As good as GTA V is, the massive world creates many opportunities for expanding and improving gameplay. Below, I discuss some of the things I would like to see added to the game in the likely event that Rockstar decides to release a big downloadable content (DLC) pack:
Better implementation of car “ownership”
Ever since GTA 3 came out, I had a huge issue with the how limited your options were in terms of keeping cars you like. If you found a nice car, your garage is would be the only safe place for it, because as soon as you take it out of the garage you risk losing it. I don’t mean losing it by destroying it, driving it into a lake, or being hijacked by someone else (actually I’m fine with all that). No, I mean you simply drive it somewhere to say do a mission, and if you can’t use the car for the mission (or whatever you are doing) you can know that it won’t be there when you come back.
This became an even bigger issue in GTA San Andreas, where the game allowed you to customize cars. Again the car would be perfectly fine if you just left it in the garage. The thing is, if you’ve gone through the trouble of modding a car, you don’t want to leave it in the garage – you want to take it out for a drive to the airfield, where you can take out one of the planes for some stunt flying. Only you can’t do that, because if you fly more than a couple of hundred yards away from the car the game will forget about it entirely.
GTA V finally addressed this issue by allowing you to get your cars left lying around back by paying a small fee at the police impound. For me, this was one of the biggest improvements Rockstar could have made to the game, because now you can actually use your customized vehicles. Even so, I can’t help but feel that the system could be even better. The problem is that the impound essentially becomes the garage for all three characters, because the cars that you use frequently will end up being there all the time. After every mission, and every activity you do that does not involve staying in one location (jet skiing or parachuting for example). Surely if I left it neatly parked in a parking bay while taking my helicopter out for a flight, it makes no sense for the police to impound it after I’ve only been gone for an hour.
I understand that due to technical limitations, the game simply can’t save the locations of all the cars that you’ve left lying around the world. That said, I do think that there are two rather simple solutions to this problem. One is that you press a button when leave your car which “locks” it, prompting the game to save the location so that it knows you will be back to get the car. Another solution is to allow you to phone a service that brings your car to your location for a small fee. It would be even better if this service allowed you to pick any car out of the ones you “own”. Both of these features have already been successfully implemented in GTA Online, and on that note the next thing I would like to see is:
More features from the online mode in single player
Rockstar has made a serious effort to improve the online experience of GTA, and it is hard to say what it will look like six months or a year from now. I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing GTA Online in its current form, and in my opinion the single player experience is still much more engaging and fun. That said there are several features from online play that would be nice to have offline.
There could be an offline sandbox mode that is unlocked after you complete the main storyline. This would allow you to create your own character, and to customize him or her with all the available content that is found in GTA Online. Also, all the garages and properties available in the online mode could just as well be made available offline as well, since all of this content has already been created. The reality is that some players don’t like GTA Online, or might just not be interested in online gaming full stop. It seems unfair not to allow these players to experience all the content that has been created for the game.
Other game modes
Having an offline sandbox mode would mean that there would need to be more activities to make money. Again some of these exist already in the online mode, such as the car repossession missions. There can also be randomly generated variations of the offline game missions, such as assassination targets that are placed at random locations on the map, with random personal security details.
There is an opportunity to break away from the regular GTA formula with some new in depth game modes. I know that GTA is supposed to be all about hijacking people, shooting them and running them over in your car, but every time I look at one of the massive GTA worlds I wonder how many other games could be created in that world.
One such example would be to run a transport company. You could start off with a small shed functioning as your depot and a pickup truck for deliveries. As you start to make money, you can hire more staff to do deliveries for you and take on a management role, setting up routes and helping out with certain randomly generated events. The great thing is that a lot of existing vehicles in the game would be great for such a game mode. There is everything from small vans, small trucks, big trucks, semi-trailers, small planes, big cargo planes, trains, busses, and more. This could be Transport Tycoon reinvented, with a massive and detailed world.
Another example would be a progressive police career, with a set number of random events that could occur at every rank of law enforcement you reach. Earning ranks could also branch into different career paths. To illustrate what such a game mode could be like, I have come up with two hypothetical roles that can be reached:
1) Patrol officer – You simply drive around in your squad car, with an AI partner, looking for street crimes and sometimes responding to calls on the police radio. One example of a possible random event is that while patrolling, you see someone stealing a wallet on the street, which you have to neutralize with the stun gun. Following this, you cuff him, put him in the back of the squad car, and drop him off at the nearest police station. Another example of a potential random event is that you get called out to a store robbery over the police radio, and have to rush over the scene as soon as possible. Once you get there, you have to help establish a perimeter and shoot at robbers exiting the store while trying to avoid killing hostages.
2) NOOSE team leader – This could be much further into the police career. Instead of cruising around, you choose your team, their gear and your gear at the police station. Much like the crew system your team members’ skills can improve after each mission, if they survive. An example of a random mission/event could be driving your team to a bank where you have to clear the building of robbers. You could also be allowed to issue simple orders to your team such as taking cover or moving to a specific location.
Of course, there would have to be several more ranks and more random events at each rank, but this is simply to illustrate the concept. With all the existing content they could create a number of random events involving police helicopters and awesome cop car chases, where you get to do the chasing.
The above hypothetical “game modes” are just examples, but with such a big game world and such a nice existing game engine there are endless possibilities. Half-Life has shown us that a great game engine can and should be used to create other awesome games, Portal being one example.
The DLC on a disk
Whether or not it involves some of what I have described above, there will be more DLC for GTA V. If Rockstar does release something substantial, it would be nice if they also released it on a disk that you can purchase at your local games retailer. This is likely if history is anything to go by, since they did it for the Lost and the Damned and the Ballad of Gay Tony expansion packs for GTA IV.