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Grand Theft Auto V

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Grand Theft Auto V is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, on 18 November 2014 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on 14 April 2015 for Microsoft Windows. The game is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series after 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player storey follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas's open countryside and fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles.

The game is played from either a first-person or third-person view and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. Players control the three lead protagonists throughout single-player and switch between them both throughout and outside of missions. The storey is centred on the heist sequences, and a large number of missions involve shooting and driving gameplay. A "wanted" system governs the aggression of law enforcement response to players who commit crimes. Grand Theft Auto Online, the online multiplayer mode, lets up to 30 players explore the open world and engage in cooperative or competitive game matches.[356]

Development began soon after Grand Theft Auto IV's release and was shared between a large number of of Rockstar's studios worldwide. The development team drew influence from a large number of of their previous projects like Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, and designed the game around three lead protagonists to innovate on the core structure of its predecessors. Much of the development work constituted the open world's creation, and several team members conducted field research around California to capture footage for the design team. The game's soundtrack features an original score composed by a team of producers who collaborated over several years.

Extensively marketed and widely anticipated, the game broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, earning US $800 million in its first day and US $1 billion in its first three days. It received widespread critical acclaim, with praise directed at its multiple protagonist design, open world, presentation and gameplay. It caused controversies related to its depiction of women and a mission featuring torture throughout a hostage interrogation. Considered one of seventh generation console gaming's most significant titles, it won year-end accolades including Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications. It has shipped over 65 million copies and is one of the best-selling video games of all time.

Gameplay

Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure game[3] played from either a first-person[5] or third-person view.[7] Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story.[9] Outside of missions, players might freely roam the open world. Composed of the San Andreas open countryside area and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series.[11] It might be fully explored after the game's beginning without restriction, although storey progress unlocks more gameplay content.[13]

Players use melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies, and might run, jump, swim or use vehicles to navigate the world. To accommodate the map's size, the game introduces vehicle types absent in its predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV, like fixed-wing aircraft.[15] Auto-aim and a cover system might be used as assistance against enemies in combat.[17] Should players take damage, their health metre will gradually regenerate to its halfway point. Players respawn at hospitals when their health depletes. If players commit crimes while playing, law enforcement agencies might respond as indicated by a "wanted" metre in the head-up display (HUD).[19] Stars displayed on the metre indicate the current wanted level (for example, at the maximum five-star level, police helicopters and SWAT teams swarm to lethally dispatch players).[21] Law enforcement officers will search for players who leave the wanted vicinity. The metre enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes when players are hidden from the officers' line of sight (as displayed on the mini-map).[23]

The single-player mode lets players control three characters: Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips and Franklin Clinton—criminals whose storeys interconnect as they complete missions. Some missions are completed with only one character and others feature two or three. Throughout single-player, players might switch between the protagonists at will by means of a directional compass on the HUD. The game might switch between characters automatically in single-player missions to complete certain objectives. A character's compass avatar will flash red if he's in danger and needs help, and flash white if he has a strategic advantage.[25] Though players complete missions as any of the three protagonists, the more difficult heist missions require aid from AI-controlled accomplices with unique skill sets like computer hacking and driving. If an accomplice survives a successful heist, they take a cut from the cash reward[27] and might be available for later missions with improvements to their unique skills.[29] Differentiation in heist mission strategies is encouraged; in a holdup mission, players might either stealthily subdue civilians with an incapacitating agent or conspicuously storm the venue with guns drawn.[31]

Each character has a set of eight skills that represent their ability in certain areas like shooting and driving. Though skills improve through play, each character has a skill with expertise by default (i.e. Trevor's flying skill).[33] The eighth "special" skill determines the effectiveness in performing an ability that's unique to each respective character. Michael enters bullet time in combat, Franklin slows down time while driving, and Trevor deals twice as much damage to enemies while taking half as much in combat.[35] A metre on each character's HUD depletes when an ability is being used and regenerates when players perform skilful actions (for example, drifting in vehicles as Franklin or pulling off headshots as Michael).

