Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Grand Theft Auto V: True Augmented Reality

I’m not delusional, I know I’m not the most productive member of society and that my existence is limited to sleeping, eating and, occasionally walking. But earlier today I decided to change my life – I decided that I would finally take those first steps into the big outside world, I would finally pick up those hobbies I had been too afraid to: bike riding, scuba diving and even exploring the wilderness.

Though I’d do it all from the comfort of my safe, dark home.

As I said, I’m not delusional. I know that the leading cause of death in people within my age group is going outside. There are awful things out there: people with an assortment of sharpened objects, animals with more than two legs and breathable air.

No thank you.

I’ll stick with my cheap plastic desk, my vitamin D deficiency and my crippling fear of social interaction. Now that I’ve seen the gameplay video trailer for Grand Theft Auto V, I know that I’ll never have to leave my house ever again. From my own, nurturing shelter I can experience all of the things I’m too lazy to in life. I’ll ride a bike along beautiful scenic landscapes, I’ll swim great depths of exotic oceans – every day will be a new adventure I never really went on.

I’ve never even seen a deer in real life, but hell, I’ll shoot one in the face. I fucking love nature. With new realistic graphics it will be like I’m right there in the thick of the forest, cleaning the blood off my hands and wondering where my life went so wrong. It’s going to be great.

Grand Theft Auto V is really immersing itself in the idea of an ‘open world’ game, by making the world itself much more realistic and interactive, and I can respect that. If they can take mundane everyday routines and make them exciting then they’re definitely going to enhance that sense of immersion. A lot of open world games lack those simple, small cases of interactivity – sports is a good example of this; something we often see in games, but can’t interact with.

I just hope it doesn’t suffer from what I like to call the Comparative Sim Complex. I first came across it when playing The Sims; as I watched my once sad little Sim grow into a competent, functioning member of his tiny town, I started to realise that he was starting to outgrow me. His progression bar seemed to climb higher and higher as he trained both his body and mind, and it made me wonder at what speed my own progression bar was crawling. This simulated bastard was lapping me.

I don’t want Grand Theft Auto V to come out looking like The Sims and end with me regretting the time and effort I put into it. I want to be able to look at these mundane exercises as a game and not feel like I’ve wasted my time once I’ve finished them. This is what I’m hoping Rockstar Games will achieve – they’ll come barrelling once again into the open world genre with fists swinging, breaking new ground and keeping the Grand Theft Auto name as strong as ever before.

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