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GTA VI Single Player should play like GTA Online


Flymystical-DJ

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Flymystical-DJ

Clickbait title sort of hear me out because I'm not referring to multiplayer or microtransactions.

 

The linear mission by mission structure of GTA games has been in place since damn near the beginning and I think it's time that formula had some meaningful improvements to it. Look at Red Dead 2, so so many improvements to flesh the world out between missions but those missions go in a static order and have no connection to any of the open world elements. Meanwhile, GTA online implements a completely different structure for the very few mission it has: player freedom. You don't just get to the nightclub portion of the story. You yourself make the decision to buy a nightclub, it's location, and once you get it, even who you're going to hire which dictates your missions. 

 

I believe GTA VI should implement a similar structure for single player. It would come at the cost of some story but vastly improve the open world experience. You shouldn't just head to a map marker to do a mission that unlocks more. The player should make the decision on what the mission will be themselves. Want to sell drugs? Go to a sh*tty area and find a dealer, find out where his dealer is. Find the head dealer who isn't going to sell to you in bulk until to you complete a GTA mission for him. 

 

Undoubtedly it will come with caveats. This type of system would require the game to have much much more missions then the standard GTA game. The story would take a hit. The mission quality too. But I believe it's still doable. Every drug deal mission doesn't need to be "The Long Stretch" Many of the GTA online repeatable missions are actually pretty fun, despite being relatively simple. it's just that they require 30 minutes of driving and there's only like 10 scenarios so they get old quick. Make the rewards actually worth it and add in 40 more scenarios and suddenly running a MC could be a lot more enjoyable. There could even be tidbits of unique dialogue and cutscenes in these missions, they already record a sh*t ton of extra audio for freaking Jimmy just reallocate that effort. And it's not like there couldn't be traditional GTA missions. Imagine once you expand your drug ring or Import/Export of whatever the player wants to do to multiple cities you get contacted by a government agent. You're rings too big to go unnoticed, but it's you he's after. 

 

The biggest loss would be story. As stupid as GTA stories can be they are actually very well written and as we saw in GTA4 can do a lot more than add context to the entertainment. There could still be a story (getting money to pay off relatives debt to mafia/hospital) but it will have no involvement on missions the way we have now. But I believe it would still result in a better experience. GTA games have always been about the having fun in a open world sandbox first and foremost. By implementing a more player driven mission structure the missions themselves will become a part of that sandbox.

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I agree. We hope there will be jobs like heists, Lamar missions, GTA singleplayer races and cargo shipment in GTA VI. This game is going to be exciting to play if GTA VI singleplayer's gameplay is like GTA Online's gameplay.

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Sacrificing story for an open ended online-like world is just a terrible idea, because we already know that's what the Online mode is for...

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If I would want to play just a bunch of missions and wouldn't care about story then I would play GTA Online.

Edited by Kris194
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Flymystical-DJ
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, rjmthe2nd said:

Sacrificing story for an open ended online-like world is just a terrible idea, because we already know that's what the Online mode is for...

I have no idea how you fail to see the advantages this type of design gets in a single player environment. Let alone the advantage of having a definitive set experience rather than an ongoing service.

4 hours ago, Kris194 said:

If I would want to play just a bunch of missions and wouldn't care about story then I would play GTA Online.

Is story why you got into GTA? 

8 hours ago, JaeDan 101 said:

I agree. We hope there will be jobs like heists, Lamar missions, GTA singleplayer races and cargo shipment in GTA VI. This game is going to be exciting to play if GTA VI singleplayer's gameplay is like GTA Online's gameplay.

More than that. A lot of GTA onlines mission types are very static because it's online. In a single player setting you could add scripted sequences, cutscenes, npc allies, and even some random events.

Edited by Flymystical-DJ
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I think there's a middle ground. Single player can have the same story structure and implement elements of online. Most of Online's businesses would and do work perfectly as Single Player sidequests obtained by buying property. Import/export, the CEO Warehouse, and gun running would fit in perfectly, in my opinion. Contact missions? Well, that's pretty much just a slight tweak on Strangers and Freaks which should be easy enough to incorporate into the current formula.

