Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA 4)
As seen in the may issue of game informer
* The protagonist's name is Niko Bellic - an Eastern European immigrant who has come to Liberty City to live the "American Dream." The game is set in Liberty City in 2007, but it is bigger than the Liberty City we saw in GTA III.
* The GTA 4 equivalent of the Statue of Liberty is called the Statue of Happiness, and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is known as BOABO (Beneath the Offramp of the Algonquin Bridge Overpass).
* In Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar have recreated 4 of the 5 boroughs in New York, as well as part of New Jersey. Broker is the GTA IV equivalent of Brooklyn, Manhattan is now called Algonquin, Queens is now Dukes, the Bronx is Bohan, and New Jersey is Alderney. The map is smaller than San Andreas, but considerably more detailed. No countryside or desert, we are led to believe.
* Pedestrians are far more realistic in GTAIV than in previous GTA games - they sit on benches, smoke cigarettes, read books and generally act like any real pedestrian would in the middle of a street.
* The screenshots in the preview are not representative of the final quality of the graphics, Rockstar insist. The game will only look better as the release draws closer..
* Niko was persuaded to move to Liberty City by his cousin Roman, who claimed to be living a wonderful life there with two beautiful women, fifteen sports cars, and lots of money etc, but he was infact telling a lie in order to hide his own failures. Roman is the only person you know in Liberty City at the beginning of the game, and he becomes one of your major connections at the start. Niko is a tough character whereas Roman is friendly. Roman is heavily in debt and a lot of people are after him - he needs Niko's support. They are constantly bickering.
* The demo (which was played on Xbox 360) begins with Bellic standing inside of the taxi depot, which Roman operates in the borough of Broker in a converted industrial garage. Roman works at a cluttered desk in a shabby environment, and at this point the graphical improvements are extremely evident. Bellic walks to a brownstone house in Broker, where he pushes open the door and pulls out a pistol. The living room however, is not occupied. He then moves onto the kitchen, which he also finds to be empty. He pushes his way through the back door and smashes the window of a red four-door car using his elbow. The broken glass falls onto the street and onto the seat of the car, as Bellic unlocks it from the inside. He hotwires the car and sets off to his next destination. The camera angle behind the car is closer to the vehicle than in previous GTA titles, which enables more detail on the car to be seen. After selecting a radio station, Bellic navigates to a section of the BOABO arriving at a dockside with a terrific view of the city skyline. Pigeons can be heard in the sky, and waves can be heard rustling in the water. Bellic then pulls out his cellphone which has options for Phonebook, Messages, Organizer and Camera on it's LCD screen. He selects Phonebook, and he is then presented with another set of options: City Contact, Docks Friend, and Cab Contact. After a brief conversation he informs the reciever to meet him at the docks.
* As Bellic walks, you can feel the weight behind each step he makes. Variations in the terrain cause realistic changes in the walking animation. The physics have also improved and character movements are more realistic.
# In GTA 4, Rockstar is giving its players more freedom, more choice, and more sense of control over their destiny - the structure of GTA4's storyline is quite different to it's predecessors as it can be told in a number of different ways. You can talk to people in person, by cell phones, and there are a bunch of other ways of giving the player information. In general it's a different experience, with new ways of interacting with the characters and the game world.
# Rockstar consulted crime experts and ex-policemen when making the game, and they learned that being a criminal is a lot harder these days than it was during the 80s and 90s (for example) and they have tried to reflect this in the game. This means you can expect to see a lot of people getting arrested - the police are a heavy presence in Liberty City.
# There are no planes in GTA IV because there is only one city, and Rockstar want the game to seem realistic. That means there will be no rollerblades, no unicycles, probably no jetpacks and indeed no planes. Rockstar are giving choice and variety which feels right for the character. However there will be motorbikes.
# Rockstar North is approaching the recruitment of voice actors in a different way. This means that we will probably hear less familiar voices in GTA 4, as R* are looking for voices which suit the attitude of the characters, and are not just looking for big names. A similar approach is being done with the soundtrack - Rockstar are looking for great music which works with the 2007 Liberty City.
# After an initial load sequence, the game will never load again. Not even during exterior-interior transitions (and vice versa).
# Both versions of the game (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) will likely be identical, but the Xbox 360 version will have exclusive downloadable episodic [sizeable] content. Rockstar have now spent over 3 years developing the game, and Dan Houser compares the leap from GTA III to GTA IV, to the leap from GTA to GTA III.
