Grand Theft Auto 5 (or GTA 5) maker Rockstar Games has something new in store for Windows PC gamers in the new year. What is it? A first-person player mode to spice up the GTA experience. GTA 5 Animation Director Rob Nelson made the announcement in a recent interview:
“We’ve always been interested in it, but it’s never really been an option for us. I don’t think we could’ve put it in the [last-gen version] because we were too busy making the game. We were too busy working on our third-person controls and the missions.”
Not only did Rockstar run out of time because of the game itself, but also because of the last-generation game hardware:
“We were out of memory on the old consoles for animations. We were constantly fighting about what we could have and what we could still push in, and what other areas you could steal memory back from – audio, art, maps – for animation. So we could’ve added all the atoms to make a first-person mode to the level we wanted. We weren’t sure the world would have held up the way we would’ve wanted it to” Nelson told IGN.
Nelson went on to talk about how the company had to do more than just change the camera angle, but also the weapons and surroundings to create the perfect “you’re-in-the-game scenario”:
“You have to change pretty much everything. I mean, if you want to do it right. We have a very solid third-person animation system, but you don’t just put the camera down there and expect to see the guns, aim, and shoot. All those animations are new when you switch to first-person, because it all has to be animated to the camera, to make it feel like a proper first-person experience that I think people would expect. All the timings have to be re-evaluated.”
The new first-person player mode will have you shooting people, driving past the police with your speedometer and car functions in your face, taking pictures of a Hollywood star (or yourself – selfies) on your smart phone, or preparing to land by flying a helicopter down to the ground below from the sky above.
With this said, the first-person player mode does not override the third-person experience but provides an additional alternative to the game experience as a whole. Rockstar will still maintain third-person player mode for those that aren’t yet ready to adopt the new gaming experience.
Those that want to embrace the new experience but still retain a little of the third-person tradition can accept a hybrid third-person/first-person experience. Those who want to go all in can accept the new first-person experience in every action, so that, playing Michael, you can still escape in a speed boat while seeing Trevor beside you and additional details about the boat and the immediate scene (rather than a distant appearance).
Nelson also says that the first-person perspective is “just a different way of looking at things,” but it’s so much more to hard-core gamers who are always wanting to be more and more “in the moment.”
Grand Theft Auto 5’s first-person player mode arrives for Sony PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 18, and Windows PC users will get the new mode on January 27, 2015. A beta mode will arrive between now and then, although Rockstar didn’t reveal any details.