GTA V has been quite the divisive game this year and certainly the most divisive GTA Rockstar Games has put out to date (I don't count IV because I feel that games criticisms came unfairly as it was almost universally loved at release but nick picked in its later life for things that future open world games would implement). One of the biggest complaints I have heard from game critics, and us regular folk as well, on GTA V is how "despicable" the characters are. They are mean, testosterone filled, selfish and neurotic, and I loved it. Critics complained that they could not identify themselves with the main characters and I have to ask why would you want to? These characters steal cars, rob just about anyone, kill people, kill ALOT of people, and just spend a lot of time doing nasty things. To that I would ask, why would you want to identify with a character in these games in the first place?
I hope people don't think take this the wrong way but I feel most gamers are oddly selfish in terms of how they want games presented to them. One main factor that I think separates myself from a lot of people who play video games is this: Unless the game calls for it, I don't role play as myself in the shoes of the main character. I had quite a few friends same something very similar along these lines when speaking about Bioshock Infinite (major plot spoilers to follow), "Man I thought Elizabeth was so attractive and it made me when feel weird when I realized she was my daughter." Wait, What? To me, Elizabeth was not my daughter at all, she is Booker Dewitt's daughter. I just happened to be seeing the game/story in his perspective throughout the whole game. This is an interesting trope that only in a medium such as a video games can be experienced. Because video games are such a solitary experience where the entire narrative and game duration is entirely dependent on your progress, it is very easy to get ones self absorbed into the game world.
This rational isn't usually tied into other mediums like TV, movies, and literature. Take the highly coveted (as well as my all time favorite movie) Martin Scorsese gangster film: Goodfellas, for example. In many ways there is a lot of comparisons to GTA V. The movie follows a group of gangsters and their exploits including robberies, murders, and drug deals/addictions. Guess what? These are not "good" people either, despite the name of the movie. And while I am certainly not comparing the overall story between Goodfellas and GTA V (Goodfellas is better) It's interesting to me how one is praised for its monstrous portrayal of its characters while the other is criticized.
So to wrap things up, that is why I loved the characters in GTA V and personally hope Rockstar does not listen to closely to the people complaining about how mean and unidentifiable the characters were. In a murder/crime city simulation game, I don't really think anyone should be identifying to closely to any one character, But instead, loosely fantasizing the notion of being in the characters predicaments, just as you would in movies. Also, I am not saying the story had no faults either. I felt the story could have been stronger if the "Michael movie producer" bit was dropped entirely in favor of more focus on Franklin who was probably the most wasted potential in the game.
I am curious to know how the Giant bomb community feels about this as well. I didn't exactly see a thread focusing on specifically this part of the game. I also knew I would talk way to long for a regular forum topic so I just decided to write it up as my first blog instead. However, I still consider this post to be very much up for discussion/debate and would greatly like to hear back from you guys as far as your opinions on this topic. Thanks duders!