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Has GTA IV influenced you to commit crimes?

Nope, it's just a game.
Only petty crimes.
Stealing has become a hobby.
Yes, can't say more, cops are coming.
I am the living incarnation of Niko.

News for April, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jack Thompson, IGN, and the ladies of Liberty City

Posted by Tsuroki at 18:59. Category: General

Guess who's back? Back again? Jack is back; tell a friend. As expected, Jack Thompson has emerged from the underside of whatever rock he's been hiding under for the past few years, just in time to go after Grand Theft Auto IV for -- guess what? -- excessive sexual content in Grand Theft Auto IV.

As noted in a recent Ars Technica article, Wacky Jacky has an "unlikely" bit of ammo for his case against GTA IV: a video, produced by IGN, highlighting the strip clubs and prostitutes that exist in Grand Theft Auto IV. For some ungodly reason, though, IGN seems to have thought it was a good idea to make a four minute video out of it, showing Niko and his "encouters" followed by him hunting down the ladies shortly thereafter.

From the Ars Technica article:

The embattled Florida attorney has written a letter to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, R. Alexander Acosta, demanding that legal action be taken against Take Two and retailers for selling the game...

Thompson sent a copy of the letter to Ars Technica, and his demands are far-reaching. "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems," Thompson wrote. "Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."

He then compares the game to, of all things, polio. "Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus... The 'vaccine' that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this. If you doubt me, look at the aforementioned streaming audio/video. It will make you sick."

While I'm certainly no fan of Jack Thompson or his ridiculous antics (and I'd love to argue the point that "innocent 17 year olds" are only a year away from being legally able to engage in such lude acts on camera for money... or in some cases, poorly-made t-shirts), it's hard to blame the man when IGN practically hands him a gift-wrapped video of inevitable controversy. Really... what the hell is IGN thinking by producing a video like this, removing all contextual elements of the game, and having Niko engage prostitutes and then hunt them down?

While it's unlikely that those in a position of authority will do much of anything in response to Jack's complaint, there's no doubt that the controversy will continue as we get further into the summer months. As usual, you can expect us to keep you updated on whatever whimsical nonsense spews forth from the great gooey geyser that is mainstream media.

Related Links: Ars Technica article, IGN "Ladies of Liberty" video


Monday, April 28, 2008

GTA IV - Now Available!

Posted by Tsuroki at 23:53. Category: General
GTA IV Released

Grand Theft Auto IV. GTA IV. GTA4. Whatever you want to call it, the facts remain the same: Rockstar's latest entry into the Grand Theft Auto family is a total success, walking away with perfect (and slightly-below-perfect) scores across the board. And if you don't believe the scores, guess what? You can now play the game! Folks in the UK, Europe and Australia can now rush out and pick up Grand Theft Auto IV from their local retailers, and North American residents will be able to do the same in a few hours from now. (This means, of course, that you can finally stop picking through all of the little preview details and enjoy the Grand Theft Auto IV experience for yourself.)

While everyone else is taking a break from the daily grind to prep themselves for GTA IV, we here at the GTA Network are going into overdrive. We're going to jump right into post-launch mode as soon as we get our own grubby little fingers on the game, ensuring that we continue to deliver the best quality of Grand Theft Auto IV content that you can find. (We're also hard at work on wrapping up our GTA4.NET redesign, so you have that to look forward to as well.)

While we understand that you may want to keep yourself away from the sites and forums for a while -- spoilers are no fun, after all -- don't forget to check back in with us for in-depth Grand Theft Auto IV coverage in the weeks, and months, to come. The game may be out, but we're just getting started!

So, on behalf of all of the staff of the GTA Network, I'd like to offer our sincerest thanks to all of you for checking in with us on a (very) regular basis. Thanks to Rockstar Games, as well, for raising the bar (yet again!) when it comes to the complete gaming experience.

With all of that said and done -- we'll see you in Liberty City. Cheers!

Line at Future Shop

UPDATE: Residents of North America are starting to swarm to their nearest gaming retailer to pick up their copies of Grand Theft Auto IV. I hit up the local Future Shop here in Kingston, Ontario at approximately 10:00pm -- a solid two hours before the midnight release -- to ensure that I had a spot in line. To my great surprise, not only was I the first one in line, but I was joined by some friends from college as well as a few individuals who had discovered GTA4.NET earlier in the day. A big shout to Hammy, as per his request, for recognizing the Rockstar satchel and actually knowing who I was. (Yes, Hammy, I am from Kingston!)

Cheers to everyone, and I hope you enjoy the game. As for me? I'll be preoccupied for the next few hours... or days. See you in game!


GTA IV Cheats

Posted by adamcs at 12:39. Category: General

If you have the game already and want some fun (or if you are simply crap at it) then you might want to check out this list of confirmed cheat codes. All cheats have been tested successfully on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

All cheats should be entered during normal gameplay using Niko's cellphone. Enjoy.

In other news, the GTA forums have been expanded to include several new forums, so the chaos has spread a bit and is now a little easier for us to manage. Remember that registering is free.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

GTA Community Webmasters - Broadcasting Live!

Posted by Tsuroki at 23:03. Category: General

UPDATE: Thanks for the great turnout! We had over ONE THOUSAND listeners tuning in to listen to us share our experiences with Grand Theft Auto IV. Thanks to all of you who called in and all of you who sent in your questions via email. Who knows? This may be the new GTA Netcast!


