Tải bản đầy đủ - 0 (trang)
Chapter 9. Grand theft Auto III (2001): The Consolejacking Life

Chapter 9. Grand theft Auto III (2001): The Consolejacking Life

Tải bản đầy đủ - 0trang

106



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



Grand Theft Auto III ’s gritty,

realistic setting was certainly a

big factor in the game’s success.



Conception of the Computer Role-Playing Game”) had offered

amazingly detailed and interactive virtual worlds that gamers

could spend weeks or even months exploring. Gamers marveled

that they could plant seeds and sow grain in The Black Gate,

actions that had no real effect on the game’s plot. However, these

optional activities were included in the game to make it feel more

realistic; those seeds and tools weren’t just there as decoration,

but behaved the way we’d expect them to in the real world.

However, these games—while certainly ambitious—were nevertheless rigidly limited by the technology of their time. In other

words, the verisimilitude of these games only extended so far.

Players of Elite found that they couldn’t leave their spaceships

except when docked in spaceports, which amounted to a series

of menus for buying and selling. Only the spaceflight segments

were immersive, and even there monochromatic wireframe

graphics for ships and asteroids demanded plenty of imagination to bring to life. The Black Gate’s world was densely populated

with functional virtual objects of all sorts, but they were flat, 2D

sprites. You could click on a pair of pliers lying on a workbench to

add them to your inventory, but their functionality was limited to

very specific, predetermined usage. Despite the best efforts of the

programmers, players of these games were constantly seeing the

machinery at work behind the illusion.

GTA III’s robust cause-and-effect physics engine and 3D

graphics enabled players to interact with the game world and

its objects like never before. Objects could be viewed from any



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



107



Box back from Shenmue II for the

Microsoft Xbox. The technical

accomplishments in the Shenmue

series were impressive, but

the games failed to inspire

blockbuster sales.



angle. Furthermore, the game maintained the same level of detail

during driving and flying segments as when walking or fighting

hand-to-hand. Whereas previous games had switched to different

modes and interfaces for driving versus walking, GTA III made

these transitions seamless and much more natural. Although

there were still limits on what a player could do, the options

seemed limitless.

As the roman numeral in its title indicates, GTA III’s development did not take place in a vacuum. There were important

prequels, expansion packs, and related games. These earlier

games were made by DMA Design, now known as Rockstar



108



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



North,2 and included Grand Theft Auto (1997; Nintendo Game

Boy Color, PC, Sony PlayStation), Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999;

same platforms, plus Sega Dreamcast), and Body Harvest (1998;

Nintendo 64).



Grand Theft Auto could be played

in “free play mode,” or players

could focus on fulfilling missions.

Here, a mission has gone awry

when a tanker blew up outside

the building it was meant to

destroy. Although the missions

are often morally repugnant, the

visuals and campy scenarios are

typically more humorous than vile.



Grand Theft Auto or GTA, features a top down, bird’s-eye view

of the action. Depending upon the platform, the player takes on

the role of one of four or eight different criminals. Each of these

criminals vary only in appearance, and players can give them

new names if they don’t like the default (certain names act as

cheat codes). Although the character is tasked with missions,

he or she can freely roam the levels of one of three cities in the

game: Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas,3 each of which

would become the settings for future titles in the series. In contrast to the greater flexibility in later games, here the player must

attain a certain number of points within a set number of lives

before moving on to the next level. The player has some freedom

in scoring points, like stealing and selling cars or causing general

destruction, but by far the quickest path, worth the most points,

is to complete the missions. Although the end result of a multiobjective mission is always the same, the player can usually make

choices along the way, such as killing the police chief or rescuing

2



Rockstar Games is a development division of Take-Two Interactive and presently

comprises nine studios, all named for their respective locations, that is, Rockstar

North (Edinburgh, Scotland), Rockstar Toronto, and Rockstar Japan.

3



Loosely based on New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, respectively.



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



109



a kidnap victim. The player can move about on foot, in a variety

of cars, or even in a tank and boat, and has access to a variety of

weapons, including a machine gun and flamethrower.4



In Grand Theft Auto, whenever

the player hijacks a vehicle, music

or radio stations play. These

infectious grooves add a great

deal of value to the game.