 

I don't really see any need or logical reason to abandoned the story driven formula of GTA and replace it with Online's formula. At the end of the day, Online's content is essentially just a bunch of side quests that could easily be rolled into a full game experience.

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7 hours ago, rjmthe2nd said:

Sacrificing story for an open ended online-like world is just a terrible idea, because we already know that's what the Online mode is for...

Vice City and San Andreas literally had a similar design blueprint for this sort of gameplay, and the protagonists for both are some of the most iconic in the industry

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That's actually a great idea, though maybe something like only being able to fail the mission when you die and only when you die would give enough freedom to it

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4 hours ago, DownInThePMs said:

Vice City and San Andreas literally had a similar design blueprint for this sort of gameplay, and the protagonists for both are some of the most iconic in the industry

 

Dude said we shouldn't be given missions, we should determine what the mission should be about lol, sounds very RPG-esque and VC / SA didn't have anything like that. Then he says the story and mission quality would take a hit; this is laughable, sounds like this guy plays GTA Online daily

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6 hours ago, Flymystical-DJ said:

Is story why you got into GTA? 

Story was important part of GTA series since at least GTA III, the only difference is that these stories were way more simple.

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I don't really like that idea. In my opinion what the franchise really needs is a fine balance between scripted sequences and freedom. I am all for a lot more freedom in how I approach tasks in missions in next GTA, there are certainly parts of missions that suffer from being scripted. For example, if I need to retrieve something from a warehouse while being in stealth, the game shouldn't tell me where I need to enter the warehouse, what weapons I should use and how I should leave. There are stupid moments like this in RDR2 and GTA V, you can easily fail a task that could have been much more open-ended without sacrificing on the story at all.

At the same time, the scripted sequences are part of what GTA makes a GTA. I don't want the game to be a sandbox with little to no direction as some games are (BOTW is an example of a game that does it really great). To me the cinematic elements are important; yes, they definitely should be reduced in some areas, but for me the main problem is the tasks that shouldn't be scripted and are scripted, as I explained above. Rockstar should first focus on that.

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slimeball supreme
19 hours ago, Flymystical-DJ said:

The story would take a hit. The mission quality too.

Yeah okay but why would I want that

 

There's a balanced way of doing this sh*t while deeply involving it into the writing and story of a given mission, without it becoming drek like gtao. I look at the 'mission structure' of Gta online and not only do i see something soulless but I see something completely bereft of experiential depth. I cant remember many names of gta online missions let alone the events, and most of them are remarkably similar and often repetitive and bland. I see something devoid of characterization - the only group of missions in that 'game' I can say show that are Lamar's lowriders missions. Much of gtao's missions are skin-level errand boy sh*t, mobile game grinding sh*t, where you head to a place to take out a bunch of guards and either retrieve an object (while being pursued by an infinite amount of goons in green suvs) or finish then and there. there isnt much rewarding to the businesses and after executives and other criminals it became an increasingly formulaic and identical gameplay pattern that has remained for every update following it (including rdo). the racketeering in vc was at least centered in a miniature plot thread - not so here. why do i want to replay the same shootouts if theres nothing bonding you to it?

 

The constant gripe about the linearity and mission structure of rockstar games has irritated me probably since IV's release (my favorite game in the series). That was in many ways a game that sort of has the 'balanced' structure with a little bit of a leaning toward the gameplay aspect of things. A lot of missions in that game are structured around a specific goal or template - vehicle chase for assassination, target in a populated area, going online and doing some prep work, shootout setpiece. Often those missions aren't remembered for their content but the cutscenes preceding and following them, or the story developments. Many are more open-ended than they are stereotyped but at the end of the day many people see them as forgettable, Ive seen bitching about this for f*cking years. what you describe could very easily be the mission structure of gta 4 that revolves around that introduction and you doing work to get into their favor - what many call boring, repetitive, or uninvolved. and then if you strip away that characterization, it could very well be that.

