I mostly agree with you many thing but I do disagree with some of your points here. If I can pick apart a few things...
However, focusing on just one city greatly increases the amount of care and detail can be put into the map. Unless you spend a lengthy amount of time creating multiple cities which would just delay the game's release further.
We don't know this for sure. If any company has the skill and the budget to make two worthwhile cities, It's Rockstar. If you don't think Rockstar can do it, then it's almost like saying it can't be done. Yes, it may take more time to make but nobody is going to know how long GTA Next is going to take anyway whether it's one city or two cities.
Also, for V, if Rockstar focused on one character for GTA V, for example Michael, I'm guessing the resources going towards, 2 other characters such as mo-capping, recording of dialogue, mission structure, animations, character-switching dynamics etc etc, could have gone in to a team developing a second city, a city where Michael could have traveled to fulfill the story.
Really, I don't see a reason why we should have multiple cities unless the plot calls for it.
Well, I think a second city can provide more that just plot calling for it. There's plenty of reasons a character can visit another city.
In The Wire we often heard about drug contacts in Philadelphia and New York. There's many non-story reasons why a second city would be justified such a drug-smuggling missions. I'll list a few:
Non-story reasons to have two cities:
- Drug Smuggling: Smuggling drugs between cities. Or stealing drug-smugglers along a popular route between cities, like in San Andreas but more evolved.
- Different economies: Some cars in one city may fetch a better price than in the other. Say you are stealing cars to sell. A Sentinel may fetch more in one city (if you want to drive it there) than the other. Buying drugs in one city might be cheaper so you can sell them in the other city at more of a profit. A bit like in RDR where some stuff fetched a better price if you went over the border.
- Different scenery: Another city is another city. Bored of one city, go to the other. It's like two GTA's in one. I would find it hard to get bored a game that offers such variety. Each city can have it's own distinct feel and identity. Once can be affluent, nicer have a more thriving economy and one can be ravaged by poverty, unemployment, crime, grimness. We could have a contrasting cities, one vibrant and modern and the other dark and gritty. The progression from dark and gritty to the affluent city could be so refreshing.
Overall, I just think the potential of two cities offers way more than say multiple characters. Imagine starting off poor, in the sh*tty part of town in the poorer city, ravaged by crime. The story takes your around that city's underbelly. You earn dough, make contacts etc and follow a dark and gritty story. Eventually you start making a name for yourself and you start becoming more of a big-shot. You might be a big-shot in the poor city but you'd be somewhere near the bottom if you arrived in the more affluent city. Then then you meet contacts from the nicer, 2nd city...
You make the journey by car, excited by the prospects of what's in the newer city. Of course, the stores there will sell more stylish and expensive clothes, better car shops open up there with access to more sports and luxury, access to better, less street-grade weapons and access to more high-end properties etc. The sense of progression would be amazing.
Travelling back to the first city will have it's charms and dangers. There'll be street gangs on the corners and rival gangs you may have pissed off. Travelling back to the old city will have a danger-feel but it's also where to came-up. You may also have contacts there to smuggle drugs in to the 2nd city, like cocaine for the young, stupid and rich. Meanwhile your jacking rich-kids cars and then selling them to drug dealers back in the first city.
Each city can have it's own benefits and disadvantages. One can have a more NY/LC feel that's more condensed, where good sections of the map encourage on-foot game-play with many seedy underground places and derelict buildings that entice you out of the car to explore, full of mystery and details and the other city can be more open like LA/LS with highways and roads good for racing and being in your car. These two distinctions can offer varied gameplay. The cities don't have to be the same or just there for the sake of it or because plot calls for another city. A lot of care, attention and psychology can go in to the two cities so they're very different, very purposeful.
If you were building a GTA with two cities, you'd have to almost build the cities and be happy that if only one city was being released, gamers would be happy with that one city. Then do it twice and make two so nothing is left out.
Disagree I don't really see a story working with a bunch of cities....also it would be difficult as f*ck to develop.
We're not talking about a bunch of cities. We're only talking about one more than there has all ready been in the last two titles and one less than there has in San Andreas. Also, anything worth developing has to difficult AF.