Rockstar Games is traditionally very careful when revealing information. The flow of information regarding Grand Theft Auto V has slowly increased since the start of 2013, showing more and more information about its gameplay.
The release of the Grand Theft Auto Online trailer raises an interesting question: is Rockstar going to use consoles to test Grand Theft Auto Online before announcing a PC release?
It’s strange that Rockstar is announcing that the multiplayer component won’t be available at launch.
CVG’s interview with Leslie Benzies of Rockstar North contained the statement, “It’ll be GTA Online; it’s not part of GTA 5. Obviously it’s set in the GTA 5 engine, but it’s going to grow and evolve into its own thing.”
So while GTA Online will be using the assets from GTA V, it’s not directly involved with the single player story and takes place before the plot of the game.
GTA V looks better than Grand Theft Auto IV by a huge margin. This means new assets for all parts of the game and improvements to the game engine. These all take up more disc space.
Just look at the console installation process; GTA V ships on one Blu-ray disc for PlayStation 3 and two DVDs for Xbox 360. Both consoles require an 8 GB install before playing the game. The install will likely contain core assets and the rest of the game will be streamed. 8 GB is an impressive size for an install on console with a game that still needs the disc to run.
Compare that to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV on PC, which was released eight months after the console release and required a 16 GB install. With updated graphics and a bigger world, Grand Theft Auto V shows will be a much bigger game.
Grand Theft Auto V is built on Rockstar’s proprietary RAGE engine, which it has used since Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis and Grand Theft Auto IV. RAGE is also the same engine used on Max Payne 3. The engine is being used in the company’s recent games and Rockstar have probably modified it for GTA V.
Consider the jump from GTA IV in 2008 to May Payne 3 and their respective install sizes. 16 GB for GTA IV and 32 GB for Max Payne 3. This means that GTA V will probably be a minimum of 32 GB required hard drive space, with the possibility of it being even larger.
Another problem is that PC gaming has moved away from physical distribution to digital downloads. If you look at the size of required console installs and the size of Max Payne 3 for PC, it wouldn’t be unexpected for GTA V to require even more space. It’s obvious that Rockstar fans on PCs will download the game regardless of the hard drive requirements, but it could turn away more casual players.
But considering the massive amount of mods for Grand Theft Auto IV, the inclusion of mods are likely for the PC release. Since GTA V will support a MMO-style online system, Rockstar may be testing how it can keep hacks from getting implemented in online multilayer.
Even after NVIDIA’s retraction of its statement about GTA V for PC, the company made it clear that it would optimize its drivers for GTA V if the game ever arrives on PC.
There are a lot of hints that Grand Theft Auto V will be releasing on PC and it’s very likely that Rockstar will support PC players. The RAGE engine is built for multiple platforms and optimization for a minimum spec could currently be underway.
The Grand Theft Auto Online trailer displayed a lot of features, but will Rockstar be able to prove that its multiplayer can offer a great experience on consoles before it attempts to bring it to PC is the big question.