Until very late last year, a healthy dose of the news cycle on any given day was reliably occupied by something Grand Theft Auto V-related. Another sales record shattered, another rumor propagated, another secret unlocked -- it didn’t matter. The game was a mammoth black hole of game industry mindshare, and the only thing capable of stopping it was, well--nothing, actually. Rockstar’s hulking mass has simply spun out of sight, revving its engines for the next round of media coverage and ubiquitous game-news attention.
Of course, phase two will arrive in the form of some long-promised updates, both of which Rockstar has been teasing. The first, Online Heists, is a much clamored-for addition to the GTA Online experience, and stands to drastically alter (and improve) the pseudo-MMO if done properly. Think about it; imagine pulling off something like The Paleto Score from the game’s story, fighting through hoards of cops and soldiers alongside your real-life friends. The potential for truly entertaining hilarity is off the charts.
Even so, GTA V for me was all about the single player. Mal-paced end sequences aside, Rockstar’s latest entry brought to life some of the most vivid and convincing videogame character’s I’ve yet encountered. There are so many potential threads pick up and run with -- be it fleshing out backstory, offering emotional closure for characters who never got it, or factors that are entirely new -- that I get excited just thinking about what Rockstar has in store.
Over-anticipation can often be a curse, though, and inevitably I won’t find every last thing I’d like to when I download the DLC later this year. For the sake of my well-being (and yours), here’s our ideal wish list for GTA V’s story DLC, character-by-character, along with some more realistic expectations.
Of the game’s three main characters, Michael has the least baggage by a pretty wide margin when the end credits finally roll. Triumphantly emerging from the trenches of self-hatred, violent habits, and regret, Michael was able to improve his standing to a dull self-dislike, well-meaning violent habits, and, well... less regret. Not exactly a fairy tale ending, but it works.
One of the keys to Michael’s happily-ever-after involves the realization of a dream; working in the movie business. Since Michael partakes in a few Hollywood-themed side missions toward the end of the game, I’d love to see the story DLC capitalize on that further. A plot involving a heist to help out Michael’s director friend Solomon Richards would be awesome -- after all, what other reason would Michael have to return to crime when he has $17 million in the bank and the profits of Hollywood films rolling in?
Perhaps Solomon will come upon hard times, and want to make an unprecedented blockbuster, requiring obscene funding, publicity, and shady behind-the-scenes dealings. It’s still GTA, so missions could involve taking out rival film executives, stealing props, destroying sets, or any number of humorous GTA-isms.
In reality, the DLC plot is unlikely to focus on Michael’s cushy new life, and in fact, I suspect it may actually unravel it a bit. Rockstar will need a reason to plunge Michael back into the game one last time, and even though helping Solomon is a believable motive, it hardly works as well for Trevor and Franklin. While still friends with the crazy old white guys who forever altered his life, Franklin seems perfectly content to take his money and run. Meanwhile, Trevor the wounded puppy is more miserable than ever before, especially after his mother appeared and delivered him a swift knee to the jaw.
Ultimately, there’s going to be some ploy to drag the oddball crime trio out of retirement -- we just don’t know what it is. If this were an RPG, I’d suggest Rockstar have a mysterious wizard revive Steve Haines, who could subsequently go on a frenzied killing spree targeted at Trevor and Michael specifically. Given the game’s lack of hermetic or otherwise arcane explorations of magic and the occult, though, I don’t really see that happening.
<< On the next page we look at how Franklin might play a part in the DLC. >>