Roleplaying is a method of playing games where the player makes up their own storyline and experience. This method of gameplay is favoured by many over simply completing the storyline missions, and even side missions.
In GTA games, there are many opportunities for pretending the player or protagonist has a job, such as being a police officer, FBI agent, airline pilot, limousine chauffeur, drug runner or mass murderer. There is also a lot of scope for acting like real life, such as eating, going to entertainment venues, and purchasing vehicles/property rather than stealing.
Some players enjoy roleplay as it makes the game more realistic, often giving them an insight into a life they would prefer to have, or can look forward to when they're older. Other players enjoy the opportunity to do things they can't do in real life.
This article discusses some aspects of roleplay in GTA games. Many players will drift in and out of various aspects of roleplay, whereas a few do stick religiously to the rules they have given themselves.
Driving and Vehicles
In real life, most people don't steal and trash dozens of cars each day, nor drive random vehicles like ice-cream vans or fire trucks, nor are able to fly a plane/helicopter. To make the GTA experience more realistic, many players prefer to purchase one or two permanent vehicles which they keep in garages and maintain at various in-game facilities such as Pay 'n' Spray.
They would often purchase vehicles which are appropriate to their role-playing character. Most normal people would have a simple sedan rather than an Infernus or Comet; whereas a celebrity or highly-paid person would have a very flashy vehicle. It is also worth remembering that most workers don't take their work vehicle home at night, so they would swap their police car for their personal vehicle after work.
Other players also try to stick to the rules of the road. This includes driving within the speed of the traffic, not running red lights, and not driving on the wrong side of the road or off-road.
Clothing should also reflect the status of the character. At the start of most GTA games, the protagonist is poor, at the bottom of the criminal food chain, and the choice of clothing represents that. Petty criminals and average workers would wear different clothes to highly-paid businessmen or celebrities.
One of the more mundane experiences in life is eating. In most GTA games, the player does not have to eat, although it does regenerate health. Some players get their character to eat 2 or 3 meals a day. They can also vary meals between fast food outlets, restaurants and shops or vending machines.
Missions can be done continuously end-to-end without sleep, however this is unrealistic. Some players prefer to let their character sleep every night, and only do one or two missions per in-game day.
Most people don't commit murder on a daily basis, so this is often avoided in the roleplay experience. The police are present in all GTA games, and will pursue and arrest (or kill) the player if they commit a crime. Some players will surrender to the police if they commit a crime, as most people would do in real life, rather than attempt to escape. However, as crime is a major part of the gameplay experience, others will escape and spend their life hiding from the police, rather than being best friends with them 5 minutes after losing their wanted level.
Guns and Ammunition
Some players find it unrealistic to carry massive amounts of weaponry and ammunition, so will ration themselves to a realistic amount. Also, it is not common to see people walking around with miniguns or RPG launchers, so these are often avoided.
Friends and Relationships
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it is possible to have more than one girlfriend at a time. However, this isn't realistic and bigamy should be avoided. Some players also try to maintain relationships with a small number of key friends, rather than the constant cycle of befriending and betrayal that the missions condone.