 

This also ignores the priority of building the story seen in rdr2's plot. This can be very excessive in some instances but because of the genre - westerns, known for slow contemplation (the opening of once upon a time in the west is the slow buildup to a shootout at a train station) - rdr2 heavily prioritizes "the mosey over the sprint". It is all atmosphere, and without that atmosphere you dont have a western but a video game with a western skin. This applies to much of rockstar's catalogue in recent memory in the capturing and encapsulation of themes and motifs of a genre. just the same - when youre on a job for or by someone, youre on a f*cking job. if you f*ck around, your head is on a pike (which reminds me the reason these mission failures are so abrasive is how rdr1 eschewed iv's fail state of an immediate ending with fail calls for a black title screen - a negative choice imo). if youre out on your own accord in the open world, you arent at the behest of a paymaster

 

to mention one highly publicized example is the mission where you confront the braithwaite family at the ending of chapter 3 - this got a heap of flak on twitter from a bioshock designer or something about its tense, scripted nature. to get annoyed by the structure you ignore that this is a deliberate storytelling choice, the gang united after a long period of disorganization, riding to show true strength, finally stepping on someone else instead of being stepped on. there are missions in rdr2 that dont have this - robbing the crawfords with hosea has a highly sophisticated amount of outcomes depending on how much you steal, what you find, how you enter the house, and if you screw up and alert the crawfords to your presence (which doesnt instigate an immediate failure state). when the game doesn't do this, its because its trying to make a point or deliberately showcase something. to make killzones or sneak in from the back of the house completely destroys your involvement in a group that you are not the leader of. there is no drama in that

 

8 hours ago, Flymystical-DJ said:

Is story why you got into GTA? 

for me - yes. its also why rdr has been touted as so much richer than gta in its focus on storytelling. if anything, if a future gta ever comes, it needs to go the extra mile in capturing a setting in the same way rdr2 or gta 4 or la noire have done. these arent games as much about nonsense chaos - which are still fully achievable and i think even enhanced by the numerous things that the context of a story adds - but also about inhabiting real characters in a deeply realized world. if you peel away that characterization, you have a ubisoft game. you have watch dogs legion where there are six repeating voiced characters and u go to the same four different locations to retrieve a randomly generated item to instantly make them your buddy. you can get that just fine in the online mode without sacrificing storytelling

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Western Gunslinger

This would be a good idea IMO, GTA was and should always be about freedom and player choice, which HD era (or simply modern games) lacks

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1 hour ago, Western Gunslinger said:

player choice, which HD era (or simply modern games) lacks

3D era games were about choice how we approach missions, not how we want story to look like. If guy had to be dead from story perspective then he was dead, no matter how you killed him the effect was the same.

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Flymystical-DJ
On 3/25/2021 at 7:46 PM, DexMacLeod said:

I think there's a middle ground. Single player can have the same story structure and implement elements of online. Most of Online's businesses would and do work perfectly as Single Player sidequests obtained by buying property. Import/export, the CEO Warehouse, and gun running would fit in perfectly, in my opinion. Contact missions? Well, that's pretty much just a slight tweak on Strangers and Freaks which should be easy enough to incorporate into the current formula.

 

I don't really see any need or logical reason to abandoned the story driven formula of GTA and replace it with Online's formula. At the end of the day, Online's content is essentially just a bunch of side quests that could easily be rolled into a full game experience.

I agree that a middle ground would be a smarter step forward, less drastic. Potentially just a MGSV approach to missions, like being given a goal and having dozens of ways to go at it. Both options are equally as viable as the current GTA formula while also being fresh.

 

Also, the story is not being removed, it would have to be lightened. There is a very logical reason to lighten the story too. It's because it necessary. If you try writing a story around a character who could literally be doing anything it'll become a waste of resources. Like imagine them having to write dialogue for lamar for 15 different scenarios. Did the PC find a michal-like character to work for? Or did they start a drug business? or are they getting into the street race scene? or are they doing hitman work? How would tanisha react? how would stretch react? etc. etc. the only logical solution is to lighten the story. Instead of a cast of characters with their own goals it could be one character, a sibling with a medical disorder who needs cash for surgery. And then maybe some side friend characters that's arc could fit into a wider variety of scenarios and play less of a role as foil for the MC.

