Video games. It seems like we spend way more time talking about them than playing them. How did this happen? When? A large part of the whole ‘being passionate about games’ thing is the stupid product lust – the ‘hype train’. You can’t escape it. You can’t fight it. You know it makes zero sense, but you hop on board regardless. ALL ABOARD.
Next stop – mild disappointment?
Who knows, who can tell? All this week I’m going to take a quick look at the games I’m most excited about in 2013. Feel free to get talking about the hype trains you’re currently aboard!
Today? It's Grand Theft Auto V.
————— 2012's most interesting games were indie games. Or, at the very least, downloadable games that appeared on digital services. Journey, Trials HD, Fez, Dear Esther. When I look back upon 2012, these are the games I will remember.
But like a giant herd of plodding Brachiosaurs, howling at the death dealing asteroid hurtling towards them, 2013 may well be remembered as the year when boxed AAA titles made a last desperate gasp at relevancy. It may end up being the year where they proved their importance, or a willingness to innovate. BioShock Infinite and The Last Guardian will hopefully lead that charge but, in terms of scope and ambition, Grand Theft Auto V may end up obliterating them all.
The only evidence I have for this is Red Dead Redemption, a game I still argue is the greatest video game of the last five or so years. I loved GTA IV, but the leap between that game and RDD was astronomical. If we do the simple mathematics, I'm expecting a similar leap between RDD and Grand Theft Auto V.
Obviously it doesn't quite work like that. But what I'm expecting from Grand Theft Auto V is a game with the scale of its predecessors, combined with mechanics that iron out all the minor issues I had with GTA IV: control issues, mainly. I think you could also argue this may be Rockstar's last game on this generation of consoles. I'm hoping for a magnum opus on the level of a San Andreas.
Grand Theft Auto thoroughly dominated the last generation of consoles, but that was the decade of the open world game. This generation has been more about focused, story driven shooters — you can argue till the proverbial cows come home whether that's a positive thing or not (my view: it's not) but my point is this — Grand Theft Auto will most likely never be the zeitgeist capturing behemoth it was in its early days, but it can still be a game to end all games. It can still be fantastic, it can still be water cooler fodder for the masses. It can still be Grand Theft Auto.