All our e3 related articles

Take-Two CEO States New Consoles Won’t Change Plans

Console manufacturers throwing out hardware improvements mid-generation isn’t a new concept. Slightly upgraded versions of systems within the span of what is considered the same console generation have been around pretty much since consoles are a thing. Often times manufacturer’s find themselves short on time – or maybe funds – so they put out a device on the market with the upgrade almost ready. At other times, the moment a console goes on sale, work on a hardware update significant enough to warrant a new name but not large enough to warrant a new gen begins.

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The most frequent upgrades are “slim” versions of otherwise bulky launch-consoles, as well as hardware upgrades to the CPUs and GPUs. This trend was most obvious in the previous console gen, with both the Xbox 360 and PS3 going through multiple versions and both getting yet another new one with the release of the current-gen systems.

Considering the current generation has been available for several years, a hardware upgrade seems to be in order. There have been plenty of rumors floating around for several months now about both Sony and Microsoft working on upgrades to their respective consoles. However, these were only rumors until recently – both upgrades were tentatively confirmed one way or another at this year’s E3, but no images of the hardware were shown and not even specs were announced.

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What we do know is that the PS4 “Neo” and Xbox One “Project Scorpio” will carry significant hardware upgrades when they do finally launch. These announcements were a tad overshadowed by the announcements of other console upgrades, namely the slim version of the Xbox One and the slightly upgraded PS4 with the same case.

As intriguing as all of this is, obviously the main question here is “how does this affect the games?”. More so than ever before, console manufacturers are in close contact with the biggest AAA publishers, sharing technological advancements and info on classified projects so that the software can keep up with the hardware and vice-versa. Why bother releasing upgraded consoles if it will take devs at least 3 years to make games that actually benefit from the hardware?

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As such, publishers such as Take-Two Interactive were probably “in the know” about these new systems for a good long while now, allowing them to prepare. However, some industry professionals don’t attribute too much importance to these upgrades, as in the end, graphics are just one aspect and you’ve got to make a good game no matter what GPU it will run on.

Strauss Zelnick, CEO and Chairman of Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, happens to be of the same opinion. It seems that Neo and Project Scorpio didn’t cause much of an alteration in the future plans of GTA’s publisher.

To have a landscape…where you put a game out and you don’t worry about it. The same way that when you make a television show you don’t ask yourself ‘what monitor is this going to play on?’. It could play on a 1964 color television or it could play on a brand-new 4K television, but you’re still going to make a good television show.

While Take-Two isn’t exactly running head over heels to restructure in light of the console upgrades, Zelnick sees much potential in this direction for console gaming. He suspects that the hardware upgrade curve might start to resemble that of smartphones more and more (hopefully not…), which in turn will make things very interesting and lucrative for the developers.

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Whatever direction the console industry decides to take however, Zelnick is determined to uphold Take-Two’s penchant for quality in the products it delivers to consumer. Even if the console cycle speeds up, don’t expect the GTA franchise to turn into an annual release.

That doesn’t change any of our activities. We still have to make the very best products in the market and we have to push technology to its absolute limit to do so.

When it comes to mid-gen hardware upgrades, the biggest limiting factor is compatibility – if PS4 Neo games will be too taxing to run on standard PS4’s, then how is this not a whole new gen? It also means that developers are reined in from going too crazy with their visual upgrades. Further, it adds time to development cycles as two sets of assets much be made. Games will detect the hardware of the console at hand and set their visuals to the appropriate level.

This means that at one point GTA 5 is likely to get a massive update on consoles to make use of the new hardware, allowing the visuals to get a bit closer to what they are like on PC when running on a Neo or Project Scorpio console.

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Even if that doesn’t happen, Rockstar’s next project is guaranteed to have this feature, as by the time that game releases, the new consoles will also be on the market. There are only rumored projected release dates for both console upgrades, but many suspect that they will go on sale somewhere around 2018/19.

Incidentally, many fans hope that Rockstar’s next project will also have a similar release date, with 2020 being the latest estimate. Of course, this is game development we’re speaking about, so delays are not only possible but outright likely.

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The best guess as to what said project may be is Red Dead 3 – there has been significant leaked material over the past few months leading up to E3. Rockstar was hyped up by Take-Two representatives to show off something big at E3 and a new Red Dead game would definitely fit the profile.

However, Rockstar ended up being a no-show at E3 and no announcement as to why was made. Speculation run rampant ranging from them not being ready last minute to the hype being false for the sake of publicity. In the end we never officially found out why Rockstar wasn’t at E3, however this tragic theory seemed to gather the most momentum.

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While Red Dead 3 has yet to get an official announcement, one can almost guarantee at this point that it is the next game on Rockstar’s production line. Based on Zelnick’s comments, its development will not be affected (read: prolonged) by the impending release of the new line of consoles. However, it will definitely make use of the upgraded hardware.

This stands in contrast with some of Zelnick’s views on other advances in gaming hardware – especially VR. He is highly skeptical that it will catch on with the mainstream crowd anytime soon, seeing as not only is it still pretty expensive, but it also requires a lot of room, which is a commodity many consumers do not possess.

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Despite his views, he holds to the mentality that should VR catch on, Take-Two will happily provide its customers with high quality VR games. Maybe even a VR enabled GTA installment down the line. However, the medium still has a long way to go before the level of popularity is achieved to convince Zelnick.

While it is known that the PS4 Neo won’t include integrated Sony VR functionality (the headset and console-expansion box is sold separately), both Sony and Microsoft are opening up to the world of VR. The headset of the latter is still a long, long way off from release though.

So who’s excited about the Neo and Project Scorpio, and what do you think it means for GTA V, if anything?