While free roaming the game world, players might engage in context-specific activities like scuba diving underwater or BASE jumping via parachute. Each character has a smartphone for contacting friends, starting activities and accessing an in-game Internet.[37] The Internet lets players trade in stocks via a stock market.[39] Players might purchase properties like homes and businesses, upgrade the weapons and vehicles in each character's arsenal, and customise their appearance by purchasing outfits, haircuts, tattoos and jewellery.[41]

Plot

Nine years after a botched robbery in Ludendorff, North Yankton, former bank robber Michael Townley lives under witness protection with his family in Los Santos, San Andreas, under the alias Michael De Santa. He meets and befriends gangbanger Franklin Clinton when the latter attempts to fraudulently repossess his son's car on behalf of a corrupt Armenian car salesman. When Michael discovers his wife Amanda has been sleeping with her tennis coach, he chases the coach to a mansion and destroys it out of anger. The mansion's owner turns out to be the girlfriend of Mexican drug lord Martin Madrazo, who demands compensation under the threat of further violence. Michael goes back into a life of crime to obtain the money and enlists Franklin as an accomplice. Together, they perform a jewellery shop heist to help pay the debt. Michael's sole surviving partner in the Ludendorff robbery, Trevor Philips, hears of the jewellery heist and realises that it was Michael's handiwork. The two reunite after Trevor tracks Michael down in Los Santos.

The personal lives of the protagonists begin to spiral out of control. Michael's increasingly erratic behaviour prompts his family to leave him, and his attempts to make something of himself bring him into conflict with Devin Weston, a self-made billionaire venture capitalist and corporate raider who develops a grudge against him. Weston vows revenge after his solicitor dies in an accident that Michael is blamed for. Franklin rescues his friend Lamar Davis from gangster and former friend Harold "Stretch" Joseph, who repeatedly attempts to kill Lamar to prove himself to his brethren. Trevor's reckless efforts to consolidate his control over various black markets in Blaine County see him waging war against the San Andreas chapter of The Lost outlaw motorcycle club, a number of Latin American street gangs, rival meth dealers, government-sponsored mercenaries and Triad kingpin Wei Cheng.

Federal Investigation Bureau (FIB) government agents Dave Norton and Steve Haines contact Michael and demand that he perform a series of operations with Franklin and Trevor to undermine a rival agency, the International Affairs Agency (IAA). Under Haines' direction, they attack an armoured convoy carrying funds intended for the IAA and raid a bank containing the payroll for all corrupt police and public officials in Los Santos. As Haines comes under increasing scrutiny for his methods, he forces Franklin and Michael to infiltrate the FIB headquarters and erase any evidence being used against him from their servers. Michael takes the opportunity to wipe any data on his own activities, destroying Haines' gearing (finance) over him. The trio start planning their most daring feat ever: raiding the Union Depository's gold bullion reserve.

Michael makes amends with his family and they start living together again after returning to Los Santos. Meanwhile, Trevor discovers that a former Ludendorff heist accomplice, Brad Snider, wasn't in prison as he had been led to believe, but killed throughout the heist and buried in the grave marked for Michael. Trevor's feelings of betrayal cause friction within the group and threaten to undermine their Union Depository plans. When Michael and Norton, both of whom are betrayed by Haines, are caught in a Mexican standoff between the FIB, IAA and private security firm Merryweather, Trevor aids in their escape, holding that only he has the right to kill Michael. Despite not forgiving Michael, Trevor still wants to perform the Union Depository heist; the duo agree to part ways afterwards.

The Union Depository heist is completed successfully, but Franklin is approached by two parties separately who demand that he kill Trevor or Michael. Haines and Norton contend that Trevor is a liability, and Weston wants retribution for Michael's betrayal. Franklin has three choices: kill Michael, kill Trevor or kill neither and face their enemies together. Should Franklin kill either Michael or Trevor, he ceases contact with the survivor and returns to his old life. Should he kill neither, the trio withstand an onslaught from the FIB and Merryweather before going on to kill Haines, Stretch, Cheng and Weston. Michael and Trevor reconcile, and the three cease working together but remain friends.