Thirteen New Movies at IGN

Posted by illspirit at 17:31. Category: General

IGN has posted a bunch of new gameplay movies to help whet your appetite for the game.


More Reviews

Posted by adamcs at 16:10. Category: General

Kotaku, EuroGamer, TeamXbox, CVG and 1UP have all posted reviews of Grand Theft Auto IV. Each review was extremely positive, with very few bad things to say about the game.

There's also a bunch of new screenshots and videos over at IGN for you to check out, which appear to have been captured by themselves rather than R*.

UPDATE: Game Informer's verdict has just come in: another perfect score for Grand Theft Auto IV.

Links:



Online Reviews Expected Today

Posted by adamcs at 13:44. Category: General

The online press are allowed to post reviews of Grand Theft Auto IV today from 5pm BST, ahead of the game's worldwide release on Tuesday. IGN already posted their review on Friday, and today we can expect more reviews from the likes of GameSpot, GamesRadar, CVG and Kotaku.

Kikizo have announced that they are delaying their review for "quality assurance" reasons. The reviewer, Adam Doree, said earlier today that "Both personally and (*cough*) professionally I think I owe it to you to delve deeper into the game before hammering out the verdict, in the same vein as all that preview stuff we've done." The review can be expected to appear during the next few days.

As always, we will keep you updated on all the major reviews that are posted. You can read about previous reviews/scores on our reviews page.


GTA IV Trailer 5

Posted by adamcs at 00:09. Category: General

GameSpot have posted a new "official" trailer of Grand Theft Auto IV, making this the fifth (and no doubt final) trailer before the game is released on Tuesday. It contains some old scenes from previous trailers in addition to some new ones aswell. Originally it was assumed there would only be four trailers, so this comes as quite a surprise.

(UPDATE) Some members at our forum have reported seeing it on ESPN (a US television network).

Link: Grand Theft Auto IV - Trailer 5


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Edinburgh: Home of Rockstar North

Posted by adamcs at 06:16. Category: General

One of the members at our forum sent us this pic of an advertisement situated around the corner from Rockstar North's office in Edinburgh, Scotland:

Edinburgh Ad
GTA IV Advert in Edinburgh: Home of Rockstar North.

New euphoria Tech Demo

Posted by illspirit at 04:04. Category: General

One of the guys from NaturalMotion stopped by the forums to let us know they have a shiny new technology demo vid up on their site. In case you haven't seen euphoria in action or still don't understand the difference between DMS and ragdoll, go check it out. Even if you do get it, check it out anyway because the video is fun.

euphoria

Like I said in the topic, I got a chance to play with it a few days ago, and could have seriously spent two days just watching myself get run over, fall off buildings, or fly out of cars if everyone else didn't want to play multiplayer.


Friday, April 25, 2008

IGN's Verdict - "One of the best games ever seen"

Posted by DigitalD at 23:33. Category: General

IGN has given Grand Theft Auto IV a 10/10 - the first such rating to be given in almost ten years. Quite simply, they call it "one of the best games" they have ever seen.

  • GTA taken to the next level - in a sense of technological progression and also sophistication.
  • Liberty City is a gem to behold. New York expressed in a true Grand Theft Auto style.
  • A level of integration between the soundtrack and the dynamics makes this a true "living, breathing city."
  • The game deserves the highest score IGN can award, because it doesn't fail to push video gaming to another level.
  • Storyline involves morality choices faced by players, giving way to alternative plot endings.
  • One of the best integrations of multiplayer in a game, that the reviewer has ever seen.

A 4-minute video review shows some beautiful gameplay footage as well as providing a summary of the full written review. Even if you decide to spare yourself the 7-page read, check out the video review. IGN can barely contain their excitement. We're looking forward to the verdicts the other major outlets will be providing over the weekend.

Seeing as many still haven't had a chance to play the game, I don't want to summarize too much, and let everyone savour the gameplay when they have their chance with it. Suffice to say; much like Grand Theft Auto III represented a paradigm shift in videogaming, GTA IV continues to push the boundaries of what is possible to achieve with a video game.


The Premier GTA IV Fansite Pre-Launch Party

Posted by Tsuroki at 18:20. Category: General
Grand Theft Auto IV Pre-Launch Party in NYC.
GTA IV in NYC? Hell yes.

In the months leading up to the launch of GTA IV, ten Grand Theft Auto fansite administrators were contacted by Rockstar Games. It was an invitation that GTA fanatics have dreamt about for years – an invitation to come and experience New York City firsthand, compliments of Rockstar.

Those who received the invitation included:

Part of the deal, however, required that all invitees remain completely silent about the event. Nobody outside of the group was supposed to know about it, and aside from a few relatively obnoxious slipups late in April, the Grand Theft Auto community remained in the dark about the entire thing for quite a while.

Now that the event has come and gone, we'd like to share our experiences with everyone else. Over the next few hours, all sites that attended the meet will be posting their own take on this once-in-a-lifetime event.

A huge thanks to Rockstar Games for being such amazing hosts and giving us an early (and legitimate) hands-on preview of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Related Links / Coverage: GTANet/GTA4.NET, PlanetGTA, GTA4.TV, The GTA Place, GTA Warehouse, GTAGaming


Official Site Update: Niko Bellic Video

Posted by Tsuroki at 18:19. Category: General

Rockstar has just updated the official website with Niko's character introduction. The video focuses on Niko's troubled past and his personal struggles of morality. You can also check out a high-def version of the video on GameTrailers.com.