# GTA IV will have multiplayer, but it's not going to be a massively multiplayer online game, says Dan Houser. They are trying to make something that is interesting, fun, progressive and which goes along nicely with the single-player game.
Kobe Asks: I heard that you can’t fly in Liberty City anymore. What is up with that?! Flying is one of my favorite parts of this series!
This is incorrect. There are no airplanes in the game, but flying is still there. One means of this is the helicopter. As Dan pointed out, this is just one city and a plane really doesn’t fit into that very well for gameplay. Flying is still very much a large part of the game.
Did you see any female pedestrians? Are there any good looking chicks?
Sigh.... Truth be told, I’m curious why anyone would want to know this. Is this really one of the top questions? If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t recall myself thinking “man, that chick is banging” or “I find myself strangely attracted to this game”, but I can confirm that there are female pedestrians in the game. There’s a ton of ‘em, too. They shop. They talk. They even wear clothing.
Did you see some indication of seasons (winter, summer, spring...)?
Sadly, the demo that Rockstar presented was only about 15 minutes in length. Time of day definitely progresses, but whether it progresses throughout an entire calendar year remains to be seen.
How is the AI? Are the enemies smarter? Can they find cover?
This is another area that Rockstar is keeping under wraps at the moment. I can, however, tell you that I saw a truck driver swerve onto the sidewalk right in front of where we were walking. This strange little incident also took the Rockstar representatives by surprise. It almost looked like the driver was drunk, but then again, he could have just been in a hurry too.
Is it possible to climb on a ladder?
I didn’t see Niko climb a ladder, per se, but I did see him ascend a telephone pole to get a bird’s eye view of Liberty City. He didn’t climb up it like a gorilla, however. He simply pulled himself up on the series of rungs on the pole. This feat was actually quite impressive. You could clearly see his weight transfer from side to side as he moved up the pole.
Can you speak with other pedestrians on the street?
Niko seemed to have other things on his mind than talk with pedestrians. The people we passed, however, were very vocal.
Chester Asks: What was the first mission in the game, and what was you first word when you saw this new game?
I didn’t get to see the first mission in the game, but if I had to guess, I would imagine it would have something to do with the taxi stand that Niko’s cousin runs. As for my first word…I can’t print it here, but I did follow it up with “Oh my God!”
Matt Asks: Did it seem to you like Liberty City was an authentically sized city? A problem that I had with San Andreas was that you could drive to a coast in two minutes. Do you think it will be different this time?
Great question. In terms of scale, it definitely feels more like a realistic city. It feels you are traversing New York City. As you’ve seen in the trailer, there are a number of ways to traverse this massive area.
We didn't see any boats in the trailer, what can you tell us about them?
Dan wouldn’t go into specifics on this one, but the only type of vehicle he said that wouldn’t be in the game was the airplane. So this should point to boats still being a part of the GTA experience.
What can you say about the graphics quality? Can you compare the trailer to the game, is the trailers quality better or worse?
Rockstar is still putting polish on the graphics. The demo I saw was definitely a step up from the trailer…which is kind of ridiculous given how great it looked already.
Can you buy properties like you could in Vice City?
Again, no specifics were given, but Dan did say that this isn’t a game of real estate, or from rags to riches. I wouldn’t be surprised if you eventually do find new places to call home, but it sounds to me like properties might be handled in a different way – perhaps tied to moments in the story.
Will there be girlfriends like in San Andreas? If yes, can you marry them?
What is with you people and your woman-related questions. Yes, there are girlfriends. I forgot to ask if you could marry them.
Zhooles Asks: Unusual vehicles. Will be there any and if will, name them please.
Rockstar wouldn’t reveal anything in the demo, but strange vehicles are very much a part of the GTA experience. Dan said that much of the game revolves around Niko. I have a feeling that the choice of the vehicles does as well.
Aaron Hall Asks: Rockstar have said that the cars in GTA IV will have all new physics to them and the camera will be closer to allow a better driving perspective of cruising Liberty city and seeing more detail on the cars.Could you please elaborate on the experience of driving best as possible and what’s new to the experience? Thanks.
From what I was shown, the only new element was breaking the window of the car to get in. The animation for this was awesome, and something I wish I had seen more than once. The car I saw was newer in make – which was evidenced in both the beautiful crimson sheen and suspension that handled pot holes and variances in the road with ease. Now, I only saw one car, but it really did have that new car look to it. It’ll be interesting to see how Rockstar handles the shocks and struts for other vehicles in the game.
