It's a big deal: The first full game in the Grand Theft Auto series in first years is set for release on Sept. 17, 2013.
Even though Sony and Microsoft are just months away from releasing powerful new game consoles, GTA V is designed for the aging PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Rockstar Vice President — and "GTA V" writer — Dan Houser says the old consoles are perfectly capable of delivering his team's vision. "The fact that hardware's so mature right now is exactly why we're able to go on to the next level," he told Japan's Famitsu magazine last year.
Besides, he added, "All the best games for a console come out at the end of the life cycle, right?" And in a year that's featured stunners like "BioShock Infinite," ''The Last of Us" and "Tomb Raider," he has a point.
The other advantage for Rockstar is the huge combined user base of the PS3 and Xbox 360, which translates into much bigger sales than "GTA V" would rack up among the new consoles' early adopters.
"The demand for (new) consoles appears to be very strong," said GameStop CEO Paul Raines, "but I think 'GTA' is a separate animal — and we will sell a lot of copies of 'GTA V.'"
On the other hand: Won't the absence of "GTA V" hurt sales of the forthcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?
"People are going to buy new consoles because they're ready for a new console," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "They're not going to say, 'Oh, "GTA V" isn't on it? I'm not buying it.' Nobody is going to buy a new console just to play one game — and no one game is going to keep them from buying a new console."
AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.