As always, you can also discuss the video on our forums.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Midnight Madness

Posted by illspirit at 17:44. Category: General

For those of you in the US who want to pick up the game as soon as possible, GameStop has posted a list of their shops which will be opening at midnight on the 28th.

Update 1: Best Buy has some midnight openings as well.

Update 2: As does Game in the UK.

Update 3: Future Shops in Canada have some midnight openings too, along with a few launch parties.

Update 4: Blockbuster has a number of stores in Denmark who are joining in the fun.

Update 5: EB Games Australia is advertising a midnight launch - contact your local store for details and confirmation.

If none of these are close to you, keep an eye on this topic on our forums, which will be updated with new locations as we learn about them.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Reviews in OXM US and Xbox World 360

Posted by steve-m at 23:28. Category: General
GTA IV Globe

Two new GTA IV reviews have surfaced today. Official Xbox Magazine (US) gave the game a score of 9.5 and came to the following conclusion:

  • + Wonderful environment with gajillions of great things to do.
  • + Multiplayer is a deep, terrific addition to the series.
  • - Would be even better with a little editing: it starts slowly, has a few too many "filler" missions.

Xbox World 360 (UK) awarded it a score of 98%, the highest they've ever given out. Their verdict:

  • + Oscar-worthy dialogue
  • + unfeasibly rich gameworld
  • + inspired mission design

Both articles are full of story and mission details (you have to finish at least 90 to conclude the storyline, and there are at least 10 moral choices leading to multiple endings), as well as achievement descriptions (like "Warm Coffee" for scoring a date), hilarious easter-eggs (YouTube parody "Elictrictit" has all videos flagged as inappropriate) and quotes (Gun shop guy: "Stay safe, stay Second Amendment."). So if you don't mind a few spoilers, be sure to give them a read.

As usual, we invite you to discuss the OXM review and the Xbox World 360 review at our forums.

Special Edition
GTA IV Special Edition packshot

Unfortunately, the two French articles reported on yesterday turned out to be pre-reviews; most European publications are only now beginning to receive the release version of GTA IV for their in-depth reviews. Those that do are apparently being carefully watched by R*, according to an email published by videogaming247, even though the game hits stores in only less than a week. And how it will look like when it does, can be seen on some photos of the special edition an Australian retail store employee took.

And for those who don't like reading or staring at still pictures, there will be an exclusive sneak peak on G4 this Sunday at 12PM ET, showing actual game play footage for the first time.


Chicago Pulls GTA IV Transit Ads

Posted by Tsuroki at 17:43. Category: General
GTA IV Transit Ad

Grand Theft Auto is no stranger to controversy; typically, however, the controversy doesn't start up until the game is on store shelves. That being said, it seems that GTA IV is breaking new ground in more ways than one.

In a recent news broadcast, the evangelists of Anti-Everything-Gaming -- otherwise known as "Fox News" -- somehow managed to tie the recent surge in Chicago violence to the newly launched outdoor Grand Theft Auto IV campaign taking place in (of course) Chicago. Although the reference wasn't as blatant as "GRAND THEFT AUTO IS KILLING CHICAGO, ZOMG", the suggestion was relatively obvious.

From Kotaku:

"Fox News Chicago noticed—in a moment of divine correlation—that Grand Theft Auto advertisements appear on CTA buses and train stations.

The remainder of Fox's report becomes muddled. In the intro, we cannot tell if they are blaming the shootings on the ads or just claiming that the ads are in poor taste. (They never, in fact, mention when the ads actually went up.) We'd say Fox buried the lead, but we're not so certain there was any lead to bury.

The piece continues grasping for a story, this time through the political hypocrisy of IL governor Rod Blagojevich, who had once spoken against Grand Theft Auto San Andreas advertisements publicly. And then, to demonstrate how we should/could feel about this story (other than confusion?), the viewer is treated to a series of man on the street interviews. Finally, we find that CTA has made no comment on the situation but will be pulling the ads (we can assume only because Fox was doing the story).
"

This isn't the first time that Fox News has made a game the centerpiece of controversy for absolutely no reason. Earlier this year, Fox got on the case of Mass Effect for including "full nudity and explicit sex scenes" (which, of course, was yet another sensationalist pile of donkey doo, much like this latest GTA IV debacle).

If GTA IV is already stirring up this much of a controversy with roughly a week left before launch, it'll be interesting to see what happens when the game finally hits at the end of the month.

Related Links: Kotaku Article, Fox News Segment, GTAForums Topic


12 New Screenshots

Posted by Justin at 07:21. Category: General

IGN have uploaded twelve new screenshots to their gallery.

Related Link: GTAForums thread.


Review Roundup + New Interview

Posted by steve-m at 00:05. Category: General
logos of Empire, PSM3 and Jeux Vidéo

Further GTA IV reviews have been released recently, with a lot more to come later this week. As expected, the game is continuing to get exceptionally high scores. Apart from a few new screenshots here and there, there's nothing we haven't read before, so here's just a brief overview of the latest scores:

  • Empire Online: 5/5
  • PSM3 (France): 20/20
  • Jeux Vidéo Magazine (France)

[Update: The articles published in PSM3 and Jeux Vidéo Magazine were actually previews (or pre-reviews); the given scores don't necessarily reflect the magazines' final ratings of the retail version of GTA IV. The issues with the real reviews will be published in May.]

Keep your eyes open for additional reviews and let the community know if you find something in your favorite online or print publication.

