It was the first official Gradius sequel to be released exclusively on a home console. Treasure Co. Ltd (developers of the classic games Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga, among others) assisted Konami in Gradius V development. In Japanese first press limited edition, the game included a book indicating inner design, the background, and the roadmap of Vic Viper series (i.e. Vic Viper is the name of a series, rather than a single ship).
A notable feature of Gradius V is the ability to select between different kinds of Option (called Multiples in the American release). There are four types:
- Freeze - follows the Vic Viper and can be made to 'freeze' in their current configuration.
- Directional - follows the Vic Viper and can be made to fire in any direction.
- Spacing - keeps position above or below the Vic Viper and can be pushed away or pulled toward the ship.
- Rotate - follows the Vic Viper and can be made to orbit the ship.