So once again those masters of intrigue over at Rockstar have deployed another trailer — this time in the form of 3 minute long intros to the main characters — and once again the internet has exploded into a tirade of crime-filled, slightly nerdy discussion. Indeed, GTA represents one of those few paradoxes with video games where it is socially acceptable to obsess over it: play Skyrim for 6 hours you're immediately cast into the same strata as the world's Dungeons and Dragons fiends and those few oddballs who still collect Pokemon cards, spend the same amount of time slicing people with samurai swords and taking out whores in GTA and no one cares. It may be because of this appeal to a far wider consumership that when Rockstar does chose to release a morsel of new information about the game via a trailer it immediately goes viral. Here's what we learnt from the latest ones:
Michael - The Mafioso
From what we have seen of Michael, he seems to diverge from the traditional angle taken by Rockstar. His best years as a criminal are behind him and he has settled down to a comfortable life with his family, paid for by his past crimes — think a 50 year old Tommy Vercetti. We see in footage of Michael with his shrink (yes, we drew the Tony Soprano comparison too) that he is not happy his mundane life and misses the excitement of criminality. It looks like players will have to juggle between this desire to once again engage with crime with Michael's having to deal with his troublesome family. I'm looking forward to the new dynamic a more mature character will bring to the game and can't wait to slap some sense into Mike's daughter.
Franklin - The Gangbanger
I probably had the best time watching Franklin's trailer, partly due to the excellent backing track Jay Rock’s Hood Gone Love It. Franklin's trailer is interesting as despite being only a minute long, there is immediately a contradiction to his character — he starts the trailer questioning why his friends don't have any desire to escape an unlawful life in the hood but then is shown brutally emptying a shotgun into one of his enemies. Reminds me a bit of Denzel Washington's character from American Gangster though I spose you could relate him to most fictional African-American hoodlums making it big. He is undoubtably more conventional than Michael and deeply reminiscent of CJ. Should we read a lot into the placement of Franklin between the other 2? Does that mean he will be the main character of the 3? I feel it is probably too early to address these questions. Either way Franklin is a very different character to Michael and will add to the game's diversity.
Trevor - The Lunatic
Trevor is interesting as a character as, unlike the other 2, he doesn't particularly fit into a generic 'type' of criminal. He just seems deeply unhinged, unpredictable and mental. In the trailer he is shown running around naked, flying a crop sprayer and crashing his car into a plane. I feel like this is going to be the campaign where the guys over at Rockstar are able to get us playing whatever wacky missions they can think of. Again, Trevor seems quite atypical of the generic Rockstar character style as he is so crazy — Rockstar characters are often defined by being the smartest, most logical people in their respective crime syndicates. It seems like this certainly won't be the case with Trevor. If I had to say which lead GTA character he is most reminiscent of it would probably be Johnny from The Lost and the Damned.
And there we have it — 3 highly diverse criminals for us to get to know with the release of GTA V in a few months. I feel like the Rockstar guys were influenced by the success of Liberty City Stories in their decision to use 3 mains characters. That game showed how using multiple characters can lead to some really exciting cross-overs in the narrative and generally speaking makes for a much more diverse game as you dabble in an assortment of criminal factions.
Who's your favourite of the 3?! Any other similarities you spotted to prior GTA games/other fiction? Let me know in a comment!