Every once in a great while, a debate pops up on various Grand Theft Auto forums about fun factor versus realism. On one side, fans demand a realistic simulation experience complete with having to refuel your car or making your character buff by working out. On the other side, jumping 20 feet in the air on a bike or exiting out of a plane at a high altitude and landing in the ocean without losing any life is more entertaining.
With the introduction of the GTA HD era (GTA IV and up), it is apparent that Rockstar has shifted away from the arcade-like style gameplay that encompassed the GTA III era and has given more recent titles a serious tone to match the realism of the graphics. While the saying “sometimes, you just can’t please everybody” comes to mind, allowing the bridging of realism and fun may be able to close the gap on both sides of the coin, producing a game that has replay value on multiple levels.
Adjusting settings affects gameplay
Throughout my years of playing video games, one of the features that I really enjoyed was being able to adjust game settings. One example that comes to mind is sports games allowing you to change values of certain aspects (like a ref’s tendency to call fouls or the speed of the game) that affect gameplay. Perhaps Grand Theft Auto can bridge this gap by including an options menu that allows you to adjust values and features? Maybe a cheats menu can be implemented as well (but that’s a different article)?
Ideally, you can adjust every single value to cater a gameplay style that directly correlates with your preferences, but for sake of ease, including arcade, simulation and balanced modes.
The following are potential features.
For those interested in convenience, a preset mode would be present to allow a quick change of gameplay style. The options available would include:
- Arcade mode – a fun, crazy style of gameplay. Much harder to be killed and physics allow for exaggerated stunt jumps. Your character lives though much more damage.
- Simulation mode – a realistic take on Grand Theft Auto. Your ability to survive depends on where you are shot. Cars have random amounts of fuel, and those with low amounts require refueling. Police pull you over (and possibly ticket you) for traffic violations.
- Balanced – elements of both arcade and simulation are combined. Similar to the feel of Grand Theft Auto V and IV.
Of course, those who prefer to tinker with their own settings can decide to adjust specific parts of various categories, essentially rendering a highly catered game. Some of these potential customizations include:
- Damage – determines how much damage the character is able to take without dying. Changing the value can make you susceptible to a few gunshot wounds, all the way up to jumping from an airplane into the ocean without a parachute and surviving.
- Physics – probably one of the more sought-after options, changing physics alone makes the game much more fun. Ideally you’ll be able to adjust how high your character can jump, making things like leaping across huge gaps between buildings more fun, or bunny hopping over cars on a bike.
- Lifestyle – more for the realism seekers, this will give your character attributes that make him or her more lifelike. Similar to San Andreas, you can eat food, workout or become better at playing the various video games in the GTA universe.
- Abilities – similar to the abilities in GTA V, but a little bit more in depth. You can increase things like your aiming (giving you perfect targeting from various distances, or realistic aim in which you have to manually aim your weapon at everything), strength ability, which allows you to punch people and cars far away (similar to the explosive melee attack cheat), and stamina, which allows you to swim or run at incredible speeds.
- Damage – just like the character setting, the car damage setting will allow certain amounts of damage. With arcade setting, you’re able to drive off of the back of airplanes and land without blowing up. Conversely, realistic mode exhibits realistic damage effects, encouraging careful driving.
- Physics – cars fly over bumps. Let cars drive up the side of buildings, similar to the moon gravity cheat in San Andreas. Boats travel significantly faster, as do airplanes.
- Details – turn on or off the option of fueling. Minor details become more significant, like the style of tires you’re using affecting performance on different surfaces. Enabling hydraulics on cars.
- Intelligence – the intelligence of the world around you. Determine how likely people are to report a crime around you. Have random people pick fights with you.
- Driving – determine how well or horrible traffic drives (like ignoring red lights). Set how dense the traffic can be so you can drive in either clear streets or in gridlock. Have chaos ensue in which pedestrians all over the city attempt to do stunt jumps and drive fast.
- Police – how likely police are to respond to a crime you have committed. How fast the police cars can go. The type of reactions police have towards you in different situations, such as receiving tickets for traffic violations, instead of being shot for minor two-star crimes, police act more intelligently.
How hard can it be?
This is the issue at hand when it comes to incorporating these types of options. While it is true that this type of gameplay requires serious planning and execution (especially with aspects like using arcade mode to make completing the storyline easier), the fun factor of the game can significantly be increased because of how specifically catered it is to the individual player. Given that the Playstation 4 has incredible capacity to allow all sorts of combinations of adjustments, it should, in theory, be possible. The question remains whether or not Rockstar has the resources (and more importantly, the demand) to instill such capabilities.
Pipe dream or not? Let me know in the comments below.