Development

Rockstar North began to develop Grand Theft Auto V in 2009, following Grand Theft Auto IV's release.[45] Development was conducted by a team of more than 1,000 people, including Rockstar North's core team and staff from parent company Rockstar Games's studios around the world.[47] The proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) was overhauled for the game to improve its draw distance rendering capabilities. The Euphoria and Bullet software handle additional animation and rendering tasks.[49] Having become familiar with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hardware over time, Rockstar found they were able to push the consoles' graphical capabilities further than in previous games.[51] Analyst estimations place the game's combined development and marketing budget at more than £170 million (US $265 million), which would make it the most expensive game ever made at that time.[53]

The open world was modelled on Southern California and Los Angeles,[57] and its design and in-game render constituted much of the game's early work.[59] Key members of the game world production team took field research trips throughout the region and documented their research with photo and video footage.[51] Google Maps projections of Los Angeles were used by the team to help design Los Santos's road networks.[61] To reflect and reproduce Los Angeles's demographic spread, the developers studied census data and watched documentaries about the city. The team considered creating the open world the most technically demanding aspect of the game's production.[45]

A fundamental design goal from the outset was to innovate on the series's core structure by giving players control of three lead protagonists instead of one.[59] The idea was first raised throughout Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas's development, but contemporaneous hardware restrictions made it infeasible.[63] Having developed two Grand Theft Auto IV episodic expansion packs featuring new protagonists in 2009, the team wanted to base Grand Theft Auto V around three simultaneously controlled protagonists.[15] The team viewed it as a spiritual successor to a large number of of their previous games (such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3), and designed it to improve upon their gameplay mechanics.[25][65] They sought to improve the action gameplay by refining the shooting mechanics and cover system,[67] and reworked the driving mechanics to correct Grand Theft Auto IV's difficult vehicle controls.

After an audition process, Ned Luke, Shawn Fonteno and Steven Ogg were selected to portray Michael, Franklin and Trevor, respectively.[68] Their performances were mostly recorded using motion capture technology,[70] but dialogue for scenes with characters seated in vehicles was recorded in studios instead.[72] The game is the first in its series to feature an original score, composed by a team of producers collaborating with each additional over several years.[74] Licensed music provided by an in-game radio is additionally used.[76] The team licenced more than 241 tracks shared between fifteen radio stations, with an additional two stations providing talk radio. Some of the tracks were written specifically for the game, like rapper and producer Flying Lotus's original work composed for the FlyLo FM radio station he hosts.[78]

The game was first announced by Rockstar Games on 25 October 2011.[80] They released its debut trailer one week later,[82] with an official press release acknowledging its setting.[84] Journalists noted that the announcement ignited widespread anticipation within the gaming industry, which they owed to the cultural significance of the series.[86][88][7] The game missed its original projected Q2 2013 release date, pushed back to 17 September to allow for further polishing.[7] To spur pre-order game sales, Rockstar collaborated with several retail outlets to make a special edition with additional in-game features.[94] They ran a viral marketing strategy with a website for a fictional religious cult, "The Epsilon Program", that offered users the chance to feature in the game as members of the cult.[7]

A re-release of the game was announced for Microsoft Windows (PC), PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at E3 2014. This enhanced version features an increased draw distance, finer texture details, denser traffic, upgraded weather effects, and new wildlife and vegetation.[98] It includes a new on-foot first-person view option, which required the development team to overhaul the animation system to accommodate first-person gameplay.[5] The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were released on 18 November 2014.[99] The PC version, initially scheduled for simultaneous release with the console versions,[98] was delayed until 14 April 2015.[101] According to Rockstar, it required additional development time for "polish".[103] The PC version is capable of 60 frames per second gameplay at 4K resolution, and the Rockstar Editor lets players capture and edit gameplay videos.[7]

Critical reception

Initial release

PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 reception
 

Grand Theft Auto V was released to critical acclaim.[125] Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating in the 0–100 range, calculated an average score of 97 out of 100 based on 50 reviews for the PlayStation 3 version[107] and 58 reviews for the Xbox 360 version.[109] The game is Metacritic's fifth-highest rated, tied with a number of others. Reviewers liked the multiple lead character formula,[113][117] heist mission design[129][131][133] and presentation,[23][121][135] but a few didn't agree on the quality of the storey and characters.[111][119][123][137] IGN's Keza MacDonald called Grand Theft Auto V "one of the quite best video games ever made",[117] and Play considered it "generation-defining" and "exceptional".[121] Edge wrote that it is a "remarkable achievement" in open world design and storytelling, while The Daily Telegraph's Tom Hoggins declared it a "colossal feat of technical engineering".[139]

CNET's Jeff Bakalar felt that the game encouraged players to engage with all three characters.[141] Edge found that switching players was helpful for avoiding long travel times to mission start points. Due to the switching mechanic, Game Informer's Matt Bertz noted that players are kept "in the thick of the action" throughout shootouts.[113] Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell wrote that switching added a tactical element to shootouts as characters set up in strategic outposts would cause fewer "shooting gallery" situations than previous instalments.[111] IGN's MacDonald felt the switching feature gave players more choice in their approach and made missions less predictable.[117]

