Grand Theft Auto 4 has barely been out for a week, and you’re already really tired of reading about it. I know you are, I am too. If you don’t have it yet, you’re sick of reading about this apparently fantastic game that you can’t play. If you have it, you’ve probably been reading about it for 3 months already, and now you just want to play it, and maybe blog about it yourself.
So, to hell with what GTA4 is. You already know. It’s everything, it’s 10 different games crammed onto one disk, it’s everything that made San Andreas good without most of the things that made it suck. Here’s what I want it to be, in my boundless ingratitude.
I want it to be a police game without having to steal a police car. I want it to be a game about saving people without having to steal an ambulance. I want it to be a game about fighting fires without having to steal a fire truck. I want to make money hunting down crooks and saving lives. I want to rat on all these terrible people the game makes me work for, and I want to become an undercover agent for the FBI – I’m sorry, FIB – so I can meet up with my contact at regular intervals and make up for all the crap they make me do.
But all that’s just details. I can steal my way to being good if it’s necessary and still enjoy the game. What I really really really want, what I think I just might enjoy so much that it’d be worth learning to program so I could create it myself once the game comes out for PC, is a Game Master client. A seperate client that you can use to control a multiplayer game. Imagine that.
A whole city, complete with pedestrians, traffic, shops, apartments, minigames, radio, TV, cell phones, an almost fully functional Internet, and then the tools necessary to control it all. 2 GM’s, 4-5 players, and the means to spawn and possess characters, award money or equipment, control the behaviour of the police, jump players around, etc. I would put together a really epic The Departed-style campaign with the players taking the roles of undercover FBI/FIB agents charged with infiltrating a network of gangs and criminal organizations. Each player would have a car, an apartment, and even a family if they’d want it.
Imagine the sucker punches you could pull off in a setting like that. The more a player has, the more you can take away from him. You could have the bad guys trash a player’s apartment, you could have them abduct or even kill a player’s family. Liberty City is a dangerous place, and as an undercover agent it’d be a fine balance between maintaining your cover and maintaining your morals. It’d be The Shield in game form, with a hard-working GM pulling the strings.
All that’s pretty much a pipe dream of course. I would be a huge asshole to demand that of Rockstar, it’s just not what the game is about. But I could throw it out there to the modding community – Jedi Knight 2 had a similar client thanks to its modders – or I could get off my ass and implement it myself, maybe find a good coder or two to help me out. Of course Rockstar would have to release that PC port first. Until then, I’ll just enjoy GTA4 like everybody else. Well, maybe slightly less – some of those missions are still too damn hard.