Nov. 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM ET
Rockstar Games has released the second trailer for the highly anticipated next installment in the "Grand Theft Auto" series and in doing so has introduced gamers to the not-so-sweet life of three very different men.
The trailer for "Grand Theft Auto V" — which is scheduled to launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the spring of 2013 — gives us a look at Michael, a wealthy ex-gangster trying (and perhaps failing) to live out the American Dream; Trevor, a wise-cracking crazy man with a short fuse; and Franklin, a professional repo man.
As Game Informer magazine revealed, "GTAV" will allow players to switch between these three friends and partners in crime and will center around performing heists.
The Grand Theft Auto games have pioneered open-world gaming, giving players the freedom to roam immense digital landscapes filled with crime, adventure and some very colorful characters. And Rockstar says that "GTAV" — which takes place in and around the fictional Southern California city of Los Santos — will be its biggest yet. In fact, it will be bigger than "Red Dead Redemption," "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and "Grand Theft Auto IV" combined.
Game site IGN offered an advance look at one of the game's heist-themed missions, pointing out that players are given a lot of freedom to execute missions in different ways.
For example, in this instance you can play purely as Michael, gunning down the four agents in the room before grabbing the hostage and bailing out of the window. Alternatively you could switch to Franklin and watch the action unfold from afar, peering through the optics on your sniper scope and lending a helping hand by picking off enemies as they pop into view. Or, as we witnessed, you can switch between the two, executing the smash and grab yourself before taking control of Franklin as Michael is winched back up to the chopper.
One thing is for sure, Rockstar looks as if it is packing a lot of action into this enormous game. Watch the trailer below and you'll see car chases, explosions, a jet fight, skydiving ... and, uh, some parental and marital quandaries to boot. A life of crime, it seems, is complicated.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.