Grand Theft Auto - Time For a New Adventure?
Gamers have definitely been spoiled for choice when it comes to titles from Rockstar Games. Since mid-2008, the publisher has released twelve in-house titles, showcasing its strength in the industry and ability to develop high-quality games on a consistent basis. With the reinvention of a franchise in Max Payne 3, the intriguing L.A. Noire and the mysterious Agent all looking set for a 2011 release (the latter might be pushed into 2012), things definitely don’t seem to be slowing down for the UK-based publisher, and as gamers, we can’t help but feel a little overindulged.
2011 is shaping up to be a special one for the publisher, with three games on the table that all already have intense media and public interest. However, going into 2012 will make it four years since the last full Grand Theft Auto game, which is the same break the franchise took from consoles between CJ’s life problems in San Andreas and Niko’s attempt at assimilation in GTAIV.
The Ballad of Gay Tony - The last of the GTA IV Episodes.
Much-loved (/sarcasm) Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter made an interesting analysis recently, stating that the next Grand Theft Auto installment is probably set for release in late-2011 or early-2012. His analysis is based on the fact that three influential figures at Rockstar will be out of contract come January 2012, indicating that a new GTA game is in development and has been for a while. Whether this is true or not we don’t know, but it definitely opens the door to discussion on whether it really is time for a new Grand Theft Auto game.
Pachter mentions that it would be “irresponsible to enter into a contract with (the) three (Rockstar staff members) without some type of milestone for delivery of the game prior to expiration,” perhaps insinuating that it is Rockstar’s duty to provide another GTA game while the original development team is still intact.
One could definitely argue that since the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar has had no problem expanding on that game’s sandbox gameplay mechanics to fine-tune the open-world gaming experience. First we got The Lost and Damned, which was followed by The Ballad of Gay Tony. Red Dead Redemption brought us to the Wild West of early-1900s America, while Undead Nightmare took hold of the zombie craze sweeping across the gaming industry like wildfire.
As Rockstar has had ample opportunity with the genre to expand and evolve mechanics, as can be seen with the number of large-scale downloadable episodes for Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV, one does not even need to look at staff contracts to determine if a new Grand Theft Auto is on the way. While the point Pachter makes is an intriguing one, it’s safe to assume that a new entry in the popular franchise has been on the cards for a while, and it’s almost definitely in some development phase as we speak. But is it really time for a new Grand Theft Auto? Have we seen enough of Liberty City and the rough plains of the Wild West? Will 1940s Los Angeles tantalize our senses for as long as the two aforementioned have? If other games from Rockstar are anything to go by, it probably will. But we all know that the bread and butter of sandbox, open-world gaming is the GTA franchise. It’s a gaming staple that is almost certainly being developed as we speak, perfected and tweaked more than any other game in the franchise
By Gaetano Prestia
When do you hope to see the next Grand Theft Auto? Where do you want it to be set, and where do you think it will be set?