Nov. 2, 2011 at 12:37 PM ET
The groundbreaking and controversial "Grand Theft Auto" game franchise will be getting a new installment — one that returns players to a sunny, seedy vision of California, Rockstar Games revealed Wednesday.
Rockstar unveiled the first trailer for the highly anticipated game, giving fans their first look at what the developers have been working on.
"GTA V" appears to take players back to Los Angeles — a place we've been before in "GTA: San Andreas." The trailer introduces us to the still-unnamed protagonist — a man retiring from "that line of work" (my guess: probably not accounting) to "be a good guy for once, a family man."
But it seems our man's dreams of the good life are about to go awry amid the golden beaches, lush vineyards, the filth and crime of his new home. Here, check out the trailer:
The "GTA" series is known for modeling its locales after real American cities and states. And ever since Rockstar Games confirmed last week that "GTA V" was in the works, gamers have been busy speculating where it would take place. Previous "GTA" installments have been set in Vice City (based on Miami), Liberty City (based on New York) and the state of San Andreas — a virtual version of California, Nevada and Arizona with cities based on Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
In the newly released trailer, it seems we're going back to San Andreas. We get a glimpse of pretty palm trees and mountain vistas as well as streets lined with the homeless, an exploding car and a familiar sign for the city of Vinewood — clearly Rockstar's take on Hollywood.
Alas, Rockstar has yet to reveal any additional details beyond the trailer.
It's been a decade since "Grand Theft Auto III" first roared onto the scene. That was the game that put "GTA" on the map and really introduced the world to a video game series that would become renowned for its gritty, violent stories and epic, open-world gameplay.
And it's now been three years since we've had an all-new console/PC installment in the franchise. The superb "GTA IV" launched in 2008 and its two downloadable episodes — "The Lost and the Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony" — arrived in 2009. (2009 also gave us "GTA: Chinatown Wars" for the handheld game machines.)
"GTA V" certainly has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor — "Grand Theft Auto IV" — was not only a huge fan and critic favorite, it has gone on to become one of the best-selling games of all time with Rockstar recently reporting the title has sold nearly 20 million copies since it launched, while the entire series has sold more than 100 million copies.
As we wait for more information to trickle out about this latest "GTA" game, what do you think: What kind of new gameplay and story would you like to see from "Grand Theft Auto V?"
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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+. And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.