The One Thing Grand Theft Auto 5 Has to Get Right
When Grand Theft Auto 5 comes out next year to the ‘oos’ and ‘ahs’ of the video game-loving world, the one thing it has to fix from Grand Theft Auto 4 is the money. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby (or so I’ve been told), but the last game completely fucked it up! Money was absolutely worthless in Grand Theft Auto 4. This doesn’t make any sense, considering in every GTA game you play a criminal who is trying to make money (and sometimes revenge). You commit crimes, you pull off various jobs and you allow yourself to get pushed around by big-time gangsters in order to make money.
But in GTA 4, there wasn’t anything to spend money on!
The most expensive things to buy were the $2,000 suits.
Ostensibly, you were supposed to spend the money on ammunition and weaponry. But you only needed to buy weapons to complete more jobs (or wild rampages). I don’t know about you, but if I had several thousand dollars, I would not spend it on stuff I needed for my job! Besides, you were given most of your weapons for free, and extra ammunition was also freely lying on the ground every time you killed some other armed goon.
If the GTA games are trying to be as realistic as possible, then I want to be able to spend all of that cash on crappy, materialistic items! I want more stuff to buy in Grand Theft Auto 5! GTA: Vice City has a real estate side game you could play, how about one of those again?
Let me tell you the story of my GTA 4 experience so that you understand why money was worthless in that game. I played the story missions about halfway through before I got bored with the game and stopped. In GTA 4, you play Eastern European immigrant Niko Bellic just arriving in New York City. You’re out to capture the American dream and get a little revenge on the side, but in order to reach the bad guy, you work your way up the ladder through the criminal underworld. You earn tons of cash killing rival gang members, playing chauffeur for the mafia Godfathers and whacking off stool pigeons. At one point, you even rob a bank and get $250,000!! And considering all of the other jobs, about halfway through the game I was very nearly $500,000 in the bank.
And Niko was living a great life!
Niko wore only the finest suits (there were maybe half a dozen to buy in the game), I drove only the finest cars without having to buy them (the game is called ‘Grand Theft Auto’ for a reason), and I lived in the swankiest of apartments without having to pay rent or actually purchase them. The game pretty much just hands you safe houses throughout the story. I had a nice apartment in the Bronx, a crummy apartment in Jersey and two high-end, penthouse apartments in Manhattan all at the same time, for free. There is dialogue in the game that indicates that the money for these penthouse suites is coming from Niko…but the cash is never deducted from my total. So there’s no rent on what are clearly million-dollar suites with big screen TVs and giant beds.
People complain all the time about the various friends that called Niko to go bowling or something, but these are just signs that Niko Bellic had a very active social life. He had a lot of interesting friends. One was even a helicopter pilot who would take you on frequent rides over Manhattan. And Niko was also dating and banging three beautiful women AT THE SAME TIME! They didn’t know about each other and had no way of crossing paths. You had to pay for dates, but it was a pittance to attend the finest restaurants and clubs in town.
And on top of all of that, Niko didn’t have a job.
Sure, I was doing the occasional crime job for the mob bosses as part of the story, but if I just stopped doing the story then I would just live off my hundreds of thousands of dollars. Niko could have given up his quest for revenge and settled down into a pretty fantastic life. Rich, fancy cars, amazing apartments, and beautiful, bangable women. Niko was living the good life!
Yet for some reason, he was always complaining in the cut scenes about the failure of the American dream. What a downer.
Anyway, when Grand Theft Auto 5 comes around, they need to give us something to spend our money on. Paying for cars is obviously out, but what about paying rent for our apartments/safe houses? Or buying up real estate and small businesses? Maybe we should have to purchase really fancy vehicles, like yachts, blimps or private jets. If they bring back the TV or the Internet in-game, maybe we can order some really awesome items online like bigger weapons, fancy, one-of-a-kind cars or jet packs. And give us more clothing options!
You can do better than one gray suit and then the exact same suit, only in black.
Be creative, Grand Theft Auto. None of us are millionaires. And none of us can run down the middle of the street blasting a rocket launcher at passing cop cars. You let us experience one of those. How about the other?