Archive for April, 2007
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.
For anybody that has built up an impressive winning percentage on MotorStorm online, I wouldn’t read the list below, of bug fixes that v1.2 will correct when it’s released some time next month. For anybody that doesn’t care about their online ranking (me, because I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won ) you may be happy with the following news.
Below is a list of the problems that v1.2 should fix (if it’s an accurate list) and it’s free, which should be the case anyway:
- Game List Improvement: ‘Game Status’ is now displayed with the game list in the online lobby making it easier to find a session where you’ll be able to join and race promptly.
- Host Identification: Within the game lobby the host is now clearly identified by a ‘host’ icon visible to all players and updated during host migration.
- Boost Exploit: A bug involving the boost system that allowed a player to use boost in an exploitative manner has been resolved.
- Buddy List Size: This has been updated to support up to 50 friends.
- Text Cut-off: When playing in standard definition all messages will now display as intended.
- Improved Stability Online: Online gameplay stability has been improved.
- Audio issues: All known issues with 5.1 / 7.1 surround have been fixed. Audio issues within the front-end have been resolved.
- Player Ranking: Players were found to be ranked incorrectly due to a bug. Because of this all online rankings will be reset and the ranking system should now function correctly. Evolution and Sony apologise for this measure but it will result in a fairer and more stable ranking system for all players.
- Auto-Start: Races will be forced to start after a fixed countdown which should dramatically reduce the waiting times in lobbies. Hosts may delay this countdown up to three times.
- Save Data Corruption: When quitting the game using the PS button it was possible to corrupt the save game data. This will no longer occur.
- Lobby Information: Upcoming track and current lap details will be displayed in lobbies.
- Vehicle Damage: When restarting a single player race during a death camera the damage wasn’t always reset at the start of the next race. This has now been resolved.
- Missing Audio: Audio effects were missing from the death camera, these have now been reinstated.
- Name Tags: Added ability to switch the player name tags on/off during online races using a single button press (L1).
Anything you feel they’ve missed out? Apart from split screen offline play and customisable soundtracks of course.
Well, if you’re a member of PlayStation Underground and/or GAP (Gamer Advisory Panel) you are highly likely to have received an e-mail invitation to be part of the Home Beta program.
Unfortunately, even though I’m a PlayStation Underground member, I received no such invitation!
Thanks to reader Børt Erik Sørbo for sending this in! Sony announced theyir new next-gen EyeToy which unfortunately does not look to be HD in any way, shape or form.
[Note that this press release is from Sony Europe, I assume a press release for North America is coming...]
[Kotaku is reporting that the release date for NA is this summer as well.]
London, 26th April 2007. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the arrival of the next-generation PLAYSTATION®Eye camera.
Scheduled for a Summer release in Europe, PLAYSTATION Eye is an essential accessory for voice, video chat and online gaming that will enable gamers to enjoy their PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) experiences like never before.
Designed specifically for PS3 and featuring huge advances in USB camera and microphone technology, PLAYSTATION Eye is set to revolutionise the experience of online communication on the PLAYSTATION®Network. Expanding on the market-leading heritage of the EyeToy® USB Camera for PlayStation®2, the sophistication of the PLAYSTATION Eye naturally complements the advanced features and capabilities of PS3 – all in one slickly designed, unobtrusive unit.