Today, I bring you the first in a weekly article series called “Face the Nation”, where I ask a handful of questions to the hosts of Platform Nation’s diverse podcasts. These questions will give insight on a pressing issue or interesting topic.
This week, I asked Steve519, Editor-in-Chief of Platform Nation, Paul (hamm3rofgod), host of the Video Game Jocks, and BDazzler, new co-host of the Gamers Pub, three questions about Grand Theft Auto 4.
The game has been out for a little over three weeks now and the hype up to the point of release was everywhere. We all saw at launch and the days that followed the amount of our friends that were playing GTA 4, which was an overwhelming amount. And as the days progressed onward, I personally saw the amount of people on my list begin to migrate back to older titles, such as Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, and others. I knew that not everyone had completed the game to its entirety and I began to wonder why gamers were putting GTA 4 back into its jewel case.
So what do these three hosts from the Platform Nation community think? Let us find out.
Q: Is the hype for the game way down? Do you find that many people on your friends’ list have stopped playing the game all together or much less?
Steve519: “Umm, yes. At least for me it is. After I beat the game I just didn’t have any interest into going back and finding all the jumps, pigeons or anything else really. The multiplayer is a lot of fun, but only when you have a full room of your friends and really that isn’t happening anymore because most people are done playing it for mostly two reasons. Either A, they are burnt out, or B, they just moved on. I think the game is a great game and extremely enjoyable but with the fact that I played that and nothing else nonstop for the first week I burnt myself out from it and I really have better or more enjoyable stuff to do rather then go back to GTA 4.”
Paul: “The hype surrounding Grand Theft Auto IV is way down. During the first week or two after release, my friends list would be filled with upwards of twenty people playing at any one time. Now I will sometimes have one or two people playing.”
BDazzler: “As far as I can see, the GTA hype is on the down swing even to the point of a bit of back lash at all the 10/10 reviews. The Ritalin-deprived gaming community’s attention span is about 2-6 weeks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be on Live much the last couple weeks and I don’t have a PS3, so I really can’t speak too much on the number of people playing on my friend’s list, but when I have been on, it does seem way down compared to the first week of release. I’m seeing more Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 players return and even fewer numbers online altogether.”
Q: What do you feel keeps gamers playing the game (if you think the majority of people are still playing) or what do you feel has moved people away from this game and on to other titles?
Paul: “People have probably moved on from GTA IV for two main reasons. The first reason is many finished the main story driven mode of the game within the first few days of release. The other being that for the average gamer, who is not going to try and complete 100% of the in-game content, there is no reason to play the game beyond one run through of the story mode. Yes, there are key decisions made in the gameplay which can alter the story greatly but they are not worth an additional 30 hours of gameplay to see the other choice play out. There is also multiplayer, which does add great replay value to games that do it well, but the shooting mechanic is not on par with even the weakest online FPS and “just going in to have fun” can soon become boring. There are also other games on the Xbox 360 and PS3, like Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Gears of War and Warhawk, which have significantly better multiplayer components that most gamers don’t want to sacrifice time toward if they are not truly compelled to do so.”
BDazzler: “I don’t think it’s a cut and dry question of people are still playing or people have quit the game. GTA is a sprint for some and a marathon for others. A select group of the community wants to be one of the first to finish the story or even quickly get to 100% (which strangely may not get you all achievements if you didn’t finish the story in less than 30 hours). On the other hand, I get the sense the majority of players see this game as a marathon, and will tire of it at times, play other games, but still come back to it. The multiplayer had definitely slowed progress for me and many other, as far as the story goes.”
Steve519: “I think most people keep playing this game just to hang out with their friends and do stupid stuff. At least that is what I have noticed from my friends. To me the most enjoyable thing on multiplayer isn’t the races, and it isn’t the modes or types, it’s the free play.”
Q: Will this game die out soon or will it be a title people will be playing for months on end? Is the excitement of the game gone from the gaming community?
BDazzler: “I don’t think GTA 4 will ‘die out’ any time soon. You’ll see people playing this game on your friends list for months, or even years to come. I’m sure MGS 4 for the PS3 and Gears of War 2 for the 360 will put a temporary halt to the Grand Theft Auto world for many, but they’ll be back. As to what keeps ‘them’ playing, I see the GTA 4 story line being more compelling than the earlier versions, but I didn’t really play them much. The multiplayer, being new, and surprisingly good, will keep thing going for a long time to come, and the same open world sand box that made the GTA 3 games so compelling still exists here. I wouldn’t say the excitement is gone, but rather tempered. There’s a bit of repetitiveness, and it can wear on you. The difference with GTA is that if you tire of the story, you can go on a date, play pool, darts or bowling with a friend, steal a fire truck and hose down some prostitutes, watch TV, listen to the radio while you drive many different types of vehicles, or surf the web (watch out for the child porn!). In this sense, GTA reminds me a bit of Oblivion—so much to do.”
Steve519: “Will it die out soon? Hasn’t it already? While GTA is a great game, unless I get something new, for the most part I’m done. I don’t really care to find all the jumps or steal cars. I just don’t care, too. What good will I get from it? So yes, if the excitement from the community isn’t gone from this game it is from me at least.”
Paul: “GTA 4 is a game you can go back to over time, especially for those who may want to pop the disc in and try and climb that much closer to the elusive 100% complete mark. That being said, a few months from now, it will not be a common occurrence to see several people on your friends list playing GTA IV the way it is with Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4, which are nine and seven months removed from their releases respectively. What will get many people to starting thinking about and playing GTA IV again will be the ‘Game of the Year’ awards that it will inevitably receive come the end of the year and the downloadable content coming near the end of the year, as well. The downloadable content is said to be quite significant and will probably bring many of the players who have long since completed the game’s main story arc back for seconds and thirds.”
That concludes the q and a session for the week. So there you have it, Platform Nation community. What do you think of what the hosts have to say?
Next week I will have three more hosts from the Platform Nation community answer a set of questions for a hot topic or issue. If you have a topic you would like me to address, please email your questions. Eternal @ platformnation.com