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Old 06-27-2012   #1
victim
 
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Why GTA V needs at least two protagonists

Multiple protagonists is something I've pushed for in the past quite vocally simply because I can't see them tackling GTA V's Los Santos any other way. The answer is simple: diversity.


LA is a melting pot, perhaps more so than New York. If the trailer is anything to go by, we'll play as the 'Ned Luke' voiced older gentleman, which I have no problem with. Yet, I can't imagine exploring the "ghetto" areas of Los Santos with him. If Rockstar add a second protagonist that doesn't feel out of place in this area, we would effectively have another front for exploration and we'd get to see a very different side of Los Santos through a different set of eyes.

Using GTA IV as an example, I'd argue the most grounded part of Niko's story was set in Hove Beach, as that was a location where he felt correct in. When taking Niko away from this environment he acted as a set of eyes and his role in the story diminished to being "that guy we play as." IV was stretched thinly over 92 missions to incorporate all aspects of the city and was left as a long-winged and poorly paced mess. Compare this to RDR's 52 missions which were all directly involved in the end-game and left us with a much more concisely paced (and better) story. To think V could have upwards of 100 missions which consists of smaller stories across the city like IV did is enough to give me a bad headache. Give me two characters with two stories of roughly 50 missions each over that any day.

Most ways of incorporating two protagonists would hinder the players experience; a bad way, for example, would be if you play a mission as someone and then it immediately cuts and you are a different character. Successful story structure in video games doesn't allow for this like the movies do. Both characters would have to have stories that play out with a beginning, middle and end, separate from each other yet bound by an event or antagonist. The stories must collide in a natural way and not feel too separate so that they do contribute to one another, while also not being too close which could leave players with a feeling that they are witnessing the same story twice.

GTA V will clearly be a vast game, and it's locale will be the biggest we've seen yet. It would be a mistake to limit this city to one set of eyes. Multiple playable characters would give V a much more elaborate story structure for the confines of the game.
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Old 06-28-2012   #2
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I agree with a lot of what you're saying here, but I think this is a problem Rockstar always has with their games. I just don't think every aspect of the environment needs to be used for story. Even RDR had this problem in my opinion. The stuff you said about GTA IV is so true, but I felt exactly the same way about RDR when John Marston was doing missions for certain characters in the game like Nigel West Dickens, Seth, Vincente de Santa and I'm sure there are more I just can't think of right now.

I just wish Rockstar would try to create a quality story, without worrying about how much of their world they want you to see, and when they want you to see it. I don't mind doing a few big deals in bad/unique areas, but it will seem ridiculous if GTA V's protagonist is taking orders from a Big Smoke type character, or some weirdo I would just shoot in the head, if given the chance.

I'm assuming they won't have more than one protagonist on the disc, but I wouldn't be surprised if they create episodic DLC again.
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Old 06-28-2012   #3
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It really, like you say, depends on how well it's implemented, I hated the change of character half way through LA Noire
We were playing as this war veteran and family man, and then this Jack guy that we were supposed to not like is suddenly the main character, and Cole, is now a douche-bag adulterer, WTF happened

You still need to be able to follow the story of all the characters at the same time, playing along as one person, then being dropped into another perspective of the story line without knowing who this guy is, would ruin it, likewise not being able to follow the story of the first character after the switch, as if he just vanishes, would also ruin it.

But I see what you're saying about exploring somewhere as culturally diverse as Los Santos will be, It's just getting the balance right, switching characters in a story driven video game will always have a negative effect on the flow of the story, but along as the switch, is overshadowed by the fact, the different character allows you to become immersed more in a different part of the city/story then it could work.
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Old 06-28-2012   #4
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Remember the original GTA in 1997? There were multiple characters.

It can always be kept in mind, after all they are taking a "bold, new direction". They had TLaD and TBoGT on a single disc, whats stopping them from doing it again and releasing all episodes on the same disc?
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Old 06-28-2012   #5
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I'd prefer one protagonist and branching storylines.
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Old 06-30-2012   #6
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I wanted to show some more evidence of multiple playable characters, rather than just saying why it would be good. I have picture evidence, which is lovely to look at.

Quote:
I posted these pictures of characters who we could play as in my first post. They're both present at the jewellery store heist.



If you look past the two jumping from the back, you can see the man in the red-car is also driving the getaway van. We can also see the blue-car man tapping on the door, though that one is far more obvious. Obviously, the getaway driver is a very important character in GTA (and we've acted as it quite a few times). Each game has had a heist since GTA III, which was also the last time we remained in the car, so I think that is good evidence of a bit of a crossover of playable characters here.

Now, stop looking past the two in the back because we've actually seen them both before as well.



While I have my doubts that the man on the left is the same man running from the police (it's hard to tell, he's covered up the most), I have no doubt in my mind that the man on the right is the homeless man with the humourous sign.

But what does this tell us? Well, pretty much just a bunch of characters seen in the trailer are also seen robbing the jewellery store. It really doesn't mean that any of them are playable characters. Yet, I can't help but feel like this diamond heist is some kind of ode to the impossible trinity of GTA IV, three characters connected through a diamond deal as well.

My money is on there only being two playable characters while the other two are acquaintances. Either way, I think this is all really cool.

I also believe that the homeless man is 'Nervous Jerry' from the leaked casting call-sheet; said to be "Paranoiac living in the sticks, near Simon, completely paranoid, and terrified of Simon." There was a homeless man in GTA IV named Jerry Kapowitz, remember the guy who ended up with the diamonds? This may be him. He apparently went to Vice City to open a liquor and guns stores, so perhaps not.
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Old 06-30-2012   #7
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We could also possibly be looking at a tommy vercetti and lance vance type of thing aswell. The older guy moves to LS and crosses paths with the black guy, both team up to make the money to get out of trouble or just get rich.

