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Should GTAV Return To Franchise's Cartoony Roots?

Grand Theft Auto might be my second-favorite franchise of all time next to Final Fantasy. Personally, Vice City is my favorite but that's just because I'm a big '80s fan.

Now, I thought I wouldn't like the grittier, realistic style found in GTAIV, but I loved that, too. So as far as I'm concerned, Rockstar could go either way: they could make it plenty cartoony and crazy like Saints Row, or they could take the next step on the authenticity ladder. Now, I'm fairly certain the developers will go for more realism; the industry is following that trend these days, and I seriously doubt Rockstar would go back to its cartoony days.

But that's why the question is, "should GTAV return to its roots?" I mean, jetpacks, planes, attack helicopters, tanks, silly ragdoll physics, over-the-top absurdity infused in every mission, etc. I suppose it all boils down to a personal preference; do we want the game to be a visceral, shocking experience because it so closely mirrors reality, or do we want to be entirely removed from reality altogether? There are those who say the game would be more fun if it didn't take itself so seriously, but then again, that's not a universal fact.

The progression of this franchise is interesting, especially given the relatively drastic change from San Andreas to GTAIV. We have to assume GTAV will be more like GTAIV but then again, we're hearing about multiple playable characters, and quite a few "colorful" characters. But if you want your sandbox fix this year, you can turn to Saints Row: The Third; THQ is advertising the Initiation Station, by the way. It's for the ultimate in character customization; let a few pretty ladies (including pornstar Nikki Benz) fill you in.

But for GTAV, what do you want to see?

Related Game(s): Grand Theft Auto V

Tags: gtav, grand theft auto v, grand theft auto, rockstar

10/27/2011 9:04:52 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

Highlander
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:31:16 PM
Reply

Actually, I think that it *should* return to the more cartoony roots. I very much believe that games should look like games. Not that they should be for kids - though some should, but that the line between reality and pretend, between games and life needs to be maintained, not blurred.

You said this yourself "do we want the game to be a visceral, shocking experience because it so closely mirrors reality(?)". Well, That's a really good question. How far is too far. If any of us were exposed to real gang activity and the effects of the crime and violence, many of us would likely be physically sick and traumatized. I understand that a video game is a moving image on a screen. But anytime I personally have seen real, lethal or near lethal violence on TV, say in the news, it has left me feeling very uneasy, and affected by the violence.

I know this discussion has been had before, and I know I am speaking my mind on the topic, but I don't think that we need continue down the road of realism to an ever nastier, gory, gritty and entirely too visceral future in games. They're supposed to be fun. What does it say about us as people if in order to have fun with a game we require it to be as close to real violence as possible?

Agree with this comment 11 up, 9 down Disagree with this comment

FatherSun
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:41:27 PM

I do not think there is any going back now. The game industry will cater to both worlds simultaneously. The more advance "consoles" or platforms become the more developers will create realistic worlds. Even back in ancient times. The Gladiator games were fun for the spectators but fatal for the actual participants.

Fun games will/should never die. Humanity will become morbid and boring.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:10:18 PM

In your world there would be no Heavy Rain, I can't have that. I love realistic games just as much as I love making Totori say "Barrel!" 600 times in a row :)

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 10:34:22 AM

For me, it's all about context. Violence and gore for the sake of violence and gore should have some lines drawn in terms of realism.

Obviously, something like Splatterhouse is not what I mean, as clearly that is an unrealistic scenario.

What I mean is teen summer movies that joke about rape, games that murder in true realistic fashion just because you can.

However, the theatre side of me understands the importance of portraying realistic scenarios within appropriate context.

For example, the play Perfect Pie, by Judith Thompson. (Worth looking into for English majors or theatre buffs or anyone else interested in modern literature.)

That play addresses rape and sexual abuse. Although it doesn't actually show it, obviously, it does address it with very realistic and stark subject matter. But I mean, sometimes you need that kind of realism to really drive home the intensity and necessity of a moment or to accurately detail the complete brokenness of a human being.

Mind you, for me, most of GTA stuff is over-the-top, and when uber real, I find it just grates my senses, hence why I don't like GTA games, but I don't think realism is a bad thing. (ala Heavy Rain)

Same thing with dialogue. You can complain all day about swearing, for example, and sometimes it's just stupid how much it's used (Killzone 2), but often, I find dropping a good ol' F bomb is the only way to accurately describe how your feeling. When written into dialogue correctly, it can be very effective.

