With the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 right around the corner, I thought I'd detail what I expect to see from the game's single-player experience. Obviously these features may not make it into the game, but they are educated guesses made using the information Rockstar has given us, with an added sprinkle of wishful thinking on my behalf.
After reading this, be sure to also check out my list of what I want to see in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto Online, too.
1. A map we can get lost in
I loved Grand Theft Auto 4, but like many others I found its smaller map a little underwhelming compared to that of San Andreas'. I understand that many felt this benefited the game and helped give it a tighter, more focused feel, but I personally enjoyed getting lost in Los Santos' expansiveness, even if it was often a little frustrating to have to travel from one side of the map to the other after failing to complete a mission.
However, since the GTA series has now implemented checkpointing in its mission this will no longer be a concern, and in GTA 5 we'll be venturing into a map Rockstar has said is bigger than the worlds of San Andreas, GTA 4 and Red Dead Redemption combined, and given my love for SA's often lonely landscape, the first thing I'll be doing in GTA 5 is hopping on a quad bike and exploring Los Santos' rolling hills.
2. A less predictable narrative
The GTA games have always featured some of the most compelling storylines in gaming, but they've all followed quite a predictable path of betrayal and revenge, so much so that the twists and turns each game takes you through are typically less surprising than if you were to make it to the end of them with all of your friends and relatives in tact and not baying for your blood. Considering GTA 5 features three central protagonists, I hope this makes way for a completely original story arch that isn't simply you chasing after a guy who's wronged you and your loved ones in some way.
3. Wilder missions
The Ballad of Gay Tony injected some unabashed fun into the often po-faced GTA 4, and I'm hoping Grand Theft Auto 5 picks up where that expansion left off. The heist missions look set to be exciting inclusions, and while I don't want to see anything approaching Saints Row levels of ridiculousness, I would love a happy medium between GTA 4 and San Andreas, where gameplay is fun without detracting from the aim of Rockstar's narrative. With that being said, I wouldn't say no to a jetpack or two…
4. Better female characters
Aside from Catalina, female characters in the GTA series have always been underdeveloped, typically ranging from either prostitutes or put-upon girlfriends. Grand Theft Auto 5 protagonist Michael is a family man with a wife, daughter and son, and I'm hoping that Rockstar does something interesting with this dynamic, rather than simply having them feature as background noises while Michael runs off shooting and looting.
5. More uses for our money
Money in GTA has always been used to spend on arbitrary things such as clothes and vehicles, and far too often in past GTA games have I found myself with plenty of dollars but not enough meaningful stuff to spend them on. As GTA 5 looks set to offer a more living, breathing world, I'm expecting that my money will go a lot further than simply making the central protagonists look a bit flashier.