The GTA franchise is the gold standard when it comes to AAA games, which is why it is one of the highest-selling game franchises of all time.
The franchise has evolved with the times as Rockstar Games sharpened their tools for satire with the release of each game in the series. However, one area that largely goes overlooked and is not discussed enough is the mission structure.
Essentially, the mission structure for each GTA game since GTA III has been identical, with little to no innovation.
While it isn't the biggest detractor to the games, Rockstar can definitely do better and can set the standard by which other open-world AAA games will be judged.
5 improvements to the mission structure that Rockstar can make with GTA 6
#1 More freedom, less linearity
The game structure of GTA can sometimes appear paradoxical, given how freeing and liberating its open world is and how restrictive and linear its missions are.
Any deviation from the set of instructions given to the player will result in an immediate "Mission Failed" screen, which can be frustrating as GTA prides itself on being open and expansive.
This is why GTA can often feel like two different games where one half is an extremely liberating open world while the other half is a linear-style game that is in the same vein as Uncharted.
Rockstar really need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to seamlessly blend the open-world gameplay of GTA with the mission structure.
#2 Have the mission start at the waypoint location
This might be a bit of a nitpick but it can be quite tedious to first go to a contact's location and then travel all the way to where the actual mission will start. It feels like an unnecessary hassle as there is no reason why the player cannot already be at the mission location from the start.
Simply removing the time in between will make the game feel crisper and will eliminate any need for filler dialogue and moments that serve no purpose to either the story or the gameplay.
By removing the need to travel from Point A to B and eventually C (where the mission actually takes place), the game's pacing will feel a lot faster.
#3 No more tailing missions
No one likes tailing missions. While GTA isn't necessarily as guilty as Assassin's Creed was in the past, they can still pop up from time to time and drag the game down by quite a lot.
Tailing missions provide little to no challenge and only fill the game with meaningless content that doesn't serve any purpose.
While Rockstar may be using tailing missions to flex their writing muscles and incorporate funny dialogue, it still doesn't make for a fun game experience.
4) More game, less exposition
Quite a few missions in the GTA games can be filed under the "filler" category. These missions are even more frustrating on repeat playthroughs (think Scouting the Port from GTA 5).
These missions essentially act as one giant exposition dump that serves no gameplay value. Most of these missions boil down to observing certain things and reporting back to your allies, which is as boring to play as it sounds.
Filler missions are a problem in AAA games in general but a massive studio like Rockstar shouldn't even come close to including a filler mission for exposition in the GTA games.
5) Make side missions meaningful
Lots of AAA games today have made side missions an integral part of the experience rather than just harmless distractions. The GTA franchise has dabbled with side quests, most prominently in GTA 5, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Having things to do outside of the main story is always a plus, and it gets even better when they collectively build up to something outside of just a meaningless checklist.
The "Strangers and Freaks" missions in GTA 5 were fun but should ideally be building to something much larger than just funny distractions from the main story.Published 12 Nov 2020, 13:25 IST