So Rockstar ‘accidentally’ leaked on a blog, that was quickly pulled but gave everyone enough time to grab a screenshot, that the PS4, Xbox One & PC versions of GTA V were getting a first person mode. After leaving the rumour to gently bubble in the melting pot Rockstar finally declared that GTA V would indeed have a new first person viewpoint.
Along with a larger soundtrack, new side missions and upgraded visuals we can now see through the eyes of our 3….er….heroes? Players can quickly toggle between 3rd and 1st person views by, for example on the PS4, simply pressing the Dualshock 4’s touchpad. This new FPS mode can be applied to walking, driving, swimming and parachuting. Players can also set their options to allow a first person viewpoint when firing a gun but can quickly switch back to third person when in cover. Assisted Aim, Semi Assisted Aim and Free Aim are also applicable to FPS mode. GTA V will also run at 1080p and 30fps on PS4 and Xbox One.
Whilst this now opens the door for those who have a particular preference to which viewpoint they prefer, effectively welcoming gamers all of types, but two factors have been overlooked.
Will changing to a FPS view diminish the lead characters personality? After all every, nuance and subtle expression on Michael’s face will be missed, effectively losing the impact of a man going through a mid-life crisis. Trevor’s antics and facial expressions were at the very core of the extreme and violent humour found in GTA V. Whilst the great story telling and voice acting will go a long way to ensuring that GTA doesn’t loose it’s identity I can’t help but feel that something will be lost. However, I will concede that the above trailer is a great counter argument in its own right.
The other issue is purely from a gaming perspective. We can argue the merits of which is the better view mode but few can deny that for precise shooting, FPS is the preferred mode. Great if you are playing the single player campaign and let’s not forget if you enjoy driving, you may prefer quickly switching to a 3rd person view, which you have the option to do. But with GTA Online the game could become undone. Yes, players have the option to toggle between view modes and can play the game any way they want, but anyone playing in 3rd person may come undone in a gun fight again someone who is playing in 1st person. How do Rockstar intend to balance this problem? With the differing auto aim options? I don’t see that going down particularly well with ‘hardened’ gamers.
Perhaps the balance can be addressed by the use of cover. 3rd person has often thrived in cover based shooters, which GTA V technically falls under. The ability to switch between FPS whilst firing and 3rd person whilst in cover could potentially address the balance.
I myself intend to play GTA V once again in third person, to feel closer to my character and to immerse myself in the glorious city of Los Santos. What viewpoint do you want to play in? Will this FPS mode unbalance online game play? Will GTA loose its character and sense of identity? Does GTA V even need a FPS Mode?