Besides the general theme and fictional cities based on real cities, the original GTA established other series standards, including

radio stations with original music, a police band, and the ability

to play your own music.5 The PC version of the game had limited

network multiplayer support, an option that wouldn’t be seen

again until Grand Theft Auto IV. An add-on mission pack that

required the original game was released in 1999 for both the PC

and PlayStation called Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London,

1969, with a second following shortly thereafter, entitled Grand

Theft Auto Mission Pack #2: London, 1961, though this time just

for the PC. Both of these expansion packs eschewed the previous cities and time period for a trip back to London in the 1960s,

though gameplay was still based on a criminal’s climb up the ladder of a mob family.

Grand Theft Auto 2 or GTA 2, takes place in an unspecified near

future (“three weeks”) in an unspecified city (“Anywhere City”) that

consists of three distinct areas: Downtown (for example, casinos,

hotels), Residential (prison, trailer park), and Industrial (seaport,

4



The player also has the basic, nonlethal ability to punch.



5



Features depended upon the version, with the PC having everything, the

PlayStation having less, and the Game Boy Color having the least, with significant

censoring of violence and language.



110



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



Grand Theft Auto II had improved

graphics, but still depicted all

the action from a top-down

perspective. Players could not

only steal cars, but actually

earned points for running down

pedestrians. The game seemed

to take every opportunity to

encourage players to break

the law.



nuclear power plant). The player is cast as criminal “Claude Speed,”

who wants to be “King of the City” by game’s end.

Although GTA 2 plays and scores the same as the previous game,

there were several key improvements. One was the option to work

for different gangs; choosing sides inevitably brought hostility

from the rival group. Furthermore, characters with a high enough

“wanted” level garner interest from higher authorities than just

the local police. City activity is a bit more robust, with pedestrians

going about their normal activities, such as entering and riding in

taxi cabs or buses—there is also more criminal activity going on

than the player’s own. One of the more popular additions is the

option to carjack a cab or bus and then earn fares. Though still

limited by its zoomed-out overhead perspective, all these additions (along with a greatly expanded selection of weapons and

vehicle enhancements) made the game a much more realistic

sandbox experience. GTA 2, like the rest of the series until the first

downloads became available on Xbox Live for the Microsoft Xbox

360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV, did not receive any expansions or add-ons. However, a multiplayer patch for the PC version

of GTA 2 was incorporated when both that and the original game

were released for free on Rockstar’s website in 2004.6

Body Harvest, though not part of the official GTA series, was nevertheless the first time the developers took the gameplay concepts

into 3D, albeit with a larger emphasis on action. Despite being

“cursed with delays and development problems”7 and the blurry

graphics typical of all but the best games on the Nintendo 64, Body

Harvest proved a critical success. Though limited to the capacity of



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



111



Body Harvest was DMA Design’s

first attempt at a 3D sandbox.

Note the fleeing bystander.



the Nintendo 64’s cartridge format, the game still delivered a large,

relatively open Sandbox experience.

The player assumes the role of Adam Drake, a genetically

enhanced soldier who must investigate and stop a time traveling

alien attack force. Drake must battle in five different areas, covering Greece in 1916, Java in 1941, the United States in 1966, Siberia

in 1991, and the alien homeworld in 2046. As players explore each

of these time periods, they can talk to the locals and commandeer

any vehicle they find. Like GTA, Body Harvest allows the character to move about on foot; drive various vehicles, including tanks,

boats, and helicopters; and fire weapons. Unlike GTA, Body Harvest

incorporates simple puzzles, such as finding parts to fix a boat,

along with the usual rescue or assassination missions. In fact, Body

Harvest is even more mission-based than the GTA games, requiring strict completion before opening up further levels.



6



Each game also received necessary tweaks to run on most modern systems.



7



http://ign64.ign.com/articles/150/150405p1.html; a reoccurring concept throughout

the increasingly complex GTA series.

8

The first version was released for the PS2 on October 22, 2001, giving DMA Design

time to make minor cuts and modifications in deference to the series of coordinated suicide attacks by al Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001,

particularly on New York City, on which Liberty City is loosely modeled. A few

other titles were affected around this time, as well, including Sega’s promising

air racing game, Propeller Arena, for their Dreamcast, which was never officially

released in part due to the system’s weak market position and in part because it

featured a race that took place between skyscrapers.



