When I first heard of GTA Online, I figured it was a multiplayer addition. Kind of like how Call of Duty has a multiplayer mode. But apparently, GTA Online should be considered as a separate game from GTA V, and while the world and engine may be the same, the experience will be different. In an interview with CVG, Rockstar North President Leslie Benzies clarified some things about GTA Online, and successfully built even more hype for the experience. For the original article, click here.
What is exciting for me is the fact that GTA Online seems to be leaning toward a more MMO-style experience but at a smaller scale. Players will be able to create their own missions and reshape the world, and because of that, there will constantly be new things to explore.
Leslie Benzies said, “Well let’s take the most simple example: a deathmatch. You open up the Creator, you place all your spawn points, place some props, place cars, place planes, place anything you want around the world. When you’re happy you’ve playtested it, when you’re happy to publish, hit the button, and it sends it up to the Cloud– our Social Club Cloud. That’s then available for everyone else in the world to use.
“So when (your friend) boots their game up, they could pick you as a preferred creator, and then all your content will get sucked back into (their game). It’s constantly evolving. Everybody creates things. You choose whose content you want to see. You set up a blue marker, and that’s kind of the instigator of the mission. You walk in there, and then it triggers whatever you’ve created. And that will constantly be evolving, so we’ll be creating content all the time– every day you’ll boot up the game and there’ll be new things coming in.”
I’m interested to see how the Creator tools will work and how in depth the missions can become. Considering that not everything will immediately be unlocked (except for races and deathmatches), perhaps we’ll see some really immersive mission gameplay that could really interject player creativity and storytelling.
After GTA Online is launched, you’ll have a new character appear on the character wheel during single-player mode. Instead of choosing Franklin, Michael, or Trevor, you’ll select your multiplayer character and enter Online straight from there. There shouldn’t be any other major downloads besides maybe a code to activate everything.
What is interesting is the fact that GTA Online takes place slightly before GTA V. Because of this, none of you single player stats will carry over. GTA Online should be seen as a different entity. “Each character has his own set of stats, and as you create your character, depending on what you’re creating, your stats will be different.
“In traditional GTA style, you’ll be taken on a journey through the first few missions of the game, just to give you a feel for it. We’ll have the usual Rockstar help, to keep you on the straight and narrow all the way through. So, it’ll be a nice, hopefully well-paced introduction to the game. There’s a lot for people to learn, so we don’t want to just throw you into the world. You’re not just going in and playing deathmatches.
“Characters from GTA V will introduce you to the experiences of GTA Online. You’ll meet characters from single-player, who’ll introduce you to things in the same way as they do in single-player. So, for example, someone will say to you, ‘Here’s Ammunation, here’s where you can get weapons…’ It’s got a flow like a single-player has a flow, so there is a progression through some things – not a story, but a progression through Online. It’s a different type of flow.”
Everything you do in Online is tracked. Players will be ranked on performance depending on the type of mission. You’ll be able to see where you stand in terms of stats and performance, and as you complete missions, you can share your winnings. Because of this, you will see different types of personalities from other players.
“Even in a race, you’ve got the (people) who will happily clip your back end as you start a race to get you out– or some guys will help you. We’ve got some good cheater management, some bad sport management, to make sure everybody’s behaving themselves.”
So punishments will be dished out toward players who harass others a little too much. You can insure your personal cars now. If someone steals it, or blows it up, you can have that same vehicle back for a premium. If you also leave your car somewhere in the world, you should be able to return to find it in the same spot.
“We don’t let anyone steal your personal vehicle. If we were in a personal vehicle, and I jumped out as the owner, you could take it. But if it’s locked, it’s locked. You could blow it up, if you’re that way (inclined), but anything that’s going to annoy other players, we will punish by giving you what we call a Bad Sport stat. We store how you behave in there. If you’re too bad, you will be punished.”
As a player, you’ll also be able to see who has a Bad Sport stat. GTA Online will remain (somewhat) realistic in an open-world environment. For example, if you’re carrying a lot of cash on you and then die, that money can spill onto the streets… meaning others can most likely take it. It’s another small gameplay element that can make a big difference in your decisions. Benzies answered, “Yeah. You want to be visiting the bank a lot. So, do I want to do this job with fifty grand on me, or do I want to go to the bank and take five with me?”
In response to the Bad Sport stat, it seems like players are more encouraged to buy vehicles rather than steal them. However, the opportunity to steal is still there. “You can buy cars, just like you can (in the real world). Or you can steal them if the mod shops are prepared to dabble with them. If they are, you can spray them and change the plates. If they’re not prepared to do that, when the cops spot you in a stolen car, you’ll get a Wanted level.”
You can apparently hire a $50-a-day man to repair your vehicles, but he won’t deal with stolen cars. “All he does is repair busted-up vehicles, and deliver your car. So if you’re out in the countryside without transport, you can give him a phone and he’ll come out and drop the car off for you.”
The in-game economy will play a huge part in your gameplay. “The money in the game is one of the things that has to be so very finely balanced that we’re still working on it. If I was to give you a number, it would probably change tomorrow.
“Because you’re buying properties, and you’re buying cars, and you’re earning money, we need to make sure that that fits in with the flow. So it’ll change. But we try and base everything on real life, so imagine the kind of sums you would get in real life for doing a job. If you’re robbing a store, you’re going to get a couple of hundred dollars, three hundred dollars; if you’re nicking a car, you’re going to get a thousand, two thousand, depending on the car. We’ll probably base it on what happens out there.”
And just like in single-player, you can invest in stocks and shares as well. “Yeah. You can go online, buy some shares in a car company, target that company’s cars, blow them up so the insurance will replace them and the stock price will go up. Everything’s tied in, the same as it is in single-player.”
Other mini-games, such as tennis will be available, and thankfully other players can’t interrupt your play time with a timed sniper shot. There will be a lot of things for players to do, and according to Benzies, there will eventually be a lot of things for players to see. “Well, one thing we’ve toyed with – and we’ve talked about this before, so it isn’t a spoiler – is (the ambition) to grow this world until it’s the world.
“We’re just going to add on new things to it, new places all the time. We’ve set this up so there are no limitations. The only limitation is the size of the disc and how much memory we’ve got. We could, if we wanted, simulate the entire world, different countries, whatever. Whether we do that or not… But we’ve got a bunch of old stuff that we’re toying with using.”