GTA 5 PC Is the "Ultimate" Version

We talk with Rockstar North about GTA 5's long-awaited PC edition, which the studio calls the "ultimate" version of the game.

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The PC edition of acclaimed open-world game Grand Theft Auto V was originally scheduled to launch in fall 2014 alongside the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 editions. But developer Rockstar Games delayed the project multiple times before finally settling on an April 14 worldwide release date. GameSpot recently had the chance to speak with Rockstar North about this protracted development, and why the delays were necessary to deliver an experience that meets--and possibly exceeds--PC players' expectations.

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"It comes down to bandwidth," Rockstar Toronto lead gameplay designer John Macpherson said about why GTA V is coming to PC so much later than the other editions. "We want each version of the game to be the best it can possibly be, and that means having the core members of the original GTA V team working closely with the best PC developers from across all Rockstar studios--the same crew that did great work on the PC versions of Max Payne 3, L.A. Noire, and GTA IV."

"Essentially, a large portion of the team that worked on GTA V for PS3 and Xbox 360 also worked on the PS4 and Xbox One versions and all of the GTA Online content, including Heists. Since the new generation console versions and the PC version share similar architecture, the team also continued to work on the PC version," he added. "With each version adding features and requiring the focus of the same key people, that takes time. However, the result is a PC version that draws from a huge pool of knowledge inside the team to deliver a game of the highest possible quality in every way. We're really excited for people to play GTA V on PC; it is the ultimate version of an amazing game."

Another reason the PC edition of GTA V has taken so much time to arrive comes down to Rockstar working hard to ensure the open-world game not only runs well on high-end machines, but also lower-spec rigs.

"Our focus was to make the game run well on a wide range of hardware so that as many people could experience the game as possible," Rockstar North said. "In order to do that we spent a lot of time working on making various different aspects of the game scalable and accessible to the player. There are over 25 parameters you can tweak that can optimize graphics and performance. The game will automatically optimize the settings for your hardware when you first start it up, but you have a great deal of freedom."

Check out GameSpot's previous story on GTA V's extensive PC graphics options to learn more.

In addition, Rockstar North said that GTA V's Rockstar Editor, a PC-only toolset that will allow players to create gameplay clips and share them with the world, was a "huge addition" that required extra time.

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Rockstar North's Alex Hadjadj, GTA V's technical director for graphics, says players who have held out this long for the PC edition of the game are in for a treat. The PC version will be the best-looking version of the open-world game (provided your PC can handle it), running at 60fps and featuring population density sliders and better depth of field than the console editions.

"The most striking aspect is the ability to run the game at 60 frames per second, and to view the game in 4k resolution," he said. "Other improvements are more subtle--the addition of the population density slider means players can alter the traffic population of the city. Also, when pushing settings at the high end, a lot of the effects in the game, like reflections, skins, or depth of field are more subtle and realistic than on console versions."

Finally, Macpherson addressed the topic of modding for GTA V on PC. He wouldn't say much, but did suggest that any mods that find their way into GTA Online, the game's multiplayer mode, will be removed if they negatively affect the experience.

"Since GTA Online has such a massive and vibrant community, our primary focus is making sure that nothing detracts from that experience or has a negative impact on the overall community of players," he said.

GameSpot's full interview with Rockstar touches on even more subjects, including the developer's thoughts about virtual reality, what keeps the team enthusiastic about working on a project for 5+ years, and lots more. Check out the full interview here.

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