GTA V Will Have An Original Score

As more details slip out about Grand Theft Auto V, it’s looking more and more like Rockstar’s most ambitious ever game. The latest evidence is the reveal in the Game Informer December cover story that the game will feature an original score.

Past GTA games have of course featured some original music. Vice City featured two songs by the fictional hair meta band Love Fist, while GTA III’s pop music station featured several hilarious original songs ranging from etherial pop music to boy band stuff, and every game has its opening credits theme song that gets reprised every time you complete a mission. But none of them have had actual incidental music playing during crucial moments of the game. While details are scant, we can probably assume a few things:

* It’s already indisputable that no gaming series has done more to turn forgotten, or at least older, or obscure songs into iPod staples like GTA. That was especially true with GTA IV, which had selections by David Axelrod and Cerrone just sort of tossed in like it wasn’t even a thing. The GTA V trailer featured Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake by Small Faces, signaling that if anything, we should expect the tradition of exhaustively researched music to continue apace.

* As for the original score, that’s less obvious, but if I had to guess, I’d say they’ll be stealing a page from the Saints Row series. If you haven’t yet played Saints Row the 3rd, do so now (it’s great!), if only to experience its excellent mixture of score and licensed music. During some key missions, licensed music, like Kanye West’s ‘Power’, or Joe Esposito’s ‘You’re The Best’, is simply blasted as the official soundtrack; in other missions, original music plays over proceedings. These moments add movie theater largeness to the game, and much like when fully rotational camera controls became standard, it’s something I didn’t even realize was missing, but now feels an essential part of the open world crime game. It’s nice that Rockstar is apparently willing to steal back from its imitators.

Obviously, we’ll need to wait and see more to know how this plays out, but this only makes the wait for GTA V even harder.

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2 Comments on GTA V Will Have An Original Score

R.J.

On November 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I agree with you, Ross. I’m pretty sure they mean that the original score will feature prominently during certain moments, rather than ditch the licensed music route entirely. It would just be strange to change radio stations and not have them be populated by licensed songs, both well-known and not-so-well-known.

R.J.

On November 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Now that I think about it, Red Dead Redemption did something like this. The music for that game was largely an original score, but it would use licensed music to highlight certain moments. What we would have here is probably a inverse of that game.