Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA 4)
Rockstar is also going to sell a disc with both DLC's on it for $40 this fall that doesn't even require the original GTA IV to play. And obviously that's also exclusive to the XBOX 360.
First the basics – the eponymous Gay Tony won't be the game's lead, though the title suggests he'll form the narrative crux of the game. Anthony 'Gay Tony' Prince is a character familiar to those who played through Niko's tale, a larger than life purveyor of Liberty City's seedy nightlife.
He makes a fleeting appearance in Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, the last mission Niko carries out for the rabble-rousing McCreary clan, although he's alluded to several times before we see his dazzling self. A club owner who has fallen on hard times, his two outlets, Hercules and Maisonette 9, are listed as having been closed down due to drugs busts on Liberty City's online oracle. Having fallen on hard times, it's likely that The Ballad of Gay Tony will chronicle the one-time high-roller's struggle with poverty, and his desperation as he tries to regain his former financial riches.
Anyone who doubts the potential of Liberty City's club scene to provide the intrigue and crime that's the air the GTA series breathes should be pointed towards James St James Disco Bloodbath, an autobiographical look at the life and crimes of Michael Alig and the Club Kids that went onto inspire Macaulay Culkin's 'comeback' film Party Monster.
The 'high-end nightlife' alluded to in the initial announcement means more than just litres of ketamine, kilos of coke and a hard-house soundtrack – there's also the dark undercurrent that comes with the territory, the comedowns and the kickbacks and the drug-addled fear that's the undercurrent for the whole scene.
And that disco soundtrack wouldn't go amiss either – in much the same way that Liberty City Rock and LCHC were given a significant overhaul for The Lost and Damned, expect K109, Electrochoc and The Vibe to be given a whole new host of tracks to supplement The Ballad of Gay Tony's new direction.
While the story may be about Gay Tony, the protagonist for this next episode will be a character far removed from the flamboyant flair of the nightclub owner - Luis Fernando Lopez, a Dominican gangster who also acts as Gay Tony's bodyguard.
He's a persistent if subtle presence throughout Niko's arc, making his first appearance in Three Leaf Clover as he hits the ground when Bellic and the McReary boys storm the bank. He's the calm voice that tries to stop the be-suited hostage from ruining the boy's party, though it's to no avail.
Later, he makes a much less passive appearance at the Libertonian, delivering a fatal shot to diamond dealer Mori Green and triggering the chaos of one of GTA IV's standout missions, Museum Piece. With Johnny Klebitz and Niko also present in the shootout, the mission marks the appearance of all three GTA IV protagonists known to date – perhaps explaining the mysterious 'Impossible Trinity' achievement earned upon its completion, which in itself is either a dry reference to the Mundell-Fleming economic model, or more likely a suggestion that this is the apex of Rockstar's branching stories set in GTA IV's Liberty City.
Clearly spooked by Lopez's echoing of his every move, Niko even puts in a call to his cousin Roman after the shoot-out, questioning the origins of the Dominican who seems to be haunting him. While the crossover points between Niko, Johnny and Lois suggest some of the missions that will appear in The Ballad of Gay Tony, other clues point towards some of the other elements we can expect to see when the episode lands this October.Lopez is affiliated with the Northwood Dominican Drug Dealers, who operate out of the Northern tip of Algonquin, while Gay Tony's empire operated across the South Eastern area of the island, suggesting that, as Alderney was the heart of The Lost and The Damned, Algonquin will form the focus of many of the adventures in The Ballad of Gay Tony. Likewise, traditional gay districts such as The Village and Hell's Kitchen will likely feature heavily in their GTA IV incarnations as Westminster and Purgatory.
Lopez will likely be bringing some of his own hardware with him as well, and the Tampa muscle car that made an all-too fleeting and sadly unplayable appearance in The Lost and Damned will most probably feature as his vehicle of choice. Based on the Chevy Corvair of the late sixties, it's the kind of vehicle that would be seen driven by the Latin hotheads of San Andreas – and if it does feature, we're optimistic that the car modding features of that game could make a return, playing to the customisation culture such vehicles embody.
Naturally, at this early stage most of this stands as pure speculation, and as Rockstar has proved in the past it takes particular pleasure in confounding expectations and we're likely to be surprised by the final code come October.
Lois in line at the Bank: Link
Lois shooting up the Diamond Deal: Link
[Edited by SuperSkyline89, 7/24/2009 6:30:56 PM]