112



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



This brings us back to the next game after Body Harvest,

GTA III, released for Microsoft Xbox, PC, and PS28. Despite the

innovations of the previous games, no one expected all of the

elements to come together as magnificently as they did in

GTA III. The game garnered almost universal critical acclaim

along with nearly unprecedented commercial success and

numerous awards.9 Legendary developer, Will Wright (see

Chapters 15 and 22), raved about the game, describing it “as

such an open-ended world . . . you can actually be very nice in

the world and drive an ambulance around saving people, or you

can be very mean. The game doesn’t really force you down one

path or the other unless you’re playing the missions. For me, it’s

not really about the missions, it’s about the open-endedness . . .

going out and living a life in this little simulated city. It’s like a

big playground.”10 Improvements ranged from the now-iconic

art style on the packaging and load screens to the addition of a

24-hour clock that featured true day and night cycles. Although

not totally without flaw, GTA III got a lot more right than it did

wrong, and completed the developer’s transition from 2D to 3D

worlds in style.

The player is again cast as an unnamed thug11 trying to move up

the mob ladder in Liberty City. The plot involves double-crosses,

revenge, and love triangles, all told through copious cutscenes that

form the basis of the missions.12 The game’s design allows players

to choose how involved they actually want to get in the various

machinations, if at all. As Doug Perry of IGN put it in his review:

I spent the first three hours of playing Grand Theft Auto III

choosing some primary missions, but found myself constantly being distracted by random missions, side jobs, and

simply exploring. My own personal raison d’etre was just to

find the impressive insane stunt jump sections and to test

the cars to their limits. After I got my fill, I then went back to

playing the story in a more linear fashion. Players essentially

can play the game as fast and as linear as their skills allow,

or as distracted and as random as they feel. It’s just another

way in which Grand Theft Auto III offers freedom, nonlinear

gameplay, and variety like never before.



9



See http://tinyurl.com/42c8da for a small sampling.



10



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26630611/?pg=3#games_top5_080909_

WillWright.



11



Later revealed to be Claude in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where he appears

as a nonplayer character.

12



GTA III has a notable voice cast, including veteran actors Frank Vincent, Michael

Madsen, Michael Rapaport, Joe Pantoliano, Debi Mazar, Kyle MacLachlan, Robert

Loggia, and Lazlow Jones. Future games in the series would follow suit.



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



One advantage to completing the story’s missions and side

missions is gaining access to more of Liberty City’s domain,13

which includes three large urban areas: industrial, commercial,

and suburban. Each has a distinct look and feel. Even the demographics vary from area to area, populated with citizens of the

corresponding demographic. Clearly, it is impressive stuff.

GTA III features cinematic opening credits that wouldn’t be out

of place in the latest Hollywood hipster gangster film. After the

credit sequence and quick set of animated cutscenes, the player

is immediately thrust into a fully playable tutorial—another hallmark of the series. The tutorial acts as a gradual introduction to

the in-game controls and also sets the context for the story.

However, there are more signs of player progress than simply

completing missions or advancing the story. The game tracks a

seemingly countless number of statistics in real time. These stats

are accessible any time, and let players know how much of the

story they’ve completed and how many times they’ve attempted

missions. Players can also find out how many people they’ve

“wasted,” number of hospital visits, and even how much distance

they’ve traveled by car or foot, among many other statistics. All

of this information gives players insight into their play style and

overall ability.

The audio has been significantly enhanced, with better

and more abundant speech, sound effects, and music, which

now includes both original and licensed works. The songs are

announced by talkative DJs, and there’s even an all-talk station.

The radio commercials are often quite funny, complementing the

game’s blend of humor and mature themes.

Some of the gameplay is identical to that found in many thirdperson shooters, but GTA III also involves a great deal of driving. These driving sequences have a significantly higher learning

curve and difficulty level than the shooter mode. Driving doesn’t

work like typical racing games, which usually offer pinpoint control (see Chapter 14, “Pole Position (1982): Where the Raster Meets

the Road”). Instead, the vehicles seem purposefully designed to

crash into things, causing random destruction wherever one

turns the wheel. Even stopping at stop lights or maintaining a

consistent, law abiding speed can be challenging. It takes a lot of

practice to acquire the skills needed to drive properly, and even

the best players often fail to stay off the curb. Fortunately for poor

drivers, obeying traffic laws is not the fun part anyway.



13

GTA III’s excuse for initially limited access to certain parts of the city is that the

particular access subway or bridge needs to be “repaired,” which ties back into the

believability aspect; that is, if a gamer is given a reasonable explanation for being

restricted from going somewhere that they would easily be able to reach in real

life, immersion in the gameworld is retained.



113



114



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



Controlling a vehicle can be a real

challenge in Grand Theft Auto III.