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann considered the heist missions a welcome deviation from series typical mission structure.[129] Eurogamer's Bramwell likened them to "blockbuster set-pieces"[111] and GameSpot's Carolyn Petit cited the 1995 film Heat as a stylistic influence on their design.[115] Joystiq's Xav de Matos felt creativity and methodical approaches were encouraged.[119] Polygon's Chris Plante likened rapid character switching throughout heist missions to "film editing, with the player serving as editor, switching rapidly to the most interesting perspective for any moment".[131] Computer and Video Games's Andy Kelly felt that overall mission design was more diverse than and lacked the escort errands of its predecessors.[133]

Edge praised the game's graphical fidelity and absence of load screens. Play complimented the draw distances and weather and lighting systems.[121] Eurogamer's Bramwell considered the lighting system to be the game's biggest advancement.[111] Official Xbox Magazine (OXM)'s Mikel Reparaz thought that the game was "probably the Xbox 360's greatest technical achievement", and was surprised that the open world could render on the console.[137] Reviewers lauded the open world's design, a few further complimenting the game for streamlining Los Angeles's geography into a well-designed city space.[23][111] GameTrailers's Brandon Jones considered the Los Angeles emulation authentic and the open world "full of voice and personality".[143] IGN and PlayStation Official Magazine (OPM) made favourable comparisons between Los Santos and Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City.[117][135] OXM's Reparez felt Los Santos surpassed the "grey and gritty" Liberty City.[137] Reviewers praised the world's satire of contemporary American culture[23][111][117][119][133]OPM's Joel Gregory opined that "the scathing social commentary is, of course, present and correct".[135]

Destructoid's Jim Sterling called the sound design "impeccable" and praised the actors' performances, original soundtrack and licenced music use.[23] IGN and Giant Bomb commended the music selection and felt that the original score enhanced dramatic tension throughout missions.[117][129] GameSpot's Petit wrote that the score "lends missions more cinematic flavour".[115] Edge said that the licenced music enhanced the city's "already remarkable sense of space" and that the original score improved the atmosphere of the gameplay. They summarised the game as "a compendium of everything Rockstar has learnt about the power of game music in the past decade".

Many reviewers found the land-based vehicles more responsive and easier to control than in previous games.[115][121][135][137] Game Informer's Bertz explained that "cars have a proper sense of weight, while retaining the agility necessary for navigating through traffic at high speeds".[113] In addition to the vehicle handling, most reviewers noted the shooting mechanics were tighter than they had been in previous games,[113][115][117] but Destructoid's Sterling felt that in spite of the improvements, auto-aim was "twitchy and unreliable" and cover mechanics "still come off as dated and unwieldy".[23] Some reviewers felt the game solved a continual problem by adding mid-mission checkpoints.[111][117][139]

The storey and characters—particularly Trevor—polarised reviewers. Some felt that the narrative wasn't as well-written as previous Rockstar games and cited Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption's plot strengths.[111][113][119][137] Others felt that the protagonists' contrasting personalities gave the narrative tighter pacing.[23][117][131] Edge thought the choice to host multiple leads was crucial, writing "what [at first] seemed like a gimmick ultimately proves to be the bedrock for the game as a whole". GamesRadar's Hollander Cooper thought the game negated inconsistencies in the storey of previous entries, whose single lead protagonists had muddled morality. GameSpot's Petit considered Trevor in particular a "truly horrible, terrifying, psychotic human being—and a terrific character".[115] Eurogamer's Bramwell found Trevor "shallow and unconvincing", and felt that his eccentricities hurt the narrative and overshadowed Michael and Franklin's character development.[111] Joystiq's de Matos faulted the protagonists' lack of likability for him, and found the ambivalence between Michael and Trevor a tired plot device as their conflict grew into a "seemingly endless cycle".[119] The Escapist's Greg Tito had difficulty connecting with the characters' emotions after they acted out of greed with no sense of morality and thus gave players little reason to support them.[123]

Re-release

Re-release reception
 

Grand Theft Auto V's re-release received critical acclaim. Metacritic calculated an average score of 97 out of 100 based on 66 reviews for the PlayStation 4 version[150] and 14 reviews for the Xbox One version,[151] and 96 out of 100 based on 48 reviews for the PC version.[149] GameRankings assigned an average score of 96 percent based on 41 reviews for the PlayStation 4 version,[146] 98 percent based on 12 reviews for the Xbox One version[147] and 95 percent based on 26 reviews for the PC version.[145]

