Grand Theft Auto V trailer 2: watch it here

Over a year has passed since Rockstar released the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V. The second trailer, above, follows months of silence, finally broken by last week’s Game Informer feature which revealed the scale of the game world – the largest Rockstar has ever made, bigger than Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV, and San Andreas combined.

We already know it has three protagonists: retired bank robber Michael; his longtime friend, career criminal Trevor; and ambitious repo man Franklin. We know Rockstar is promising significant steps forward from Grand Theft Auto IV’s driving, shooting and melee combat. And most importantly of all, we know it’ll be released for Xbox 360 and PS3 next Spring.

So what does the trailer reveal? Well that immense world is convincingly showcased as we flick from built up urban areas to ramshackle towns and the varied landscape in between, while the detail of interiors looks to have been ramped up a notch or two. One clue to the improved melee fighting is given away as Trevor surprises a man from behind before bashing his head into a wall, Uncharted 3-style. And the worryingly unstable Trevor also throws a molotov cocktail, the flames from which spread out through the room, eventually showing off some deformable building tech as the resultant fire causes a wooden house to explode.

It’s not always easy to tell what’s gameplay and what’s cutscene – or, perish the thought, QTEs. A set-piece that sees Michael’s son dangling from a swinging boat sail as it travels down a highway on a trailer, pursued by an unidentified character in a red car while Franklin attempts to reach him from on top of the boat, is a case in point. And Rockstar is using its vast airspace to offer some vertiginous activities, including abseiling and falling from the back of a plane over a desert – another Uncharted reference, then.

But whatever the level of control, those three protagonists appear, from this brief encounter, to be as appealing as Niko and Roman – and certainly every bit as well realised.