Rockstar’s Absence At E3 Supposedly Explained

Arguably the biggest annual gaming event, the Electronics Entertainment Expo, ended last week with several new games having been announced, while many more were showcased. Held in Los Angeles as per tradition, the show ran from the 14th to the 16th of June. Many large publishers like EA and Ubisoft showed off footage from upcoming, highly anticipated games. Pre-order bonuses were revealed. The Last Guardian was finally confirmed for release.

However, something was missing. In spite of quite a bit of hype leading up to the event, Rockstar Games was a no-show. Take Two Interactive’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick had fired fans up after some of his comments in phone calls to investors were published.

These comments indicated that Take Two would have a major presence at E3 and later, additional comments that indicated it would be Rockstar showing off the main attractions. True enough, 2K, the other developer under Take Two’s umbrella ,didn’t drop any real hits at E3 – we just got some more trailers for Mafia 3, which was announced a good long while ago. They also had a pretty big booth that many were impressed with.

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However, despite this, Rockstar Games didn’t turn up. After the pre-E3 conferences lacked any word from them, players assumed the developers were trolling the community by keeping their show for the end of the event. Unfortunately, this never occurred.

Prior to the event, speculation about what Rockstar might show off ran rampant. However it was pretty clear that no new IP would be revealed after some earlier comments.

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The two prime suspects that everyone was expecting would be announced at E3 2016 were therefore Red Dead 3 and Agent. It is unlikely that Rockstar would jump into another GTA project this soon after V (and with it still doing so well) and none of the other franchises under the developer’s control were quite successful enough to warrant revival (yes, we haven’t forgotten Bully, Midnight Club, etc – but let’s be honest – everyone was focused on Red Dead and Agent!).

Of the two, Agent was the less likely candidate. Recently leaked work in progress screenshots indicate that the project was either entirely rebooted or simply canned. Even if the former occurred rather than the latter, the development would be too early on to show off anything.

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Then the case for Red Dead 3 was strengthened further by a leaked map of a new game as well as another screenshot. Players were almost sure that was the big project that Rockstar will show off – reliable sources were responsible for the leaks and they said the same.

Then after E3 was over and no Red Dead was found anywhere, players started questioning what happened. Why did they pull back? Did something go wrong? Were they not ready yet? Unfortunately, the real reason is much more tragic.

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Two days before E3 a tragedy shook not only the USA, but the entire world. A domestic terrorist attacked a nightclub in Orlando. During the initial attack and the ensuing hostage standoff, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured until the attacker was killed by the police.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil since the attack on September 11, 2001. Globally, countless public figures have openly condemned the attack and expressed their condolences.

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But what does this tragedy have to do with Rockstar’s absence from E3? Well, it comes down to decency and Rockstar’s sense of respect. The same sources who leaked the two images from Red Dead 3 have also discussed the matter.

If rumors are to be believed, Rockstar was slated to show off a Red Dead 3 announcement trailer at E3. The issue was that in light of the Orlando shooting, the subject of the trailer might have seemed to be in poor taste. The sources claim to have seen the trailer, or at least to know its subject.

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In the trailer, the presumable protagonist of Red Dead 3 gets into a scrap with some enemies, which results in a shoot-out. Problem is, that shootout happens to go down in a brothel-slash-bar. Understandably, this might have been more than a little controversial at the time.

Rockstar has never been one to shy away from controversy. After all, their flagship franchise glorifies petty crime, features heavy violence and sexual content with a healthy dose of political satire added. They’ve drawn the ire of various groups over the years, with many trying to have their games banned.

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However, those cases of controversy occurred of Rockstar’s own volition and backfired on the opponents. Within the gaming community, these cases just made the people going against the game developers look silly.

This, however, is a much more delicate case, one which it seems Rockstar did not want to disturb (assuming the rumors they were going to show something were true of course). Tasking players with stealing cars is one thing – doing something potentially disrespectful against an actual case involving loss of life is entirely different.

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Rockstar may have thrived on publicity borne of controversy in the past and will no doubt continue to do so in the future – not this kind of controversy, though. The myth of all publicity being good publicity is just that. A myth.

GTA 5 Meets Watch_Dogs 2 Trailer (Video)

Ever since Ubisoft revealed the first Watch_Dogs gameplay style a few years ago, the comparisons with GTA 5 seemed to be never-ending. While hyped up as a GTA “killer”, the game ended up being a bit of a disappointment following a serious graphical downgrade. Content wise, the game was still top-notch, which is why outside of the very vocal hater minority, most people considered the first game a flawed but fun open-world hacker romp.

However, there is a reason why GTA 5, an older game, is still popular today, while Watch_Dogs is gathering the digital dust in everyone’s UPlay library. While the sequel hasn’t shed the obvious similarities with Rockstar’s hit series, the developers have stated that they are going for a more original and unique feel this time around, putting more emphasis on their own, new game mechanics instead of trying to conform.

Despite Ubisoft’s desire to distance the two franchises (which isn’t too hard thematically, but tricky in terms of gameplay), the communities of both games have seemingly latched on to the comparisons and are refusing to let go.

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After all, it was probably inevitable, but for a Rockstar Editor recreation of the Watch_Dogs 2 reveal trailer to pop up so soon? Looks like the creator is purposefully trying to poke fun at Ubisoft.

Youtuber and gamer Lion Montages, who previously specialized in GTA IV machinima has displayed obvious talent with the Rockstar Editor and third-party video editing software in his aforementioned recreation.

If you’ve been busy trafficking crates as a part of the all new Further Adventures in Finance and Felony DLC and didn’t have time to watch all the E3 trailers, there is a side-by-side comparison below to show just how accurate the creator was.

