Weekend Reading: GTA V’s Three Protagonists Might Change Gaming

Jumping between main characters might be adopted by other games

After getting an estimated release schedule, as well as lots of artwork and screenshots, Grand Theft Auto V has finally received some official details this week, in the form of a massive cover story on Game Informer magazine.

While we’ve learned plenty of impressive things from the reveal, like the fact that its virtual world of Los Santos and its surrounding environments are bigger than the ones seen in GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, or L.A. Noire, without a doubt, the most surprising was the fact that the game has not one but three protagonists.

This is a first for the series, although you can argue that the previous GTA IV, plus its two expansions, tested the waters by having three very different protagonists, in the form of Niko Bellic, Johnny Klebitz, and Luis Lopez.

But, while each character was the protagonist of their own experiences, GTA V wants to let you jump between the three heroes – Michael, Trevor, and Franklin – anytime you want.

Rockstar’s Dan Houser explains that this is a huge risk for the developer, as it’s practically never been done on a scale as big as Grand Theft Auto’s.

While the whole strategy could end being a lackluster gimmick, it can succeed and open up a whole new era for gaming, where you aren’t straddled to a single protagonist.

Sure, you can argue that first-person military shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield 3 have done this before, jumping between soldiers all around the world, but we’re talking about fully fleshed out protagonists, not nameless silent killing machines.

Without a doubt, Rockstar is betting big on GTA V to usher in a paradigm shift for open-world games and this is commendable, considering it could have easily rested on its laurels and just release a simple sequel to IV with updated graphics.

Do you think the studio can succeed in featuring not one but three protagonists in GTA V or should it have stuck with a single one, like in Max Payne 3?

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