Recently in my crusade to deal psychological harm to myself by platinuming every game I play I have been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto V, part of the platinum requires getting a gold medal on 70 of the game’s missions, so I was replaying many missions multiple times. I’m not the kind of person to go through this much effort without making it productive in some manner, so today The Story Arc presents our first Grand Theft Auto article.
GTA V is a video game that despite popular belief has a single player mode with a story, one that I actually quite like. However, its story is not a work of art. It’s a story made to supplement gameplay and while it does that quite well there isn’t much to dig into with gameplay and story integration. However I believe there are some exceptions to this and today I would like to talk to you about one of them.
About 1/3rd of the way through the game, players begin the mission Blitz Play. The goal of this mission is to rob a van delivering money for a corrupt government group known as the IAA and give it to an entirely separate corrupt government group known as the FIB.
The plan the protagonist trio of Michael, Franklin, and Trevor come up with is simple and as Michael puts it: “Classic”. The trio will block a road with a garbage truck, blow the back off of the IAA van to steal what they came for, and fight any cops that immediately respond to the situation. This heist is inspired/directly ripped from the film “Heat” however I have not watched that movie so I can’t really make comparisons.
This isn’t the first mission where you use all three protagonists, it’s actually the second. However I believe that this mission does a better job at showing off the personalities of the three protagonists than the previous mission, and that way comes through via the gun fight with the responding LSPD cops and NOOSE agents.
The trio splits up into three different parts of the area. Franklin stays up front to deal with cops arriving from that direction, Michael runs back to an alley that leads right to them, and Trevor climbs high up to an area where he can see everything approaching. I believe, almost completely unintentionally so, that the ways the characters respond to the situation showcases their personalities and role in the story perfectly.
First up is Franklin. Franklin has spent his entire life at the bottom working for others who don’t have his best interests in mind. As someone who’s spent years stealing cars, getting into high speed chases, and being forced into gang fights he has no real investment in, he doesn’t even question when Michael insists he stay up front and handle the many cops coming from that direction. He’s a pawn charging forward on the board.
Next up is Michael. Michael is a snake of a man. The game literally begins with him going into a heist with two people with the intention of setting them up while he gets away scot free. While defending the alley from incoming cops and NOOSE agents is a solid strategy there is no doubt that if things went south he would have abandoned Franklin and Trevor to their fate and tried again some other time with other people. Trevor himself even says he’s “keeping his eye on [Michael]” during the fight. He’s known Michael for years and has been on the wrong end of betrayal, he knows how Michael thinks.
Then finally there’s Trevor, the group’s resident psychopath. Trevor being high up shows off his attitude perfectly in two ways. Trevor is a man who thinks himself above it all, above the law, above capitalism, above most morals. He’s also a man who loves to see it all burn which is why he brought the best tool for the job: a rocket launcher. With this beauty of a device he is willing to destroy anything in the path of his partners.
Once the shoot out is over, the group disperses. Franklin goes to destroy the garbage truck they used to block the road, Trevor….just vanishes, I dunno maybe he walked home, and Michael drives to the other side of the city to deliver the investment bonds they stole to rich billion Devin Weston, the antagonist of the game. Once this task is done the mission ends.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that at least 80% of what I have just written is me reading way too into things, but looking too deep into things is what I do. I love video games and the story telling opportunities they present. Replaying this mission for the gold medal while thinking of how to write an article about it made me appreciate it more, plus it was a fun thought experiment. GTA V is a fun game and one day I will platinum it and maybe even write some more articles like this.