And when it comes to the bare bones of open-world RPGs, what if is their ammunition; the sheer scope for exploration, both of geography and interactive possibility, adds rocket fuel to our weirdest and most wonderfully nerdy desires. But the land of wizards and swords doesnt own that, Gran Theft Auto 5 (opens in new tab), when played like a RPG, is the master of what if seduction. What if we were rewarded for our murderous delinquency? What if our sprees of carnage lead to random new adventures and unexpected NPC encounters? What if we could skydive off that mountain after eating a Peyote and transforming into a chicken?
GTA 5 hooks us, and coerces us to push the boundaries of human limitation in a virtual and recognisable world, and far beyond any other entry in the series, it gives us a vast bank of tools (some big, some subtle) with which to interact and manipulate the flow of the world around us. But what if GTA 5s dynamic, open world complexity was attainable in a gritty and beautiful fantasy setting. Then wed truly have a world without limits. Dragon flying lessons, fully emergent battles with town guards, real-time, party-based class mechanics that let you storm castles and manage battles with total control. I lead you into the realm of GTA 5 mechanics in a fantasy RPG. Here are eight thatll make you wish this game into existence.
Forget horsepower, here be dragons
Its been done before, and well worship Skyrim until the end of days for gifting such ambitious means of travel. But imagine taking dragon flying to the involved level of GTA 5s piloting. IMAGINE stealing dragons of different shapes, sizes and abilities. Imagine training them (plural because you can never have too many) to further increase and specialise their skills. Imagine having dragon flying lessons. Imagine falling in love with your dragon.. What? I mean, um
Without getting too carried away, adapting GTA 5s various open-world transportation methods into a fantasy setting is excitingly plausible. Along with various mounts, we could have horse and carts instead of trucks, Black Flag-style ships instead of yachts, even giant Mmakil to roam through treacherous wastelands. Akin to GTA 5, each unique mount and vehicle could have its own handling system, in addition to upgradable stats, and different uses for exploring different terrain. Stealing would be a fun, albeit dangerous ,endeavour, but getting being set on fire during the hijack would totally be worth traversing through the skies on a stolen, military grade dragon, with bright pink wings and tinted wings.
Punishment would be harsh but hilarious
Fantastical advocates of justice whod relish punishing our potato stealing, our RPG lawkeepers would easily be just as intimidating and furiously dedicated as GTA 5s police and army punishment system. As each star increases with the severity of our crimes, the force, number and strength of our punishers would rise. At the bottom tier wed have village and town guards replacing police, and following that, hired mercenaries pursuing us for murder on horseback. At three stars, wed face off against experienced warriors with better weapons and scarier mounts, leading us into four star territory, where famed knights would hunt us to the edge of the earth.
Finally, for the slaughtering-a-village-and-its-entire-flock-of-chickens tier of crimes, wed have the rulers army knocking on our back door, asking us to kindly repent for our sins with one thousand arrows to the knee. No longer would the RPG town be a safe, but rather static haven. With GTA-style justice enabled, our indiscretions in civilised areas would spill out into the wilderness, covering miles of open ground and leading to all kinds of dynamic adventures and discoveries along the way. Blend Skyrims density of hidden areas with that classic Hang on, where am I now? moment at the end of a big GTA chase, and you have scarily great possibilities.
The central character clash is just made for fantasy race archetypes
Initially, I was dubious of GTA 5s three character set-up. Could the interwoven stories fit together without undermining our connection with the playable characters? In actuality, Rockstar ensures the opposite. The entwined stories here are effortless, with real-time actions and consequences we invest in, due to our deep integration with the multiple storylines, the likability of each character, and the unique relationships we are encouraged to explore. Not to mention the building narrative tensions we get to perceive, unbeknownst to the protagonists, thanks to our uniquely omnipotent perspective. Its an amazingly rich storytelling device.
I also love the way Trevor, Michael, and Franklin are utterly their own, from their taste in shoes to their individual mid and early-life crises. With fantasy, we can take this multiple character system further, using all kinds of old and new races to explore, in as much depth of GTA 5, the different cultures, behaviours, and moral compasses of each unique, playable character. Imagine the friendships we could forge; elf, man, dwarf. Well, its difficult to compete with the likes of Legolas and Gimlis bromance, but damnit, if any game can pull that off, its a GTA-style RPG.
The three-protagonist set-up is perfect for RPG parties
GTA 5s three character infiltration missions are what I live for; the thrill of meticulously preparing and orchestrating heists from various angles and strategies gives me all kinds of scary-good palpitations. So, what would happen if we put these types of missions into a fantasy RPG? Magical things, thats what. You know how Lord of the Rings stand-out moments giddily amplify the action through their constant switching of different perspectives? Helms Deep, anyone? Now imagine that in a fantasy RPG, in which every key player is you.
