It might surprise some people that the fastest selling entertainment product in history, which earned $800 million on the first day of release and rose to $1 Billion in it’s first three days, is the video game Grand Theft Auto V. For anyone remotely interested in modern games, this would be no shock at all considering it’s widespread success. GTA V has shipped over 60 million copies, and is the 4th bestselling game of all time, sitting only behind Tetris, Minecraft, and Wii Sports.
Despite the fact that just about everyone whose interested in games has played GTA V at some point, I only started playing it this past week which has been an interesting experience since I’m nearly four years late to the party. Even though I just started playing the game, I’ve seen hours of gameplay footage since the games release in 2013 on various YouTube gaming channels. However, watching Let’s Plays of one of the bestselling games of all time is a completely different experience from actually playing it.
For the few people who don’t know what the Grand Theft Auto franchise is about, each installment takes place in a digitized fictional version of a U.S. city, where the player can interact and explore the massive world that Rockstar Games have created. As the title implies, driving and criminal activity are mainstays of the franchise and the game features some of the most enjoyable driving mechanics as well as very engaging characters and story. Grand Theft Auto V, the fifth installment of the series, is no exception. The game takes place in the fictional city of Los Santos which is based heavily off of Los Angeles, and follows three main protagonists. However today, people mostly play GTA Online which is a multiplayer version of the game that allows players to connect with their friends to complete various missions and explore the city together.
To almost any gamer, this information may seem somewhat redundant since just about everybody has played this game. However, coming to it fresh three years after release one of the things that has surprised me the most is how detailed the game is. When watching footage on YouTube, you don’t really notice the little things that the developers have infused into just about every faucet of the game. For example, when you exit a vehicle you hear the clicking of the engine cooling off. Also, when your character is running for an extended period of time the back of their shirt starts to darken with sweat. It’s these subtle things that you don’t quite see in the compressed YouTube footage that make a game I’ve seen so much of seem completely new and surprising.