While some mods were obviously used in the making of this video, Lion Montages got pretty creative with the use of assets in the game by default.

Incidentally, one of the mods Lion Montages did use was the detailed and fantastic Marcus Holloway skin mod made by GTAFREAk67S. The mod is intended to be used in conjunction with JulioNIB’s Iron Man mod, as it acts as an additional “armor”.

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It’s pretty impressive that the protagonist of a game that was only just revealed has already been modded into GTA 5. Many of the assets used in the mod are completely hand-made by the author, seeing as there are no sources for Watch_Dogs 2 assets available to the public.

How much many cues do you think the Watch_Dogs franchise takes from GTA?

GTA 5 Acts As Inspiration For Watch_Dogs 2

Time to add a new entry to the ever growing list of AAA games that were moderately or heavily inspired by GTA 5, Rockstar’s hit open-world crime game. The massively popular title has been released on five platforms, has sold over 65 million copies not counting digital sales and continues to turn a massive profit – damn right other games want to match its success.

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Among others, Fallout 4 is known to have taken inspiration from GTA 5 in terms of player freedom, allowing gamers to explore and experience the game world with little to no restriction, while also giving them a wide range of interaction options with other characters and objects.

GTA 5 was also an obvious inspiration for Ubisoft’s open-world vigilante hacking adventure, Watch_Dogs, which was released in 2014. The game was set in and around a liberal interpretation of a large American city; it had a heavy emphasis on stealing vehicles and driving; it was a third person shooter-adventure hybrid; it focused on the player doing illegal things and finally had tons of side missions and collectibles strewn about the game world.

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While the massive hype around Watch_Dogs had people decree it the “GTA Killer” everyone was waiting for, in the end it fell flat. While most reviewers enjoyed the game, they called it out on a few flaws. The public response was even less favorable, with the community crying foul on the graphical downgrade. Even so, the game had solid sales and if it counts for anything, we loved the thing in spite of the issues.

Ubisoft never hid the fact that they wanted Watch_Dogs to be a long-running franchise. They did plenty of setting-up in the first game, with tons of backstory, a cliffhanger ending and official confirmation that it and Assassin’s Creed occur in the same fictional universe.

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Now that Watch_Dogs 2 has been officially unveiled at E3, players were shown a game that, while still obviously inspired by GTA, was a tad more unique. Even so, the connection with Rockstar’s hit franchise is too prominent for even the developers to avoid mentioning. Jonathan Morin, the Creative Director on Watch_Dogs 2 addressed the comparisons.

The way I see it – many movies are shot in New York, we shouldn’t stop making movies in New York just because it’s been done. So for me, making games in cities, we only scratched the surface. GTA does a great job at what it does, us, we’re all about hacking, everything has to be for that fantasy.

Morin also goes on to state that when two games are of the same basic genre, some points of similarity are inevitable. Even so, no two open-world games are truly the same and there will be plenty in Watch_Dogs 2 to set it apart from GTA.

You can’t be in a city and not be able to get into a car, it needs those things, but in the same way shooters can go faster these days because people are used to the mechanics, we benefit from having players who understand the base but then you have to have your own elements to bring to the simulation.

Its clear that while GTA has its fair share of satire and over-the-top exaggeration, Watch_Dogs is going for an approach less grounded in reality. It is set in the near future where entire cities are controlled by a single operating systems, people can basically hack anything with one press on a smart-phone and hacker-x-gangsters wear sunglasses with LCD screens for lenses that display emoticons based on the situation. Yeah.

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GTA’s far-reaching influence can be attributed to a number of factors. It is one of the longest running franchises still active in AAA gaming today and with age comes respect. GTA has also achieved a kind of mainstream appeal rivaled only by sports games, Battlefield and Call of Duty.

Plus, there is the game’s massive popularity. GTA Online still has at least 8 million unique players every week, making it the most-played multiplayer mode in AAA games after free-to-play titles. The microtransactions in the game, called Shark Cards, have also turned half a billion dollars in profit. Even though it is three years old, the game continues to out-sell anticipated new releases.

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While Rockstar has been quizzically MIA during E3 this year in spite of Take-Two’s statements, there were plenty of games shown off similar to GTA. Other than Watch_Dogs 2, Mafia 3 was also showcased. The franchise, developed by 2K which also happens to be under the Take-Two umbrella, was always considered a rival to Rockstar’s flagship IP.

Some journalists have even likened the upcoming Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands to GTA, despite massive differences in theme and setting. Instead of a city, Wildlands sends players to the Bolivian wilderness. True, the whole drug-cartel thing fits with GTA’s MO, but controlling a highly trained military unit with sci-fi tech and abilities sticks out. Journalists cited the open-world freedom as the main point of comparison.

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Players have been speculating what Rockstar could be up to and what the reason for their absence is. We know that the company is working on some new games and that Take-Two was relying on these reveals to help them “win” E3. Some suspect that alongside a new game (probably Red Dead 3), Rockstar might announce some major update to GTA Online, or even a spin-off game – this, however, is not likely.

Did any of the games at E3 catch your attention? Will you be resting GTA Online to play any of them, or are you unable to go without your fix?

Rockstar At E3: What Happened?

While technically the actual E3 convention didn’t open its doors until today, the major press conferences have already run their course. EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sony and finally Nintendo have all had their chance to shine, with some game publishers showing off their goods during the Microsoft and Sony conferences. VR was a big topic, as is the new version of the Xbox One. This E3 was particularly scarce on new IP, with most games either being expected installments of long running series or sequels to some popular games such as Titanfall 2 and Dishonored 2.

