Well, that kicked everyone's ass, didn't it? Like it had done for Red Dead, LA Noire and Max Payne 3, Rockstar's GTA 5 gameplay series video has driven hype to insane levels, presumably making a lot of other developers very nervous in the process.
I won't drone on about the multitude of cool stuff that is on show: you've probably seen it already. In short, this seemed custom-made to shut up those that hadn't liked GTA 4 on the basis of it being dull. When the first gameplay segment is a private jet shooting over the Hoover dam, you know there's going to be plenty of silliness abound.
And there is - tattoos, car modding, sky-diving, taking your dog out for a walk with you, Trevor being, well, Trevor.
That was all pretty much a given. The main thing I took away from the trailer (bar an exciting glimpse of GTA Online, which I'll get to in a bit) was that Rockstar now seems to have - potentially, at least - found a system that could marry money (and what you do with it) to the rest of the game in a meaningful fashion.
I'd previously written that Rockstar should enable players to use money as they would bullets: as a weapon. In GTA 4, Niko moaned about being a poor immigrant with no money while cruising around with $500,000 in his pocket. Here, your characters are immoral little bastards ('dangerous thieves', as the voiceover puts it). Money means everything to them, because it means they can keep living their pampered lives, or strive to meet their ambitions. Or just kill people and get away with it. It's not an end goal, it's a fuel, and it drives their greed. From planning missions (costs money) to hiring staff (costs money) to buying equipment (you get it by now) ol' Benjamin Franklin may as well be the fourth main character.
It should provide Rockstar with a nice mission curve and reduce the feeling of busywork of previous titles. In GTAs past, you were on a mission to reach the top, or kill someone who had wronged you. Here, that may well be part of it, but there's also the tantalising prospect that these guys do it because they like it: making money is part and parcel of all that.
Previously, money was used to buy More Cool Shit, and didn't really change the world above and beyond where you slept, how you looked, which munitions you fired, and how you were delivered to missions.
Here, Rockstar has the opportunity to do something greater. As someone who spent an inordinate amount of time in San Andreas gambling (in Downtown, where you could win millions with the right bet on the right horse) it seems fitting, in a game about money, to be able to gamble on the most crooked game in town: the stock market.
When I saw this feature, my mind ran to how that could be used as a tool to undermine potential (and powerful) enemies. The same with property: why engage in all-out gang warfare when you could buy the streets from underneath them and drive them out with high-profile connections?
Both of these elements have been done before, in one form or another, but GTA 5 has the chance to make them into something more than the sum of their parts.
That might not happen, of course. But it should. At the very least, it should provide some more interesting mission loops. GTA 4 had glimpses of this sort of thing: applying for a job online before killing your prospective employer at the interview, calling a guy on his home phone to get him to lean forward and shooting him from afar as he answers it. 5 has to - in my opinion - build on that.
It remains to be seen whether that will happen. It's also still far from clear just what Grand Theft Auto Online entails. A brief glimpse at the end of the gameplay trailer seemed to suggest that the world would be teeming with human opponents. Of interest was how the player character observed them - from inside what appeared to be his apartment, casually dressed and just taking it all in.
Is this the new lobby? Do you get to simply drop in and out of a massively multiplayer world as and when? We'd be surprised if there were that many players in the game, but the thought of transitioning seamlessly from choosing your socks to being on the run through the streets of Los Santos wouldn't seem too far fetched. And if Rockstar can get money into multiplayer as a meaningful mechanic...