the weapon recoil, the reloads, the weapon switching. All of the weapons have been up-rezzed and animated properly, so the shells come out the right way and have the right muzzle flashes. I think we created 3,000 animations on weapons alone.”
The new version of Grand Theft Auto V will launch on November 18th for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The PC version will be released on January 27th.
Rockstar is once again warning eager fans of Grand Theft Auto V that there is no way for normal peasants like them to try out the beta of the coming Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC version of the game. No matter what they do, regular gamers will not get in. No begging, cajoling, or pleading will result in a shiny new beta code emailed to them. Websites purporting to have beta codes are not legitimate. The only way to officially play the game is to buy the old and busted Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions, which prior to launch also spurred similar fake beta access scams.
“If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some type of online phishing scam.”
Grand Theft Auto V for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will launch on November 18th. The PC version is scheduled to release on January 27th of 2015. You will not be in the beta.
We’ve talked before about various methods of traversal in open-world games. Some games get it right, and some get it very wrong. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V gets it mostly right. Driving the streets while jamming to the in-game radio is a great way to get immersed in the faux SoCal setting. On the other hand, the times when the player isn’t in a car can be frustrating. Walking and running is sometimes a chore thanks to the slow shuffle, goofy turns, and Rockstar’s insistence making you hammer a button to get your character to run.
Color me surprised then that Super Meat Boy co-creator Tommy Refenes has been walking across Los Santos to raise money for family medical needs. Just ambling along. It took him a little over six hours to make it from one end of the open-world to the other. He started streaming his Grand Theft Auto V march on October 9th to get donations to pay for his mother’s service dog. Once the pledges passed the $15,000 goal, Refenes vowed to put the extra money raised towards another person’s dog. He’s since walked across the maps of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Maybe casually strolling through open-world games is a better option than violently careening through traffic, while shooting an Uzi? Nah.
Rockstar Games has updated Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode with the High Life patch. The update adds more clothing, cars, a bullpup rifle, the ability for players to own two properties at the same time, and a new “Mental State” stat that tracks how much of a troublemaker you are during the free roam portion of the online game and tells everyone else about it. Think of it as a jerk indicator.
If you seem to enjoy attacking pedestrians and terrorizing other players, then your blip will start to turn red on other players’ maps. The redder the blip, the more psychotic the player; the whiter the blip, the friendlier they are.
The actions you take will have varying effects on your Mental State. For example, killing another player will turn your blip red faster than blowing up a car or taking out a random pedestrian. Killing a player with a white blip will push your Mental State into the red faster than killing more psycho players, while taking out full-on psycho players won’t cause your own Mental State stat to increase at all.
Mental state also factors into matchmaking – you’ll automatically join Freemode sessions containing people more ‘compatible’ with your play style, and if a red-blipped lunatic does enter your session, you at least have fair warning!
Full patch notes are available here.
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V is getting DLC on Friday that’s filled with love. The Valentine’s Day Massacre Special update comes with a new weapon, the “Gusenberg Sweeper” which looks just like the infamous Thompson machine gun, a 1920’s styled automobile, and new clothing options to outfit your character in style. The items will be available for a limited time only, but once you have them in your inventory, your character should be able to access them after the promotion.
The Valentine’s Day Massacre Special update will be free to all owners of Grand Theft Auto V.
It turns out that Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode is the perfect place for combat photography. Christopher Murrie, senior film editor at Laika, uses the in-game cell phone feature to take snapshots of the violent action in Grand Theft Auto Online and posts his results to Reddit. His character stays in passive mode, wears a “MEDIA” jacket, and travels around Los Santos in a news van. The results are similar to the type of images you’d see coming out of real-world conflicts.
Murrie told Polygon that he started his hobby after another player was wreaking havoc on the streets with a tank. He followed and started taking photos of the violence instead of participating in the mayhem. The idea has caught on. Players are joining Murrie’s in-game group, Media Lens, to become virtual war correspondents. A Pulitzer can’t be far off for one of these brave photojournalists.
This year, instead of just singling out games I like, I’m going to single out games that do best what I like most. Namely, games that tell a story through gameplay. A relevant story, unique to the way videogames tell stories. Games that really get the unique strength of the medium over and above books and movies. Games that are particularly great at being games and not just puzzles or tests of skill or dazzling virtual wonderlands.
This is partly a shame, because it’s going to exclude some of my favorite games this year. It’s going to exclude games I liked mostly for mechanical reasons. Don’t Starve is the game that finally got me hooked on procedurally generated survival-a-thons, partly because it’s got so much personality and mystery. Desktop Dungeons is the most amazingly intricate cerebral puzzle rogue-like I’ve ever played, neatly arrayed under a superlative meta-game of building up and unlocking. Tales of Maj’Eyal is a rogue-like with addictively intricate character development, honed over a decade of development. I never really cared for the goofy sloppiness of kart racers, but this year’s best driving game is a kart racing game called Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Monaco is a glorious playground full of interactive bits, lovingly realized in that often too-precious retro fat-pixel way, and some of the best multiplayer co-op you can play. Splinter Cell Blacklist takes stealth as far as I can imagine it will ever go by giving it varying levels of importance in a generous set of sandboxes, all interconnected by the economy of buying cool weapons and gadgets. Which brings me to Dead Space 3, which drank up far more time than a Dead Space should with its funky cool spaceweapon crafting. Assassin’s Creed IV’s gorgeous pirate ship shenanigans were just the breath of salty fresh air the Assassin’s Creed series needed. If there’s a platformer as good as Rayman Legends at the art of running, jumping, and variations thereof, I haven’t played it. I haven’t gotten very far into Wonderful 101, but I love the fighting system I’ve seen so far and I’m eager to explore the rest of it.
All those games would vie for a spot on a conventional top ten list. But none of those games really had an effective narrative hook, and that’s what my list is going to single out this year. As videogames grow up and increasingly earn their rightful place alongside movies and books and TV, these are the ten games I’m proudest of, the games I enjoyed the most, the games I’ll remember for reasons other than mere gameplay. These are the games that spoke the loudest, the clearest, the most poignantly, the most memorably. These are the games with voices that most deserve to be heard.
After the jump, the best games of 2013 Continue reading →