Game Informer's Andrew Reiner considered the addition of first-person "another significant breakthrough for the series" in the vein of Grand Theft Auto III's shift to third-person from Grand Theft Auto's bird's-eye view.[155] GameSpot's Mark Walton found that playing in first-person heightened the impact of Grand Theft Auto V's violence, which made him reflect on morality and character motivation more than before.[153] VideoGamer.com opined that players feel like inhabitants of the world, rather than "guns attached to a floating camera".[162] IGN's Dan Stapleton found the game more immersive in first-person, creating a "surprisingly different experience".[157] VideoGamer.com praised the "finer details" in first-person animations like camera lean when players take corners on motorcycles, or the navigational instruments in plane cockpits.[162] Reviewers found playing the game more difficult in first-person,[153][157] but Game Informer's Reiner preferred the challenge.[155]

GameSpot's Walton thought the graphics improvements made the open world "even more spectacular", especially because of improved spatial anti-aliasing. Of the first-person view, he said that "at ground level everything looks bigger and more imposing" because of the improved graphics.[153] IGN's Stapleton favoured the PlayStation 4 version's graphics over the Xbox One, but thought both consoles rendered the game well and maintained mostly consistent frame rates.[157] He praised the increased frame rate and graphics options offered in the PC version. VideoGamer.com called the console version's frame rate so consistent it was "scarcely believable",[162] although GameSpot's Walton cited occasional frame rate dips.[153] GameSpot's Peter Brown opined that the PC version let players "witness the full extent of Rockstar's admirable handiwork", but noted that it "retains evidence of its last-gen roots ... with simple geometry".[153] VideoGamer.com praised the Rockstar Editor's accessibility on PC but criticised a few of its limitations, like camera angle restrictions.[164] IGN's Stapleton appreciated the PC version's customisable controls, and GameSpot's Brown felt that constant switching between the mouse and keyboard and a gamepad was necessary for "the best experience".[153] PC Gamer's Chris Thursten called the game "the most beautiful, expansive and generous" of the series.[160]

On the game's multiplayer, IGN's Stapleton reported low player counts in matches, long wait times in lobbies, server disconnection and occasional crashes. "Because of that," he wrote, "I can't strongly recommend ... the multiplayer experience alone".[157] VideoGamer.com found online character progression streamlined by comparison with the original version. According to them, the "grind of just doing PvP until co-op Jobs arrive with regularity"[162] was lost, and newcomers would likely find multiplayer enjoyable and balanced. Notwithstanding they wrote of frequent server disconnection, especially throughout load screens.[162] GameSpot's Walton thought that Grand Theft Auto Online "still suffers from a lack of direction" for its open-ended and frenetic gameplay, but still is fun.[153] Game Informer's Reiner reported "minimal lag or issues in the expanded firefights and races".[155]

Commercial performance

Sales

Within 24 hours of its release, Grand Theft Auto V generated more than $800 million in worldwide revenue, equating to approximately 11.21 million copies sold for Take Two.[167] The numbers nearly doubled analysts' expectations for the title.[171][173] Three days after release, the game had surpassed one billion dollars in sales, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history.[175] Six weeks after its release, Rockstar had shipped nearly 29 million copies of the game to retailers, exceeding the lifetime figures of Grand Theft Auto IV.[179] On 7 October 2013, the game became the best-selling digital release on PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3, breaking the previous record set by The Last of Us, though numerical sales figures weren't disclosed.[181][183] It broke seven Guinness World Records on 8 October: best-selling video game in 24 hours, best-selling action-adventure video game in 24 hours, highest grossing video game in 24 hours, fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion, fastest video game to gross $1 billion, highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours, and most viewed trailer for an action-adventure video game.[3] A digital version was released on 18 October for the Xbox 360,[185] which went on to become the highest grossing day-one and week-one release on Xbox Live.[187] As of May 2014, the game has generated over $1.98 billion in revenue.[188] As of August 2014, the game has sold-in over 34 million units to retailers for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[190] As of 31 December 2014, the game has shipped 45 million copies to retailers, including 10 million copies of the re-released version for eighth-generation consoles.[191] As of 18 May 2016, the game has shipped over 65 million copies across all platforms.[192]

