GTA 5 is perhaps the most complete game of 2013, but it could have been grander still. Speaking to Edge, Rockstar North art director Aaron Garbut has discussed how the developer fleshed out the original concept, then retired or discarded ideas as the game approached fruition.
"It's hard to remember the original vision now," he explained to the mag. "We always have a very basic idea of what we want to achieve, but from day one it's evolving and adapting. As a game, the initial vision is always very rough.
"We decided right at the start we wanted to do three switchable characters, we decided who the main characters were and we decided the general tone for the game. Then we just built and evolved and let the game dictate itself." The decision to introduce multiple protagonists, Garbut added, was a "leap of faith" that could have backfired.
"As a group of people, we're never short of ideas," he went on. "There are always things that come up during development that you want to add. Often we do, but the closer you get to release, the less that happens. I don't feel like the game fell short, but there is undoubtedly a huge volume of plans and ideas that we wanted to do to push it further."
It's possible that certain of these ideas will be introduced via GTA Online, the game's now just about playable multiplayer component. "What I love about our GTA Online plans is that the game is no longer static. We can continue to add these things and evolve.
"That's even more exciting these days, where through forums, Reddit, etc, we have a real direct connection to the people playing the game. We can respond to what they are into and what they hate more than ever. It's something that really suits the way we work, the way we're always trying to adapt the experience and avoid walking blindly down a set path."
The last GTA Online update introduced a selection of new multiplayer mode types plus the game's mission creator. More info on GTA 5 story mode DLC for 2014 is coming soon - here are eight characters who could star.