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There were few surprises at the show, but much of the stuff shown off is pretty impressive nonetheless. Many “reveals” were actually leaked beforehand, or instead of announcements publishers decided to show off more footage of games we already knew were coming. Overall, this E3 felt more like something along the lines of Gamescom or PAX with few actual reveals.

However, one highly anticipated reveal hasn’t yet come to pass and one question still burns in the minds of gamers across the globe.

Where was Rockstar Games?

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Take-Two Interactive did announce some time ago that the publisher would be present at the expo in a “major way“. This was later followed by a comment to investors that Rockstar was working on multiple “exciting” projects which would soon be revealed. Since the same call also confirmed that Rockstar won’t be releasing any new games until April 2017 at the latest, E3 seemed like the perfect place to show off their new stuff.

Add to this that 2K, the only other developer under the Take-Two umbrella, has already revealed all of their currently running projects, these comments were practically a confirmation that Rockstar would be owning E3. As it turns out, the only presence 2K had at E3 was showing off more gameplay from Mafia 3 as well as announcing the collector’s edition for the game.

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Now, this is hardly what you would call a “major presence”. One game that we already knew about? No, there must be more. With the main press conferences over, this leaves the rest of the event, running until Thursday, for Rockstar to unveil their next project.

While it is rare for any big reveals to take place during the convention days, there have been examples of this in the past. Plus, deviating from the typical way things are done would perfectly fit Rockstar’s MO – maybe they’re just pulling everyone’s leg as a joke.

Naturally, since this is the internet, there has been a fair share of doomsaying going about. Some say that the presence of Take-Two was simply exaggerated, others say that Rockstar pulled out in the last minute. Some went even so far as to link the developer’s absence from E3 to the lawsuit going on with Leslie Benzies.

However with most of the convention still ahead of us, it is far too soon to cry wolf. Rockstar broke their recent string of proper, named weekly events by merely releasing three maps for their newest Adversary Mode, Trading Places, accompanied by some discounts. This “low-maintenance” attitude on the week of E3 probably indicates the company is dealing with something else.

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Rockstar had a history of purposefully avoiding big gaming events in the past. They barely had a presence at Gamescom last year and they almost always skip E3 (they did announce the next-gen version of GTA V at an E3 event, though). However, if they were sent to E3 by Take-Two, they might just be messing with the status quo for fun, like we mentioned above.

Do you think Rockstar will show up at E3 at the last moment, or do you think they dropped out?

GTA 6 City Of The Week: Philadelphia

GTA 6 City of the Week is a weekly article series here on GTA 5 Cheats. Every week, we will evaluate a different city in the United States, gauging how well it would fit GTA 6 as a setting.

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While it is extremely unlikely that Rockstar will unveil any info related to GTA VI during this year’s E3, the fact that the expo is almost upon us has us a tad worried about the longevity of this article series.

Some of the pre-E3 (because that is a thing now) reveals and presentations have already run their course in preparation for the convention proper, with a few of them having been leaked a bit early. Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs 2 trailer got leaked a few hours before official reveal, for example.

While there are plenty of leaks regarding GTA Online DLC making the rounds, no information about what Rockstar will be showing off at the expo has slipped the net. This hasn’t, of course, stopped anyone from engaging in wild speculation.

Red Dead 3 is looking to be the most likely candidate, based on a leaked screenshot as well as common sense. Agent has probably been canned, the company is already in control of too many IPs and the other franchises just didn’t enjoy the kind of mainstream appeal that would warrant a revival.

However things have been pretty busy in the present as well. The biggest GTA Online DLC to date, Further Adventures in Finance and Felony launched earlier this week. While the update added a number of new features, the launch wasn’t without its bumps and trips.

Even so, soon the eyes of the community will be turned towards E3. Let’s see how likely it is that we’ll see the skyline of the following city when the reveal trailer of GTA VI is shown, if it is at all.

Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is the largest city (being a city-county hybrid of sorts, due to its size) in Pennsylvania on the east coast of the USA. The city itself doesn’t lie on the shore of the North Atlantic, rather on the west bank of the Delaware river which cuts off the New Jersey pseudo-peninsula from the main landmass. The river provides the city with sea-access via Delaware bay, however the urban sprawl that formed around Philadelphia connects it to most New Jersey ports.

The city is the fifth largest in the whole country, with the entire metropolitan area accounting for over 7 million souls. Philly, as it has become lovingly known across the globe, is the only World Heritage City in the entire USA and is home to several country “firsts”. Philadelphia houses the first US zoo, medical school, business school, library, hospital and stock exchange. We probably also should mention that Philly was the first capitol of the United States of America following the Revolutionary War as well.

Philadelphia is surrounded by various historic settlements, with intermittent patches of nature dotting the landscape. Nearby locations such as Camden and Cherry Hill, as well as countless more would provide the guys over at Rockstar with plenty of urban locations other than the main city with which to dot the map.

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The close proximity of Atlantic City would potentially give them the chance to include two main cities, instead of just one as seen in GTA 5. The two cities would allow for variety, and the space in between could act as the non-urban, natural “outdoors” section of the map. Adding Atlantic City to the mix would also bring in the Atlantic Ocean, giving Rockstar their natural border to wrap around the map.

However, these articles tend to focus on one city, so let’s stick to Philly, shall we? The Delaware and Schuylkill rivers provide excellent borders to wall off districts of the city, and the large urban sprawl is varied enough to make the map interesting. Philadelphia, especially the downtown area, is pretty advanced, giving you that big city feel, however you don’t need to go far if you’re hurting for a more country-like feeling.

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Philly has immense historic significance for the USA, even more so possibly than Boston.  This was the city where the declaration of independence and the constitution were both penned. The city was the meeting place of the Founding Fathers and several important battles were fought nearby.