In the United Kingdom, the game became the all time fastest-selling, selling more than 2.25 million copies in five days. This broke the record set by Call of Duty: Black Ops at two million copies over the same period. It broke the day one record by selling 1.57 million copies and generating £65 million.[194] In two weeks, the game sold more than 2.6 million copies and generated £90 million, which accounted for 52 percent of games sold September 2013.[196] After three weeks on sale, it beat Grand Theft Auto IV's lifetime sales in the United Kingdom.[198] In its fourth week, it became the fastest-selling title to break the three million barrier in the UK, thus overtaking Black Ops II's lifetime sales.[200] In November 2014, the game became the best-selling game of all time in the UK, overtaking Black Ops.[201] The game was similarly successful in North America: it was the best selling game in September, representing over fifty percent of software sales[203] and boosting overall software sales by 52 percent compared to September 2012.[205]

Awards

Grand Theft Auto V received multiple nominations and awards from gaming publications. Before its release, it received Most Anticipated Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards.[86] The game was review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings' highest rated for the year 2013.[207][209] The game appeared on several year-end lists of 2013's best games, receiving wins from independent journalist Tom Chick,[211] CNET,[213] Edge,[215] the 31st Golden Joystick Awards,[217] the 5th Annual Inside Gaming Awards[219] the Spike VGX 2013 Awards,[221] Slant Magazine[223] and Time.[225] It was named the Best Xbox Game by Canada.com,[227] GameSpot,[229] and IGN,[231] and the Best Multiplatform Game by Destructoid.[233] Rockstar Games and Rockstar North won Best Studio and Best Developer from Edge,[235] and the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award at the 10th British Academy Video Games Awards.[237]

Various in-game elements were recognised with awards. Two characters, Trevor Philips and Lamar Davis, received numerous nominations for Best Character, and Lamar won the award from Giant Bomb.[239] The music received awards from Spike VGX,[221] Hardcore Gamer[241] and The Daily Telegraph.[243] Grand Theft Auto Online won Best Multiplayer from GameTrailers[245] and BAFTA,[237] and Best Xbox 360 Multiplayer from IGN.[247] Online was additionally nominated for Biggest Disappointment by Game Revolution[249] and Hardcore Gamer.[251] Grand Theft Auto V won Best Technical Achievement in the Telegraph Video Game Awards,[243] and Best Technology at the fourteenth Annual Game Developers Choice Awards.[252] The graphical and artistic design received awards from IGN,[254] The Daily Telegraph[243] and BAFTA,[237] and a nomination at the Game Developers Choice Awards.[252]

The game received numerous additional awards. It was awarded the title of Most Immersive Game at the Inside Gaming Awards.[219] The general public voted for the game to receive the User Choice Award at the PlayStation Awards 2013[256] and the Community Choice award from Destructoid.[258] The game received the Platinum Award at the PlayStation Awards,[256] and was named the Best British Game from BAFTA.[237] At IGN's Best of 2013 Awards, it received multiple wins, including Best Xbox 360 Graphics,[254] Best Xbox 360 Sound,[260] and Best Action Game on Xbox 360,[231] PlayStation 3[262] and overall.[264]

Grand Theft Auto Online

Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, the online multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience to be played in a continually evolving world.[266] Up to 30 players freely roam across the game world and enter lobbies to complete jobs (story-driven competitive and cooperative modes).[268] The Content Creator toolset lets players create their own parameters for custom jobs, like racetracks and deathmatch weapon spawn points.[270] Players might band together in organised player teams called crews to complete jobs together. Rockstar Games Social Club extends crews formed in Max Payne 3's multiplayer mode to that of Grand Theft Auto Online. Players might create their own crews and join up to five total. Crews win multiplayer matches to earn experience points and climb online leaderboards.[272]

Grand Theft Auto Online launched on 1 October 2013, two weeks after Grand Theft Auto V's release.[274] Many players reported connexion difficulties and game freezes throughout load screens.[276][17] Rockstar released a technical patch on 5 October in an effort to resolve the issues,[17] but problems persisted the second week following launch as a few players reported their character progress as having disappeared.[17] An Additional technical patch was released on 10 October combating the issues[17] and Rockstar offered a GTA $500,000 (in-game currency) stimulus to the accounts of all players connected to Online after launch as recompense.[17] Due to the widespread technical issues present at launch, a large number of reviewers bemoaned their experience with Grand Theft Auto Online, but generally recognised the open-ended exploration and dynamic content as its strength.[288][290][292][294][296]