If I had to give a comparison, I would say that the new camera angle positioning is more like Midnight Club now. It’s closer, allowing the player to see more of the minute detailing on the car, and also lower, allowing you to see more of the horizon and verticality of the city.
Alex Sheridan Asks: As far as the surrounding area of Liberty City goes, what can we expect to see in things such as countryside relative to San Andreas?
From what I am told, you will not see countryside like you did in San Andreas. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the expanded content that Rockstar is planning through Xbox Live will offer new areas to explore. I can definitely see them adding a fifth borough to Liberty City, but outside of this, anything is possible.
Have you seen members of any mobs in the game? If yes, which? Is new Liberty City a detailed copy of NY, or just is looking like it? Are there houses enterable without loading?
I didn’t see any mob members, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Rockstar didn’t reveal everything to me. There’s still a lot of the game that remains blanketed in mystery. It is GTA, however, so I would be shocked if a mob or two or three weren’t involved. As for your second question, Liberty City is modeled after New York City, but it isn’t a copy, per se. As Dan pointed out in the magazine, the real world isn’t fun. You can’t just throw in the city and expect gameplay to emerge from that. There are certainly recognizable parts to it, but the gameplay comes first.
Sacha Asks: Will characters from earlier GTAs appear in the game?
Rockstar wouldn’t say outright, but from the smile that Dan Houser gave me, I would say there’s a good possibility of crossover.
Bobby Swansom Asks: Will the player have to go to the gym and eat right as in GTA:SA?
It doesn’t sound like Niko is the sort of person who does a lot of working out to staying in shape. From this, don’t expect him to have to work out to stay slim. As for eating, I doubt we’ll see him doing that, either. The one thing I am not sure of is whether or not he can get haircuts or buy clothing.
J Asks: Is it true that there's no load time?
I didn’t see one load in the entire demo, and this included visiting two interiors at different points on the map.
Marcus Asks: What was the phone like?
The graphic for the phone wasn’t finished just yet, so I won’t go into the detail on that, but it seemed that the interface was very simple in design and easy to use. Truth be told, it looked like a real cell phone. We just have to see if it drops as many calls as a real phone.
Brenny Asks: Is it still the same three cars over and over again like previous games we've seen?
I’m not sure which GTA you’ve played, but I have always had more than three cars to choose from. There’s a good chance you’ll see more taxi cabs than usual, but if anything, there should be plenty of rides to choose from.
Gary S Writes: How are the graphics and how far is the draw distance in the game ?
The visuals are tremendous and easily some of the best I have seen. What’s scary about this statement is that Rockstar North is still improving upon the visuals. There’s little question that it will be one of the best looking games come this holiday. As for the draw distance, I didn’t see one building, car, streetlamp, or pedestrian pop up. The framerate was also incredibly smooth and the lighting really couldn’t have been much better.
Isaac "Sculay" Hussain Asks: Will there be a Xbox 360 Demo?
Rockstar hasn’t announced anything yet, but I have a feeling most people will pick this game up whether they play it in advance or not.
A Canadian Asks: I just wanted to know when GTA IV for Xbox 360 will be in stores in Quebec, Canada.
Nope. Rockstar specifically told me that Quebec is the one location on earth that won’t be getting GTA IV. Actually, I have no idea. Call your store to find out.
Matthew James Asks: Compared to previous GTA titles, how big is GTA IV?
I already talked a lot about the city, so I will answer this question like it is being asked about the length of the game itself. I asked Dan this, and he said it should be comparable to all the other GTA games, but they don’t know exactly how long it is since the game is still in development. In other words, you’ll still be able to vest hundreds of hours. The multiplayer component, which is still a mystery, could greatly expand the time you spend with it too.
yes, multiple posts were necessary, the articles were well over the post limit.
* The main character, Niko Bellic, is in his mid-thirties "on the run from a dark past". He's not customizable as it was possible in GTA: San Andreas, but you'll be able to style him with different outfits. The reason for this is that after they got Niko's physics and look "dead right", it was difficult implementing features that will allow the customization of his body.
* The borough, Staten Island, was not added to the game because the team decided that it would not be a fun location to play in.
* Missions are more realistic, longer, varied, and will have multiple possible outcomes.
* R* is still deciding whether bridges will be used to cordon off certain areas. Dan states that it's not a block for block recreation.
* This time round they're trying to make Liberty City feel more fluid, and there not being any "dead spots" or "irrelevant space" as you drive through it.