Embracing each characters individual strengths, we would utilise different skills during assassinations, robberies, getaways, and large battles, at different times, and often in different locations. Whether its scouting from afar with a bow, commanding armies with brute force on the frontline, or executing Assassins Creed style infiltrations on castles, dungeons and scalable fortresses, the gameplay and narrative scope would explode in unforgettable ways. And we mustnt forget the dragon factor. Never forget the dragons. Because why bother using explosives when we have balls of fire?
In-game socialising would be elevated to magical new levels
Down-time in GTA 5 is ample, and with so many hobbies to choose from, in-game procrastination can get pretty addictive even if you just stick to the bars, for excessive cocktail consumption, awkward drunken banter, and dangerous driving. If youre the type of person who daydreams about frolicking at cute village festivals and partaking in the odd dragon flying lesson (yeah, I really am into that idea), then having such activities readily available in a fantasy world, whether Witcher dark or Final Fantasy pretty, would be the ultimate nerd-dream.
This fantasy open-world, replicating Los Santos jocular environment, would be our very own magical playground. Stunts and races involving mounts would supply hours of fun, in addition to agility tests like GTAs triathlons, board games, archery competitions, and watching medieval plays instead of movies. The village inn would no longer be a sterile environment of looping conversations and unchanging clientele. You could even take Trevor the elf to village dances! Throw in enough mead, and the aforementioned law enforcement, and thats going to make quite the weekend escapade.
There would be much better ways to spending our not so hard-earned gold
I remember looking at my GTA 5 Achievements and spotting You have spent over 30,000 on clothes'. 30,000 ON CLOTHES. Good god, I'm such a fashion whore. But having the right shoes for murder is imperative, right? Imagine if a fantasy world had as many shopping choices as GTA 5; from cloaks, to boots, to badass weapon belts. Imagine if the look of your character wasnt simply defined by your current best armour set-up, but fuelled by just as many, if not more, options designed for pure aesthetic fun? Character attachment would skyrocket, and real-world shopping would never be the same again.
Though obviously were not going to be all spending our cash on new threads, since GTA 5 also incorporates property investment, from cinemas to golf clubs, in addition to purchasing expensive merchandise from in-universe online stores. Translate this into fantasy speak, and were talking about buying pubs, bakeries, apothecaries, and forges (no doubt taking discount supplies from their various storerooms), and then moving on to bigger, more financially rewarding stuff, such as mines and wilderness forts. Investing in stocks might be tricky without an in-universe internet (just imagine Gerald asking for the WiFi password), but players could visit banks for this purpose instead, and enjoy the many insane luxuries a fantasy world has to offer.
Where we're going, we don't need phones
In GTA 5, phones play a crucial role in missions, as our most reliable source of communication and information in tricky, escalating situation. Impossible to realise that dynamic, organic vibe in a world in which rocks are the height of technology? No. I have a viable fantasy alternative to cell phones, and Im not talking about cans and string. Magic is our best friend here, since really, there are no limits to possibility when it comes to doing the impossible.
Portable magic mirrors would allow us to talk and send messages to other characters in-game. Small portals and telepathy would do the job as well. We could use seer abilities during assassination and search quests, and occult abilities aside, important mail could be dispatched by eagles, for surprise story pay-offs later down the line. And we mustnt forget an alternative to GTA 5s phone camera, which is one of my most consistent sources of fun. Using a sketch book and some magically accelerated drawing abilities, you could capture those all those magical moments - from discovering magnificent waterfalls to pillaging the poor - and adorn the walls of your customisable castle crib with permanent records of your adventures.
A world you won't want to leave
One of the most absorbing aspects of GTA 5 is its environment; a world with a perfect balance of scale and detail. Every region is teeming with life and vibrancy, packing with fully fleshed areas that you wont even see if you just stick to the main story., making the city, natural landscapes, and ocean feel impressively organic. Take that, along with the abolishment of loading screens, and its extremely easy to get lost in the stunning, thriving, damaged world of Los Santos.
It would almost be dangerous to experience a similar environment in a fantasy setting, owing to the genres flexibility when it comes to imagination. We could scale active volcanoes. We could search for rare beasts in all-enveloping forests. We could explore uncharted oceans brimming with aquatic nightmares. It would be an unkickable open-world drug addiction. We could also build upon what GTA 5s world lacks, such as a Witcher 3-style weather system with the ability to change the landscape, animals we can tame, and a vastly more varied array of structures to interact with. Yay for tree climbing!