Ask CVG Anything: GTA Online, irritating NPCs

Plus: Is the industry doing enough to stop children playing mature games?

Ask CVG Anything does exactly what it says on the tin. We ask followers on the CVG Facebook page and forums to send in their best game-related questions, and do our best to answer them.

If you want to see your question featured in a future edition of Ask CVG Anything, either add it as a comment at the bottom of this article or keep an eye on our Facebook page or this forum thread where we'll be regularly asking for more.

What's the most copies of a game you've bought? Include HD remakes, 3D remakes, rebought game because you snapped the disc, gifts for friends/families, whatever, no restrictions. - TheLastDodo

Metal Gear Solid: The Deluxe Legacy Package Collector's Edition, or whatever it's called

Chris - Super Mario Bros, which is also my favourite game of all time. Got the original on NES, ended up getting my cousin's copy of it because it had Duck Hunt on it too, got Super Mario Bros Deluxe on GBC, got Super Mario All-Stars on SNES, got the NES Classics version on GBA, got the Virtual Console version on Wii, 3DS and Wii U. Eight versions of the same game - boom. Still play it at least a couple of times a week too, 26 years after I first played it.

Tamoor - I have multiple copies of various games in the Metal Gear Solid series. I own three copies of Metal Gear Solid on PS1 (one signed by Kojima) and a digital version from PSN. Both versions of MGS2 and MGS3. Plus, the HD Collection on Xbox 360, PS3 and Vita. Do Street Fighter games count? Because I've got all the versions of SF2, SF3 and SF4.

Amusing, somewhat related story: I convinced a friend to buy Def Jam Fight For New York by inviting him to play it at my house. He loved it (it's a freaking brilliant game) and went out and picked up a copy of the game from CeX. For some reason there was no case, just one of those plastic wallets and, like an idiot, he put it in his arse pocket... then sat down. SNAP. I took pity and gave him my copy until he could afford to get another one.

Indies are definitely the flavour of the month right now but what kind of impact do you see them having on the long term success of all 3 platforms, will they sway people from one box to another? - StonecoldMC

Chris - If indies were able to sway people towards a particular console then the Wii U wouldn't have any problems, what with its support for the Unity engine, the 30 or so indie games coming to Wii U by the end of this year and Nintendo's claim that "over 1000 indies" have declared an interest in developing for Wii U.

With that in mind, it's clear to me that indies are a good thing to have but they're by no means the be-all and end-all. Most early adopters are buying next-gen consoles because they want to experience an evolutionary step forward in terms of graphical detail and the like, and the vast majority of indie games won't offer that. Unless the indie game in question is Minecraft - and that's been confirmed for both Xbox One and PS4 anyway - then it's unlikely an indie game will be important enough to sell consoles in the way a Titanfall or Killzone would. A lovely bonus, sure, but not a deciding factor.

Tamoor - I think the line between indie and AAA will blur. It's already happening; indie games are becoming more ambitious and raking in the cash. With Sony and Microsoft being more accommodating to indie devs I think they're going to slowly reach the point we're they're on equal footing with big budget games in terms of the attention and spotlight they're given.

Indie games, it seems, is one of the defining features of PS4, as we all learned at E3. They're betting big on indies, which is very exciting.

"James I..."

Have you come across any overly irritating NPCs in games that made you want to hurt them? There are two that stick out in my mind. Firstly there is Fihada who owns the Fletching shop in Solitude (I call him Fihada the Felcher) who I really don't get on with. The other is Armadillo's general store owner Herbert Moon, if he ever asks me to chase after a thief for him again I might have to take drastic action to guarantee it doesn't happen again (I don't actually know if you can permanently remove him, but I'll try). - Nimron Tang

Chris - That wee dick in Spider-Man 2 who keeps losing his balloon and asking Spider-Man to get it for him. Worst side-quest ever. I also hated the Hanar, the weird jellyfish race in Mass Effect who kept referring to themselves as "this one". Well, this one says that one can do one.

Tamoor - Initially I found Merchant from Resident Evil 4 a bit annoying, but I grew to love him very quickly. Other than that, not really. I'm very tolerant of NPCs.


