Grand Theft Auto 5 – Rockstar on Improved Weapon Handling and Customization

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Rockstar is looking to step up their gun game with Grand Theft Auto 5, which recently got a stunning new gameplay trailer.

“A massive amount of work went into overhauling animation systems, targeting, and camerawork to really open up new opportunities for the player in the kind of freeform, open-world action shootouts that are the heart of Grand Theft Auto,” associate technical director and combat designer Phil Hooker recently told GameInformer.

“We wanted shooting to feel more precise and satisfying while supporting multiple styles of play.” He added. “The controls have been expanded, so now in addition to traditional left trigger ‘down the sights’ aiming, you can also both run and shoot comfortably while only using the right trigger. This retains the benefits of seeing your character from the third-person view while keeping the feel much closer to the range of motion and shooting precision you have in a first-person shooter. It also opens up opportunities for players to develop their skills in both single-player and multiplayer, as the more accurate you are while moving quickly the greater your advantage.”

To enhance plyers’ mobility during gun fights and the general feel of combat, Hooker explained that “If you fire your weapon, or become engaged in a fight, your character’s bearing changes and your default speed switches from a casual walk to a combat jog, giving you improved mobility as well as a greater sense of urgency. If there’s no threat or you haven’t been firing, you’ll revert back to a relaxed state.”

What’s really cool is that “Each character’s personality is also reflected in the way they move and handle weapons, whether it’s Trevor’s aggressiveness, Franklin’s swagger, or Michael’s efficiency,” according to Hooker.

He went on to explain that gunplay in GTA V isn’t heavily influenced by one recent past game in particular (eg. GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, or Max Payne 3), but, instead, incorporates a mixture of all three titles. “The best way to describe the gunplay is that it’s evolved through influences of all three games,” he said. “It’s still GTA-based at its core, but as we’ve collaborated with other studios along the way we’ve tried to bring in all the appropriate parts from the different projects, from the more advanced cover components and targeting of Red Dead Redemption to the more fluid transitions in and out of gun combat from Max Payne 3. The main push for gunplay on GTA V was trying to make everything as dynamic and fluid as possible, from animation to targeting to camera behavior – we’re trying to push every aspect to the next level.”

Hooker then went into details regarding GTA V’s targeting system, mentioning that players will have a choice.

“For GTA V, we’ve split targeting out into three distinct modes: assisted aiming, traditional GTA, and free aim. Assisted aiming gives players a larger targeting area as well as a little more help analyzing targets to try and pick the largest threat. Traditional GTA is the closest to previous GTA’s soft lock option. It shares all the characteristics of assisted aiming, with the additional ability to flick left and right between targets using the right stick.”

“Another new refinement is that every aim mode now has a timer that breaks lock so you have to be more tactical in your approach – you can no longer just rely on holding and shooting until a target is dead.”

Along with mention of other additions to hopefully make free aim as fluid as possible, Hooker stated that “experienced shooter players should feel more comfortable than ever playing the entire game in free aim.”

Hooker listed a few notable improvements to the cover system as well, saying that players will notice a much more seamless transition between driving a car and then using the car as cover, or vice versa.

Lasltly, on the topic of weapon customization, Hooker revealed that “Ammunation makes its return in GTA V, but now you can indeed customize your weapons.”

“The player has access to a wide range of modifications, such as extended clips that allow you to fire more ammo between reloads, grips to improve your accuracy, weapon tints to color your guns, flashlights, scopes, and suppressors. Attachments such as suppressors allow the player to adapt their approach to some missions and take a stealth option. It’s all part of broadening the range of tactical options for the player.”

With all these improvements to the gunplay, it seems like shooter nuts will have a lot to look forward to in GTA V, both in the single player and multiplayer. Anything Phil Hooker mentioned that really piqued your interest? We want to know.

Grand Theft Auto 5 drops September 17 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Thanks, GameInformer.