This afternoon, Rockstar let loose the latest little dribble to its ongoing GTA V information rivulet. We got a new image. It’s not a screenshot, although we have had some of those in the past. This was Grand Theft Auto V artwork.
Within moments, of course, myriad news outlets had hit “save as…” and uploaded the image onto their own sites so they could tell the world that the great benefactor had bestowed upon us another little rectangle of colourfully glowing LEDs to gawp at.
As the traffic to the “NEW GTA V IMAGE” story started to tail off, those outlets probably posted a new article that dissected the image. They’ll have told you that it’s not an in-game screenshot. They’ll have pointed out that it retains the same art style we’ve seen in other recent Grand Theft Auto games. They might even have gone as far as to insult your intelligence by pointing out that there’s a couple of rifle-wielding guys wearing orange boiler suits and a van that appears to be engaged in the business of pest control.
The smarter, better staffed of those sites will have scoured over every pixel of the image and noticed things like the bumper sticker that says “Bug R Us” (“bugger us,” geddit?! That’s gloriously filthy) and the building that has signage that says “Anna Rex” (almost like “anorexia.” Fnarr, skinny people!). That’s probably a health club or day spa or something, isn’t it? I can almost guarantee, without looking, that someone, somewhere, used the little aeroplane (or airplane if they happened to be American) and its cute little vapour trail as proof positive that there were jets in this game. Because there hasn’t already been enough indication of that.
If they were on the ball, they’ll have noticed the single line of text that Rockstar added to the image when they posted it. They’ll have teased you, their readers, about the promise of more information next month. Then, when IGN or GameSpot or GameTrailers or GameInformer is given that information, those same sites will hit “save as…” and upload it to their sites so they can fawn over that too.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Rockstar are geniuses with this kind of PR trickle. They’re doing a hell of a job; everyone is talking about it. I also think Grand Theft Auto games are the cat’s pyjamas. I love them. I even love GTA IV and its perpetual bothersome phone calls and lack of the ridiculous humour of some previous GTA games.
But there comes a time when it’s all just something of a depressing circus. When one image isn’t really enough and everyone clamouring over it looks a little bit like an addict gasping for that last hit from a vial that was functionally empty hours ago. And the image isn’t even of the game, it’s a digitally painted scene that hints at what elements of the game might be like.
One image of not-the-game and everyone’s going nuts again. Still, more info next month, eh?