GTA 5, the Second Screen and Beyond
Get excited folks!!! The highly anticipated GTA5 is now finally here for PS3 and Xbox! So far critics have given GTA5 a 10/10 and described it as “the best game ever made.”
It’s bigger, better and broader than its predecessors and offers many new features and things to do in the game. For a start there are three main characters instead of one, there are more personal things to do in the game – you can do practically anything you want with each character – and there is also a brand spanking new online multiplayer to follow the initial release of the game. These features have quite rightly set GTA5 as the most anticipated game of the franchise and arguably the most anticipated game of all time for PS3 and Xbox.
I won’t go into too much detail about the ins and outs of what’s new and what you can do in the game, as there’s really only one way to find out! If you can’t get your hands on the game just yet check out any gaming site for a review and feature list.
One thing I did want to bring up is a pretty interesting add-on feature developed by Rockstar for the game. They will be releasing “GTA5 – The Manual” on iTunes alongside the release of the game. Basically the latest installment of GTA is so huge in terms of gameplay that a paper based manual would not fit in the box, so Rockstar have released the manual as a free mobile app for iPhone and iPad. The app will be following soon on Android, Windows Phone and PC/Mac.
The app itself contains over 100 pages of content including “everything from essential and practical Game Controls, Features and Credits info to a tour through the activities and local shops and brands in the game – and best yet, a special digital version of the game map to zoom in and explore with an interactive legend to browse neighborhoods and points of interest all over the entire world of Los Santos and Blaine County”.
Alongside the The Manual app Rockstar have also released a companion app called iFruit for iPhone and iPad. The iFruit app, which is available from the App Store, lets players modify your dog Chop’s behaviour and teach him new tricks. It also lets you choose new paint jobs and create new license plates for your in-game vehicles, used in GTA 5 and GTA Online.
“iFruit hooks directly into your experience of Grand Theft Auto V with some fun activities to further postpone the need for real social interaction,” reads the App’s description. “Keep up-to-date on the latest Grand Theft Auto V news, log into the Rockstar Games Social Club, stay connected on LifeInvader and launch other Rockstar Games apps.”
The User Experience
GTA5 has raised the bar for console gaming. With the pending release of both the PS4 and Xbox One, GTA5 has helped breathe new life into the creaking PS3 and Xbox 360 systems maximizing the potential of “mature” console technology. This is the first game to offer a complete user experience in terms of content for the game. Rockstar have continued the traditional one player storyline based game, while adding GTA Online (due to launch October 1st) and also the companion apps and social groups. So, for the user you never really have to stop playing this game! While you are travelling to work why not customize your car or teach Chop a couple of new tricks? Rockstar have embraced the digital age to offer gamers a complete package of gameplay and features.
According to Rockstar’s Dan Houser, “We’ve got this big open-world experience that’s 100 hours long, and that gives players control over what they do, what they see, and how they see it. A world where you can do everything from rob a bank to take a yoga lesson to watch TV, all in your own time. How do you condense that into a two-hour or 12-hour experience where you take away the main things: player agency and freedom?”
The Second Screen and the Future of Gaming
Patrick Soderlund, of EA, firmly believes that the second screen experience is the way forward in gaming. He sees the second screen as an added social window. “The social revolution we’ve seen because of technology and services, like Facebook and Twitter and those kind of things, has changed how games are played. And will continue to have an impact on how we will design games from the get go.”
Managing director of Ubisoft Quebec, Nicolas Rioux, has said, “I expect maybe in three or four years from now to be able to have mostly the same engine running on tablet and the main console.” This is truly a statement of intent about the future of gaming.
The Second Screen is a hugely exciting feature for gamers. Going forward there is no limit for what can be achieved through a companion mobile app. Gamers could train their character or develop key stats while on public transport or walking their dog. The Second Screen provides a complete gaming package for users and helps to merge a game with lifestyles and schedules of gamers, thus maximizing the gaming experience!
What does GTA5 mean for the future of gaming? It has raised the bar so incredibly high that PS4 sales could, now I say could, take slightly longer than expected to take off while gamers get their fill of this incredible latest installment. GTA5, alongside “The Last of Us”, have maximized the potential and performance of the PS3 system to such an extent that every game to be released on PS4 or Xbox One will undoubtedly be compared to, or reviewed against the PS3 swansong. How will they fare? I can’t wait to find out!
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