GTA Online: more details on the incredible looking GTA 5 multiplayer mode

GTA 5 online multiplayer screens PS3

GTA Online: is an incredibly ambitious persistent online world that runs parallel to GTA 5‘s single-player – that’s the headline news from GTA 5 o’clock‘s recent trip to Rockstar North. During their time at the ultra secretive Edinburgh developer, hosts Daniel Dawkins and Tim Weaver were treated to an extensive demo of GTA Online, where they were given details on everything from co-op heists to an extremely smart money system.

GTA Online PS3 demo

The big news is that this persistent world supports up to 16 players across a full-sized GTA 5 map. It’s a completely free extra and acts as a compromise-free companion piece to the main campaign where you can craft and level up your own custom character.

“GTA Online will be released two weeks after GTA 5′s 17 September release date”

As Daniel and Tim discover, GTA Online will be released two weeks after GTA 5′s 17 September release date. Rockstar took this decision to allow gamers to acclimatise themselves with the mechanics of single-player and its map before throwing them in at the deep end of the online pool.

Like GTA 4, you access the mode by bringing up a contacts menu on your in-game smartphone. Your online character also takes up a slot on the character selection wheel you use to switch between Michael, Franklin and Trevor. Every decision Rockstar has taken is to make GTA Online and GTA 5 an incredibly interwoven, seamless joint experience.

You can keep track of all your game invites, in-game emails and texts through The Feed; a service that pools all of your character’s messages together along with Rockstar Social Club updates in one handy network.

GTA Online acts as a prequel to single-player. As you see in the recent video reveal, supporting character’s from the main campaign will also pop up to offer you missions. Daniel and Tim were also hugely impressed by the sheer breadth of activities you can embark on with mates.

“Deathmatches, competitive races, group base-jumping off the peak of Mount Chilliad: GTA Online has an incredible array of activities for you and your PSN pals to enjoy together” 

Co-op heists, impromptu deathmatches, competitive multiplayer races, group base-jumping off the peak of Mount Chilliad and sporting tournaments, including golf and tennis: GTA Online has an incredible array of activities for you and your PSN pals to enjoy together.

Brilliantly, you can also make your own deathmatch maps and races thanks to GTA Online’s content creator. A set of custom tools will allow you to create your own layouts and share them with other players. It’s another fantastic addition to a mode that is already brimming with ambition.

GTA 5 online multiplayer screens PS3Multiplayer is hardwired into the same ideology powering the main game, with the pursuit of money and RP (Reputation Points) the prime motivation for your character. As such, cash is a precious and, crucially vulnerable, commodity as players can rip each other off after heists. Whoever actually completes the hold-up on a job gets to determine what cut of the score is portioned out to their partners after the robbery. If one of said partners if miffed with the amount offered, they can simply kill the other players and steal their cash.

To ensure you’re not constantly being fleeced you have to physically deposit your money in banks scattered across Los Santos. It’s a truly inventive feature and one that will place a value on currency unlike almost any other PS3 title we can think of.

“Buy insurance for your vehicle and you can  reclaim your car with all mods and custom parts no matter how many times it’s stolen”

Continuing on the fiscally-conscious theme and GTA 5 o’clock also discover you can insure your cars to protect yourself from theft or a horrible crashes on those tight, weaving roads around Rockford Hills. If you buy insurance for your vehicle, you can then reclaim your car with all purchased mods and custom parts no matter how badly damaged it gets or how many times it’s stolen by other players, for a small premium.

Money informs almost every aspect of GTA Online, to the extent you can even wager your money betting on actual deathmatches. Quick tip: if you see OPM online, don’t stick a solitary dime on us.

GTA 5 online multiplayer screens PS3The mode will also make good use of your headset, with characters you’re trying to rob during heists actually responding to the intensity of your voice as you shout down the mic. Huzzah! Finally shouting at games over a headset is both acceptable, while also being big and clever.

As Daniel and Tim discuss, GTA Online has the potential to become its own entity in the future. But right now, as a free accompaniment to what’s potentially shaping up to be PS3′s best game, it’s a massively ambitious, ruddy generous bonus.

Check out the latest episode of GTA 5 o’clock for Daniel and Tim’s full thoughts on GTA Online and their experience of visiting Rockstar North.