"Come on man, hurry up! Damn! I knew you'd screw up the number", michael roars over the threatening engine. The jewel thieves speed off with squealing tires, rush recklessly through red traffic lights, and cars are forced off the roads at night. Sirens wail. Michael steers the gray van into a side street and turns off the headlights. But too late. The police is already there. Moments later shots fall. Mouth fires twitch, reflect in wet asphalt. No way out. Panic. "Drop your weapons!" Game over.
What at first seems like a neatly choreographed hollywood action scene describes just one of over 500 missions and tasks from "grand theft auto V" (short: GTA5), the new game for playstation 3 and xbox 360. Long before its release on 17 september, the game. September created developer rockstar games an almost unbelievable hype. Week after week, announcements and superlatives overlapped.
Living world of games
With the fictitious city of "los santos GTA5 offers console players a vivid, fully open world, over 200 square kilometers in size, partly modeled 1:1 on the real los angeles. Three playable characters and over 400 road, air and water vehicles are available, from bugatti to zeppelin. A total of 15 integrated radio stations with 250 licensed music tracks underscore the competition with small-time gangsters and powerful cartel bosses.
As in the earlier parts of the series, the story is based on great film classics. Allusions to scarface (brian de palma, 1983), heat (michael mann, 1995) or modern "heist" movies like ocean's eleven (steven soderbergh, 2001), the player is virtually forced into the game. They also deal with issues such as gang crime, prostitution, drug and gun trafficking.
Production costs are higher than ever at 250 million dollars. About 1000 employees worked for five years on the game, which is regarded as the last great highlight of the current console generation. And the work has already paid off. The game has long surpassed its predecessor.
In 2009, "grand theft auto IV" had in the first week 500 million dollars were earned. The latest installment of the first-person shooter series "call of duty", one of the most popular titles for xbox and co., made 500 million dollars on the first day. But GTA5 breaks all records. On the first day of sales alone, the title generated 800 million dollars in revenue. Just for comparison: "avatar (james cameron, 2009), the most successful hollywood film to date, grossed about a billion dollars – but in 17 days.
Vice painting par excellence
Rockstar remains true to itself with the fifth edition of the modern gangster epic. Bitter, cynical and tongue-in-cheek, the developers cleverly draw attention to social ills. Whether it's unscrupulous politicians, power-hungry media moguls or nymphomaniac teen stars – in the game, they all get their comeuppance. A morality tale par excellence, bursting with wit and irony.
It's a pity, however, that the scheme hasn't changed, besides all the intelligent side blows. In the end, it's all about the money. The only way to fame and a fat bank account is violence. Dead becomes pure finger rubbing. So GTA5 remains above all one thing: a game for adults.