Crime

Violent crime isn’t particularly rampant in Philadelphia, however there is plenty of it to warrant for the kind of violence you’d expect from a GTA game. There were almost 16,000 occurrences of reported violent crimes in the city in 2014, with a total of 248 murders in the same year.

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Robbery and aggravated assault are also pretty frequent, of course depending on which area of the city you are in. Philly isn’t exactly known for gang activity, but there are quite a few active ones in open conflict with one another.

Philadelphia has also become a major economic center, with a bustling downtown business area and several HQs for Fortune 1000 companies. As such, white-collar crime is pretty high in the city, which seems to fit GTA’s new direction, as dictated by Executives and Other Criminals and Further Adventures in Finance and Felony.

Recognition

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It seems that the cities we evaluate in these articles fall into one of two categories: extremely iconic or not iconic at all, with no middle ground. Philadelphia decidedly falls into the first category, with countless historic sites and buildings of national importance.

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The First Bank, Independence Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, Congress Hall, the City Hall, The Washington Monument (not the white pillar, that’s in D.C.) and the National Constitution Center are all within this city. Foreign players with merely an ounce of knowledge about American history will recognize countless landmarks in the city.

Potential Story

With the obvious historic significance of the city, the best venue for the story would be to go in the direction of having a criminal organisation the members of which have a flare for naming themselves after important figures of the Revolutionary War, taking control of notable landmarks as hideouts and working towards igniting a “new revolution”. We mentioned a similar idea in the Boston article.

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The player would either be with this group, or working against it. Seeing as Philly isn’t famous for its gangs, the game could be rooted more in the white-collar crime aspect, with the protagonist(s) being corrupt officials or corporate figures with a hand in illegal activities.

Of course, its not like Los Angeles is particularly famous for bank robberies, so Rockstar could just go with a story not necessarily linked to the city itself, however when dealing with a setting as significant as Philly, it would be a bit of a waste.

Final Verdict:

A(++)

Pros: Great recognition, high enough crime rate, story potential.

Cons: Geography only okay-ish on its own, but perfect if Atlantic City is added.

The two pluses in the parenthesis are there denoting the score should the recommendation of adding Atlantic City as a second urban area be heeded. On its own, Philly would make for a pretty good GTA setting. Slap Atlantic City to it, plus the countryside in between and you have a perfect GTA setting.

Philly has many favorable assets in terms of becoming a map for GTA VI. Of course, the crime aspect could be more pronounced, but in its current state it is prevalent enough for the game’s purposes.

Which city would you like us to look at next week?

Red Dead Remaster Or Sequel Possibly Leaked

Before you call us out on this, seeing as Red Dead Redemption was pretty much Grand Theft Horse and seeing as the future of that franchise has more than a little impact on the future of GTA, we thought it to be prudent to cover it.

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It seems that Rockstar artists showing a little more in their portfolios than they should is slowly becoming something of a trend. Maybe this is some new coordinate-leak-based marketing strategy to get the community speaking about stuff which has yet to be announced in order to build hype?

Either way, with the buzz around E3 reaching new heights and it being pretty much guaranteed that Rockstar won’t be showing off any GTA related stuff, Red Dead seems to be the next most likely candidate, so this might be plausible.

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Recently, a different artist still in the employ of Rockstar published a screenshot of a graphically overhauled location in Liberty City. This kicked off a venue of speculation as to the city being added to GTA Online as a larger expansion, which sounds possible, but is unlikely. Another idea this spawned was that GTA IV might get a remastered version for the current gen consoles, which seems like a much likelier scenario.

However now a different artist, one Matt Clyne has accidentally revealed what looks like a screenshot of a never-before seen area from Red Dead Redemption with upgraded graphics. The image was quickly put under a password lock once the publisher seemingly realized this, but not before it was saved by excited fans.

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The fact that image was restricted gives this leak much more credibility. The screenshot shows a wooden house standing in what looks like a swamp, or possibly in a bay lining the coast. A similar area was indeed present in Red Dead Redemption, however it lacked such a house.

Some players suggested that maybe the image is just an work-in-progress screenshot of Red Dead Redemption, since during production most games are visually more advanced than the optimized, final release.

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However, a few very attentive fans spotted something easy to miss – a specific graphical effect called chromatic aberration, which is present in GTA 5, can be seen in this screenshot as well – thing is, that option wasn’t present in RDR’s engine. In fact, this effect didn’t exist back then.

This means one of two things: Either we’re looking at a remastered version of Red Dead Redemption which also has had its map changed/updated, or we’re looking at another Red Dead game.

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Now, players have pointed out the “Red Dead Redemption” logo in the corner, however that version of the logo wasn’t ever actually used in official material – meaning that it was probably just tacked on to the image either to denote being part of the Red Dead franchise, or to cover up something else under it. Maybe the actual logo of the next game?

A third Red Dead game (don’t forget Revolver) has been a long time coming. Redemption never made it to PC, however PS3 and Xbox 360 (plus Xbox One players, albeit by accident and only briefly) enjoyed the game immensely.

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Players have been asking for another installment practically since Redemption was launched – in fact, the lack of one was surprising to everyone seeing how successful RDR turned out to be. Requests for a PC port have been just as frequent and back when the PC version of GTA 5 was announced, players hoped one for RDR would follow.

Earlier this year, a mock-up map for what could be the next Red Dead game was leaked. Despite many players being skeptical, after rigorous analysis, many fans found it to be quite likely legitimate. This map has been making the rounds since in Red Dead fan communities. While it doesn’t mean much, based on the map, there are a few locations which could fit the leaked screenshot, at least geographically.

