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Why GTA 5 on PC took so long to get here - and why it was worth the wait

Rockstar is offering gamers some tools that are more kosher. The new video editor might be its proudest achievement for the PC launch, but it's also partly to blame for the tardy release. As Fowler tells us, it's a "huge leap beyond the editing tools in GTAIV".

Rockstar Editor is more than your average movie maker, letting you manipulate in-game footage on a surprisingly granular level. Recording any moment during gameplay will mean you'll later be able to put it into Rockstar's multimedia garage with a vast selection of tools at your fingertips.

We recorded a scene from the car park in the game's penultimate mission, The Big Score. Bringing it up later on the Editor, we could change the camera perspective (regardless of what it was when recorded); add a custom filter, including one totally nuts one taken from the mission where Michael trips on drugs; adjust the score intensity; or even add a Paul Greengrass-esque shaky cam for added dramatic effect.

Stop. Rewind. Shift the angle 40 degrees. Adjust the saturation. On second thought, lock the camera for a smooth pan. OK, play again.

We didn't spend a lot of time in Rockstar's new directorial sandbox, but enough to see how much more refined it is than on GTA 4. If it's your thing, the Editor will provide hours of messing with colours, camera angles and music - even accelerating headfirst into a rock face on a dirtbike can look surprisingly good when you've got the right trance track thumping in the background.

GTA 5

Meanwhile Director Mode lets you build entire scenes from scratch, chucking in characters, animals and vehicles from GTA 5 to create your own bedroom production, all recorded in whatever resolution you're running the game at. Once perfected, you can upload your masterpieces straight to YouTube or the Rockstar Social Club.

Rockstar showed us one it made earlier, a video depicting a day in the life of a mantaray that could have been taken from the mind of David Attenborough on an acid bender. It's all promising stuff so far - our only concern is how much players will actually use these tools. But then you consider what could be done here when combined with, say, the zombie apocalypse mod of Grand Theft Auto 4...

GTA

Where Rockstar goes next is anyone's guess. A Red Dead Redemption follow-up feels sensible, but maybe it's time to pull back the walls for a new Bully game. Or hey, wouldn't a fully-fledged 3D version of GTA Chinatown Wars be a wonderful surprise?

Perhaps the answer is none of the above. Whatever it is, GTA 5 on PC has a long road ahead of it, while Grand Theft Auto Online may live as long as Rockstar itself. It's an entity of its own, a sly wink that says there's more to come - be it new cities to explore or ones we walked the streets of many years ago - but for now, as GTA 5 hits the PC with heists in tow, this mighty chapter in Rockstar's story just about feels complete. Come April 14, it's going to look even more incredible.

PC master race, indeed.