The October 2013 issue of the GameInformer magazine featured a GTA Online Hands On preview with some new tidbits about the game. Special thanks to forums member xcroptic for summarizing the article and listing all the new info.
- The aim of GTA Online is to do whatever it takes to get more money in the bank and accrue assets such as cars and real estate.
- Almost all activities from the campaign are available in GTA online: "heists, missions, robberies, assaulting gang hideouts, hijacking armored vehicles, races" as well as "tennis, golf and base jumping."
- GTA Online has been created to be "as customisable as possible" in terms of who you play with: "there are options to let the game decide who to play with... or you can hand pick every player in the game".
- Purchases can still be made using the money even if it's in the bank.
- Each house you pruchase has space for storing cars. Modest appartments have space for two, but high-end homes can store ten.
- Garage areas can be treated like showrooms. You can walk around and admire your cars and hire a mechanic to keep them in good condition. You can also insure them to avoid big payouts should you damage them badly.
- Phone cameras can be used to take a selfie.
- The fourth [GTA Online] player is fresh off a plane in Los Santos, character creation involves choosing your mother, father and grandparents and you're given a character. Then players then choose a lifestyle, make choices about the things the character does (partying, couch potato, criminal, athletics nut).
- Characters appear in cutscenes when interacting with other characters in the world as they would in the single-player but doesn't speak.
- Female characters can be used in GTA Online.
- Starting skills are based on the chosen lifestyles, but can be upgraded, as can the look of the character.
- Holding the Select/Back button pulls up a menu where outfits and gestures can be changed.
- GTA Online takes place before the main story, familiar faces will make appearances
By currying favour of characters you can be introduced to more people and delve deeper into the criminal world.
- Franklin's friend Lamar may introduce you to a car dealer named Simeon Yetarian, who wants you to steal cars for him.
- A tech-savvy character you've befriended may hide you on the radar during multiplayer.
- Security firms that have taken a liking to you may be used to deliver airstrikes.
- Biker gangs may support you during missions if you're friendly with them.
- After each GTA Online mission the crew leader decides who keeps the loot.
- A leader can choose to hog the spoils but, obviously, other players might not take that very well.
- In missions involving bigger teams a lobby window opens up. From this the roles such as sniper, look-out and transporter can be assigned. The crew leader can tweak settings such as time of day, weather, difficulty and how many lives they have to complete the mission.
- Everyone is given priorities suited to their role when missions begin.
- Some missions involve multiple phases, including a set-up phase. In the mission shown prep involved buying guns from Ammu-Nation and procuring a helicopter. The tasks can be split between players.
- When you have enough cash to purchase a "high end residency" you gain the ability to set up heists like the ones in the solo campaign.
- Missions are controlled through Rockstar's Social Club, which means the developer will be able to tweak them regularly.
- There's a crew ranking system [as well as a personal rank.]
- Players riding shotgun in cars can control radio stations, set waypoints, use a cinematic camera, or attack others.
- Passive mode can be activated if you want to enjoy Online without being troubled by other players, this is automatically deactivated when you fire your gun however.
- You can invite friends to your home and drink, call strippers, and watch Rockstar's custom created TV shows (or your friends in high-speed chases).
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