Red Dead map leak

Take-Two Interactive Software, the parent company of Rockstar Games, has a policy of not milking franchises to the point of fatigue. Even so, they have a line-up of “permanent” franchises, to which they always return. They listed GTA and Red Dead among these permanent franchises, even though Red Dead has only had two games in total, of which only one was successful.

This proves further that the company plans on creating more Red Dead content. Seeing as Agent is probably canned, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll be seeing the announcement of the next Red Dead game at E3 less than two weeks from now.

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Following the success of GTA Online, chances are Rockstar will also create an Online component for their next main project. Seeing as Red Dead has much in common with GTA, creating Red Dead Online shouldn’t be too difficult.

What do you think/hope this screenshot shows? A Red Dead Remaster or a Red Dead Revival?

GTA Online “Not Permanent” Says Take-Two

As opposed to what you may have derived from previous comments and statements, it looks like Take-Two doesn’t intend to rely on – or even continue to support – GTA Online indefinitely (at least in its current form). While the game is generating immense amounts of profit, even through microtransactions alone, the company will eventually pull the plug.

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Of course, if you think about it for just a little while, it all makes sense. GTA Online is only worth supporting while it has a big enough player-base. However, the game is over three years old and although it is still growing instead of shrinking, the playerbase will eventually take a turn and start to decrease.

During the recent Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software has stated that GTA Online was never intended to be a permanent addition to their line-up.

We do expect GTA Online’s results to moderate because October will be three years since we released it. Not only was it not our intention that GTA Online was permanent, but it’s important that it not be permanent. We have to rest the franchise at some point.

While the GTA series as a whole does indeed constitute a “permanent” product of Take-Two, Online alone does not. This rather odd emphasis on a decline that has no sign of happening is a stark contrast to the recent announcements regarding how long-lived Take-Two intends Online to be.

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The game is expected to be profitable and therefore supported with content until 2020 at the least, with high chances of that period increasing. Despite Zelnick’s comment about expected drops due to the game’s age, it was the staggered release schedule accommodating different platforms that pushed Online into a strange perpetual state of constant sales.

By releasing the three versions of the game over the course of three years, Rockstar constantly re-infused GTA Online with hype and popularity. Today, Online is still among the most played multiplayer games in the world.

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But what do Zelnick’s words mean for the future? Well, to answer the immediate question on everyone’s minds: no, this doesn’t mean Rockstar will be pulling DLC support for GTA Online any time soon.

Thing is, despite not being permanent, GTA Online is here to stay as long as it is profitable – and right now, its exactly that. Rockstar has already revealed their short-term plans for the game, reaching though the summer.

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The massive Further Adventures In Finance And Felony DLC will be launching on the 7th of June, just two days from now. This will act as a follow up to last year’s hit update, Executives And Other Criminals.

The DLC will feature new kinds of properties and jobs, which will be used by the players on their way to the top of the Los Santos black market.

Rockstar has also revealed another upcoming DLC pack, titled Stunt Ready which will not only add several new vehicles made specifically with stunting in mind, but also an all new overhaul of the Content Creator with new features, props and the ability to stack objects.

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Rockstar has also stated in the same announcement that players cam await further feature-heavy DLCs. The company is still clearly keen on updating the game as long as the players demand it. They seemingly did a “test run” of low-support in early 2016 by only releasing a handful of cars, some Adversary Modes and only one minor DLC pack. The community was pretty ticked off, showing that the game still very much has an audience.

Of course, the implications of this statement are pretty far reaching, especially in-context. With E3 fast approaching, players are pretty buzzed about what Rockstar has to bring to the table. Usually the company skipped big events and made their announcements in their own time, however this year Take-Two first teased then confirmed that the developers of GTA will be dropping some serious bombs at the expo.

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Zelnick’s statement seemingly flies straight in the face of the numbers – GTA Online has over 8 million unique players per week, is still growing with constant sales and is bringing in steady revenue. Why would you speak of cutting support for a juggernaut like that?

Simple – he knows what we don’t, yet. Zelnick was probably looking forward, anticipating something in the near future that will cause GTA Online’s player-base to plummet. What else could cause such a thing, other than Rockstar announcing and soon releasing another game which turns out to be massively popular?

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Rumors about the Red Dead franchise becoming more like Red Alive have been swirling for a good long time now. The series, though significantly younger and less weathered, has almost as much fame in gaming circles as GTA. If Rockstar is indeed working on the next Red Dead game, they might be including a multiplayer much like GTA Online.

Getting a similar Online mode, from the same developers, also set in a popular franchise might seduce droves of gamers away from GTA Online. If Rockstar decides to ditch the peer-to-peer server architecture and make Red Dead Online hacker-proof, then there will be even more incentive.

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Of course, Red Dead doesn’t have the kind of mainstream recognition that GTA does. Ask any non-gamer what GTA is, they’ll know – ask them about Red Dead, they’ll have no clue at all. This mainstream recognition is what made Online so popular in the first place, meaning its success couldn’t possibly be replicated by any other franchise.

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that this means that Take-Two is planning a successor to GTA Online itself within the same franchise. It is quite clear from Zelnick’s words, that once the sun of Online has set, they want to give the franchise a rest instead of instantly jumping into the next one.

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Whatever Rockstar’s next major project will be, it won’t be GTA. However, we all know that the devs love putting a ton of time into baking their games and polishing them to a shine, meaning that reports of VI being in development should not be discounted.

Take-Two, with the exemption of NBA 2K and WWE, is strictly against annual releases and franchise milking. While releasing – or simply announcing – a new GTA game three years after the previous one might not seem “too soon”, considering how strong Online is still going, it could be considered milking.