In other news, GTA's art director Aaron Garbut was interviewed by Eurogamer, answering their questions about the GTA IV game design lifecycle. Starting with the early collecting of ideas and prototyping, the two-part interview touches on various interesting topics like character design and interaction:

"I think the level of detail the cut-scene guys have achieved is intense. They have the characters interacting with the world, which is hard enough, but they also have added a lot of feedback onto the world. [...] Things like pillows and mattresses bending or bouncing a little under the weight of characters sitting on it, phone cords dangling and following the phones movements, liquid moving around in glasses. It's pretty amazing."

We also learn some details about the engine's fancy new real-time lighting system:

"There are no hard limitations on the number of active dynamic lights around the player. The real-time shadows are working across every object and surface in the game with everything self-shadowing and casting onto everything else, there's ambient occlusion and emissive lighting on top of that. And then your standard next-gen shenanigans - light shafts, bloom, depth of field and motion blur, and of course it goes without saying everything's rendered with HDR."

Give it a read if you like; the interview will be continued with part two tomorrow. Or if you don't want to wait, there's a very similar 4-page interview over at IGN.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Variety interviews with Dan Houser

Posted by Tsuroki at 18:45. Category: General

Variety's Ben Fritz recently sat down with the ever-elusive Dan Houser to discuss the finer things in life (this, of course, includes Grand Theft Auto IV). The article is yet another addition to Fritz's (relatively) extensive work covering all things Rockstar, and it's admittedly quite a hefty lump of text.

From the article:

"...imagine him talking in his British accent as I present some extended excerpts from our interview. And when I say “extended,” I mean “extended.” This isn’t everything, but it’s a lot. Frankly, I just think everything in here is really interesting and worth sharing. I’ve got him talking why “GTA IV” is the first truly original game in the series, why storage capacity is more important than console power, why Rockstar doesn’t make first person games, why he doesn’t want to make a “GTA” movie, why he considers the upcoming episodic content an “experiment,” what he has to say to critics of “GTA’s” sex and violence, and why he thinks his games deserve to stand beside movies, not other videogames (amongst many other topics)."

If you're willing to dive into it headfirst, feel free to go ahead -- it's definitely a great read. For everyone else, we've tossed together a summary of some key GTA IV bits from the interview:

  • GTA 3 through San Andreas focused on removing restrictions; GTA IV focuses on implementing things that make sense for the location or for the character.
  • In GTA IV, Rockstar aims to recreate the feeling of jumping from GTA 2 to GTA 3. It's not just an improvement; it's something completely different. GTA 2 to GTA 3 was 3-D; GTA 3 to GTA IV is a phenomenal increase in detail.
  • Physics in GTA IV make the game feel more alive; greatly improved graphics make emotions easier to convey. It's all about making the game more natural.
  • The story reflects the gameplay. The more realistic the game looks and feels, the more realistic the story can be.
  • Rockstar's dream with their games is to always make everything a flowing, completely integrated experience.
  • The development process for GTA IV was professional yet unstructured. The team hasn't really changed since GTA 3, so the process is largely intuitive.
  • The original Liberty City (from GTA 3) was never meant to imitate New York City; it was just "vaguely East Coast-ish".
  • As with previous Grand Theft Auto titles, extensive research was done to capture the true essence of New York City.
  • When coming up with the concept of Niko, Rockstar wanted someone that was tough yet foreign; he's both battle-hardened and innocent at the same time.
  • It took approximately six months to come up with a rough design of what represents New York City. Actually building that representation of New York (Liberty City, in this case) took years to complete.
  • As the city is created, the story begins to develop with Dan bouncing ideas off of Sam and Leslie Benzies. The story begins to be developed, artists start to work on the characters, and the designers begin to break down the story into missions.
  • Developing the actual Grand Theft Auto experience is a daunting task; although the game isn't linear, Rockstar sets it up in such a way that any given situation is predetermined. From the article: "We know where you can move around the map. We know when you can unlock everything. So although the thing to you playing game is non-linear because at any point you might have 15 things you can do, we can track on a huge multi-tiered doc, where you can be. So we know at that point can’t see other things. We’re trying to tell a story, design a videogame and take you on a trip around the world all at the same time."
  • While San Andreas and Vice City took influence from films, GTA IV does not. With the Rockstar team being based in New York City (and much of the team having lived there their entire lives), it makes more sense to base the game off of their own first-hand knowledge and experience of the city.
  • The main reason that we haven't seen multiplayer Grand Theft Auto in the past is technical limitations; the hardware just couldn't handle the strain that a full GTA multiplayer experience would dish out.
  • For GTA IV, the multiplayer experience isn't meant to be revolutionary or completely innovative; it's simply meant to be the best multiplayer GTA experience possible.
  • Multiplayer recreates moments while singleplayer creates narrative; it's all a very cinematic experience.
  • The storytelling experience in GTA IV is far beyond anything we've seen in any Grand Theft Auto title to date.
  • When we look at Niko's situation in GTA IV, we see him as a serious individual with problems that he most overcome; the world that he's stuck in, and the issues of those around Niko, are considerably ridiculous by comparison. It's this tone that defines the game.

There's far more to the interview than what has been outlined above, including some history behind the Grand Theft Auto team, the creation of GTA 3, and more. Dan also touches on the Take Two controversy, stating the following:

"There’s been so much drama over so many years and we’re still here. I guess we’re reasonably immune to it. Sometimes it gets irritating and sometimes you feel bad for the people involved because things get out of control.

