GTA Online is massive, offers over 500 missions

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Sep 11, 2013 06:19 PM EDT

If you thought that Grand Theft Auto 5 was going to be huge on its own, then you're in for a nice surprise. Don't get me wrong, it is, but according to a story in the latest issue of Game Informer magazine, the online arm of the game promises to be just as big, if not larger.

If for whatever reason, you don't have access to the new issue, we've provided some of the story's highlights below, courtesy of CVG:

- The aim of GTA Online is to do whatever it takes to get more money in the bank and accrue assets such as cars and real estate. This includes a great many activities that are available in the game's campaign mode - "heists, missions, robberies, assaulting gang hideouts, hijacking armored vehicles, races" as well as "tennis, golf and base jumping." The events of GTA Online take place after the main story, so if you want to avoid potential spoilers, wait 'til you finish the game. A few familiar faces will be waiting for you when you do.

- According to Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies, threre's over 500 missions. Some can be completed solo, but others are complicated and require a team. Obviously, the game's three main playable characters will feature, but there's a fourth character who has arrived fresh off the plane for players to customize. This character's appearance is based off of who players decide their parents are, which includes some of GTA's past characters, like Niko in GTA IV, or Maria in GTA III. From there, players choose the players lifestyle, different activities the character enjoys, and so on. These are just starting skills, and can be adjusted and upgraded later on.

- Online screams social, and GTA Online promises to have one jam-packed Los Santos. Rockstar uses a "dynamic" system to populate GTA Online, starting with your friends and crewmembers, then similarly skilled players in the same part of the world. GTA Online has been created to be "as customizable as possible" in terms of who you play with. You can rely on the game's system, which analyzes your playing style as you play and surfaces missions that appeal more to your style to match you with people, or choose for yourself. 

- Bigger jobs require bigger crews. For these missions, there's a lobby window from which different roles like sniper or look-out can be assigned. Depending on their role, players are given specific priorities when the mission begins. The crew leader can tweak settings such as time of day, weather, difficulty and how many lives they have to complete the mission. Likewise, once the mission is over, the leader decides how to divvy up the share of the loot in the form of straight cash or reputation points.

- Some of these larger missions involve multiple phases, including a set-up phase, like recon or readying supplies.

- Not everyone is going to be part of your crew. Just like any other schlep walking the streets, you can be killed and your money stolen. In order to avoid this, you're encouraged to keep your money in a bank account. Don't worry; even though your money might not be on your person, you can still use it to make purchases. If you are robbed though, you can put a bounty on the robber's head if you're looking for a bit of revenge?

- Not into getting robbed? Activate passive mode, so you can play online without worrying about trolls. However, fire your gun, and the mode turns off.

- If you've managed to gather up enough money, and buy a "high end residency," you'll be able to set up your own heists.

- Your relationship with different groups can impact your missions, and you can call on them to help you out. For example, biker gangs can offer support; security firms can deliver airstrikes, or a certain tech-savvy character you've befriended may hide you on the radar.

- Missions are controlled through Rockstar's Social Club, which means the developer tweak them regularly, and new ones added over time.

GTA Online is scheduled to launch two weeks after the GTA 5 launches, next week, September 17.

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