Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. [..] The game is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series since 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas (based on Southern California), the single-player story follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas, which includes open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos (based on Los Angeles).
The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle. Players control the three lead protagonists throughout the single-player mode, switching between them both during and outside of missions. The story is centred on the heist sequences, and many of the missions involve shooting and driving gameplay. The player character's criminal activities may incite a response from law enforcement agencies, measured by a "wanted" system that governs the aggression of their response. Grand Theft Auto Online, the online multiplayer mode, lets up to 30 players explore the open world and engage in cooperative or competitive game matches.
Development began in 2009, soon after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. The development team envisioned Grand Theft Auto V as a spiritual successor to many of their previous projects, such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. The game's use of three lead protagonists is a break from series tradition—a design choice from the developers to innovate on the core structure of its predecessors. As part of their research for the open world, the developers conducted field research around California throughout development and captured footage for the design team. Development duties were shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide.
Following its announcement in October 2011, Grand Theft Auto V was widely anticipated. It was acclaimed by many reviewers, with praise particularly directed at its multiple protagonist design, open-ended gameplay and technical advancements. Critics were polarised by a scene depicting torture and the game's treatment of women. Some labeled the game inherently violent and misogynistic. Grand Theft Auto V broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, earning US $800 million in its first day and US $1 billion in its first three days. It won year-end accolades, including Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications.
Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. Outside of missions, players can freely roam the open world. Composed of the San Andreas open countryside area and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world of Grand Theft Auto V is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series. The world may be fully explored from the beginning of the game without restrictions, although story progress unlocks more gameplay content.
Players use melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies, and may run, jump, swim or use vehicles to navigate the world. To accommodate the map's size, the game introduces vehicle types absent in its predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV, such as fixed-wing aircraft. In combat, auto-aim and a cover system can be used as assistance against enemies. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate to its halfway point. Players respawn at hospitals when their health depletes. If players commit crimes while playing, law enforcement agencies may respond as indicated by a "wanted" meter in the head-up display (HUD). On the meter, the displayed stars indicate the current wanted level (for example, at the maximum five-star level, efforts by law enforcement to incapacitate players become very aggressive). Law enforcement officers will search for players who leave the wanted vicinity. Players arrested or killed by officers during missions may restart from the last checkpoint. The meter enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes when players are hidden from the officers' line of sight (as displayed on the mini-map).
The single-player mode lets players control three characters: Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips and Franklin Clinton—criminals whose stories interconnect as they complete missions. Some missions are completed with only one character and others feature two or three. Throughout single-player, players may switch between the protagonists at will by means of a directional compass on the HUD. The game may switch between characters automatically in single-player missions to complete certain objectives. A character's compass avatar will flash red if he is in danger and needs help, and flash white if he has a strategic advantage. Though players complete missions as any of the three protagonists, the more difficult heist missions require aid from AI-controlled accomplices with unique skill sets, such as computer hacking or driving. If an accomplice survives a successful heist, they take a cut from the cash reward and may be available for later missions with improvements to their unique skills. The game encourages differentiation in heist mission strategies—for example, in a holdup mission, players may either stealthily subdue civilians with an agent or conspicuously storm the venue with guns drawn.
Each character has a set of eight skills that represent their ability in certain areas such as shooting and driving. Though players improve characters' skills as they play, each character has a skill with expertise by default (e.g. Trevor's flying skill). The eighth "special" skill determines the effectiveness in performing an ability that is unique to each respective character. Michael enters bullet time in combat, Franklin slows down time while driving, and Trevor deals twice as much damage to enemies while taking half as much in combat. A meter on each character's HUD depletes when an ability is being used and regenerates when players perform skilful actions (for example, drifting in vehicles as Franklin or pulling off headshots as Michael).
While free roaming the game world, players may engage in context-specific activities such as scuba diving underwater or BASE jumping via parachute. Each character has a smartphone for contacting friends, starting activities and accessing an in-game Internet. The Internet lets players trade in stocks via a stock market. Players may purchase properties such as homes and businesses, upgrade the weapons and vehicles in each character's arsenal, and customise their appearance by purchasing outfits, haircuts, tattoos and jewelery.
Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, the online multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience to be played in a continually evolving world. Up to 30 players freely roam across a re-creation of the single-player world and enter lobbies to complete jobs (story-driven competitive and cooperative modes). The Content Creator toolset lets players create their own parameters for custom jobs, like racetracks and deathmatch weapon spawn points. Players may band together in organised player teams called crews to complete jobs together. Rockstar Games Social Club extends crews formed in Max Payne 3's multiplayer mode to that of Grand Theft Auto Online. Players can create their own crews and join up to five total. Crews win multiplayer matches to earn experience points and climb online leaderboards.
Source: Wikipedia, "Grand Theft Auto V", available under the CC-BY-SA License.