Grand Theft Auto V came out just over one week ago. It made over 1 billion (with a B) dollars in three days. Think about that.
The fifth installment in the popular GTA series had an advertising budget of approximately $150 million. The first GTA was released in 1997, and the second in 1999 for the PS1 and Gameboy Color, both featuring the still unique birds eye view camera. I played those games. I played them a lot.
Those were the good old days, when you just had to infiltrate the Hare Krishna or fight off some rednecks. You were just a dot on the screen. Now, if you want to beat GTA V, you are committing to literally hundreds of hours of game play, alternating between a host of elaborate missions and mini-games. You can buy and sell stock. You can play tennis. And you can still cause mayhem until the military eventually shows up and blows you to high heaven with a tank or fighter jet.
GTAs have always been recognized for the soundtracks, which have always come in the form of radio stations that play whenever you’re cruising in your freshly stolen vehicle. GTA V features 17 stations, each curated by a celebrity DJ; Lee “Scratch” Perry, Kenny Loggins, Bootsy Collins and Flying Lotus are just a few of the recognizable names.
The game is set in “Los Santos,” a stylized and hooker-filled take on Los Angeles that is stunning in its accuracy. In between machine gun battles, players can drive on the PCH, windows down and shades on.
Perhaps they might turn to Twin Shadow-curated “Radio Mirror Park” (a take on Silverlake and Echo Park, two notoriously indie neighborhoods that are now priced out for real hipsters), a bubbly mix of indie pop and remixes that includes songs by Poolside, Miami Horror, Yeasayer and Health.
And maybe, at that very moment, as that player sits in his or her dorm room in Connecticut, freezing his or her ass off, Neon Indian’s “Change of Coast” will come on. The sunshower of glitches and burbling vocal flourishes will fill the room. Time will stop.
“Change of coast/change of heart”.
Next stop, www.southwest.com.
Isn’t it funny how the economy works?