There have been so many CEOs since I worked here, some were fantastic and some not so. But it never stopped us and I don’t think it’s going to. I’m so used to it I can’t imagine any other environment. If I freaked out every time this is going on, we wouldn’t be coming up on 10 years. There must have been 20 dramas in that time. It’s what I associate with being in America: corporate drama.

The one thing that whoever is in charge of Take-Two has been cool about is understanding that we do good job of running Rockstar.
"

I must sound like a broken record by now, but as always, you can discuss the interview on our forums.

Related Links: Dan Houser Interview, GTAForums Topic


8 New Screenshots

Posted by Suction Testicle Man at 16:09. Category: General
8 new screenshots courtesy of GamesRadar.



Discuss them on the forums.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Games Aktuell Review

Posted by adamcs at 14:07. Category: General

German magazine Games Aktuell is the latest magazine to review Grand Theft Auto IV. Here is their verdict:

  • Graphics: 9/10
    The gigantic size of the city makes you forget the few graphical imperfections of the game.
  • Sound: 10/10
    Best GTA soundtrack ever, and probably the most compelling feature in the game.
  • Controls: 8/10
    Far from perfect but a big step from the previous GTA games.
  • Multiplayer: 9/10
    Great concept and innovative integration with the single-player mode.
  • Gameplay: 10/10
    We can't score it 11/10...
  • Conclusion:
    GTA4 is by far the best action game ever created.

(UPDATE) This review is based on earlier preview sessions at R*. It's not based on the final retail version of the game. It still contains the review screenshots however (the same ones featured in OXM/OPM).

Related Link: GTAForums.com Topic


GTA IV Audio Question and Answer

Posted by Tsuroki at 02:36. Category: General

The movies that we watch, the games that we play... they just wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for the audio. The Grand Theft Auto series is no exception; the ambiance of the city is as important to Grand Theft Auto as the Imperial March is to Star Wars. GTA IV aims to maintain this healthy balance of audio and visual, and on that note, I'm happy to say that GamesRadar has just recently posted a multi-page Audio Q&A for Grand Theft Auto IV.

The Q&A includes Matthew Smith, Craig Conner and Will Morton, all of whom are senior employees with the Rockstar North audio team. Some quotes that we found particularly interesting:

  • "Stand in the street and you’ll hear three different radio stations at any one time coming from passing vehicles, all sounding appropriately tinny or boomy, depending on the type of vehicle and whether its doors are open, its windows broken, etc."
  • "It was our aim that you could place the player in a random position on the map, shut your eyes and listen, and be able to tell where you are, and what time of day it is, and I think we’ve achieved that pretty well."
  • "For multiplayer, we balance [the sound of gunfire] so that guns only really sound dangerously beefy when they’re at a distance you can be hit from, so it’s intuitive what’s threatening and what’s someone else’s private war."
  • "It’s difficult to quantify how many speaking parts there are, but at our last count there were over 740 unique voices in the game. There are over 80,000 individual lines of dialogue, more than 7000 of which are Niko’s lines. If you were to listen to each line back to back, it would take over 29 hours. Also, these figures don’t take the radio, TV, and mo-capped cut-scene dialogue into consideration."
  • "We also decided to make the pedestrian dialogue more realistic in GTA4. As an example, peds in previous games would walk around and randomly chat to themselves if they weren’t doing much else. In real life, people (generally!) don’t go around talking to themselves, so we dropped this behavior from GTA4. However, we realized that the random chat of old GTA games was a good way for the player to pick-up on what sort of personality a ped has, so we created the cell-phone conversations in GTA4 as one realistic way of portraying personality."

The Q&A also includes a handful of new screenshots (which should be enough to satisfy those of you who don't like to read). As always, you can talk about this latest bit of GTA IV info on our forums.

Related Link: GTA IV Audio Q&A at GamesRadar


Friday, April 18, 2008

GTA IV Goes Gold + Lazlow Speaks on GTA IV + New Screenshots

Posted by Tsuroki at 21:23. Category: General
Bob Ross draws GTA IV
GTA IV Goes Gold!

Yesterday saw the opening of pre-registration for the Rockstar Social Club, and despite some technical issues, the launch was mostly a success; thousands of gamers quickly swooped in to secure their Social Club membership within less than an hour of the Social Club going live. Also occuring yesterday was Take Two's annual (albeit brief) shareholders meeting, in which an announcement from Take Two confirmed that Grand Theft Auto IV has "gone gold" with production in full swing.

Today also has its fair share of GTA IV perks. Lazlow Jones -- a lead writer, radio host, and long-time fan favourite who has been responsible for much of the dialogue and content found within most Grand Theft Auto titles -- appeared on the Opie and Anthony show earlier today to discuss his role in the development of Grand Theft Auto IV. While he touches on much of what we already know, he also goes into more detail on subjects that haven't received as much blatant coverage (including the downloadable content for Xbox and Rockstar North's inevitable "one month vacation" after GTA IV's release).

Here's a summary of some of the info that Lazlow covered on the show:

  • There are over 100 radio commercials in the game.
  • Announcements on the subway system will randomly alert you of spontaneous police harassment, security checks and searches.
  • The faux-beer brand "Piswasser" takes a jab at Budweiser, including a radio commercial sung by Anthony himself.
  • GTA IV's in-game internet is ridiculously extensive, featuring spoofs of liberal and conservative news sources with coverage of your in-game antics, as well as spoofs popular blogs and websites (craigslist, for example). Irritating pop-up banner ads also make an appearance.
  • Niko can hook up with a wide range of girls via dating websites.
  • Injuries mean much more in GTA IV. When Niko gets shot in the leg, for example, he'll begin to bleed and limp.
  • Recording sessions for dialogue and in-game audio went on for ten hours a day, five days a week. The entire process took weeks to finish.
  • Rockstar employees have been working overtime and well into the weekends to complete the game.
  • Between the Xbox 360 version of the game and the PS3 version, Lazlow admits that he prefers the 360 version thanks to the downloadable content; new missions, new characters, new comedy, etc.

