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GTA 5 new details: Character switching, skill systems and more

The latest information divulged in press previews

Following the release of three brand new GTA 5 trailers this week, press previews of Rockstar's latest open-world effort have gone live.

In CVG's full GTA V preview Tim Weaver provides an extensive written walkthrough of the latest eyes-on demo shown to media. For those searching for just the facts, here are the key details...

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  • Rockstar claims its goal was to create the ultimate open world
  • The transition between the three protagonists is smooth; the camera zooms out to a Google Earth view, the screen fills with static, the camera moves across the city and zooms back into your chosen character
  • The closer characters are, the quicker the transition. During missions where they're all together its instantaneous
  • Each character is rated in a series of skill categories: Stamina, Shooting, Strength, Stealth, Flying, Driving, Mechanic, Lung Capacity.
  • Each character has a 'Special': Franklin is an adrenalin junkie and can slow down time while driving; Trevor has a frenzy mode, where he's does double damage, takes half damage, and has a unique melee attack; Michael has his own version of bullet time
  • Specials are governed by a meter, it drains after use and recharges slowly
  • Other skill categories are shared and can be improved by completing missions, side missions, activities and more
  • Trevor will always be the best pilot, Franklin will always be the best driver but each can improve their proficiency a little
  • One of the skill categories is stealth, suggesting players will be able to take different approaches to missions
  • The wave physics are some of the best we've seen in any game this generation
  • Although weather wasn't shown, it's easy to see how they'd work in the game
  • Some boats will include gear such as wetsuit, flippers and tanks for diving
  • An underwater ecosystem exits, "the sea is teaming with fish and sharks"
  • Treasures can be found underwater, but NPCs will be looking for them too
  • GTA 5 rewards exploration, there's no signposting underwater, so you'll have to find the treasure the hard way
  • Dives won't offer massive payoffs, but will "help grease the wheels"
  • The character selection wheel is split into four triangles: Franklin, Trevor, Michael, and your multiplayer character
  • It seems there's a closer relationship between single and multiplayer. Simply pressing Down on the d-pad will drop the play in and out of MP.
  • Rockstar has said it will reveal more on multiplayer in the future
  • Michael's is miserable: his wife hates him, he has no relationship with his kids, he spends his drinking whiskey and watching old action movies
  • There are subtle differences in the way each character moves to reflect their personalities; Michael is slower and deliberate.
  • Rockstar says there will be five times as many pedestrians in GTA V as there were in Grand Theft Auto IV
  • The game is a "massive" technical step up from GTA IV, the team has nailed the look of LA
  • There's a "crazy level of detail": Tourist buses can be boarded for a tour of celebrity homes, film posters are plastered on the walls, men in comedy costumes try to corner you outside the Cathay Theatre, including the Superman-like Impotent Rage and Master Chief riff, Space Ranger.
  • iFruit, the game's new phone, can be used to snap pictures and upload them to Rockstar's Social Club or your own our social media page. Recording videos seems likely.
  • The phone also has apps. In addition to the camera there is internet, contacts, social media, a calendar, and a replay missions app. There are three more Rockstar hasn't yet detailed.
  • Michael's obsession with classic films translates into in-game set pieces based on real world movies. In the demo the three characters mount a heist very similar to the one from Heat.
  • 'Mini heists' are used to teach the player about preparation. Players must secure vehicles, outfits, masks, the getaway vehicle and locations for dumping potentially damaging.
  • These build up to a bigger heist where the execution must be flawless. They'll require the right crew and players will have to decide on the cheap option, which results in less skilled people, or paying more for skilled crew members that will a larger cut.
  • You can switch between Franklin, Trevor and Michael during a cutscene, manually, or automatically when the AI takes control for you
  • Each character has a job to do, how much you switch yourself in or let the computer do, is entirely up to you
  • If you die the game reloads to the last checkpoint, even if two other characters are alive
  • Although it's up to the player when they switch, dialogue will suggest ideal moments. For example, when Michael and Franklin are being overwhelmed by snipers, Michael might ask for Trevor's help.
  • A combat roll has been introduced for moving between cover
  • There is a wider field of vision, and players can run-and-gun
  • Pay N Sprays can also mod cars with paint jobs, new wheels, window tints, grilles, spoilers. Upgrades to suspension, engine and brakes can also be made.
  • Weapons can also be customised with laser sights, scopes, silencers, and high capacity magazines
  • You can customise yourself with haircuts, new clothes, and tattoos
  • You can pick up hitchikers, do stunt jumps and flying challenges, take part in yoga, golf, tennis or bike races.
  • You can buy property too; houses, garages and businesses can all be purchased for extra revenue sources.

Rockstar has confirmed the Grand Theft Auto 5 release date as September 17.

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