The Most Immersive Part Of GTA V’s Open World Is Its Radio

In March I started playing Grand Theft Auto V for the very first time. I kind of missed it in 2013, and over the years I’ve realized that maybe I just wasn’t that interested. However, I couldn’t get rid of the idea that I had a GTA-sized gap in my gaming knowledge, especially as I seem to post messages every month about the massive sales numbers that somehow keep growing, the continuous flow of GTAV Online content, and more .

GTA V is as widespread today as it was in 2013. When the new generation editions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S were released in March, I decided to finally give it a try. And, probably not surprising to most reading this, it lived up to the hype. So much so that I’m still playing it today, more than two months later. I love playing through the game’s main campaign and the Strangers and Freaks missions, but I’ve found my absolute favorite thing to do is just driving around and listening to music.

After doing just that the other night, I realized something: the radio in GTA V makes it more immersive to me than most open-world games. I think that’s why I spend so much time in game driving around and seeing Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Dr. Listening to Chakra Attack’s Ray De Angelo Harris voiced by JB Smoove.

When I get into a vehicle in GTA V, the first thing I do is turn on the radio. I scroll through my usual favorites – bleached Los Santos, Channel X, Vinewood Boulevard Radio, and of course Non-Stop Pop FM. Is a favorite tune like “Chanel” from Ocean or “W” from Koffee turned on? Did I hear this segment from Chakra Attack? The search usually takes about a minute and I refuse to hit the road until I find exactly what I’m looking for, which is exactly what I do when I get in my car in real life.

And then I drive.

Sometimes I’ll head off to my next mission, but often I’ll drive just long enough to get to the end of a song and see what comes up next. I’m obsessed and quite surprised at how much more immersive listening to real-world music makes GTA V’s open world. Of course not feeling like Franklin or Michael or Trevor (I’m not sure I even want that given the events of the game), but the radio does a lot to make it seem that way I’m living someone’s life in GTA V.


I’m obviously very aware that I’m playing a video game, but there’s something special about hearing a song on the radio in GTA V that I listen to while driving. It affects how I drive – if Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” is coming, yes, I’ll probably be speeding, coming off ramps and drifting through intersections because it’s one hell of a hoopla. When Fergie’s “Glamorous” starts, I might swap the truck for a sleeker two-door and drive through downtown Los Santos. And when Chakra Attack kicks in, I’m probably just laughing a lot.

Much like how I try to adjust music to suit my mood in real life, or even sometimes even adjust my attitude to what I end up hearing, the same thing happens in GTA V and I wish more games would cater to this because I don’t do it myself don’t think i’m alone Sure, some games use real-world artists in their soundtrack – Cyberpunk 2077 did in 2020 – but I’m not sure they focus as much on music as Rockstar Games, going as far as making soundtracks with new songs and radio stations to update.

There’s undoubtedly a litany of copyright hurdles to overcome, and many companies don’t have money from Rockstar Games to do that, so I can understand why most soundtracks don’t live. But imagine if they were – I know my immersion in open-world games would increase, and that’s important because it keeps me playing. And that’s something I think every developer wants for their game.

In this medium, hundreds of staff members spend thousands of hours perfecting the in-game brush, how a knife pierces an enemy, or how glass shatters when a brick is thrown in – all to ensure the experience is as lifelike as possible (which is awesome, mind you, and something I appreciate, provided it’s done in healthy conditions). I just wish that kind of energy was put into music more often.

What’s your favorite use of real-world music in a video game? Let me know in the comments below! The Most Immersive Part Of GTA V’s Open World Is Its Radio

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