Grand Theft Auto V is celebrating its fourth anniversary on store shelves today, initially arriving for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and setting records right off the bat. The game managed to clear $800 million in revenue within its first 24 hours, and $1 billion in the following week. And that was just the beginning of its success.
The game would continue on with releases for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and would eventually sell over 80 million copies up to this point, becoming one of the biggest success stories in video games.
So what is it about Grand Theft Auto V that keeps us coming back for more? There are a number of factors to consider, so, as we celebrate the anniversary of its initial release, let’s look at what makes the game so damn fun to play.
First, the package doesn’t just include Grand Theft Auto V, as there’s a whole online offering to consider. Grand Theft Auto Online allows friends to join in sessions together and do all sorts of stuff, whether it’s hanging out at an apartment, taking part in gun battles, or causing vehicular mayhem, either with joyriding or racing in pre-set events.
And that list of activities has only grown over the past few years, with frequent updates that include new races, new activities (like the just-released Smuggler’s Run), new cars – new everything. There’s just so much to come back to, or enjoy if this is your first time joining in.
Grand Theft Auto Online is a testament of prolonging the online component of a game with awesome, fresh materials – and it doesn’t look like Rockstar Games will be wrapping up anytime soon.
Even without the downloadable content that’s been rumored for some time, Grand Theft Auto V’s single player is nothing short of stupendous. You have hours’ worth of storyline to cover between the main characters, not to mention side activities and just plain screwing around and getting pursued by the cops – or jumping off a building just to say that you did so.
And that’s not including the hidden stuff that’s been talked about for the past few years, like the mysterious surroundings regarding outer space, and the other goodies that you can find with a little looking. This is an open-world game done right. Know how we can tell? We’re still finding cool stuff.
When companies usually port over games from older generation to newer generation, they do so with very little frills, just hoping to make a quick buck based on a hurried-up development cycle. But Rockstar Games knew it had a lot of people interested in Grand Theft Auto V, so they reprogrammed the game from the ground up with a very crucial feature – a first-person perspective.
This viewpoint actually changes up the way you play within the game, and makes things feel more realistic than ever. In fact, this addition alone probably prompted a lot of fans to buy the game all over again, just to see what it was like. And it’s still paying off for them.
Rockstar Games has dialed in the controls for Grand Theft Auto V pretty much perfectly. Everything just feels right, whether you’re getting in a fistfight with someone, engaging in a high-stakes heist or gun battle, or cruising around the freeway and stylishly trying to lose the police.
We can’t tell you how much time we’ve wasted taking part in activities that didn’t really affect the main story. That’s the level of depth that GTA has, and it’s still a whole lot of fun. Our main hope is that, when it releases next year, Red Dead Redemption 2 has a similar amount of depth. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into that one.
Finally, the characterization of Grand Theft Auto V is off the charts. We actually care what happens with the main antagonists each time around, even if they start out being pains in the asses. And, to be fair, there is one standout that continues to be a lot of fun to play as – Trevor.
Trevor is just plain bonkers. He kills people with reckless abandon; he wanders around in his underwear on occasion; and he lives for chaos, even if that means completing a mission in a pure suicide manner. To put it bluntly, there’s no video game character like him out there. And love him or hate him, he truly makes GTA V click better than most of Rockstar’s previous Grand Theft Auto affairs.
But, yeah, don’t make him your hero. Because he isn’t one.
Finally, there’s the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, which is a monster in its own right because of the mod community. We’ve seen all sorts of stuff emerge from the mod community, including some amazing mods based on Rick and Morty and The Lion King, as well as a space expansion that’s nothing short of exceptional. And chances are, even with some concern from Take-Two, the mod community isn’t close to done yet. We could be seeing more insane stuff right around the corner. And, hell, we could even see worlds recreated in them, too -- like the space mod. Wow.