As far as the industry is concerned, it would be healthier for the market for GTA to go more realistic, since Saints Row is clearly the more intentionally unrealistic of the two. And diversity in games is always a good thing.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/28/2011 10:35:09 AM

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

FM23
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 11:16:27 AM

GTAIV was great....the realism made the game much better than San Andreas over the top feel. San Andreas was definitely a more fun game, but the story was dumb...GTA IV had more heart, but outside of the story...the world was empty....a mixture of both strengths would make GTAV a classic

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZettaiSeigi
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:33:41 PM
Reply

I wouldn't mind if GTA V goes back to the style of GTA III. I had a lot of fun with that game. Lots of games nowadays strive for too much realism that sometimes they become boring. I'm not a huge fan of too much greys and black. I think games can be relate-able even if the setting is a little cartoony. GTA III's setting was fantastic and was fun to drive around on.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

mk ultra
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:39:42 PM
Reply

I liked the series better when it didn't take itself so seriously.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

TheIllusiveMan
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:43:38 PM
Reply

I personally love the realism, but yet I love a little bit of over the top action as well. Kinda like The Ballad of Gay Tony for IV. The gameplay is perfect. Maybe tweak it a little. Keep the physics though because the Euphoria physics were what made me fall in love with IV and the driving was perfectly balanced between realistic and arcade.

Maybe add a few more crazy things. Like an actual tank, planes, flame throwers, and whatever else they can have fun with. Customizable cars would be nice too. GTAIV was one of the best games of this generation for me because it just was amazing. And I truly hope they can at least keep most of that gameplay I loved. But please bring some back from the classics too. And that also means codes too. I miss flying cars and driving on water, and the riot codes.

I hate to repeat myself lol, but if this new GTA just took gameplay of 4 and most the content of San Andreas... I'd never stop playing.

EDIT: Forgot to add that like Ben said, if you need your fix now, get SR3. Honestly, that games way too arcady and over the top for me. I kinda like 2, but this ones just flat out ridiculous. But again, if that's what you want, get that. Perhaps GTAV will be somewhere between IV and SR3? That'd be good to me.

Last edited by TheIllusiveMan on 10/27/2011 9:51:51 PM

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

GuyverLT
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 10:01:57 AM

The Ballad of Gay Tony should have been the main story and Niko Bellic story should have been the DLC.

Last edited by GuyverLT on 10/28/2011 10:03:06 AM

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FM23
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 11:18:48 AM

Wow...Luis's story isnt better than Nikos or the biker cats story...the action was better, but not the actual story

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GuyverLT
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 7:03:03 PM

That's YOUR OPINION this is mine

I don't care for Niko's story and I definitely didn't care for the bikers his story was even more boring than Niko's I like Luis story better, my opinion

Last edited by GuyverLT on 10/28/2011 7:04:50 PM

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bebestorm
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:45:48 PM
Reply

I would like to see a combination of realism and cartoony. I enjoy realism in games. Im anxious to see the trailer to get a glimpse of what's in store.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

FatherSun
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:46:50 PM
Reply

I myself prefer the path GTA is on now. It is ever so close to the future I imagined games will have when I was young. We are so close to my ideal game.

I have an idea. How about GTAV continues with gritty realism with the option to play previous GTA titles within the game. Kinda like playing CUBED in GTA4.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

TheIllusiveMan
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 9:57:31 PM

Couldn't do it on Xbox (disc space) unless it was a PS1 era GTA, but then nearly nobody would even want to try playing it. I know I would in an instant lol. I recently went back and played 2 and honestly it was barely any less than III except in an overhead view. People got in and out of taxis, most the side missions are the same, you can get car jacked from a certain type of civilian, which stopped happening after III, and I miss that, even though you could lose nice cars, and not to mention the emergency vehicles showed up appropriately.

Last edited by TheIllusiveMan on 10/27/2011 9:58:16 PM

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Jalex
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 10:14:46 PM
Reply

Overall, the series will always have a very present satirical bent. But 'Grand Theft Auto IV' changed things up a bit by keeping that while also balancing it with a decidedly more serious tone.

Personally, I prefer 'IV's direction MUCH more than any of the other installments, and I'd love to see it go even further. I seem to be part of a relatively small group (considering the series' 20-some million fans) who thought 'IV' really explored the potential the series always had, and that to return to it's "cartoony roots" would be a step back.

