From bank heists and skydiving through to stock trading and yoga, the sprawling world of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is set to redefine the parameters of video gaming on its release on September 17, The Scotsman reported.
Five years in the making, the game’s development and marketing budget of just over R2,5bn is the equivalent of a blockbuster film. Such is the success of the series, industry experts believe its latest incarnation will rewrite the record books, shifting 25 million copies in the first year alone, achieving sales close to R16bn.
The new game from Scottish company Rockstar North revolves around a satirical recreation of southern California. With players able to switch between three protagonists, the 49-square-mile world boasts a welter of activities, such as scuba diving with sharks and hijacking trains.
Brian Baglow, who worked as a writer on the first GTA game and now runs the Scottish Games Network, an umbrella body for the nation’s games sector, said, “It’s coming up to 17 years since GTA began and it’s become something I don’t think anyone involved with the original game would have expected.”
Rockstar North is likely to face criticism in some quarters following GTA V’s release on 17 September, given that players are able to visit strip clubs and use marijuana, while real-life gang members are among the voice cast.
Baglow said, “For many people in power globally, GTA is just a great big red flashing light because it’s perceived as something bad and violent, defined by tabloid hysteria, but if the series was just about gratuitous violence, it would not have achieved the sales and success it has.
“It is a massive cultural and creative success. It’s arguably bigger than the next Star Wars film, and the games industry has been behind GTA from the get-go. I’d really like to see the UK government acknowledge the fact one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world was made here.