The market asks us, ‘Why don’t you annualize your titles?’ We think with the non-sports titles, we are better served to create anticipation and demand. On the one hand to rest the title and on the other hand to have the highest quality in the market, which takes time. You can’t do that annually.

Take-Two considers the trend of the biggest AAA franchises getting annual releases to hurt those franchises and the industry as a whole. This is why you don’t get a new Borderlands every year. In terms of sequels, often time you can expect them to be at least as popular as the predecessor. If the original is popular, the second will be even more so – however if the second is rushed and poorly made, the third is guaranteed to tank.

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Rockstar’s next release being non-GTA will divert attention, allow GTA Online to wind down. When support finally ceases, the current player-base will probably quit. Without Online to fill that gap, Rockstar creates demand that could only be fulfilled by the next iteration, allowing them to release it around 2020 with massive success and for an already existing player base.

This would coincide with Take-Two’s other statements that they want to keep GTA Online running until 2020. Doing so while supporting another Grand Theft Auto multiplayer component wouldn’t be wise, which is why players shouldn’t expect VI until that time at least.

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While never stated outright, based on Take-Two’s comments, Rockstar probably has more than one thing to show off at E3 this year. For all we know, one of the smaller announcements could be related to expanding GTA Online with a new city – a screenshot of Liberty City with better graphics was, after all, recently uploaded by a Rockstar employee – or, should the planets align, Story DLC.

However don’t expect the major announcement to be about stealing cars in a satirized version of the USA. The two most likely candidates are another installment of Red Dead or the long-lost project, Agent.

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The latter is the less likely of the two. Take-Two recently made a statement about having too many IPs under its control. While it is true that Agent as a trademark is still theirs, seeing as there is no game for it, it requires little management. The other factor is the work-in-progress screenshots released, which suggest that the project was either canned or rebooted – probably the first.

Red Dead however seems like the perfect – and logical – choice. It’s a popular and established franchise. Fans have been hoping for a continuation for years and years. PC players have been asking for a chance to play it with mouse and keyboard. While the first game, Red Dead Revolver wasn’t exactly a genre-defining hit, Red Dead Redemption was massively popular on the Xbox 360 and PS3 systems.

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The game would most definitely bring in a profit, especially with an added Online component. GTA Online would continue making money and the two together would provide the studio with more than enough revenue to allocate a budget big enough for GTA VI to make it outshine V. Either way, we’ll soon find out definitively what the next project on Rockstar’s plate is – E3 is less than two weeks away!

How long do you think GTA Online will remain popular? What do you hope Rockstar’s next major project will be?

GTA 5 Artist’s Portfolio Includes Liberty City

Time for those rumors about Liberty City being added to GTA 5 to start up again, it seems. The idea that down the line, Rockstar will add multiple cities to their newest flagship title has been floating around since before initial launch – and originated from Rockstar itself. Specifically, Leslie Benzies (who isn’t affiliated with Rockstar anymore – in fact, quite the opposite) stated that they have toyed around with the idea of eventually adding new cities as DLC, with every GTA city being present in one massive map in the future.

Liberty City being added to GTA Online is another popular - but very fake - "leak".

Of course, this is far from any kind of confirmation. All he said was that the company considered the plan – nothing about actually implementing it. Add to that Leslie’s departure and the simple fact that plans change over the course of years based on demand, the dream of GTA 5 containing every city from Los Santos through Vice City and Las Venturas all the way to Liberty City might never be more than a dream.

This didn’t stop the community from spreading rumors, though. Alleged leaks “confirming” Liberty City being added to the game along with Single Player DLC popped up every half-year or so. At one point Franklin’s voice actor, Shawn Fonteno trolled the community with a similar joke. However, all of these turned out to be fakes and over time the community became more and more skeptical whenever a similar claim surfaced.

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However, with the recent announcements about Rockstar showing off some heavy hitters at this year’s E3 (Which is just two weeks away), the community has become a tad more receptive of rumors and speculation. More and more often has the idea of new cities being added to GTA Online been tossed up.

So it might seem like a bit more than a coincidence that one of the 3D artists working for Rockstar Games has recently updated their portfolio page with a screenshot of a graphically upgraded and slightly changed location in Liberty City from GTA IV.

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New version

Now, this can mean one of three things, one of which is extremely exciting, another less so, while the third pretty disappointing. Only time will tell which of the scenarios comes to pass, but let’s hope we get the answer as soon as E3. Rockstar has historically avoided E3 and other large gaming events, however Take-Two has stated that they will be present this time around.

Firstly, let’s let hope reign supreme and say that yes, that indeed means that Liberty City is coming to GTA 5. It could either be the highly sought-after Story DLC that the whole community has been waiting for practically since launch, or an expansion of GTA Online.

GTA IV version
GTA IV version

Since story DLC has been leaked, rumored, leaked again and debunked over and over again, it comes up as one of the most desired yet least likely candidates in this situation. Taking Franklin to LC would allow Rockstar to continue the story without forcing them to canonize any ending, while letting players re-unite with characters from previous games (such as Niko Bellic).

Then again, the option that this will be an Online only expansion seems more likely. GTA Online is a massive cash cow right now, with Shark Cards generating massive amounts of revenue for the company. Why would they spend large amounts of funds on developing a high-quality and solid piece of Story DLC on the scale of the main game that only a fraction of their player base will buy once, when they can spend those funds on a highly interactive new continent for Online where players will have more incentive to keep buying Shark Cards?

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They could include old characters (Once again, Niko) as contacts who would provide players with missions. They could port a motherload of vehicles that appeared in GTA IV with little effort. They could fill up the map with various side-activities and make a handful of new jobs for each category. Throw in insanely expensive penthouse properties  (knowing real estate prices in Manhattan, yachts would look like dinghys next to these apartments) to drive up Shark Card sales and voila.

