Before giving away Civ 6,
another huge title was recently available for free on the Epic Games Store. Grand Theft Auto 5
, which is one of the best-selling games of all time, was released into the wild for a brief time. (This was apparently a boon for hackers
, who have plagued the game’s online mode since it was released.)
GTA 5 is no longer free, but the best way to enjoy it still is. That’s because in recent years GTA 5 has become a platform for one of the craziest and most innovative television dramas ever made. Modders have turned the game into the set of a cops vs. robbers-style show that airs 24 hours a day on Twitch.
As far as I know, there’s nothing else like it in the history of entertainment. On any given day, there are dozens of storylines being developed as various individuals and factions collide. Some of the top streamers on Twitch participate, but they’re just as interesting as players with small audiences who fill various roles in the drama: like doctors, police cadets, reporters, and even real estate agents. You can read about just one of these cast members, a fictional driving instructor and part-time serial killer, over at Polygon.
The best part of GTA roleplay is the ability to see the stories from multiple perspectives. I mostly follow a group of criminals known as the “Chang Gang” that routinely causes all kinds of chaos in the city. When they’re playing together, you can switch between their streams to get each player’s perspective in the story and hear them talk out-of-character to their viewers. And when they get in scuffles with other characters, you can often watch from the perspective of the people they come into contact with. You can watch police chases from the eyes of the cops and the criminals at the same time. It’s truly wild.