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Play the market, race bikes, flush body parts in GTA 5 gameplay vid

Grand Theft Auto 5 publisher Rockstar Games released the game's first gameplay trailer today, giving an overview of the massive open world of Los Santos and what you'll be doing in it.

The trailer begins with shots of flying planes, piloting boats and driving cars around town, and shows off the wide variety of environments available in Rockstar's representation of Southern California: "mountains and oceans, expensive stores and strip malls, urban decay and untouched wilderness, beaches and backwoods," the trailer's narrator points out.

We get to see one way in which Grand Theft Auto 5's three playable characters — whom you can switch between at any time — will interact during a mission. Michael rappels down an office building into a conference room to take a hostage, while Franklin provides sniper support from afar and Trevor controls the helicopter holding Michael. Outside of missions, there appears to be a transitional loading screen a few seconds long as you move between the characters.

According to the narrator, the developers have put "a huge focus on mechanics" so that shooting, driving and the like will control well. Clips in the trailer of Franklin and Trevor firing guns illustrate nearly pinpoint accuracy. The usual Grand Theft Auto minigames are present, including target practice at a firing range, playing tennis and golfing.

players set up heists themselves and then execute them

Later in the trailer, a heist goes down in two different ways; the path is up to you, as players set up heists themselves and then execute them. "There's two ways I see of doing this," says a side character helping you plan a heist at a jewelry store. "We go in smart, or we go in loud and dumb." It appears that the game offers some environmental destructibility, at least in a cutscene. You'll be able to spend the money you steal to do things like get tattoos, acquire cars, buy stock and invest in real estate.

The end of the trailer offers a glimpse at Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer component of Grand Theft Auto 5, which Rockstar will discuss at a later date.

Previous trailers have consisted of in-engine footage, but Rockstar hadn't shown off gameplay until now. The most recent Grand Theft Auto 5 videos, released at the end of April, comprised a trio of clips centered on its three protagonists — Michael, Franklin and Trevor — who were introduced in the second trailer, which came out last December.

Grand Theft Auto 5 will be released Sept. 17 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The PS3 version will be released alongside a console bundle. Check out our latest preview of the game for more details.

Update: According to an official comment posted to Rockstar Newswire, the trailer was "captured with footage from the PS3 version of the game." We've reached out to Rockstar Games seeking additional details.

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