FACT - GTA V focuses on the 'pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present-day Southern California'. A lead character appears in the trailer, a middle-aged man, who is almost certainly narrated by bit-part CSI and Law And Order actor Ned Luke (cited by IMDB - plus he's visually identical to the in-game character).
He isn't a Los Santos native: ("Why did I move here?" he asks in the trailer), and is trying to change his career: ("I wanted to retire from what I was doing... that line of work... be a good guy for once"). He's clearly done OK for himself ("I bought a big house"), and is a dad (he refers to 'kids' in the plural). It's insinuated that his attempts to reform aren't going to plan: ("But, well, you know how it is"). In the trailer, he's seen taking part in a jewel heist, while imagery touches upon themes of poverty, construction, glamour, and celebrity - all contemporary LA themes.
RUMOUR - 'Rags to riches' is the usual GTA theme, so playing as someone who's 'made it' is an interesting inversion. The assumption is that he's made his money via criminal activity and is trying to reform, but don't rule out playing as an ex-FBI agent, perhaps disillusioned with corruption, or on the run.
A popular theory is that GTA V will feature multiple protagonists, allowing Rockstar to tell a more complex, multi-viewpoint take like The Wire. The 'Rush' casting call (from March 2011) reveals a rich list of characters, outlined below, that wouldn't disprove with this theory. A separate casting call reveals the existence of two brothers: Albert De Silva (voiced by Ned Luke, claims the IMDB) and Simon De Silva, both indirectly referenced in the 'Rush' cast list.
Albert's the dad of FPS-playing, overweight, bigoted 18-year-old Kevin, and Simon is said to 'terrify' Nervous Jerry, a 48-year-old paranoiac living 'in the sticks' near Simon. Could they be brothers, one reformed, the other... less so? It'd create an interesting tension. Another character, Miguel Gonzalez, is a 25-year- old Mexican FBI agent caught between mob bosses, and sounds like a plausible option for 'multiple protagonists'.
FACT - Ned Luke / Albert De Silva is the closest to 'fact', but even this is still (likely) speculation. The Ned Luke character does appear multiple times in the screenshots and trailers, mind, as does another, younger, Hispanic character.
RUMOUR - The 'Rush' casting call features an eclectic cast, including soccer moms, new age gurus, FBI agents, an Armenian car dealer, a disabled IT expert, a Beverly Hills party boy, Chinese mobsters and a Hollywood publicist - all classic GTA. There's seems to be roughly equal size threads of FBI agents and gangsters, so we'll presumably look at the effects of crime, poverty and excess on different strands of society.
FACT - GTA V is a 'radical reinvention of the GTA universe' according to Rockstar founder Sam Houser, hailed as 'a bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer'. On the surface, it looks like vintage GTA, but don't underplay the 'radical reinvention' message - especially in context of online integration.
RUMOUR - As discussed, we expect online to be the big shake-up, in tandem with multiple playable characters, but expect a big advance in social media interaction (both in-game and linked to the real world), soundtrack access and variety, plus editing and replay options.
Rumours from various 'In The Know' sources (of dubious credibility), include: safehouses, custom weapons, custom clothing, car mods, seasons and weather, RC explosive truck, hidden packages being '100 Sasquatches' and more.
FACT - GTA V takes place in 'the city of Los Santos and surrounding hills, countryside and beaches in the largest and most ambitious game Rockstar has yet created'. Los Santos is Rockstar's fictional version of Los Angeles, first seen in PS2's GTA: San Andreas. Confirmed locations include versions of Hollywood (Vinewood), Downtown skyscrapers (like the Westin Bonaventure Hotel etc), Hollywood Blvd, the Beverly Centre, Santa Monica, Muscle Beach and the vineyards of Malibu.
RUMOUR - Brendan McNamara, who worked with Rockstar on LA Noire, described GTA V as a 'behemoth' in October 2011. Rockstar have confirmed GTA V will be their biggest open world yet - no mean feat given the scale of GTA: SA or Red Dead Redemption.
Dan Houser told Game Informer: "It's Los Santos and the surrounding countryside - and a very big map." Screenshots confirm vast mountain areas (like Mt Chilliad in GTA: San Andreas), farm land, sweeping rivers, waterfalls, beaches and more.
FACT - Ogden's Nut Brown Flake by The Small Faces features on the trailer, and in Jan 2012 music label EMI told music trade paper Music Week, "Over the years, the Grand Theft Auto series has provided EMI with a unique opportunity to get sync placements for some hidden gems in our catalogue that otherwise may not have landed in the world of videogames. We look forward to working with Rockstar Games on future versions of this fantastic series."