GTA 5: First gameplay trailer released by Rockstar, release date of September 17

Latest title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise set to be released for Xbox 360 and PS3 September 17

Video game developers Rockstar have released the first gameplay footage (see below) for the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3 on September 17 this year.

(See below for the new footage)

GTA 5 will be the 15th game in the fantastically successful franchise, and Rockstar have promised that it will also be the biggest – with a game world larger than GTA 4, Red Dead Redemption and GTA: San Andreas combined. Players will reportedly be able to explore the world in a number of new vehicle types – including a range of planes and even a submarine. The new trailer itself goes further than this, promising everything from "the sublime" to "the ridiculous".

The most radical departure from GTA 4 will be a multi-character structure focused around three individuals – Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. Rockstar has said that players will be able to switch between the three at “nearly any time” and have already release a series of trailers setting the backstory for the trio. The new trailer gives more details of this system, showing how players can toggle between the three protagonists.

Michael is a high-successful ex-bank robber who turned himself into the FBI witness protection scheme but finds himself missing the excitement of the criminal life; Franklin is a repo man for an Armenian luxury car dealer; and Trevor is an ex-military pilot turned drug addict current living in a trailer park.

Each of the three protagonists will also have their own special skills (Franklin can drive in slow motion; Trevor has a ‘frenzy’ mode for extra damage; and Michael has bullet time), and players will be able to work on each of their stats individually. The games’ makers have said that the characters will have their own lives that continue even when you’re not playing them.

"You might drop in on Michael in the middle of a family dispute, interrupt Franklin chatting up some ladies, or Trevor on the run from the law—or whatever else these guys do in their free time," says Rockstar. "How and when you switch between characters when you're not on a mission is completely up to you."

The game will reportedly be structured through a series of mega-heists with the usual gamut of missions and side-quests interspersed between them. Speaking to The Guardian, Rockstar also stressed that they had toned down the relationship-maintenance side of the gameworld - a mechanic that some players found annoying with GTA 4.

"You have other people you can hang out with, but the main people you choose are the other protagonists," says co-writer Dan Houser. "If you're playing as Michael and you want to play a game of tennis, you can call up Franklin and ask him. You are actually getting to see the main bulk of the story and also spend time with these people off-mission."

The new gameplay trailer also shows off advanced customization options - from cars to clothes - as well as sports to play, including golf, tennis and hunting. Switching from the promise of "nirvanas to pursue" the trailer then shows the meat of the game - a series of heists where players' decisions about tactics will effect the game's outcome.

This isn't it for Rockstar's unveilings however, as the end of the trailer promised more footage from 'Grand Theft Auto Online'. Watch this space for more news as it happens.

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