Reading Trophies – Grand Theft Auto V

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Reading Trophies – Grand Theft Auto V

The first of this weeks “Reading Trophies” has us looking at last year’s top hit Grand Theft Auto V. It was, at launch, a single player game but has since had its multiplayer component, Grand Theft Auto Online, activated, and there’s trophies for both the online and single player portions of the game.

Are both parts being played? How about those side missions? We look to the trophies to find out.

The Game

Grand Theft Auto is perhaps the biggest IP in gaming and one of the few franchises that can give Call of Duty a run for its money. There were a lot of sales here, again to a group that aren’t necessarily gamers, and so it’ll be interesting to see how deep people are into it.

It’s important to note that the platinum for Grand Theft Auto V isn’t an easy one to achieve and will require dozens of hours both online and offline. In terms of time alone, it’s probably enough to throw off all but the most ardent fan. Even so, there’s some interesting statistical stuff we can look at along the way.

Grand Theft Auto V tells the story of three criminals. As with a lot of Rockstar’s games, the main story isn’t necessarily the focus of your purchase, and instead, exploring and meeting the characters of San Andreas is just as interesting as playing the story itself. How many people took a trip off the beaten track? 

Let’s read the trophies.

Welcome to Los Santos

Despite the fact that Grand Theft Auto V is a single player game, there’s a fairly sizeable 8% of players that have synced their trophies but are yet to get the first trophy. 92% of players have “repo’d a car and raced it through the heart of a sun-soaked metropolis,” an early mission that you’ll get to within thirty minutes or so of play (if not less).

In both the online and offline modes, it seems Grand Theft Auto V's side missions are largely ignored

Taking into account people that have borrowed the game, have bought it for the online or have been distracted earlier on this still seems like a huge amount, until you realize that other games are rarely any better. Only 89.1% of players finished the first level of Metal Gear Rising: Revengenace, while only 93% of players managed to bounty Blisterz Booty in Stranger’s Wrath on Vita. That’s literally the first thing you do when the game begins, and there’s no missing it.

So, what will probably be the catchphrase of this series pops up yet again: people don’t play their games.

In comparison, Grand Theft Auto V has a fairly high play rate. It requires you to see through the first mission and a series of short cutscenes,  and a decent amount of people still made it through. Congratulations for actually using your £40 purchase, folks!

A Friendship Resurrected

That’s not to say that the percentages are all in Rockstar’s favour. They may have impressed people to begin with, but the drop between the first and second story related trophy is huge. 92% of players got Welcome to Los Santos, while 61.2% synced A Friendship Resurrected. That represents several hours of play and quite a few missions, so it’s no surprise that people found their attention wandering, but even so, it represents the biggest story leap.

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Most the people that make it to the second story trophy continue playing through to the third. There’s only a 16.9% drop between A Friendship Resurrected and A Fair Day’s Pay. When you consider 8% of players didn’t bother to complete the first couple of missions, a 16% drop over the hours of play that A Fair Day’s Pay represents is very impressive. Those that meant to play through to the end by and large played through to the end.

This carrys on quite well. 33.1% managed to see the game through to the end.

Trading Pure Alpha

There’s a decent amount of people that seem to have powered through the story, but the bulk of Grand Theft Auto V is side missions. These are less popular. Far less popular.

The two most popular optional trophies display pretty accurately the lengths people will go to to avoid the optional extras. 47.5% of players fully modded a weapon a received the Pimp My Sidearm trophy. Now, in all fairness, you have to get a certain way through the game to have this as an option, so it’s not as bad as it seems. It’s pretty well signposted though, and hardly an effort.

While it’s hard to tell exactly, the vast, vast majority of people who managed to get through to the point of the game where this is possible, earned this trophy.

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On the other hand, Trading Pure Alpha has only a 25% collection rate. This is another optional trophy, but one that is mentioned multiple times across multiple early game missions. “If you do the things you are going to do in this mission, the value of a company will go up or down and you should buy now or buy later.”

Actually using the stock markets is marginally more complicated than that, and it’s not fair to assume everybody realizes how they work, or that they’re bothered with in-game currency. Still, for something that’s pretty blatant, it seems unfortunate that it’s been largely ignored.

Everything else pretty much goes ignored.

A Lot of Cheddar

In all fairness, getting many of the side trophies in Grand Theft Auto V will take an awful lot of time and money. They usually involve you buying something or interacting with something, and the most expensive side missions can run you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Aside from the online trophies, perhaps the biggest thing blocking the platinum for the majority of people is that there are trophies linked to successfully mastering the missions

Kifflom! has only a 1.7% collection rate on PlayStation. It’s a trophy that not only requires you to aimlessly wander the desert for no reason, but it also requires you complete multiple missions and invest a lot of money. If there’s a huge amount of people not even playing their game, why would they go so far out of their way to do a side mission that basically rewards monotony. This is a trophy I’m almost glad is so rare.

Other trophies, like All’s Fare in Love and War, have you purchasing a certain property and completing something to do with that property. The Downtown Cab Co., the property you must buy to earn All’s Fare in Love and War, is fairly cheap, it’s available shortly after the first heist (if not before, with some clever saving) and the mission pops up quickly. Despite all that, only 13% of players managed to fulfil the criteria for this trophy. Less won the TP Industries Arms Race, which has an ultra rare rating of 2.9%.

From Beyond the Stars

It could be worse though: at least they aren’t collection-based. From Beyond the Stars (1.7%) and A Mystery, Solved (1.2%) are both bronzes awarded for picking up everything in a certain mission path. The world is so big that you might not even come across these items in the first place, and the internet is a big help.

Completing all stunt jumps is, again, even rarer, with a 0.5% collection rate. It’s only a bronze.

Career Criminal

Aside from the online trophies, perhaps the biggest thing blocking the platinum for the majority of people is that there are trophies linked to successfully mastering the missions. You must not only get 100% game completion (0.4%), but you’ll need to earn 70 gold mission medals as well. This means playing in a certain way and completing certain prerequisites.

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It says something about getting those gold mission medals that more people have 100% game completion than have an entirely perfect run. You can always head back and retry things, but it seems most people don’t want to, at least to the point where they complete almost everything to a gold medal standard. At the end of the day, who can blame them? 8% of people turned it off before the game had even started… what else is there to say?

Off the Plane

It’s fair to say that Grand Theft Auto Online is a success, at least in how many people have tried it out. 67.8% of Grand Theft Auto owners have created a character and earned Off The Plane. Far fewer have played enough to get through to Three-Bit Gangster, the bronze you receive for hitting level 25 (and which 19.5% of players share with you). That’s roughly 28.7% of players that started the online, which I guess is a pretty decent number when you consider few people will have bought GTA specifically for multiplayer.

Only 3.4% of players made it to Above the Law, which is awarded for reaching level 100, or 5% of those that ventured online. 

Conclusion

In both the online and offline modes, it seems Grand Theft Auto V’s side missions are largely ignored. It might seem, when you’re sat on a message board discussing the game, that the vast majority of people are seeing everything Los Santos has to offer, but it’s just not true. It’s possible that the average Grand Theft Auto gamer is oblivious to 90% of what it actually has to offer.

Still, it’s nice to see that the online mode has been relatively successful despite controversy and that, even though it’s completely ridiculous and requires you to do things you should never be made to do, 0.1% of GTA V owners happily saw that little platinum pop.

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Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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