 

It all comes down to this: why do you play GTA? Me personally, it's the gameplay. Over the years there's been some great stories in GTA but unlike Red Dead it has never been what I've wanted out of GTA. When I imagine GTA I imagine doing the things im not allowed to do IRL. Drive cars fast, break the law, spend my money on frivilous things. Missions like "The Long Stretch" wern't good for me because of the character, but because it was a drug deal that was unexpectedly going wrong.  Putting mission progression into the players hands would expand this. It would become a drug deal that the player has created all context for. 

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Flymystical-DJ
On 3/26/2021 at 3:44 AM, slimeball supreme said:

Yeah okay but why would I want that

 

There's a balanced way of doing this sh*t while deeply involving it into the writing and story of a given mission, without it becoming drek like gtao. I look at the 'mission structure' of Gta online and not only do i see something soulless but I see something completely bereft of experiential depth. I cant remember many names of gta online missions let alone the events, and most of them are remarkably similar and often repetitive and bland. I see something devoid of characterization - the only group of missions in that 'game' I can say show that are Lamar's lowriders missions. Much of gtao's missions are skin-level errand boy sh*t, mobile game grinding sh*t, where you head to a place to take out a bunch of guards and either retrieve an object (while being pursued by an infinite amount of goons in green suvs) or finish then and there. there isnt much rewarding to the businesses and after executives and other criminals it became an increasingly formulaic and identical gameplay pattern that has remained for every update following it (including rdo). the racketeering in vc was at least centered in a miniature plot thread - not so here. why do i want to replay the same shootouts if theres nothing bonding you to it?

 

The constant gripe about the linearity and mission structure of rockstar games has irritated me probably since IV's release (my favorite game in the series). That was in many ways a game that sort of has the 'balanced' structure with a little bit of a leaning toward the gameplay aspect of things. A lot of missions in that game are structured around a specific goal or template - vehicle chase for assassination, target in a populated area, going online and doing some prep work, shootout setpiece. Often those missions aren't remembered for their content but the cutscenes preceding and following them, or the story developments. Many are more open-ended than they are stereotyped but at the end of the day many people see them as forgettable, Ive seen bitching about this for f*cking years. what you describe could very easily be the mission structure of gta 4 that revolves around that introduction and you doing work to get into their favor - what many call boring, repetitive, or uninvolved. and then if you strip away that characterization, it could very well be that.

 

This also ignores the priority of building the story seen in rdr2's plot. This can be very excessive in some instances but because of the genre - westerns, known for slow contemplation (the opening of once upon a time in the west is the slow buildup to a shootout at a train station) - rdr2 heavily prioritizes "the mosey over the sprint". It is all atmosphere, and without that atmosphere you dont have a western but a video game with a western skin. This applies to much of rockstar's catalogue in recent memory in the capturing and encapsulation of themes and motifs of a genre. just the same - when youre on a job for or by someone, youre on a f*cking job. if you f*ck around, your head is on a pike (which reminds me the reason these mission failures are so abrasive is how rdr1 eschewed iv's fail state of an immediate ending with fail calls for a black title screen - a negative choice imo). if youre out on your own accord in the open world, you arent at the behest of a paymaster

 

to mention one highly publicized example is the mission where you confront the braithwaite family at the ending of chapter 3 - this got a heap of flak on twitter from a bioshock designer or something about its tense, scripted nature. to get annoyed by the structure you ignore that this is a deliberate storytelling choice, the gang united after a long period of disorganization, riding to show true strength, finally stepping on someone else instead of being stepped on. there are missions in rdr2 that dont have this - robbing the crawfords with hosea has a highly sophisticated amount of outcomes depending on how much you steal, what you find, how you enter the house, and if you screw up and alert the crawfords to your presence (which doesnt instigate an immediate failure state). when the game doesn't do this, its because its trying to make a point or deliberately showcase something. to make killzones or sneak in from the back of the house completely destroys your involvement in a group that you are not the leader of. there is no drama in that

