Grand Theft Auto V is here – meet Michael, Franklin and Trevor and check out our guide to the city of Los Santos.
Jump into a living, breathing online world
Grand Theft Auto V gives players a sprawling city and thriving countryside to explore. Jump online, and that world grows into a multiplayer metropolis bustling with life and packed with missions, mini-games and new ways to earn loot. You'll have the freedom to explore and work on your profile, customising your appearance and modifying your vehicles, or taking on jobs to earn cash, purchase property and boost your reputation.
The real action comes in the form of missions and heists that you can take on alongside a crew of other players, working co-operatively to take out enemies, reach your goals and rise up through the criminal ranks. If that's not enough, the team at Rockstar will be adding new content to grow the online environment, creating a dynamic Grand Theft Auto world that lives and evolves just as a real city would. And if that's still not enough, you'll be able to build your own races, missions and events using the in-game creation tools and invite your friends and underworld associates to test their skills.
Access to Grand Theft Auto Online will be included with every copy of GTA V, with the online world becoming available shortly after the game's launch on 17 September 2013.
GTA V is the biggest Grand Theft Auto yet
In fact, even that is an understatement. Spanning the city of Los Santos and the wide open countryside of Blaine County, GTA V is larger than Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the frontier world of Red Dead Redemption combined – and what's more, it will all be fully open for you to explore from the very start of the game.
Three is the magic number
For the first time in a Grand Theft Auto game, you're not just playing as one character, but three – each with their own individual personalities and lives to live. You'll get to play missions as one character, combinations of two, and sometimes all three. When you're not out on a mission, you can switch between these three leads in real time using the character wheel. While you're controlling one character, the other two will carry on with their daily lives, so you'll never know what you'll find the other characters getting up to when you jump between them.
Play to your strengths
In keeping with their own personalities and skillsets, each character has his own special ability that can be pivotal to successfully pulling off missions and heists. As a veteran bank robber, Michael can slow down time during gun battles, allowing for precision targeting of enemies. Franklin has a similar ability whilst driving, letting him take sharp corners and swerve through built up areas without writing off his vehicle. Trevor can harness his anger and fly into a rage that means he'll take less damage from enemies and can perform a unique melee attack on his foes
You're the boss
Previous Grand Theft Auto titles have seen you take on the role of a low-ranking hoodlum, making your way up through the criminal underworld by carrying out jobs for shady kingpins. In Grand Theft Auto V, you're jumping directly into the lives of three established criminals, taking in control of the trio's individual destinies, as well as helping them work together to plan and execute a series of daring heists. As well as these elaborate missions, you'll also be able to take on additional side quests, or involve yourself in any of the dynamic events that happen as you make your way through Los Santos and Blaine County – for example, encountering a robbery will give you the choice to help foil the crooks, or you can give them a hand in exchange for a share of the loot.
There are more vehicles than ever
The roads of Los Santos are packed with vehicles for you to borrow, as well as motorbikes, trucks and supercars – if you know where to look. But the transport in Grand Theft Auto V isn't confined to the roads. There will be boats and aircraft for you to pilot – and even bicycles, if you prefer a more environmentally friendly way to travel.
There's a whole world out there
There's more to Grand Theft Auto V than just the urban sprawl of Los Santos. Beyond the city limits there's a living, breathing world with its own thriving ecosystem; mountain lions prowl the hillsides, sharks patrol the oceans and fish fill the rivers. As well as the wildlife, the great outdoors is alive with hikers, campers and fishermen enjoying their surroundings, giving the game world greater depth and detail than any of its predecessors.
Take some time out
If you want to take a break from planning perfect heist, there are plenty of ways to kill time in Los Santos. Any of the characters can indulge their hobbies and pastimes, such as going shopping, practising yoga, playing golf or tennis, and even taking part in a triathlon. Or, if you prefer something to really get the adrenaline pumping, you can send them scuba diving, jet skiing, base jumping and more.
PS3 is the best place to experience Grand Theft Auto V
From 17 September 2013, you can get your hands on an exclusive PS3 bundle – including a 500GB PS3 system and a copy of the game – that will let you experience Los Santos in style. Separate to the PS3 bundle, we've teamed up with our friends over at Rockstar Games to create a custom-designed Grand Theft Auto V Pulse wireless headset, so you can enjoy the game's many unique radio stations and in-game soundtrack with crystal clear sound.
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Prepare for destruction on an intergalactic scale.