* There's no more loading screens when crossing islands or entering interiors; certain interiors are see-thru and you can move through them seamlessly.
* The mob will be featured in GTA IV, just not as lead characters.
* "Virtually none" of the characters from the previous games are returning, and a lot of them are dead anyway according to Dan.
* More side-activities are promised, and pedestrians and traffic flow is different depending on the time of day.
* Pedestrians are a lot more intelligent, realistic and diverse, using mobile phones, cash machines, eating snacks, reading news papers and interacting with each other through laughter, threatening remarks etc.
* Your mobile phone can be used to set up deals or arranging ambushes - you can call the shots. More on this promised later.
* Driving and shooting is more organic, fluid, and precise.
* Despite earlier rumors, the game isn't trying to be photorealistic, but things such as artificial intelligence and the behaviors of pedestrians reacting to things such as a weapon being pulled out in front of them has been worked on a lot.
* As stated before, there isn't any planes, but players will be able to pilot helicopters. The reason being that there is not enough room for flying, and crossing the map will be too fast this way. One airport is confirmed to be in the game.
* The goal of GTA IV is to make the city look more populated than anything else people have seen before in a game like this.
* Houser states that no-one has attempted to recreate a location of this size, and with so much detail, ever before.
* The use of Sony's SIXAXIS controller for the PlayStation 3 has not yet been decided on.
* As expected, there's no more pop-ups of buildings and trees as we've seen in the past.
* Work on the game started right after the release of GTA: San Andreas in November 2004.
[Edited by insomniac, 5/1/2007 10:12:06 AM]
[Edited by insomniac, 5/1/2007 10:12:28 AM]
* When Niko pulls out a pistol, a crosshair with a simple black cross within a circle shows up on the screen. This could be an indication of manual aiming being available in the game.
* Rockstar's humorous take on the number 69 makes an appearance yet again in GTA IV, the editors of the magazine saw a sign for a "69th Street Diner". Another building called "Twitchins", the GTA version of Brooklyn's Domino's Sugar Factory, is in the game.
* Niko will be able to climb and descend exterior fire escapes and some meetings will take place high in the office buildings of skyscrapers. It's said that from on top of them you'll be able to throw people off.
* Hand to hand combat is also being reworked on for GTA IV, and will feel "much more natural" than before.
* One of the radio stations includes an "Eastern European-sounding" dancing station.
* Players will be able to change their camera views whilst in a car according to their needs. This however is said to still being experimented on, and that Rockstar want to give better control and "immediacy" to players.
* For confirmation, boats will be making a return and the handling is "really nice".
* When selecting your mobile phone, a zoomed-in version of the mobile screen pops up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, where you can use its address book to pitch for "jobs" with gang contacts among other things.
* One of the things that makes it easier for Rockstar setting GTA in a fictional New York is that they sometimes get a call from the developers at Rockstar North in Scotland, wanting to know more about a specific building or traffic flow in a certain area, for instance, and using their in-house researchers in NYC they can easily assist the guys back at R* North.
* Dan Houser is quoted saying that the Liberty City in GTA IV is bigger than any single city they've done before, giving a more clear indication of the physical size of the game. He continues saying that the "detail" of the game is the big thing.
* He also confirms Central Park to be in the game, though it's fictional name is still unknown to us.
* Dan says that they're "certainly evolving the way the radio works". He says the same for police behaviour and their reaction to crimes. Nothing further is said about this...
* "Fun ridiculous" weapons is said to be in the game, because R* is not going too "naturalistic".
# During the demo, Niko was seen approaching a bus stop. When he reached it, an icon appeared on-screen that enabled him to control the bus schedule. Is it possible to use the bus service similar to how you can with trains?
# When Niko pulls out a weapon, the camera positions itself above his shoulder, and a view-finder appears at the centre of the screen. It's possible to lock a target and move laterally to avoid incoming shots.
# Stealing a car can no longer be done simply by opening the door and driving off. Now it involves Niko approaching the car sneakily, breaking the glass with his elbow, using the injection cables to start the car, and only then can he use it.
# Niko can freely climb wherever possible (telephone poles, fire escapes etc.)
# Philip Glass, the author of the Grand Theft Auto 4 trailer music, will be involved in the production of GTA IV's soundtrack.
# The graphical improvements are clearly evident when walking over a grating on the sidewalk. You can see what is underneath it, and the light trickles realistically around the iron bars.
[Edited by insomniac, 5/13/2007 11:12:19 AM]