Grand Theft Auto 5 Combat and Cover Mechanics Discussed


Rockstar have always pushed the boundaries of gaming with their incredible attention to detail and determination to improve themselves and their products. With Grand Theft Auto each game has pushed the limits of what we should expect of a sandbox adventure giving more and more free-roaming options and this edition looks to take that on to the next level with Grand Theft Auto 5

One element of the GTA series that has been more slowly progressing has been the shooting mechanics that have not quite lived up to the quality of other 3rd person shooters. This has been one of the big focus areas for Grand Theft Auto 5, improving on the fluidity and accuracy of the shooting mechanics like experienced in other Rockstar games like Red Dead Redemption or the quite excellent gun-play in Max Payne 3 – slow motion dive from a speeding car while shooting at the police anyone?

Speaking with Associate technical director and combat designer Phil Hooker, Game informer got the latest details of the improvements made in the combat system for Grand Theft Auto 5. Hooker explains:

A massive amount of work went into overhauling animation systems, targeting, and camerawork to really open up new opportunities for the player in the kind of freeform, open-world action shootouts that are the heart of Grand Theft Auto. We wanted shooting to feel more precise and satisfying while supporting multiple styles of play. The controls have been expanded, so now in addition to traditional left trigger “down the sights” aiming, you can also both run and shoot comfortably while only using the right trigger. This retains the benefits of seeing your character from the third-person view while keeping the feel much closer to the range of motion and shooting precision you have in a first-person shooter.

In order to make this better there have been additions to the locomotion system in order to handle the different types of movement needed for combat and non-combat movement during Grand Theft Auto 5:

To make this all work, we added an additional layer to our locomotion system. If you fire your weapon, or become engaged in a fight, your character’s bearing changes and your default speed switches from a casual walk to a combat jog, giving you improved mobility as well as a greater sense of urgency. If there’s no threat or you haven’t been firing, you’ll revert back to a relaxed state. The transitions between these states are all handled seamlessly without breaking stride, and your characters always appear aware of their surroundings because they’re behaving appropriately.

Now, I’ve personally been really hammering the Last of Us this past month which employs a similar system where Joel moves more casually during general movement but shifts into combat mode as soon as enemies appear, moving quicker and giving the option to sprint. The overall effect is an easier navigation during general play and responsive combat whereas in GTA IV the combat and non-combat movements were practically the same. He goes on to explain how this changes with each of the three protagonists in the story.

Each character’s personality is also reflected in the way they move and handle weapons, whether it’s Trevor’s aggressiveness, Franklin’s swagger, or Michael’s efficiency.

When asked about the aiming system in Grand Theft Auto 5 Hooker revealed there would be three aiming systems available to players to be selected at their preference, adding a little more tactical approach when using lock-on options:

For GTA V, we’ve split targeting out into three distinct modes: assisted aiming, traditional GTA, and free aim.

Assisted aiming gives players a larger targeting area as well as a little more help analyzing targets to try and pick the largest threat.

Traditional GTA is the closest to previous GTA’s soft lock option. It shares all the characteristics of assisted aiming, with the additional ability to flick left and right between targets using the right stick.

Another new refinement is that every aim mode now has a timer that breaks lock so you have to be more tactical in your approach – you can no longer just rely on holding and shooting until a target is dead.

Hooker also explains how the cover system is being developed in order to improve player protection, especially when getting out of a vehicle  (rather than getting your head blown off by the police as soon as you jump out!)

We’ve also pushed the cover system to further bridge the gap between driving and gunplay. In addition to smoothly running out of a car whilst firing a gun, players are able to use their car as cover, getting out and staying low without exposing themselves. They can make a stand there behind the car for a while and then at any time quickly re-enter the car from cover or from shooting and speed away with little exposure to enemy fire. It can really make the difference at crucial moments.

I have to say I had my mind blown by the quality of GTA V’s demo (and really want to do the base jump off the mountain for some reason!) and Rockstar’s attention to detail on every element of the game looks to make this one hell of a send of to the current generation of consoles. More on the online features will be revealed shortly so keep an eye on The Gamers Drop for more on that when it comes out.

Not seen the trailer, where have you been?! Check out the video below and post us a comment below with your thoughts on the latest GTA.

Full article can be found at

About James Kong

David is a huge gaming fan and has been since an early age. As the owner of TGD David loves providing the best new for the fans when he’s not gaming. Read the TGD About Us page to learn more

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