Speaking to Game Informer, Rockstar boss Dan Houser reveals that GTA IV marks a rather large departure from past offerings, the founder explaining that he believes the degree of evolution to be of the same magnitude as GTA III’s shift from a top-down to a third-person perspective.
Liberty City (New York by any other name) will be the setting in GTA IV, and the game will see the player filling the boots of a crook freshly arrived from eastern Europe – Niko Bellic – in search of the ‘American dream’. He was lured to Liberty City by cousin Roman and the promise of wealth, but it turns out that Roman wasn’t quite as successful as he led Niko to believe.
In something of a gameplay twist from past games, GTA IV will see the player forging their own destiny, taking a much higher degree of organisation from past games, when the player was usually ‘summoned’ to particular events. Instead, in GTA IV, you’ll be able to make your own arrangements, calling on contacts via phone and making arrangements for yourself.
As well as more freedom, the game promises more faithful recreations of New York – Broker being Brooklyn, Manhattan is Algonquin, Queens becomes Dukes, the Bronx – Brohan and New Jersey is Alderney. In this play area huge amounts of detail and authenticity are promised, and the city will be alive with realistic NPCs, going about their ordinary lives.
The radio stations will return en masse, and Rockstar also speak of better scripts, though there won’t be any Hollywood talent on the cast list. Houser also tells Game Informer that no loading screens will be present beyond the initial load of the game world, while both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions should look the same.
A multiplayer mode is on the agenda, and while it won’t be the GTA MMO some had hoped for, we are promised something ‘progressive’ and largely separate from the singleplayer portion. The 360 will benefit from exclusive downloadable content, hints Houser, though it is unclear if both versions of the initial release will be absolutely identical.
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