5 (Stupid) Things We’d Like To See In a New Grand Theft Auto Game

Kevin Sullivan May 16, 2013 0
5 (Stupid) Things We’d Like To See In a New Grand Theft Auto Game

One of the selling points of the Grand Theft Auto titles, aside from the intriguing storylines and characters mixed with plenty of sex, violence and vulgarity, is the interactive, living world in which they take place. Grand Theft Auto IV, alone, has a Liberty City teaming with seemingly real living, breathing denizens that interact with you and each other. The cell phone in the game not only allows you to make calls (even to 911) but has a Shazam-like feature that allows you to identify songs on the radio.

So far, it looks as if Rockstar has gotten all of the big things right and added just enough small details to make the experience even more immersive and it seems that Grand Theft Auto V will continue that. But, being the weirdo that I am, there are a few even more minute things I’d like to see added to the games in the future. Little stuff that really would have no bearing on the main game itself, but would just make it all the more realistic without it being mundane. Nothing as mundane as option turn signals or having to buy car insurance but, still, stupid stuff, such as…

"Press X to activate signal"

“Press X to activate signal”

5. Crosswalk buttons…

One of my favorite things to do in GTA IV is to simply stroll along the streets of Liberty and just check things out. You’ll never know what you’ll hear someone say or see someone do – it’s the game equivalent of real-life people watching. And, like any other major city, Liberty has crosswalks and traffic signals – not that all drivers in the city pay attention to them (not that I always do, although there’s a certain mundane joy in driving around and obeying all the traffic laws).

"I GUESS it's safe to cross. Damn this not having any peripheral vision!"

“I GUESS it’s safe to cross. Damn this not having any peripheral vision!”

What I think would make a nice, additional touch would be to add those crosswalk signal buttons. Like in real-life, it could be possible for them to not actually do anything, but just having the option would be a silly little addition to make the world feel all the more lifelike. You can even add that beeping noise some signals have for blind people. Speaking of blind people (and this next one is going to be a bit of a stretch, so bear with me)…

"I've also trained him to bark when there are hookers nearby:

“I’ve also trained him to bark when there are hookers nearby:

4. Animals…

No, I’m not calling blind people “animals” (not out loud, anyway). But, when you think of our visually impaired friends and neighbors, you think of sunglasses, white canes and, of course, seeing-eye dogs. Which led to my observation: where the hell are all the animals in Liberty City? Other than the 200 pigeons you can track down and shoot, there’s hardly any. Where are the stray cats or the folks out jogging with their dogs?

Considering it's the only animal you ever see, we're assuming all the good in the GTA world is made from these.

Considering it’s the only animal you ever see, we’re assuming all the food in the GTA world is made from these.

I understand that, in a crime-sandbox game like GTA, there’s concern that there’d be temptation to give players the ability to hurt said animals and risk the wrath of groups like PETA (sort of the same reason you never see any kids in these games). But other open world games like Assassin’s Creed III  and Rockstar’s own Red Dead Redemption has included animals of all sorts. Clearly, it can’t be that hard to put it, I dunno, some raccoons going through garbage cans at night or some shit like that, right?

(update: I have since learned that animals will, indeed, be included in GTA V – including dogs and sharks. So maybe it’s not so dumb, after all)

"Be the tenth caller and win a date with Glenn Beck!"

“Be the tenth caller and win a date with Glenn Beck!”

3. Call-In Radio Contests…

Even since the very first Grand Theft Auto, the car radio has been one of the more iconic elements of the series. From the incredible soundtracks to the celebrity DJs to the hilarious parody ads, they help add that feeling of being in a actual, real city. While I mentioned before that you can use your phone to identify songs on the radio, Rockstar has an opportunity to take that interactivity even further. After all, how many radio stations don’t have call-in contests of some kind? “Be caller number 7 when you hear the latest Bon Jovi song to win two passes to a sneak preview of the latest Larry the Cable Guy movie!”

"I have HOW long to pick up my free copy of the new Sammy Hagar album? Never mind."

“I have HOW long to pick up my free copy of the new Sammy Hagar album? Never mind.”

I can imagine calling in, winning the prize, and then having a time limit to get to the radio station to pick up your reward before it expires. The prizes could usually be concert tickets, which you could then turn and scalp for extra cash. Or, you could use them to woo a potential date. It could even be incorporated into an actual mission. The more I think about it, the more I think GTA V needs to be delayed by a few more months to include this feature if Rockstar hasn’t already.

I bet every one of these people has something fascinating to say

I bet every one of these people has something fascinating to say

2. More Interaction With Pedestrians…

One of the things I loved about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Saints Row: The Third was the various ways you could just go up to a random person on the street and interact with them in ways that didn’t involve maiming them or sending them running into the street, begging for their lives. It would be great, in a future GTA game, to walk up to anyone simply wandering about and having a conversation with them. It wouldn’t have to be anything in-depth. Hell, in Saints Row, you could throw a gesture (either polite or rude) towards anyone out and about, and they would react accordingly (you could also rob pedestrians at gunpoint without actually hurting them – if one were so inclined to do that). The NPCs in GTA IV stop and have mundane chats with each other all the time – I should be able to join in on the banter, even if that banter is totally inconsequential.

Just a typical Wednesday afternoon in Liberty City

Just a typical Wednesday afternoon in Liberty City

And speaking of which, how about the occasional opportunity to help someone? After all, despite the fact that since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City players have been able to kill and destroy anything and anyone they wanted at any time, the characters had complex personalities that showed traces of empathy and weren’t complete, unfeeling psychopaths. Yes, Niko in GTA IV can, every now and then, toss a bum or street musician some cash. But, how about a “thank you” and maybe a slight health boost or small cash reward if you rescue someone from a beating on the street? Or something as simple as helping someone pick up something they dropped. Niko can call a date to cancel and apologize, but he can’t do the same to someone whose coffee he spilled when he accidentally bumped into them?

In GTA, this would probably be called the "yPhone" or something clever like that.

In GTA, this would probably be called the “yPhone” or something clever like that.

1. Smartphone Apps…

Now, as far as I know, this could already be a feature in GTA V, so here’s hoping. But, as I played through GTA IV, I found myself with this regular dillema: I’m low on health, I’m nowhere near a safehouse and I can’t find a Burger Shot, Cluckin’ Bell or hot dog stand anywhere. Now, in the real world, well, for one, a hamburger isn’t going to cure multiple gunshot wounds but that’s besides the point. Also, in the real world, I can pull out my phone and use Google Maps or Yelp and find the closest restaurant serving whatever food I’m craving at the moment. How great would it be to interact with the world of Los Santos or whatever city Grand Theft Auto VI inevitably takes places in, using all sorts of apps on whatever Android or iPhone parody Rockstar dreams up. You could use a Foursquare style app to see where certain characters are, unlocking new areas. You could purchase music so you can listen to music outside of a vehicle. Watch a YouTube video a passerby took of one of your misdeeds .

(As an astute commenter pointed out below, this feature is also available in GTA V. Which is good. It is stuff we want to see in a GTA game, after all, and now we’re going to. Nevertheless, we appreciate the update)

Or they could go back to using a pager...

Or they could go back to using a pager…

Again, just little things that really wouldn’t affect the game all that much, but would add a silly, fun element of more realism to the games. What do you think? What obscure, minute detail or feature would you like to see in these titles?

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