Rockstar have finally lifted the lid on Grand Theft Auto 5‘s multiplayer component, and it’s looking every bit as good as we all hoped.

As expected, it allows players to run around Los Santos capping, jacking and indulging all manner of GTA-ish activities; way more than most of us were expecting, as a matter of fact. The separate title Grand Theft Auto Online  was the first clue that Rockstar had more in store than mere roaming around the map, and this footage suggests further that they’ve made this thing into a GTA experience that stands on its own two feet. You’ve got your bog-standard shooting, but also glimpses of NPCs (With scripted dialogue: quest-givers, perhaps?), races, side activities (We see arm wrestling, golf  and a bonkers-looking dirt bike-parachuting combo) and robberies alongside the more traditional multiplayer fare.

Grand_Theft_Auto_5_parachuteWhat’s more, it debuts on October 1st, two weeks after the game’s September 17th release. This is a canny move, giving people a chance to play GTA5 itself before diving into GTA Online‘s “Persistent and expanding” world. While the 16 player limit doesn’t suggest GTA: The MMO, they’re promising a variety of activities and long-term depth that rivals the best of that genre. It’s a genuine surprise to see them add this as an addition to GTA5 when they could’ve slapped on bare-bones multiplayer and sold the real thing for full price later, but it’s also a  commendably forward-thinking move as an end-of-generation capper. You can bet this thing’s going to end up on next-gen consoles and ultimately PC at some point, so why not introduce it for 360 and PS3 owners to get some extra value out of their aging consoles and make a start on their profiles?

Rockstar seem to be going for the long game with this one, and if it’s as packed as this video makes it look it’d take a brave soul to lay down money against them.