If you want to listen to the show, a couple of clips from the Lazlow interview have been posted on YouTube (Part 1, Part 2). The full episode is also available through Audible.com for $2.50 USD. Thanks to Planet Grand Theft Auto for the heads up (and subsequently "Vanilla Shake" for sending in a synopsis of the interview). You can, as always, discuss this latest news on our forum.

To add to this influx of good news, we've also added four new(-ish) screenshots to our gallery. Don't be surprised if these images seem familiar; you may have spotted low-res versions of these images in recent print publications.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rockstar Social Club: Pre-Registration Begins

Posted by adamcs at 22:33. Category: General
Rockstar Social Club

You can now pre-register for Rockstar Social Club. Social Club is a new website from Rockstar featuring all kinds of GTA IV leaderboards and stat tracking, which also provides various awards. Some of the initial features were announced in a press release last month, but R* said that additional features will be added following the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, including competitions and challenges.

The website states that early adopters who pre-register before April 29th will be rewarded by being automatically entered to win a special once-in-a-lifetime prize for true GTA fans: your portrait custom drawn by Rockstar Games in the signature style of Grand Theft Auto IV's illustrations. More details here.

Link: Rockstar Social Club - Pre-register today.

Read More

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

GTA IV Xbox 360 Ad - Full Version Available

Posted by adamcs at 19:41. Category: General

The full version of the TV ad we posted yesterday is now available on the Xbox website. This version contains a number of new scenes which yesterday's version didn't, so be sure to check it out.

Link: Full GTA IV Xbox 360 Advert.


OPM UK Review Arrives

Posted by adamcs at 09:55. Category: General

Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) is the latest magazine to review Grand Theft Auto IV, after being granted special access to play the game for several days last month. The review contains the same screenshots that were in OXM's review (plus a couple of new ones) and the final score given by OPM is also the same - an impressive 10 out of 10.

Here are some of the main points from the review worth mentioning (spoilers ahead):

  • One of the reasons Niko goes to Liberty City is to track down the man who betrayed his old army unit.
  • Cars no longer catch fire at the slightest provocation.
  • There are several points at which you make life or death decisions between key cast members.
  • Comedy clubs feature real comedians.
  • "Michelle" is the first girl that Niko hooks up with.
  • Dimitiri Rascalov is Mikhail Faustin's right hand man.
  • "Other uses of the phone on missions include calling a target to make him come to the window and into Niko's sniper sight."
  • There is a museum called the Libertonian museum, which features dinosaur fossils and exploding vases. Environments such as these have been created specifically for shootouts, so there's plenty of cover.
  • The name of every radio station is revealed:
    • WKTT - We Know The Truth (right wing talk radio)
    • San Juan Sounds (latin)
    • Integrity 2.0 (speech, hosted by Lazlow)
    • Liberty City Hardcore (punk/hardcore)
    • Liberty Rock Radio 97.8 (classic rock)
    • The Vibe 98.8 (soul/R'n'B)
    • PLR - Public Liberty Radio (call-in speech)
    • The Classics 104.1 (old-skool hip-hop)
    • Jazz Nation Radio 108.5 (jazz)
    • Vladivostok FM (eastern european)
    • Radio Broker (alt rock)
    • Tuff Gong Radio (reggae/dub)
    • Electro Choc (dance)
    • Massive B Soundsystem 96.9 (dance hall)
    • IF99 - International Funk (funk)
    • The Beat 102.7 (contemporary hip-hop)
    • K109 The Studio (disco)
    • Fusion FM
    • The Journey (ambient/chillout)

Thanks to raidenraider2006 from the forums for providing these details.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New GTA IV footage in TV advert

Posted by adamcs at 23:52. Category: General

New footage of Grand Theft Auto IV has emerged in a TV ad:

Thanks to Nutmeg, Trillbo and Amilo for uploading this. It was recorded on a mobile phone, so the quality isn't the greatest. better version now available. The song in the video is called "Get Innocuous" by LCD Soundsystem. You can listen to it here (thanks DWASGTA).

Related Link: GTAForums.com Topic


New Screenshot

Posted by adamcs at 17:34. Category: General

Rockstar has just sent over this new screenshot for GTA4.NET:

Screenshot

Check out the other GTA fan sites for some additional exclusive screenshots. Links to all of the new screenshots can be found here.


Neuralizer: Rockstar Social Club Opens Thursday

Posted by illspirit at 00:37. Category: General

Not entirely sure why, but the Rockstar Social Club site now says pre-registration begins 4.17.08.


Monday, April 14, 2008

GTA IV Reviewed by OXM

Posted by adamcs at 12:27. Category: General
OXM
OXM is available in the UK

Official Xbox Magazine is the first magazine to review Grand Theft Auto IV. Subscribers in the UK began receiving their issues today.

The verdict from OXM is:

  • Amazingly realistic world.
  • Stunning action set pieces.
  • Genuinely engrossing storyline.
  • Hugely entertaining multiplayer.
  • Vast in every respect.

...and the final score given by OXM is 10 out of 10.

