In order to keep us salivating, Rockstar has been furnishing fans with tiny snippets of Grand Theft Auto V. It's never enough to give us any actual information, but it's always enough to keep us interested. Drug dealers have been using this technique for hundreds of years.
Today, Rockstar released the collection of character-specific trailers that they've been teasing since last week. This week's snippet is certainly more substantial than the screenshots that dropped last month, but every time Rockstar releases more content, I can’t help but feel a little manipulated.
Michael's trailer gave us a little more insight into the character's backstory, but not a lot. Based on previous trailers, we already knew that Michael moved to San Andreas in an attempt to step away from his crime-filled lifestyle, but his plans didn't exactly work out.
Today's trailer emphasized Micheal's Sopranos-like relationship with his therapist. He obviously isn't happy with the way that his life has unfolded, but he doesn't really have any desire to change either. He's violent with his children, cheats on his wife (and vice versa), drinks heavily, and is generally miserable. But, as he points out to his therapist, that's "pretty average for this town."
Franklin, on the other hand, doesn't regret the decisions he's made. He has no desire to remove himself from the underbelly of society. He just wants to move up the ranks and stay alive. Franklin comes from a pretty rough neighborhood, and the crew that he used to run with is constantly questioning his loyalty, but he's undaunted by their accusations.
Unlike Micheal, Franklin doesn't feel the need to luxuriate about his own motives. He's attempting to create a better life for himself, and he'll do whatever it takes to get there. Throughout the trailer, we catch a few glimpses of what he's willing to do, and it's not pretty.
However, Trevor Philips is different—and not in a good way.
In a recent interview with Jeuxactu, a french gaming site, Dan Houser, Rockstar's V.P. of Creativity, gave an interesting rundown of Trevor, GTA V's third protagonist:
"He's the person who's driven purely by desire, resentment, no thought for tomorrow whatsoever, completely id rather than ego-driven. Constant partying, constant madness. The only thing he doesn't want to do is stop. He wants to keep going and ride it all to the end. Won't take an insult from anybody. Kills without remorse, like a true psychopath, but very sentimental for the right reasons when it suits him."
Every video game developer wants to create the most notorious character in the industry. So, when I hear people like Houser describing characters like Trevor, I naturally adopt a skeptical position. Obviously, Trevor isn't your typical protagonist, and developers tend to be a little hyperbolic about their characters. So, I've been withholding judgment on Mr. Philip's nuttiness until the game actually hits the shelves. But if Trevor's trailer is any indication, Houser's description is dead on.
Trevor isn't uncontrollably violent and angry; he's just completely self-absorbed. He enjoys the criminal lifestyle, because it means that he has no real responsibility. Throughout the course of this one minute trailer, Trevor coldcocks a guy with a baseball bat, chokes an old man, comments on a woman's breasts, steals a plane, jumps from a moving vehicle just before it crashes into a train, and threatens to whip his genitals out.
I imagine this is what it must be like to have Johnny Knoxville for a friend.
As much fun as these trailers are, I would really like to see some actual gameplay footage. Rockstar is definitely accentuating the theatrical qualities of Grand Theft Auto V, but I doubt that most of the game will be spent watching cutscenes, which is all we've really seen thus far.
Either way, Rockstar's drug dealing technique obviously worked. I'm addicted to GTA again, and I'm looking forward to the next snippet of content.
If you haven't already seen the trailers, you should spend the next few minutes getting reacquainted with Micheal, Franklin and Trevor. Though, if you're at work, you may want to turn the volume down.
Date: April 30, 2013