Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar Games

Crime doesn't pay, as the old saying goes, but the video game world operates by a different set of rules. And when it comes to the famous (or infamous) 'Grand Theft Auto' series, which remains one of the best-selling franchises of all time, crime is the name of the game.

Much is expected of 'Grand Theft Auto V' (coming in the spring of 2013 to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) but with what we've seen and heard so far -- Rockstar Games is ready to deliver the biggest and explosive GTA yet. RedBullUSA.com has sifted through the few clues we have so far to bring you a preview of what to expect from 'Grand Theft Auto V.'

Size Matters

Maybe because it's set in the sprawling megalopolis of Los Santos (wink, wink Los Angeles), 'Grand Theft Auto 5' is set to qualify as not only the largest game of the series, but possibly one of the most expansive video game worlds of all time.

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Rockstar says the open world eclipses the entire playable area of 'Grand Theft Auto IV,''Grand Theft Auto San Andreas' and 'Red Dead Redemption' combined. Beyond the usual skyscrapers and urban cityscape, the game will take players from urban sprawl to farmlands and from enormous mountains to the ocean. What's left, outer space?

Three (Anti) Heroes

We've gotten used to the narratives of Grand Theft Auto focusing on one major playable character -- Niko Bellic in IV or Carl Johnson in San Andreas, but 'Grand Theft Auto V' boasts three men you can control.

There's Michael, a veteran bank robber, now retired, living comfortably as part of a witness protection program. Franklin, meanwhile, works as a repo man for an Armenian luxury car dealership that runs scams on ambitious young hotshots with new money. Finally, there's Trevor, a career criminal and extremely volatile individual that Rockstar calls its “most psychopathic criminal” to ever share the lead in a GTA game.

Trevor is also ex-military and an experienced pilot. The three of them, described as acquaintances, are drawn into Los Santos' criminal underworld "in the pursuit of the almighty American dollar."

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Real-Time Role-Swapping

You might guess that this new system of using three heroes means the game will be broken up into three different walled-off chapters. Think again.

Rockstar says players will be able to switch between the protagonists almost at will. Each of them lives in a very different part of the world, and the world itself will be open and free to explore from the very beginning of the game. Each character will have their own unique skills, and when on missions together, you will need to shift between them during certain missions to succeed.

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Rockstar compares it to a multithreaded television series that has ensemble casts with no single lead character. This seems like a bold experiment in video game storytelling and we're excited to get our hands on it.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Rockstar hasn't revealed much about the vehicles of 'Grand Theft Auto V,' but we've scoured the two trailers released so far and seen hints of all sorts of different ways to get around Los Santos.

There are brief clips of dirt-bike racing, jet skis, ATV's, freight trainshauling cargo and more. There's a character that drives a car out of an airplane and jumps out of it with a parachute (are you listening, Felix Baumgartner?) and a fighter jet shooting down a helicopter with rockets for good measure.

Since Trevor, one of the playable characters, is a pilot, we guess that he'll be the one in the cockpit of aircraft. Could the tank be making a special guest appearance? But that remains to be seen.

Follow Ryan Smith and Red Bull on Twitter for more updates.

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