What do you get when you combine a budget of £270 million, 5 years of work and one of greatest gaming concepts ever? You guessed it right: GTA 5! Getting a 10/10 on IGN’s website is very rare and puts the game level with the likes of other classics such as “The last of us”, “The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and “GTA 4”. They call it “One of the best video games ever made” and “a masterpiece”. The review of Nextgen gives GTA 5 a 10/10 on game play, control, replay, graphics and story. Being better than its predecessor, you can expect this game to be in the Guinness World of Records book for a lot of different reasons.
It is the most expensive game ever made; it comes close to even the most expensive film of all times (Pirates of the Caribbean = £300 million). But is a video game really worth that much money?
The answer is yes, knowing that the previous version of GTA brought in $500 million in its first week by selling 6 million copies of the game and that 3 million copies have already been pre-sold while expecting a total of 25 million just in the first year. According to The Scotsman, it is Scotland’s largest cultural export product ever by any sort of commercial scale.
Take-Two recently announced that GTA 5 generated more than $1 billion in retail sales during its first three days which is much more than expected. But what is the reason for this big success?
If we apply our CRUSH model on the GTA series (more specifically GTA5), we get the following results:
Everyone knows the GTA series and we already know how cool this game is. But combine adding 2 more characters to play with at the same time and the biggest in-game area ever created with the most interactive features, and it is hard to make a game cooler than GTA5. The interactivity is taken to a next level which is so extreme that you can interact with almost anything you see: you can talk to strangers, buy clothes in a store, work out at the gym, use your cell phone, pick a fight with anyone on the street, play tennis or golf, fly an airplane, sky-dive, drive any car you see, change radio stations while driving or even enter a strip club… the number of things you can do is endless.
They tried to make this game as realistic as possible by refining the graphics to the best detail level the consoles can handle. We should give Rockstar games credit because they came true to their promise, which was not an easy job.
The GTA series were unique when they started up. Now there are a lot of copycats on the market due to its big success. But as described before, the amount of freedom you have in the game has never been seen before. They reduced the loading time so you never have to wait. Even during the long rides through the desert your characters have long entertaining conversations and if you don’t like that, you can skip those and choose your own radio station. I think this is also the first game where you can buy stock market shares that are impacted by your actions.
There is a storyline about almost every social class so that anyone can relate to some or other character in the game. The 3 main characters are Michael, Franklin and Trevor. Michael is the “retired” bank robber who represents the high middle class. He lives in his mansion with his unfaithful wife, lazy “millennial” son and air-headed, superficial daughter. Franklin represents a gang member stereotype who lives downtown. The last main character is Trevor, a sociopathic, drug-abusing maniac who only responds to his impulses. During the story you get to meet a lot of other people: Michael’s therapist, the nerd Lester, a mafia boss, rednecks, blue-collar workers, businessmen, movie stars… Millennials can also relate to topics such as the economic crisis, materialism, superficiality and hypocrisy, which are embedded in the storyline. For example, a real family drama happens when Michael smashes Jimmy’s (Michael’s son) television. Michael is frustrated and angry because his son hasn’t accomplished anything in his life, while Jimmy only cares about his television and his gaming experience.
Although the story and conversations are somewhat sharp-tongued and dark, this satire’s main effect is that you are connected with your console for several hours without noticing it. You start doing one thing and while you are at it, you switch to another. Over-the-top events occur at any time while playing, which really adds to the fun factor of the game. The only frustrating thing about GTA 5 is the realization you just spent hours in front of the television instead of doing something useful.