 

for me - yes. its also why rdr has been touted as so much richer than gta in its focus on storytelling. if anything, if a future gta ever comes, it needs to go the extra mile in capturing a setting in the same way rdr2 or gta 4 or la noire have done. these arent games as much about nonsense chaos - which are still fully achievable and i think even enhanced by the numerous things that the context of a story adds - but also about inhabiting real characters in a deeply realized world. if you peel away that characterization, you have a ubisoft game. you have watch dogs legion where there are six repeating voiced characters and u go to the same four different locations to retrieve a randomly generated item to instantly make them your buddy. you can get that just fine in the online mode without sacrificing storytelling

I love how differently peoples tastes are. I was actually thinking of both GTA 4 and Watch Dogs when I wrote this post! GTA 4 at times doesn't even have a story, it's like a linear version of how I imagine this system I've suggested playing out. You're just meeting people and doing unimportant nothing jobs only to get introduced to more people with slightly more important unimportant nothings jobs. That crime simulation is what I love about GTA, a chance to partake in the shady underworld.

 

I agree with you, the lack of characterization would hurt the formula. GTA 4 w/o character like Vlad would have been boring but I imagine a method of being able to have wacky unique characters baked in to the player controlled context. Say the player decides to track down a drug dealers drug dealer...that head drug dealer would be a GTA personality who has a pretty defined mission for you to go on. I'll admit though that my knowledge of game development doesn't allow me to say for sure how possible this solution would be. And even then I'd say having a character like Roman who would react to 10 different player paths the way he does to the one Niko takes is out of the question.

 

Games are an interactive medium though and they don't need linear stories to convey feelings. I'd say the most powerful moments in any game are the ones crafted by player. Any attempt to use story telling to recreate those moments will fail to be as meaningful because the story is only simulating context, not creating it. If pulled off correctly this online-esq form of story telling could probably never reach the highs of a traditional GTA storyline in a dramatic sense but the feeling of player freedom and the mission to mission excitement would be very much more palpable. When I refer to this method of story progression this is what I mean by "the next step" 

 

So to bring things back around, I think it just comes down to a difference in taste. 

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Flymystical-DJ
On 3/26/2021 at 2:18 AM, 0909090 said:

I don't really like that idea. In my opinion what the franchise really needs is a fine balance between scripted sequences and freedom. I am all for a lot more freedom in how I approach tasks in missions in next GTA, there are certainly parts of missions that suffer from being scripted. For example, if I need to retrieve something from a warehouse while being in stealth, the game shouldn't tell me where I need to enter the warehouse, what weapons I should use and how I should leave. There are stupid moments like this in RDR2 and GTA V, you can easily fail a task that could have been much more open-ended without sacrificing on the story at all.

At the same time, the scripted sequences are part of what GTA makes a GTA. I don't want the game to be a sandbox with little to no direction as some games are (BOTW is an example of a game that does it really great). To me the cinematic elements are important; yes, they definitely should be reduced in some areas, but for me the main problem is the tasks that shouldn't be scripted and are scripted, as I explained above. Rockstar should first focus on that.

I think this is actually the best solution. It's not as drastic as what I suggested but would still make the world feel very alive. Something like this would turn many GTA missions into a Deus Ex/Hitman level and I love that idea because that's one of the things I think is missing from GTA right now. Nothing pulls me out of GTA more than seeing a NPC with no purpose. An NPC who might as well be a prop. This method could give a lot more NPC's (in mission areas) purpose and make the world feel alive. It also gives the player a feeling of agency. Imagine standing outside of the docks in "Scouting the Port" with this type of level design. You would actually feel like you're about to enter a port and scout instead of just following what his face like in the actual mission.

