Last evening, Rockstar unveiled Grand Theft Auto Online to the world. On paper, it seems relatively simple – the multiplayer component of Grand Theft Auto V, but it’s so much more than that.
In fact, Rockstar is treating it as a separate game that will be available on 1st October, nearly two weeks after GTA V releases. Don’t worry though; purchasing GTA V will grant you access to GTA Online the day it launches without any additional cost.
But what’s so good about GTA Online, you ask? Why should you care about it? Won’t it be just like GTA IV’s multiplayer? We’re glad you asked, or this feature wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
1. It’s an entirely new game
GTA Online has its very own story populated with a myriad of characters you’ll interact with during your playthrough. Then, like the single player campaign, you can chose to experience GTA Online all by yourself (soaking in the plot and all), or invite friends in for certain missions. Playing GTA Online (solo or co-operatively) nets you cash and Reputation Points (RP) that can be used to purchase in-game assets like houses, cars, boats etc, customise your character, as well as improve his/her abilities.
2. It’s the urban MMO we’ve always wanted
Okay, so GTA Online isn’t really an MMO, but it’s damn close to one. You enter Los Santos with nothing but the clothes on your back, and slowly, you make your way to the top – alone or with friends. Besides helping each other out by pulling off missions, you could just kick back and explore the ginormous open world, tackle random events together, partake in competitive action, or even indulge in some of the recreational activities like golf, tennis, cycling etc. Everything you do in the game will earn you not just cash, but experience as well that can be used to make your character a force to be reckoned with.
3. Co-operative heists
If Payday 2 has taught us anything, it’s that pulling of bank heists can be a whole lot of fun, aside from being dangerously life threatening, of course. You can plan elaborate heists with friends (in your in-game penthouse or mansion), or just wing it by robbing a liquor store armed with the bare minimum. After a successful heist, you can then divide the loot among your crew as you seem fit or be a complete ass and drive away into the sunset with all the loot (just don’t expect them to help you out again).
4. Create limitless content
With GTA Online, Rockstar has taken a leaf out of LittleBigPlanet’s book, and will give players the tools to make their own content, which can then be shared online for others to enjoy as well. For those who haven’t played LBP or a game that employs Steam Workshop support (with a similar philosophy), this translates to limitless content for players. You can not only chose to create your own races (via land, air or water), but can even create Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch scenarios. While it hasn’t been confirmed, there are rumours that players will eventually be able to create complicated, multi-layered heists as well. Add to that content that Rockstar will be providing over time, and you’re looking at a game that offers tremendous bang for your buck.
5. GTA Online will keep a**holes in check
In most multiplayer games, you’ll always find a bunch of idiots who love spawn camping or killing people who haven’t fully understood the game yet. With GTA Online, Rockstar is introducing something called a Passive Mode, which when activated, allows players to be invulnerable against other players. While others cannot shoot at you, you can’t shoot anyone either. This will allow players to come to terms with the game’s mechanics before they’re thrown into skirmishes. Another way Rockstar plans on keeping miscreants in check is by punishing them with Bad Sports stats. Continue that bad behavior and they’ll be punished even further.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Rockstar has promised to support GTA Online for a very long time with updates and content, making sure the game will be stuck in your console for years to come.
Grand Theft Auto V releases for the Xbox 360 and PS3 on 17th September, while GTA Online will go live by 1st October, 2013.