But multiple characters, considering that there are multiple scenes of both characters being by themselves, it is a big possibility.
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Old 07-01-2012   #8
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It doesn't need to be two protagonists really, since this game is clearly about the economic crisis it could just as well be about some family man that gets into crime because he doesn't see any other way to provide for his family, lost his job etc etc. He'd start as a small time crook making alot of mistakes and pissing of the wrong people.Teaming up with some guys that double-cross him and stuff like that. Maybe then he would eventually get taken in by some known mob-family and climb his way up in the ranks.

So storywise there isn't that big of a need for multiple protagonists but judging from the screens you've posted It does seem likely indeed.
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Old 07-01-2012   #9
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It doesn't need to be two protagonists really, since this game is clearly about the economic crisis it could just as well be about some family man that gets into crime because he doesn't see any other way to provide for his family, lost his job etc etc. He'd start as a small time crook making alot of mistakes and pissing of the wrong people.Teaming up with some guys that double-cross him and stuff like that. Maybe then he would eventually get taken in by some known mob-family and climb his way up in the ranks.

So storywise there isn't that big of a need for multiple protagonists but judging from the screens you've posted It does seem likely indeed.
The story you described is almost identical to IV's and I don't know if I could handle that again.

Dan Houser claims that when starting production of any GTA the idea for the city comes first and that characters and story form around the location. What this means is that the characters are a product of the environment that has been created. I can't imagine a better way of exploring an urban sprawl in recession than through the eyes of more than one person who is affected by the economic climate of the area.
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Old 07-01-2012   #10
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Dan Houser claims that when starting production of any GTA the idea for the city comes first and that characters and story form around the location. What this means is that the characters are a product of the environment that has been created. I can't imagine a better way of exploring an urban sprawl in recession than through the eyes of more than one person who is affected by the economic climate of the area.
Well it could be fun having multiple protagonists, as long as they are really different from eachother all with their own reasons for becoming a criminal. It could involve a few side-characters with few missions and paths crossing eachother.

But what I said wasn't even close to Gta IV's storyline, maybe the part about working your way up but that's just basic in a game like this. You wouldn't want to start at the top would you? like in Saints row 3 where you get all the stuff from the get-go.
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Old 07-01-2012   #11
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Let me elaborate on how they are similar:

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it could just as well be about some family man that gets into crime because he doesn't see any other way to provide for his family.
Niko gets involved in crime because there's no other way to provide for family in light of Roman's failing business and increasing debts.

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He'd start as a small time crook making alot of mistakes and pissing of the wrong people.Teaming up with some guys that double-cross him and stuff like that.
Niko makes mistakes and pisses off the wrong people (Vlad, Dimitri, Bulgarin, to name a few) who eventually double-cross him.

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Maybe then he would eventually get taken in by some known mob-family and climb his way up in the ranks.
Eventually, Niko is taken in by the mob and climbs the ranks of the McReary/Pegorino Organisations.

Come on, dude, it's basically the same story.

Edit: Back on-topic, I was watching Drive earlier and there's a scene where Ryan Gosling jimmied open a car door, which is far more subtle than just smashing a window with your elbow. Multiple playable characters could give us distinct character traits from different characters. What I mean by this is that someone may be more sly while another is careless; someone may be a good driver while the other is a better shooter. It opens up different playing styles between different characters.

Gameplay mechanics could play into the hands of each character so that each feels distinct and alive in ways that the other(s) isn't. Furthermore, it would be great if there were different side-missions for each character, as in while both characters may be involved in the drug-trade, one could be a high-end supplier while the other is a low-level street dealer.

Multiple playable characters just opens up so many more possibilities for free-world storytelling.

Last edited by victim; 07-01-2012 at 09:55 AM..
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Old 07-01-2012   #12
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Edit: Back on-topic, I was watching Drive earlier and there's a scene where Ryan Gosling jimmied open a car door, which is far more subtle than just smashing a window with your elbow. Multiple playable characters could give us distinct character traits from different characters. What I mean by this is that someone may be more sly while another is careless; someone may be a good driver while the other is a better shooter. It opens up different playing styles between different characters.
That sounds really cool indeed, oh and maybe you're right.. the way I told my idea might've seem similar but I meant it somewhat different. A (local) family man is a little different from an immigrant,I also meant like the 'Fun with Dick and Jane' type of scenario but obviously a little better storywise. I also meant taking in by a mobster family as in one family instead of getting from one employer to the next only for a few missions. Like I said in a different topic, the mafia 1 kind of storyline in which you climb up in that family and also get the know your employers alot better. That you'd start out doing shitty jobs but eventually build enough trust to go along with big heists and stuff.

Niko in gta 4 is more of a mercenario for hire, I'd like more of a personal story.

I'm just afraid that multiple characters will damage the depth of the story, that you don't really get to know the characters.
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Old 07-01-2012   #13
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When Rockstar said it was "the largest and the most ambitious game Rockstar has yet created" and a "radical reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe", this could very well be what they were referring to.
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Old 07-01-2012   #14
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While I am unsure that I can say without a doubt the heist man is the same as the homeless man, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they ended up going with multiple characters.
I didn't play all the way though LA Noire but someone stated that you switch characters at some point, and in Red Dead Redemption you also switch characters, it seems like something Rockstar is trying out and possibly becoming more comfortable with


Edit: Possible (not likely) co-op story? Just speculation
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Old 07-01-2012   #15
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Edit: Possible (not likely) co-op story? Just speculation
I really hope so, that's something I've always wanted in a Gta game. But as long as they keep the free-roam multiplayer I'm satisfied.

You couldn't switch characters in LA noire though, in RDR you'd only switch characters and the end when all the missions were over, and I really didn't like the guy you switched into


But we'll see
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