Rockstar Introduces Michael, Trevor & Franklin as Stars of GTA V

By Jonathan Sedarati

November 8, 2012

Here’s a bunch of new information related to Grand Theft Auto V courtesy of Game Informer’s December issue.

Let’s start with the three protagonists mentioned earlier today. GTA V will allow players to take control of three protagonists called Michael (pictured above), Trevor and Franklin. The protagonist’s all contribute to GTA V’s intertwining narrative and Rockstar allows players to freely switch between the three characters at any time.

Michael is a former bank robber who is retired. Now in his early 40s, Michael is currently in the witness protection program thanks to a deal with the FIB. He owns an expensive property complete with a private tennis court and pool but shares the house with a wife who seems to do nothing but fritter his money away; his plummeting bank balance is a major influence in his decision to return to a life of crime. He also has two teenage children named Tracy and Jimmy.

Trevor is a former military pilot who shares a history robbing banks with Michael. Unlike Michael, he continues to engage in crime and is a frequent drug user.

Franklin is the youngest of the three protagonists, currently in his mid 20s. He is a young ambitious hustler who works as a repo man for an Armenian luxury car dealership. He crosses paths with Michael when looking for a hustle.

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Unsurprisingly, the force that brings these characters together is money, with Rockstar pointing out that extravagant heists will be a large focus of the game.

All three of GTA V’s protagonists will also be able engage in several side activities. However, Rockstar wanted to give Michael, Trevor and Franklin certain unique hobbies, exclusive to them. What those specific hobbies are remains a mystery but Rockstar did mention that activities such as yoga, Jet Skiing, tennis, triathlons, base-jumping and golf will feature in the game. Rockstar also said that the core gameplay mechanics found in GTA V, such as driving, shooting and melee combat have largely been rebuilt from the ground up.

Player customization isn’t a huge focus in GTA V. Those hoping for a return of the customization found in San Andreas may be disappointed, as GTA V will not feature the ability to change the physical features of the main characters but players will still be able to choose from several clothing types.

Moving on to GTA V’s setting – it’s big. Actually, big is a completely insufficient word to describe Rockstar’s new and improved Los Santos. Art Director, Aaron Garbut, explains that “When you include interior and exterior spaces together, Los Santos is bigger than the worlds of Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas and GTA IV combined, with room to spare.” That statement boggles the mind. However impressive that fact may be, we can only hope that Rockstar isn’t merely aiming for quantity, with GTA V.

With all that ground to cover, you’d expect GTA V to feature plenty of vehicles to take advantage of – and it does. In fact, GTA V will offer more ways to travel than ever before, including BMX bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, a large selection of cars and trucks, helicopters, planes, ATVs and Jet Skis.

Regarding romance in GTA V, Dan Houser (Vice President, Rockstar Games) said that he didn’t think it would work for the story Rockstar is trying to tell and the characters that feature in that narrative. Although, romance will not play a role in GTA V, Rockstar mentioned that each of the three protagonists will have their own set of friends that players will be able to get to know during their time in Los Santos.

If you’re curious about GTA V’s multiplayer you’ll have to wait a little longer to learn anything substantial. Rockstar is planning to reveal the multiplayer portion of the game at a later date.

Finally, I’d like to highlight a point I personally appreciated, made by Houser, regarding his stance on celebrity voice actors.

I think it was really useful on the PS2-ear games for bringing these somewhat simplistic characters to life. But when we went to PS3 and 360 I think it would become a distraction if you were like, ‘Well that’s a famous person.’ Suddenly these characters start to feel like they were alive a lot more and you need that to sell them. As long as you have good actors, not knowing them actually is an advantage in terms of bringing the game to life. I can’t see us moving past that for major parts in the game.

I completely agree with Houser’s stance and wish more people in both the games industry and the animated film industry would understand this point. For years now, we have witnessed Hollywood lean on famous voice talent in order to more effectively market expensive animated films – a strategy which has been adopted by the games industry; Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls, which stars Ellen Page of Juno and Inception fame, being one of the most current examples of this.

Well, I think I’ve covered most of the key information, so what do you all think? Personally, I’m intrigued by the narrative implications of having three playable protagonists but as someone who was less than impressed with GTA IV, I will remain skeptical.

Grand Theft Auto V, developed by Rockstar North, will be released in the Spring of 2013, for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A PC version is yet to be confirmed.

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Jonathan Sedarati

Jonny plays Games, talks Philosophy, reads Psychology, eats Bananas, sleeps...

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