You probably couldn’t pick two games that seem more diametrically opposed than Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last of Us. One is a just-for-fun lowbrow gagfest set in a cartoonishly exaggerated alternate-Los Angeles getting by on self-aware violence and pop-culture references, the other’s a moody meditation on humanity, grief and self-worth set in a grim post-apocalyptic wilderness. But while games will be games, modders will also be modders. And now the modding community has found a way to mash-up these two seemingly incompatible worlds.
Utilizing Rapidiment’s “After Us: Rodeo” map mod (which transforms GTA V‘s sunny Los Santos into an overgrown post-apocalyptic dead zone) and a character mod by GTAFREAk67S that turns the player character into a facsimile of Joel (the main character from The Last of Us), YouTuber “taltigolt” assembled a brief 5 minute preview demonstrating how GTAV’s myriad PC modding tools can be utilized to effectively recreate the visuals, aesthetic and atmosphere of a game that, on the surface, it shares hardly anything in common with. All that’s missing is Joel’s teenage charge Ellie and a smattering of virally-infected cordyceps to fight (or hide from).
Along with showing off the impressive creations that can be undertaken by mixing tools from skilled modders, the clip also demonstrates part of why Grand Theft Auto 5’s multiplayer component, Grand Theft Auto Online, continues to be such a potent moneymaking force for Rockstar and Take-Two. Beyond the robust creation tools, a steady drip of new content and a bounty of in-game events like the holiday-themed Christmas and Halloween updates have kept devoted players engaged and coming back for more from one of the most popular games of the last generation. In fact, GTA V was recently revealed as the most Tweeted-about game of 2015 – beating out dozens of other huge current-gen releases for the title.
That’s certainly good news for Rockstar’s bottom line and for Grand Theft Auto Online users who want the platform to remain viable for further updates and more new content, but it may not be the best news for GTA fans hungry for a new game in the series. Traditionally, massive undertakings like a full Grand Theft Auto title typically require the full attention of a developer, a plentiful level of new ideas and additions and a base of consumers demanding a new experience; but if enough fans are content to continue playing around in the GTA Online sandbox, what’s Rockstar or Take-Two’s incentive to divert attention to an entirely new project as opposed to continually upgrading the Online version?
Also keeping fans guessing is whether or not Rockstar will ever revive plans to take the series further into multimedia. A GTA-inspired feature film was talked up several years ago, but nothing ultimately came of it. The Gamechangers, a BBC TV movie about the making of the game and its censorship battle in the U.S. with Jack Thompson with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead, was released in 2015 to mixed reviews and a lawsuit from the developers. Whatever comes next for Grand Theft Auto, Online users can evidently rest assured that they will continue to be supported.