Post-release content is continually added to Grand Theft Auto Online through free title updates. Some updates add new game modes and features,[297][298] and others feature themed gameplay content, like the Independence Day Special update that added patriotic-themed content on 1 July 2014.[300] The widely anticipated[302][303] Online Heists update launched on 10 March 2015 and suffered a few initial technical difficulties due to the increased user load.[305] Shortly after the game's PC release, a few players reported being banned from Grand Theft Auto Online for using field of view and cosmetic mods in single-player.[307] Rockstar stated in their official blog that nobody had been banned from Online for using single-players mods, but that recent updates to the PC version had the "unintentional effect" of making such mods unplayable. They stated that mods are unauthorised and might cause unforeseen technical problems and instabilities.[309]

Controversies

The game has generated several controversies related to its violence and depiction of women. A mission that requires players to use torture equipment in a hostage interrogation polarised reviewers, who noted its political commentary but felt that the torture sequence was in poor taste.[117][311] The mission additionally received criticism from politicians and anti-torture charity groups.[313] The game became subject to widespread online debate over its portrayal of women, particularly in the wake of backlash against GameSpot journalist Carolyn Petit when she claimed the game was misogynistic in her review.[115][19] After Petit's review webpage received more than 20,000 largely negative comments, a large number of journalists defended her right to an opinion and lamented the gaming community's defensiveness towards criticism.[317][19] Television personality Karen Gravano and actress Lindsay Lohan have both filed lawsuits against Rockstar in allegation that characters in the game were based on their likenesses.[321][323] Australian department store Target pulled the game from their 300 stores following a Change.org petition against depictions of violence toward women in the game.[325]

Legacy

Critics concurred that Grand Theft Auto V was amongst seventh generation console gaming's best[39] and a great closing title before the eighth generation's emergence.[327][329] Polygon's Plante observed that the game would be "a bridge between games' present and the future", and declared it "the closure of this generation, and the benchmark for the next".[131] VideoGamer.com's Simon Miller considered it "the ultimate swansong for this console cycle" that would "cast a long shadow over the next".[331] Three days after its release, the game ranked second on IGN's list of "The Top 25 Xbox 360 Games". Editor Ryan McCaffrey considered that the scale and detail of the open world succeeded the majority of additional Xbox 360 games. He wrote that the game is "a triumph both for gamers and for the medium itself, and it deserves its runaway success".[19] Hardcore Gamer placed it at number three on their "Top 100 Games of the Generation" list. They cited the game's improved shooting and driving mechanics over its predecessors. They additionally considered that the multiple protagonist design "was a welcome change of pace" and could become a benchmark for the eighth generation of gaming.[21] In December 2013, The Daily Telegraph listed the game amongst their "50 best games of the console generation". They called it a "cultural behemoth" that "will be Rockstar's lasting legacy".[21]

In January 2014, Computer and Video Games ranked the game fourth on their "Games of the Generation 20-1" list. Editor Rob Crossley said that for the first time, Rockstar created an "utterly beautiful" open world. He found that the game did away with Grand Theft Auto IV's repetitive mission design and focused instead on fun gameplay.[21] In May, IGN ranked it eighth on their list of the "Top 100 Games of a Generation" and called it a "huge, raucous, and wildly ambitious bridge towards the [eighth] generation of console gaming".[21] The next month, it placed at number three on IGN's list of the "Games of a Generation: Your Top 100" as voted by the site's readers.[21] In August, Game Informer ranked it third on their "Top 10 Action Games Of The Generation" list. They compared the game's quality to that of its predecessor, but thought that its ensemble character set-up, varied missions and multiplayer superseded Grand Theft Auto IV's placement on the list. They wrote of the story's absurd drama and the open world's vastness, and didn't "regret a single second" spent playing the game.[21] In November, Edge named it the fifth best game of its generation and commented that it set the open world genre a high standard. It additionally ranked high on several best game lists determined by the public. It featured eighth on Empire's list of "The 100 Greatest Video Games Of All Time", and fifth on Good Game's "Top 100 Games" list, as voted by the audience of the magazine and show respectively.[21][21] Grand Theft Auto V was the most tweeted game of 2015, notwithstanding being released over a year earlier.[21]

 

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