Rockstar Games revealed on Tuesday that the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto V will break away from the traditional third-person mode and add a first-person viewpoint. Gamers will have a dedicated button that allows them to switch between the two modes. Grand Theft Auto Online will also receive the first-person treatment.
"We've made a host of changes to accommodate this new perspective, including the creation of an optional first person cover system, a new targeting system, a more traditional FPS control scheme, and integrating thousands of new animations into the existing game," the company's news post revealed.
Rockstar Games also indicated that players with compatible PCs will have access to a 4K resolution, whereas the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gamers will be locked at a 1080p resolution and 30 fps. There will also be "hundreds of additions and enhancements" that will be exclusive to those specific three platforms.
Unfortunately, the PC version won't ship with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 copies. The game will arrive on the two consoles on November 18, followed by the Windows PC version on January 27, 2015. All three will include a new foliage system, new weapons, new vehicles, denser traffic and wildlife and more. The radio will even have 17 radio stations with more than 100 new songs and DJ mixes.
Rob Nelson, the Animation Director on GTA V, told IGN that Rockstar Games thought about adding a first-person perspective for a while, but it wasn't until the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 came out that the team was able to add this perspective. Surely the previous generation consoles could handle a first-person experience, right? So why is this mode an exclusive?
"We were out of memory on the old consoles for animations," Nelson told IGN. "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."
Do we really care if the game offers a first-person perspective? This mode changes the way players will discover the world. We won't be focused on the main character, but see the world through virtual eyes, scoping out the blades of grass, the number of cars on the freeway, the foliage waving in a virtual wind. It's definitely a different experience.
For the record, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Grand Theft Auto V launched on September 17.
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Memory limitations may have played a role in the decision, but another reason would be the framerates achievable on the 360 and PS3. The game can't even maintain a steady 30fps on those consoles, and occasionally dips below 20, which would make playing from a first-person perspective a choppy mess.
The new consoles should at least be able to handle a solid 30fps, though they should have been able to manage 60 considering it's a port of a prior-gen game. I suppose they figure most people will still tend to play from the traditional camera view though, and decided to put those spare resource toward more eye-candy instead.
I am happy to see a first-person mode added though. There have been first-person mods available for previous GTA games on the PC, but I suspect this should offer a more polished experience.