Exploring Los Santos in GTA V is like taking a ‘digital holiday’
What’s that, you want some MOAR GTA V details, young Oliver Twists? Well, I’ll gladly acquiesce to that request, before bundling your little urchin asses to the mill where you can work for tuppence a day and then come home to a cardboard box where your father will slash you And I’m drifting again! Ok, before I go off on another tangent, here’s a the lowdown on how massive Los Santos is really going to be, straight from the mouth of Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser himself.
Speaking to the Guardian, Houser explained that the physical world of GTA V was big enough to count as a ‘digital holiday’, when explored. “Environment is important. Games are very geographical – they present space almost better than they present time, and we try to use that, to showcase variety between different landscapes”, Houser said.
It’s this idea of a digital holiday: being able to explore spaces that don’t really exist is one of the the things that’s fascinating about open world games. It’s not just about doing the activities we’ve set, there’s also a sense of being there.
If we’ve done a good job, the shoot-outs are fun but so is cruising through the world in a car you really like, listening to music – if these elements feel somehow consistent with each other, then we’re on the right path to something cool.
We’re using the environment to let us have toys we couldn’t have had otherwise. And equally, we’re using the story and environment to introduce missions that can be more extreme. In some ways we wanted the game to have a larger-than-life Hollywood feel; the stories we heard in LA, we wanted to capture them in the game. If the place isn’t informing what we’re doing, we’re not using it correctly.
Houser also elaborated on how GTA V had a world that was made with aircraft in mind, and that in order to make Los Santos more active and engaging for players, radio play had been eliminated from missions, with a theatrical soundtrack playing instead. Because atmosphere-building yo.
There’s a lot of love for GTA V so far, and hopefully, with a massive Los Santos, we can experience a world that really is engaging. Bigger isn’t always better, as quality can be stretched thin in sandboxes that are just far too big.
For one example, just look at Just Cause 2, which had a ridiculously large open world, but very little substance to go with all those explosions, in comparison to the smaller, more focused world of Arkham Asylum.
Quality, folks, always trumps quantity.