Minors participating in online games not meant for them - for example GTA V. Is the industry doing enough? Are there sufficient methods of detection in place to remove them from playing games not meant for them? Are parents up to the task of monitoring all the new methods of obtaining age restricted content? Are games companies holding back enforcing / acting in a proactive manner as it may harm sales? - richomack360

Tamoor - I think it's tied into whether that minor should be playing that game in the first place. If a kid is playing Gears of War 3, rated 18, online, he's obviously managed to pass the checks in place to prevent that, so either the retailer has failed or the parents are to blame. There's only so much the industry can do, constant monitoring is a messy territory when issues of invasion of privacy start to come up.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that parents and carers should be doing more to police what minors they are in charge of are playing online. If they don't let a kid buy and play an Call of Duty game unsuitable for them, they're not online. Simple as that.

Chris - Like Tamoor says, they can only do so much. They're at the stage now where they're essentially equal to the film industry in terms of certification and regulations - the problem is that there aren't enough parents who are properly educated. Everyone knows what a 15 or 18 rated DVD or Blu-ray means, but ask your regular Joe Schmoe on the streets what PEGI is and many of them will have no clue.

But really, short of getting the police to investigate houses and confiscate every copy of GTA V they find in a 13-year-old's bedroom, there's not much more that can be done. Should kids be playing GTA V in my opinion? No chance. Does that mean the rules have to be stricter? No, they're strict enough.

Which yearly franchise do you like the most? - Alaann

Chris - FIFA, NBA 2K and WWE for me every year without question. Not interested in Call Of Duty in the slightest, but I will buy all three of those series on day one every year (just got my NBA 2K14 pre-order in).

To me, the people who say "FIFA's the same game every year" don't play it enough to realise the differences. FIFA 14 has made just enough subtle changes to the gameplay this time to cause me to rethink my entire strategy (especially in terms of player acceleration) and I love that.

Tamoor - Assassin's Creed. Despite the massive disappointment that was AC3. At least Ubisoft is constantly mixing it up.

What's the most stupid and funniest thing you've done in GTA V? - illage2

Tamoor - I got a bike, drove into traffic and and bunny-hopped onto the top of an oncoming car, managed to stay on it just long enough to get on a motorway. Once their I jumped off the side.... AND LANDED ON ANOTHER CAR. Pure fluke.

Chris - A combination of a honeymoon and the need to review other upcoming games means I sadly haven't played as much of GTA V as I'd like yet. However, spending four hours trying to get onto GTA Online definitely counts as the "most stupid".

Have any of the CVG staff, when not given preferential treatment over the general pleblic, exclaimed "Don't you know who I am?" - FishyGinger

Chris - No, but I have occasionally thought: "Don't you know who I THINK I am?"

Tamoor - I have, once, at a Nandos. The reply was "No, please quiet down".

I did, for the chicken.

Can you see GTA Online type problems becoming more common next gen as games get even bigger and more complex?. I've had three characters disappear on it now, which isn't that big of a loss because I hadn't played long and he always seemed to look like Jessie J, but it doesn't fill me with confidence of cloud saving with it happening on something as small as a character profile. - El Mag

Chris - Grand Theft Auto V was the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of games launch with very few online issues, even ones that sell in large numbers (see FIFA and Call Of Duty). The problem with GTA (much like the problem with SimCity before it) was a combination of huge sales and a lack of preparation. FIFA and COD are stable each year (EA's occasional routine server issues aside) because they've released numerous games in the series and have built on past experience.

The big mistake Rockstar made, in my opinion, was launching GTA Online a fortnight after GTA V came out. I understand why they did it, and that's perfectly fine, but it was a mistake. GTA IV had online multiplayer too, but because it launched at the same time as the game most concentrated on the single-player first and only tried out online once they were done with that. As such there was a manageable stream of new people trying it out. By holding GTA Online back for a fortnight (not to mention hyping it up like mad), by that point everyone was ready to try the online mode and that manageable stream was replaced by an enormous tsunami.

Don't worry. 99% of next-gen releases will never have this problem, especially with Microsoft and Sony investing even more money on servers.

Tamoor - Launching something big and ambitious online will always be a problem. Forever. On everything. That's just an inevitable part of the process.