Anyway, I think the only way to really placate almost everybody with 'V' is to have the main plot be at least as dramatic as 'IV's, while offering side missions that would be considered on par with 'San Andreas' in terms of craziness.

Last edited by Jalex on 10/27/2011 10:17:49 PM

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NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 10:24:18 PM
Reply

I was disappointed when i heard GTA5 wasnt going to be based in Vice City. I miss the over-stylized, cartoonish feel of the game.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

ZettaiSeigi
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 6:23:32 PM

Someones obviously not a fan of GTA's cartoony style for an opinion like this to warrant thumbs downs.

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Nas Is Like
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 10:39:49 PM
Reply

I don't want too cartoony but too much realism is also a bad thing. I found San Andreas to be a perfect balance of both, and that's why it's my favourite GTA to date. The more like San Andreas it is, the better, in my opinion.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Fox hounder
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:11:02 PM

I'm with you Nas, San Andreas is my favorite as well.

Off topic a little bit. Maybe to hype the release of GTA V Rockstar will do a GTA HD collection with 3, Vice city, and San Andreas (and perhaps the PSP games as well).

Agree with this comment 6 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Nas Is Like
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:14:10 PM

High five, Fox hounder.

Glad to see someone else that really appreciates San Andreas for how amazing it is.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Fox hounder
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:21:31 PM

High five back at ya.

San Andreas holds a special place in my heart, it was my very first PS2 game.

Last edited by Fox hounder on 10/27/2011 11:22:31 PM

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BikerSaint
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 10:59:41 PM
Reply

I much prefer the realism of GTAIV over all of the earlier GTA's, especially the 1st couple of top-down view GTA's, so I'm hoping it will continue it's realism.

But I'll still get in my more cartoon-y kicks with SR3 too.

So, I see it as the best of both worlds for me.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:02:45 PM
Reply

I don't understand why it can't do both, just make the realistic game you want and add in all the cheat codes to make wacky stuff possible: bring back the military, perfect handling, jetpacks, etc.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

FxTales
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:05:45 PM

Yip, I think this too.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

mk ultra
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 2:20:52 AM

That sounds good to me. I wouldn't mind a realistic story. As long as you could still play with all the wacky stuff you could in the ps2 versions i'd be set.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 11:35:31 PM
Reply

I prefer realistic but with a heavy dose of "over the top." Cartoony silliness is good but you can't mix that in with a gritty story. Well you can, but you end up with Just Cause 2 or Saint's Row and it just detracts too much from the maturity. They ARE great games, but I'm glad we have the more recent R* offerings too.

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godsdream
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 12:05:46 AM
Reply

I like more realistic like GTAIV. It was my favorite so far, by far.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Excelsior1
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 1:19:57 AM
Reply

this is a very tough question. i know gta fans are pretty divided about this. there are many who will say gta4 is the most over rated game of all time, and that it was not very fun at all. maybe there is something to that. it did feel like some of the gta magic was lost in gta4 for some reason. i did enjoy the ballad of gay tony a lot more than i did the main gta4 game.

i don't know if cartoony is the best way to describe the prior gta games before gta4. over the top would be a far better fitting description. i have a problem saying i want gta5 to be more cartoony for some reason becuase frankly i do not think that word best describes the series. i would prefer the series return to the over the top action and fun of the previous games.

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GuyverLT
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 10:10:22 AM

I have too agree the Cartoony description doesn't really describe what the any of the previous GTA games were hell it's not even the right term to describe what the SR games. Like you said they're were over-the-top and that what made the othe GTA games more fun that's what made the ballad of gay tony more fun, and that why SR 2 was do damn fun.... Can't wait for SR3.

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FullmetalX10
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 1:43:03 AM
Reply

I have to say, I found GTA IV quite boring, much more so than San Andreas, which I could play for hours on end, but maybe that's just because of the difference in story and setting.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 3:24:47 AM
Reply

While I believe it should go back to it's humourous art style I don't believe it will. Realism is a necessity nowadays, The more 'real' a world and characters look, the more impressive the visuals are this gen apparently. Remember when 'The Getaway' first appeared and everyone waa blown back by the representation of London and realism.

If you look at the opposite end of the spectrum, you get Saints Row, which you cannot take seriously at all, to the point where it just seems like one big gimmick after another. The same with Dead Rising 2, it just became really silly. It's about finding that balance which mixes humour/fantasy and reality, which is certainly easier said than done.

