How The Hell Is GTA V Still A Best-Seller Four Years After Launch? Rockstar Shares Its Theory

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How The Hell Is GTA V Still A Best-Seller Four Years After Launch? Rockstar Shares Its Theory

photo by Basimatic

In the years since Grand Theft Auto V launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2013, Rockstar has brought the game to PC, released an enhanced version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and continued to evolve the shared open world of Grand Theft Auto Online. Those efforts have paid back in spades. This past may Take-Two revealed Grand Theft Auto V has cracked the 80 million mark in units shipped, a lofty number only rivaled by games like Minecraft and Tetris.

Rockstar isn't alone in employing the strategy of re-releasing hit games and continuing to service its player base with expanded content – it's a common practice we see in other blockbusters like The Edler Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Diablo III. Yet GTA V alone continually appears in the monthly NPD list of top sellers, making the game an unrivaled success in the modern era. So what's the secret that keeps people coming back and compels new players to pick up the game? We asked Rockstar director of design Imran Sarwar. 

Exclusive Q&A: Rockstar Discusses Past, Present, And Future Of Grand Theft Auto Online

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Exclusive Q&A: Rockstar Discusses Past, Present, And Future Of Grand Theft Auto Online

photo by ChaosZake

What a difference four years can make. 

When Rockstar first released Grand Theft Auto Online in October 2013, it was easy to see the potential. Throwing 16 players into the same shared space, the mode had a little something for everyone. At its heart, players could grind through multiplayer shoot-outs and races to raise cash for new weapons, vehicles, and real estate. But beyond that, players had a wealth of other activities as well. Maybe your friends gathered for a base jumping excursion, played a round of golf, or cruised the streets starting trouble with other players or robbing liquor stores. Early technical difficulties made getting to many of these activities a chore, but over time Rockstar stabilized the experience.

Celebrating 15 Years Of Sly Cooper, Sony's Most Stylish Mascot

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Celebrating 15 Years Of Sly Cooper, Sony's Most Stylish Mascot

Sneaking from the shadows, a cane-wielding raccoon gracefully leaps across Parisian rooftops backlit by the greens and pinks of neon signs, his footsteps locked to the rhythm of lounge jazz piano. 

This opening scene from Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus is an indelible image for gamers, one that, much like the game itself, has kept its style and wit over the years. The Thievius Racoonus celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and revisiting the game after all that time, it’s still clear why Sly’s first adventure was so special and creatively risky.

In September 2002, the 3D platformer genre was on a hot streak, especially on Sony consoles. Naughty Dog hit a goldmine with Crash Bandicoot back in 1996, and in late 2001 they released Jak and Daxter to widespread critical and commercial success. It would be another year before Sony’s other 3D platforming behemoths – Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank – released. 

Replay – Civil War: Week Two

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Replay – Civil War: Week Two

Another week, another set of bodies at the feet of the Replay Machine. Did we ever mention the Replay Machine kills the losers? Maybe it does. Who cares. Enjoy the competition! Tense battles and shocking moments abound.

If you missed it, check out last week's series of brutal eliminations. To see every contestant announce the game they're playing for, check out the back end of our Atari Replay. And for the full cut of all the lore leading up to this once in a lifetime cinematic event, watch the compilation here.

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From the Game Informer Archives: Lost NES Games!

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From the Game Informer Archives: Lost NES Games!

[Video Game History Foundation founder Frank Cifaldi has been digging through Game Informer’s closets to help organize and document over 26 years of priceless video game history! Occasionally he’ll spotlight some of his findings here. Learn more about the project on this episode of The Game Informer Show.]

Game Informer has made no secret of The Vault, its collection of over twelve thousand video games from around the world, going all the way back to the industry’s roots. It’s a massive, labyrinthine room filled with floor-to-high-ceiling shelves, each of them crammed with what seems to be at least one copy of every game, for every system imaginable, that has ever made its way into the office. And that’s great...if you’re into that sort of thing.