The other, less exciting possibility is that Rockstar will release a remastered version of GTA IV for the current gen consoles. It would probably include the two DLC campaigns as well as powered-up visuals, alongside some of the features from 5 such as the Rockstar Editor, first person mode and Snapmatic. Seeing as the remaster trend is pretty popular in the AAA gaming scene, this is likely. It’s a low-risk investment with guaranteed profit.

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We’ve explored the idea of Rockstar remastering some of the older, 3D era games with modern graphics, seeing as they have been re-released on mobile platforms recently featuring new control schemes and marginally better visuals.

The final possibility is that it’s merely a personal side-project for the artist, where he played around with that small section of Liberty City and upgraded the visuals just as a portfolio item. Seeing as the remake/remaster trend is big in gaming right now as we mentioned earlier, some employers might be looking for artists skilled in bringing existing assets up to date as well as in the creation of new assets.

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However, some other factors are at play here as well. Adrian Page, the artist whose site the image originates from, still works at Rockstar. If he had shared an image of a WIP project that has yet to be announced, he’d be facing some repercussions. He was probably authorized to share that image on his portfolio, making the third option the most likely – despite being the least favorable.

In more recent news, GTA Online is getting its share of DLCs before E3 even comes around. Rockstar recently shared their plans for the next few months, including a large scale follow-up to Executives and Other Criminals as well as an overhaul to the Content Creator.

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Further Adventures in Finance and Felony will launch on the 7th of June and will add a whole lot of content to Online, including new vehicles, new mission types as well as a few weapons and clothes. The missions will be focused on VIPs fighting their way to the top of Los Santos’ black market hierarchy.

A recent leak regarding that DLC has possibly revealed the other vehicles and some of the weapons that will be added alongside the Pegassi Reaper hypercar. These might include an Armored Oracle in terms of vehicles and a programmable AR for weapons.

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The other DLC that Rockstar plans on releasing during the summer is Stunt Ready, which will add a host of new vehicles designed specifically for stunting, as well as adding countless new props and features to the Content Creator.

A recent decision by Rockstar to disable the option to stack props, or to even place them in close proximity to one another has riled the community up a tad. The explanation was that doing this could cause holes to appear in the map, however Rockstar is working on ways to fix the bug while enabling prop stacking. This is probably the main factor that will decide the release date of the Stunt Ready DLC.

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Would you like to see Liberty City ported to GTA Online as an expansion, or would you prefer to see it appear as single player content?

Clickbait Rockstar & E3 Journalism Survival Guide

We would like to share a snippet of something rather curious that we have come across on the great plains of the internet.

Take-Two teases that Rockstar games is re-mastering “Red Dead Redemption” which also includes “GTA 6.” Conversely, most fans already know the plans of Rockstar to launch the “Red Dead Redemption 2” which will be revealed at E3 this June […]. While GTA 6 could also be revealed during RDR 2’s launch.

That was actually published. As in there is a website out there that voluntarily has associated itself with an article that includes that paragraph. The rest doesn’t get any better either.

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Now, after we’ve seen articles that have referenced things like “GTA 7” and “Xbox Two & PS5”, clearly slavering after that adsense cash, this shouldn’t be such a big surprise. With the various pretty significant announcements Take-Two has dropped in the past few months, it was to be expected that E3 drawing close will bring the worst out of fringe gaming journalism.

However articles like these, whose mere titles give off that stench of clickbait aren’t the cunning ones – there are those which manage to hide their true nature of not having any actual content of substance within, trapping aware but unsuspecting Google-ers.

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Certain topics on the internet have turned into minefields of scams, falsehoods and regurgitation of bullshit. Unfortunately, the popularity of GTA 5 has turned it – and anything related to it, i.e. Rockstar, Take-Two and even Red Dead Redemption – into one of these topics.

But how does one avoid giving these leeches and clicks? Well, you can always stick to the official Rockstar Newswire for any game info. Sure, you might learn of upcoming updates or various tidbits of news from other sites, but if you’re only looking for the most crucial of info, look there.

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As for other GTA 5 related news, feel free to stick to this very website (shameless plug). Our daily content covers anything related to Grand Theft Auto and Rockstar that’s worth covering, including news and mods.

If you want a wider range of sources, we’d suggest sticking to news outlets with a good reputation – like PCGamer, Gamespot and Polygon, to name a few – instead of meandering about the umpteen illegitimate news sites on the web.

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Another good bet would be the largest GTA 5 related subreddits. The smaller ones with little moderator oversight might be messy, but the most popular ones have solid content, both in terms of news and player anecdotes. Joining the community discussions might be something worth doing when you’re not playing the game, as useful tips are often shared. Plus, finding a regular Heist team or even a crew is easily done through Reddit.

For those of you brave souls who venture out into the open and stormy seas of the internet, here are a few tips: avoid articles posted by sites which are obviously not gaming related. Believe it or not, we often cover across GTA 5 “news coverage” posted by sites which are mainly business – or even religion – oriented.

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Articles on these sites are characterized by citing YouTube videos as credible sources, the same handful of sites cross-referencing one another and practically making up things as they go since the author has probably never held a controller in their hands, or played any kind of video game.

You’ll also notice them from practically loading a shotgun with top key-words and just blasting in the vague direction of their article. They’ll invariably write about whatever is the hottest topic in order to rake in the clicks. You’ll bump into the exact same speculative, rumor-ridden and made-up article re-written every three days.

What kinds of “hidden gems” of journalism have you guys come across?