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slimeball supreme
17 minutes ago, Flymystical-DJ said:

turn many GTA missions into a Deus Ex/Hitman level

This is actually one of the strongest ways to go in my opinion also. Im of the opinion above all the story and the sense of place is very valuable and shouldnt be shunned but i do feel a more involved mission process can significantly benefit or improve a mission. Any example works - on the docks at the port there could be an innumerable amount of ways of acquiring intel that also dont railroad you into specific routes. If you f*ck up, the heist becomes significantly harder because of increased security - scouting the port really blew because it failed to consider a scenario where you screwed up. You could approach it from any way - in this instance i think of watch dogs 2's open world. It is a significant benefit when coming up with a certain kind of mission where there's a target, requiring a more involved process. there are so many crazy details in the original deus ex's levels or in a lot of rpgs that are a great place to look

 

All the while its important to be wary of going overboard - Mafia 3 is an example clear as day where this open ended formula impacted the entire game's structure and significantly worsened the experience. It got repetitive, it got boring, so on. Those scripted missions or set pieces dont have to go away but what is key is a quality setting and writing of both dialogue and scenario. You need to be a creative level designer. Say youre busting up a drug stash - you could use any number of entryways, use a guard as a distraction, sneak in, survey the quirks of certain individuals or layouts. Perhaps one guard goes off his patrol every now and then because the dog next door distracts him which gives you a great opportunity to get in and out. Perhaps hes a muttering, stuttering motherf*cker - good opportunity for some fun dialogue. I look at gtao and i dont see that writing shining through - i see those activities being placed on the map that dont allow you much breathing room and certainly arent creative or intelligent. Now you populate a block full of life and that gives you a legitimate reason to make it open beyond the simple feedback from being involved in decisions - you see the world react to you, and you see a real world in it

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5 hours ago, Flymystical-DJ said:

Also, the story is not being removed, it would have to be lightened. There is a very logical reason to lighten the story too. It's because it necessary. If you try writing a story around a character who could literally be doing anything it'll become a waste of resources. Like imagine them having to write dialogue for lamar for 15 different scenarios.

Writing is one thing but the real problem is recording all of this. They needed Roger Clark to work for them for 5 years, five years only for motion capture and voice acting. That's really a lot of time and Rockstar is already hitting limit of what's possible if you want to start making game and release it in the same console generation.

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Flymystical-DJ
On 3/28/2021 at 10:42 AM, slimeball supreme said:

I look at gtao and i dont see that writing shining through -

Imagine that Import/Export mission where you have to sneak into the backyard of a mansion during a house party. Now apply the hitman/deus ex treatment to it. With the GTAO approach to single player the only place where the writing would suffer is on the outside. Inside that mission you could have the full GTA experience but you did the setup.

 

Again though I think the smarter approach for RS would be to have a traditional GTA story that linearly leads you to these open ended missions. Possibly with some branching rewards/punsihments depending on what approach you take and how well you execute it. That way the mission designers could perfect the craft and the team wouldn't be risking going overboard.

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Flymystical-DJ
On 3/28/2021 at 3:47 PM, Kris194 said:

Writing is one thing but the real problem is recording all of this. They needed Roger Clark to work for them for 5 years, five years only for motion capture and voice acting. That's really a lot of time and Rockstar is already hitting limit of what's possible if you want to start making game and release it in the same console generation.

It would require the team to know ahead of time what general set of animations that the level designers and programmers could make the most of. Unfortunately, this is something they would only know through experience and could not pull off now, probably the biggest problem with my suggestion. It's something Bungie did and still is struggling to figure out with Destiny. This is one of the places the story would take hit, presentation. Instead of handcrafted cutscenes for every mission you'd see an amalgamation of re-used animations mixed in with a unique one for specific instances. Probably even occasional instances of re-used dialogue too although I'd imagine that is easier and cheaper to get so it would be less of a problem.

 

It's all in service of the experience though. Sure, it wouldn't look as real as Rockstar games usually do. But that drug deal or whatever would FEEL real because it isn't a mission you were lead to. It's a choice you made and followed through on. If you've played it try imagining the Chinatown Wars drug deals these were another big inspiration for this suggestion.

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