So there you have it. There's a whole bunch of new screenshots including HUD shots, so be sure to pick up this issue if you can find it in your area.

Thanks to gizzuk for the info.


Reminder: Rockstar Social Club Opens Tomorrow

Posted by adamcs at 07:45. Category: General
Rockstar Social Club

Registration will open tomorrow (April 15th) for Rockstar Social Club - a new website from Rockstar featuring all kinds of multiplayer leader boards and stat tracking. Here are some of the features mentioned in the press release that was sent out on March 27th:

  • LCPD Police Blotter - A virtual map and tracker of single-player criminal activity logged in Liberty City from the aggregated data of millions of connected players - showing the most dangerous areas of town, most commonly used weapons and more.
  • The Story Gang - This special single-player leaderboard recognizes players who complete Niko Bellic's main story arc of Grand Theft Auto IV - The leaderboard ranks players according to the total amount of playing time it's taken to complete the story, as well as a historical rank by who has completed it first. Members of this club will receive special online widgets and merit badges marking all of their in-game accomplishments.
  • The 100% Club - Watch to see who will be the first to complete 100% of the game. The first ten people to be identified on the Social Club as reaching 100% will be sent an ultra-rare commemorative 'key to the city' to mark their accomplishment. In the future, the 100% Club will then carry a historical leaderboard showing rankings of who has completed 100% of a game in the shortest span of playing hours.
  • The Hall of Fame - This area will dynamically recognize those singularly elite players who have reached the top of the hill on various statistical leaderboards, and will also contain a personal awards display of special in-game landmarks and successes in Social Club competitions.
  • The Liberty City Marathon - A ranking of special physical milestones achieved in the game - from the amount of miles walked, driven, or swam - to the number of bullets fired and stunt-jumps jumped. There will be additional special marathon-based competitions in the future from this area as well.

Rockstar say that additional features will be added to the website following the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, including competitions and challenges. You will be able to register with your Xbox Live Gamertag and/or PlayStation Network ID.

Link: Rockstar Social Club


Saturday, April 12, 2008

GTA IV gets the Bad Cop treatment

Posted by steve-m at 18:21. Category: General

While we have seen many overly positive previews so far, GTA IV certainly can't be perfect -- no game is. Luckily there are still some journalists out there who dare to have a slightly critical look at R*'s latest piece. Two of those are IGN's Patch Kolan and Cam Shea, who review the game's multiplayer component in Good Cop, Bad Cop style.

Amongst the things they aren't too happy about are clumsy camera controls, an imbalanced lock-on system, frame-rate hiccups and most worryingly the graphics:

Bob Ross draws GTA IV
Did Bob Ross draw GTA4's trees?

"The depth-of-field blur effect is far too heavily applied to the multiplayer game. Everything that is more than 50 feet down the street from you starts to pixelate and distort strangely, as if filtered through a haze of tiny droplets of vegetable oil."

That is indeed something many people are confused about. In most screenshots we can see blurry, low-detail buildings (not just in the distance), as well as heavy distortion -- especially in areas of water, foliage and shadows -- resembling a quality known only from paintings. According to a recent Kotaku article, those distortion filters are intended to actually improve the game's visuals:

"I suspect there's a filter involved, something that gives the world a touch of artistry. [...] Jeronimo Barrera tells me that Rockstar loves its filters. It helps, he says, fool the eye, masks some of the imperfections that games, no matter how next-gen, will always have."

Whether this is for better or for worse and impacts the gameplay noticably, remains to be something players will have to decide for themselves when the game comes to stores later this month.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reviews not far away

Posted by adamcs at 13:12. Category: General

The first reviews of Grand Theft Auto IV are expected to arrive within the next couple of weeks, and today OPM UK announced that their review will begin reaching subscribers of the magazine around April 22nd. Official Xbox Magazine have already announced that their review will go on sale on April 19th. Meanwhile a number of other reviews are also expected from the likes of IGN and GameSpot at around the same time.

OPM Review
Subscribers will receive their issues around April 22nd, according to the OPM team.

The first ever review of GTA: San Andreas came from the US edition of OPM on October 23rd 2004 (three days before the game was released) and then various other reviews followed shortly after. It was also at this time when the first HUD screens and voice actor info began to emerge, so perhaps we can expect something similar this time.

Related Link: GTAForums.com: "Exclusive IV Review"


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Multiplayer previews go live

Posted by adamcs at 17:02. Category: General

Several gaming websites have posted new GTA 4 multiplayer previews, based on a recent hands-on demonstration at R* HQ. Twelve screenshots from the previews have been added to our gallery.

As expected, no major new details were revealed, but there are some minor points that are definitely worth mentioning. Kikizo say it's possible to turn off player markers and radar indicators so that you can't tell where other players are situated on the map. This will be great for stealth matches! They also say that if several people are sharing a car, each player can select radio stations independently of everyone else in the car.

Here are links to all of the new previews:


DJ Karl Artwork

Posted by adamcs at 16:43. Category: General

Rockstar have released some artwork of DJ Karl (Karl Lagerfeld) who is the host of K109 The Studio. There is a short article about Lagerfeld and his involvement with GTA IV over at Style.com.

DJ Karl

(For your information, you don't actually see Lagerfeld during the game, you just hear him on the radio.)

Thanks to PlanetGTA for the heads up.