As for me, I’m more interested in the weird stuff. I run a nonprofit called The Video Game History Foundation, and what we’re focused on is making sure video game’s more ephemeral material – advertising, promotional goodies, vintage slides and photographs, behind-the-scenes stuff, etc. – is documented and preserved alongside the games themselves. Which is why I was thrilled to be able to dig into what Andrew Reiner once described as the Vault’s “less sexy counterpart”: GI’s dusty old filing cabinets.

Top Of The Table – Starfinder

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Top Of The Table – Starfinder

Most creative works emerge along clear lines of inspiration from what came before. In the case of Paizo’s sprawling new sci-fi/fantasy tabletop role-playing game, Starfinder, the lines of source and influence are clear. Starfinder is a futuristic spin on Paizo’s own Pathfinder fantasy game, which is an outgrowth from the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition ruleset, itself a seemingly endless and winding iterative process that traces back to the earliest days of RPGs. It’s because of that clear lineage, and not despite it, that Starfinder emerges as such a deep and rewarding game; strong, familiar core rules and mechanics ground the game. Simultaneously, creative universe-building, stellar art, and innovative design help Starfinder feel fresh.

Five Anime Game Adaptations We’re Dreaming Of

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Five Anime Game Adaptations We’re Dreaming Of

With Dragon Ball FighterZ making waves among the gaming community, one can’t help but wonder what other anime properties would make for phenomenal video games.

Many series already have mobile games and visual novels, or have had games release in the past, but others still haven’t made the jump to the interactive virtual medium or seen a full-scale console title released this generation. Whether it’s an engrossing story, the scope of the battles, or the evocative art style, each of these series has something that, with the right studio behind them, could make for top of the line gaming experiences.

HellsingCreated by Kouta Hirano, this series reimagines Bram Stoker’s iconic count as Alucard, a red-coated agent under the command of a private peace-keeping organization in Britain. Wielding two pistols, supernatural abilities, and a disturbing toothy grin, he teams up with a number of other strange individuals to take on a group of vampire Nazis set on starting World War III.

Developers (And Others) Share Their Appreciation And Dream Games For The Dragon Ball Franchise

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Developers (And Others) Share Their Appreciation And Dream Games For The Dragon Ball Franchise

The Dragon Ball franchise has been around for more than 30 years and has served as a huge influence to game developers and those connected to the industry in myriads ways. As part of our month of Dragon Ball coverage coverage in anticipation of Dragon Ball FighterZ, we reached out to folks in order to have them share their appreciation for Dragon Ball, and where applicable, pitch their own dream Dragon Ball video game.

Hidetaka “Swey65” Suehiro is best known for his work on Deadly Premonition. We asked him if Dragon Ball has inspired or influenced him in any meaningful ways.

The one takeaway I had from Dragon Ball growing up was there’s a part in the series where a character called Udon who received panties from God. Somewhere in there, that whole episode allowed me to understand that panties are not necessarily erotic. It means that everything is fine!

The Design Failure Of The Loot Box

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The Design Failure Of The Loot Box

Microtransactions make a great game worse. The concept of small (or not so small) real-money transactions rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but increasingly, the business move is shrugged away by both creators and consumers as an inevitability of the times. The way that game publishers and developers make money is a complex issue, and I’m certainly not ready to wholesale condemn a business for trying to find a route to solvency. But with the increasing rise in the practice, especially in triple-A games that already have a hefty price tag attached, I find myself returning to the biggest reason these money exchanges frustrate me: Building in a money-making scheme in the midst of an otherwise great game design weakens the entire experience, harms immersion, and diminishes the broader meaning and strength of in-game reward systems.

Much of the conversation around in-game microtransactions in recent months has moved toward whether something is “pay-to-win” or not, or dissolves into a defense of the unfortunate gamer with too little time who just wants a chance to keep up with his friends. I think those arguments fail an important litmus test of whether these systems make a given game experience better or worse.