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mehrab2603
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 4:14:48 AM
Reply

I actually like the way GTA is going. I admit that 4 was less fun to play than San Andreas, but in the end when I looked back at it the realistic and more serious story really made me love it more than San Andreas. I value story more than gameplay, so maybe that is the reason.

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mikeninjamoose
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 4:29:14 AM
Reply

GTA IV was brilliant in so many ways, but it did feel to be missing something that VC and SA had. I thought the mission gameplay had the right amount of realism, I didn't miss the jet packs, fighter helicopters etc. In my opinion the side missions felt like some playability has been lost and the story, whilst I liked Niko's back story, didn't take me on the scarface-esque underdog to top dog journey, that for me, had made previous GTAs so satisfying and playable.

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___________
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 6:30:41 AM
Reply

no of course not!
thats like asking does anyone want a million dollars!

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slugga_status
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 8:38:12 AM
Reply

I prefer the direction that GTA is currently on. I don't think people realize that this is what GTA is supposed to be. It's essentially what GTA I and II were trying to be. You're truly in a open world and GTA IV took it further. I can't wait for the trailer.

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Helghast
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:04:04 AM
Reply

That is tough for me. I loved GTA IV for its realism. GTA IV was the first GTA that I actually played the story straight through, and re-played it several times. I really liked how Niko had more character development than the previous characters. All of the other GTA's I found to be more fun just to run around and blow $h!t up. When I completed the story of IV I found there wasn't much entertainment left in the game, as to where I could play the previous GTA's for hours on end just exploring the city and causing mayhem. Online mode did somewhat make up for this, but it could have been better. I have been a fan of the franchise since since GTA III, and I would be ok either way; I will still buy it, and I will still play it till my fingers fall off.

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slugga_status
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:51:59 AM

That's the one thing I didn't like in GTA IV..The MP was just not done very well. The times where you could get a decent game in MP was a blast. Especially Turf War..but just to get enough people to get into a match and press the ready button..with no mics..was a chore..I hope they improve it the next go around.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 10:46:35 AM

No the mp sucked in gta4, that much is true. I think it's nothing like what it could have been in RDR either. Rockstar has not gotten the grip on mp yet.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:07:03 AM
Reply

Up until recently I've meant that GTA needed to get back to what it was. I just loved GTA:VC and particularly GTA:SA too much to want to let go.
But now that Saints Row seem to be stepping out of the GTA shadow and shaping up to be *the* cartoonish over-the-top sandbox game we got that department fully covered.

So, I've changed my mind and would much rather prefer that Rockstar use their insane talent and creativity to keep developing their GTA formula. If there is any truth in the recent news/rumors about multiple playable characters in the next GTA it looks like they take GTA in yet another direction with new experiences ahead.

Keep on doing what you are doing, Rockstar.

(... just get rid of the damn doves, I want some real collectibles again. Please.)


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/28/2011 9:10:36 AM

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FAREEZ
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:11:07 AM
Reply

No, the cartoon style look suck. i like the gta 4 style....

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CrusaderForever
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:34:08 AM
Reply

No, keep moving forward. GTAIV was amazing in the graphics department. Try to wring more realism out of their devs. Just glad to see GTAV is coming!

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wackazoa
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 9:35:17 AM
Reply

I like the realistic characters.......... however they could throw in a goofy moment where in there middle of a mission you drink something or take something and "OH NO !!! Why is everything all cartoony ??"


That would be cool. Kinda like Cool World.. mmmmm ... Kim Basinger.........

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Highlander
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 10:49:33 AM

If the games more consciously broke the fourth wall, then more realism could work - to a point. But as long as it's realism alone, it makes me uncomfortable. I like the game to remind me it's a game, breaking the 4th wall with humor, or simply sprinkling in a little more deconstructive humor helps.

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wackazoa
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 12:13:23 PM

You know what else would be cool, where they have the arcade games make one old time GTA1 or 2. Let us play a GTA title in a GTA title...



Wow just blew my mind with that one.

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Beamboom
Sunday, October 30, 2011 @ 4:04:18 AM

Haha that was a cool idea, Wacka!

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TheCanadianGuy
Friday, October 28, 2011 @ 12:06:55 PM
Reply

nice screenshot ben. that brought back memories :)

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