The latest issue of the Official UK PLAYSTATION 3 Magazine has an exclusive look at GTA IV, which included an interview with Rockstar’s Vice President of Creative Games, Dan Houser. I’m going to share with you all the bits I think you will find interesting.
Firstly, work started on GTA IV way back in 2004, shortly after GTA San Andreas was finished, with development split between Rockstar’s offices in Edinburgh, San Diego and New York. Although the new version of Liberty City is smaller than the overall area featured in San Andreas, there’s a lot more detail in everything with more going on than ever before. NPCs can be seen strutting around LC talking on mobile phones, smoking cigarettes, carrying shopping bags, eating food and even using cash machines!
Liberty City now spans 5 boroughs; Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx and New Jersey, but all will have different names to their real life counterparts, such as Broker instead of Brooklyn. Staten Island isn’t included though, as they thought it would be “too boring”. You will also be able to explore Roosevelt Island and travel across the Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. All this with no loading screens to interrupt gameplay!
So why New York? Dan Houser says nobody has ever done New York justice in a videogame, and with some of the Rockstar devs being based in New York, and with regular visits from members of the Rockstar North dev team, he says all the key elements were in place to do a fully detailed videogame version of New York.
Dan Houser also says everything has been redone in GTA IV from top to bottom. There’s a more organic, fluid and precise feel to the game, from the way the shooting feels to the new closer camera when you’re driving vehicles. It certainly looks that way in the stunning images found in the mag.
The city will be far more densely populated than any previous GTA game but don’t expect to see accurate New York style traffic jams as that would affect how much fun the game would be.
There are some issues caused from developing for both the PS3 and 360 but Dan Houser wouldn’t go into detail other than to say they aren’t “there yet on either format” and both have their advantages and disadvantages. When asked if the SIXAXIS motion sensor control will be used he said it won’t be in there just for the sake of it. If it can’t be implemented in a fun way that adds to the game, then it won’t be used.
As for the multiplayer side of things, it definitely won’t be a MMO game. He did say there would be a “good range of multiplayer modes” added to the game though. As for customisation, you won’t be able to customise your character like you could with C.J. in San Andreas. So no worrying about building up your stamina and improving your muscles at the gym or what type of hairstyle you want.
With regards to entering buildings, you can’t go into every building you see but you can see into practically every building and when you do decide to explore some interiors, it’s seamlessly done with no loading animations like in previous games.
There is also a very good chance that you can listen to any songs you have stored on your HDD during the game, although they are looking at interesting ways of doing this. Imagine if you could set the ring tones to your character’s phone to any track that you have stored on your hard drive. A different ring tone for different characters. This is my idea not one mentioned by Dan Houser by the way.
As you may know, the game begins with you playing as Niko Bellic, who has been enticed to Liberty City by his cousin Roman with wild tales of living The American Dream. When Niko arrives in Liberty City from an unnamed Eastern European city, he finds that Roman has been lying about his so called wealth and living the easy life. It turns out Roman is heavily in debt and things soon start to get serious, which is where Niko comes into it.
You may also find a satirical look at the ongoing War on Terror and the way it’s been manipulated by certain people to restrict the amount of freedom we have.
As for missions, you can ring people up and arrange meets rather than relying on getting a phone call like in previous games. And not all of your missions will be of the nasty variety. There will be plenty of leisure activity for Niko to do when he’s in between missions and what’s available will vary depending on the time of day.
GTA IV is going to be THE game of this decade in my opinion. I can’t wait to see what the finished product will be like. I’m a little concerned that with less than 6 months to go until it’s scheduled release date, Rockstar are still having problems with both the PS3 and 360 versions of the game. Could it be pushed back until 2008? If it means a better quality GTA then I won’t mind.
Written by: Gary
- News Contributor