Contemporary critics of GTA III tended to be very forgiving, overlooking many of its flaws and harping on its litany of

groundbreaking features. For instance, few criticized the repetitive missions, particularly those of the “drive from point A to

point B” variety. These repetitive missions would show up (and

be lambasted) in nearly every other open-world sandbox game,

such as the otherwise inspired The Simpsons Hit & Run (Vivendi

Universal, 2003; Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and others). This game placed more focus on its driving and platforming

elements, but infuriated gamers with an excess of timed and very

frustrating driving missions.

GTA III suffered the same standard technical issues seen in

most games of the time, such as pop-in (objects suddenly appearing) and variable frame rate (smoothness). However, GTA III also

had a surprising lack of variety in its character models: a startling

omission, given the otherwise diverse world. It’s disconcerting,

for instance, to see small groups of the exact same hooker on different sidewalks—it’s as though there’s a city-wide clone convention. Furthermore, as is typical of 3D gaming (see Chapter 18,

“Super Mario 64/Tomb Raider (1996): The Third Dimension”),

even with a choice of multiple viewpoints, players could have

difficulty finding just the right camera angle to view the action.

Blind spots could affect everything from backing up in a car to

being surprised by a police officer just out of the player’s sight.

Despite these flaws, GTA III is still as playable today as it was

back in 2001. However, Rockstar North didn’t rest on its laurels,



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



115



releasing a steady stream of improved sequels, starting with

2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, or GTA: VC (same platforms).

GTA: VC mined the rich pop culture references of the 1980s,

going the Miami Vice14 route, though with plenty of nods to iconic

mob films like Scarface.15 The player is cast as Tommy Vercetti, a

mob hitman who is released from prison after serving 15 years for

killing 11 men, and who is promptly sent to Vice City to undertake a series of cocaine deals. Naturally, complications arise.

Tommy’s ultimate goal is to become the crime kingpin of Vice

City. Though GTA: VC retains the series reliance on mob themes,

Vice City’s more upscale, summery landscape is a pleasing contrast to Liberty City’s drab and dirty environments.

Besides featuring a large selection of period music,16 GTA: VC

expands on its predecessor in several other areas, including both

a larger weapon selection and a greater variety of law enforcement. The character can now steal and operate helicopters and

fire trucks, the latter of which can actually be used to douse fires

in the game. Players can also purchase building for hideouts or

business purposes.17 As expected, GTA: VC was another huge



Jacking a car in Grand Theft Auto:

Vice City.

14

A popular 1984–1989 NBC television series starring Don Johnson as a cool and

stylish cop, drawing influence from and defining 1980s fashion and pop culture.

15



A violent film from 1983 starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana, who becomes a

gangster against the backdrop of the 1980s cocaine boom.



16



A hit multi-CD companion music compilation was sold separately.



17



These properties can also generate missions of their own, such as eliminating

certain competition.



116



Chapter 9 GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001): THE CONSOLEJACKING LIFE



Hand-to-hand combat with

hookers in Grand Theft Auto:

Vice City.



critical and commercial success, selling 15 million units as of

September 2008, three million more than its predecessor.18

Rockstar North finally replaced the gangster (mob) theme

with a similarly gritty gangsta (gang) lifestyle in 2004’s Grand

Theft Auto: San Andreas, or GTA: SA (same platforms). Cast as

gang member Carl “CJ” Johnson, it’s up to the player to unravel

the plot behind his mother’s murder. Achieving this goal requires

reestablishing CJ’s gang and expanding his business ventures.

Although GTA: SA offered expanded environments, improved

artificial intelligence, and a series-first ability to swim, the biggest

innovation was the introduction of role-playing/character building elements.

Not only could CJ’s hair, clothing, and tattoos be purchased and

modified, these changes could also have a significant impact on

his in-game relationships, both positive and negative. CJ’s body

is affected by diet and exercise; riding a bike instead of driving

in a car, for instance, makes CJ increasingly muscular, whereas

overeating can make him overweight. CJ can also acquire skills

in various disciplines, such as driving, firearms, and martial arts.

Finally, CJ can meaningfully interact with most pedestrians, who

will react accordingly.19



18

19



See http://tinyurl.com/4da24g.



CJ can make more than 4,200 comments, which are separate from the 3,500

scripted comments and lines in the over two hours of motion-captured cutscenes.

See http://tinyurl.com/475xfz.



Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Chapter 9. Grand theft Auto III (2001): The Consolejacking Life

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay(0 tr)

×