GTA3 was released on 2001, 2 years after GTA 2 and a phenomenal step in the right direction (3D!!)
So that includes the basic engine and foundation - renderware physics, the car & ped models, environment, scripted real time events like opening vehicle doors etc. Then you have the storyline, weapons, characters, minimissions etc, all which took 2 years to make.
So now that they have the foundation set, they could recycle alot of stuff like the physics, basic environmental layout etc. All they needed to add in the sequels VC and SA was more content. Thus:
1 year later, VC comes out, the most epic in the series to create mood, atmosphere, and nostalgia Gotta Love the 80s!
2 years later, comes out GTA SA, the pinnacle of Sandbox Genre There was more stuff in this game than the last 10 EA games combined!
4 years pass, and we have our first GTA on the new consoles, GTA IV. Hailed as redefining the genre, it boasted the most realistic, life-like game with a living, breathing city that is unmatched even till today. I understand why it took 4 years - creating a game engine from scratch takes alot of time and resource. And with the sophistication and level of detail in GTA IV, its understandable why it took 4 years not 2 like GTA 3.
Another 4 years pass and we get a trailer.... Following the logic of GTA VC and SA, this game shouldn't take more than 1 - 2 years to release following GTA IV. Even from the trailer we see a very strong resemblance to GTA IV - character models and cars have been recycled. Physics system is the same, or as some people pointed out, less realistic (watch the scene where the red car turns a corner to bypass the police)
So my question is, what could R* be possibly hiding about this game that took them 5+ years to produce? I believe there's going to be alot to reveal for R* in the upcoming months. They're hiding their big guns, playing the game with a straight poker face. May be that trailer we saw was just a tip of the iceberg, and like Titanic, we are crashing into it underestimating it in every sense.
Edit: It seems people are not understanding my point. Simply, I'm saying in order to justify taking 4 years like GTA IV, R* must be focusing IMMENSELY on Gameplay and the map this time, since the other areas have already been refined in GTA IV. It's like comparing GTA3 (2 years in dev) vs GTA SA (also 2 years in dev). The difference - gameplay and the map. Think not that GTA V will be like what VC was to GTA3, but think instead that GTA V will be like what SA was to GTA3.
Edited by urbanfire, 14 April 2012 - 10:34 PM.