Get ready to run wild in the streets of Los Santos all over again.
Rockstar Games, the publisher behind such hit games as "Red Dead Redemption" and "L.A. Noire," will once again be returning to the streets of the fictional criminal city with the long-awaited "Grand Theft Auto V" for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The company officially unveiled a street date for the sequel today (Jan. 31), and it's set to hit stores Sept. 17— a bit outside Rockstar's usual May releases (like last year's "Max Payne 3"), but likely to be worth the wait.
Rather than focusing on a single protagonist from previous games (like Niko from "Grand Theft Auto IV" or C.J from "San Andreas"), "GTA V" features a trio of new criminal faces. There's Michael, a former bank robber in his early 40s who finds himself returning to work when his dysfunctional family squanders his cash; Trevor, his former partner, who's down on his luck living in a trailer, fighting a drug addiction; and Franklin, an up-and-coming repo man working for an unscrupulous car dealership. They become intertwined in a bank robbery scheme that will change their lives forever.
"Grand Theft Auto V" will let you switch between these three characters, a first for the series. Though Rockstar hasn't discussed gameplay tactics just yet, it should play very similarly to previous games, with the ability to go anywhere you please around the Los Angeles-inspired city, stealing cars, beating up people for money and completing a variety of missions. The game will also bring back a number of radio stations that you can switch to at any time, featuring favorites ranging from classic rock to rap to Top 40. No word yet if the DJ personalities will return, but since they were such a big hit in previous games (particularly the '80s based "Vice City," which featured the likes of DJ Lori and DJ Lazlow), it's looking very likely. [See also: How the PlayStation 2 Changed Gaming ]
It's rumored that the game will also feature some sort of online co-op play across Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, where you can play along with two friends to complete group crimes and perhaps even battle against gangs, like you could in the best-selling "Grand Theft Auto IV." However, Rockstar hasn't confirmed this just yet. More information will be unveiled over the next few months, such as whether other characters can be played with AI in a single player match. We would think so, but we'll have to see.