Reminder: New Previews Today

Posted by adamcs at 07:02. Category: General

New multiplayer previews will be posted online today at 6 PM GMT / 10 AM PST on all the major gaming sites including GamesRadar, Kikizo, IGN and GameSpot. We feel we should warn you, however, not to expect as much detail as the previous previews, because with 20 days to go there simply isn't much left to talk about. There will of course be some minor bits of info which we haven't heard before, but don't expect anything major. The only main things yet to be revealed are the things that R* want you to discover on your own on April 29th.

The new previews were due to contain 12 new screenshots, but French gaming webs(h)ite GameKult.com broke the embargo when they released the shots a day early. There's a small chance that the other sites will be given new screenshots to post, but at the present moment it's unlikely. We will post links to all of the new previews and summarise any new details as soon as the previews go live. The screenshots will also be added to our ever-growing gallery.


Monday, April 07, 2008

New GTA IV Multiplayer Screens

Posted by adamcs at 18:35. Category: General

Twelve new GTA IV multiplayer screenshots have emerged over at French site GameKult.com.

Related Link: GTAForums Thread


Online Multiplayer Previews Tomorrow

Posted by adamcs at 08:20. Category: General
Previews

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the online gaming press recently got to preview GTA IV multiplayer, and will release articles based on it soon. Jordan from PlanetGTA has now been able to confirm that these previews will go online tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 PM GMT (or 10 AM PST).

Expect new previews from the likes of CVG, GamesRadar, Kikizo, IGN and GameSpot. All of these sites were competing against each other during the preview. The articles will also contain new screenshots.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

GTA Netcast Episode #5

Posted by Tsuroki at 23:13. Category: General

It's that time of the week again! The GTA Netcast is live again tonight at 7:00pm EST (-5 GMT). Joining me on the show is TenaciousD... and Ottae. Possibly.

Just like last week, you'll need to register with USTREAM.TV in order to chat in the channel. A few other differences to expect this time:

  • Video format is different. We're trying to be a bit more fancy this time around.
  • We're not doing a separate .mp3 podcast; the video is recorded simultaneously with the broadcast.

This week's show is pretty much for the fun of it. We're getting used to a new way of doing things, so we're just gonna roll with it!

I'd also like to apologize to everyone for the inconsistency with the show over the past few weeks. It's been a rough start as we try to find our footing, and with college entering the exam period, it's hard to find time to get things done. (This is part of the reasoning behind scratching the .mp3 version of the show altogether.)

Related Links: GTA Netcast on Ustream.tv, Episode #5 Discussion


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Yet More New Screenshots...

Posted by adamcs at 04:16. Category: General

The newest issue of US magazine GamePro contains three new screenshots of Grand Theft Auto IV, so if you manage to find it in your area, be sure to pick it up. The screenshots were part of a new multiplayer preview, but the preview itself does not contain any new info. Thanks to GTAGaming for the news.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Rob Taylor gives his thoughts on GTA IV

Posted by adamcs at 16:02. Category: General

Rob Taylor from Xbox World 360 Magazine is the first games writer to complete GTA IV. He, and a number of other writers, were granted special access to review the game last month. There's a short interview with him over at GamesRadar, where he discusses his thoughts on the new game. Here's an excerpt:

How many "Woooaah, Jesus that's amazing!" moments did you have?

Without giving away any spoilers; lots! I think, overall though, it'll be three overall things that entrance GTA fans like never before. The City is one, with a lighting engine that has to be seen to be believed, plus the incredible dialogue and characterisation is genuinely Oscar-worthy and Niko Bellic is absolutely the most amazing protagonist in any game I've ever played. Finally, multiplayer of course!

Link: GamesRadar: "He's finished Grand Theft Auto IV!"


Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Screenshots in EGM

Posted by adamcs at 21:18. Category: General

Electronic Gaming Monthly is the latest magazine to get their hands on GTA4 and test out the new multiplayer features. They have a four-page preview in their latest issue, which also contains three exclusive screenshots (but strangely none of these are multiplayer screenshots).

If you're able to find this magazine in your area, be sure to pick it up. The new screenshots will be added to our gallery as soon as they become available online. Thanks to CosmosTheMouse from our forums for providing the details about this issue.


Three New Screenshots in OPM

Posted by adamcs at 10:44. Category: General

The new issue of Official PlayStation Magazine (US) contains three new screenshots of GTA IV. The first shows Niko being chased through Star Junction in a blue and white Sabre Turbo by cops, the second shows a night-time explosion, and the third shows a bathroom shooting. We will add these images to our gallery as soon as they become available online in their original uncompressed formats.

Thanks to Chargr for the details.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

GameStop Commercial - New GTA IV Footage!

Posted by adamcs at 03:00. Category: General

GameStop and Rockstar Games partnered to create this commercial showcasing some of the unseen features from GTA IV. In the commercial, which lasts just over a minute long, top celebrity "Jeremy St.Ives" takes you on a short tour of Liberty City. Check it out:

Looks very cool indeed. Discussion is at the forums as always, and thanks to FenderUSA for the heads up.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

GTA4.NET Exclusive Screenshot

Posted by adamcs at 16:04. Category: General

Rockstar have very kindly just sent over this exclusive screenshot for our site, which shows Niko being chased on a bike by the LCPD:

GTANET Exclusive Screenshot

Check out all of the other screenshots in our gallery. And thanks once again to R*! Head over to PlanetGTA, GTA4.TV, GTAGaming, GTA-Series.com, TheGTAPlace, GTASite.pl, GTANetwork.it, GTA Warehouse and GrandTheftAuto4.fr for some additional screenshots.


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