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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Turkish Delight: GTA IV details Revealed

It seems that the Turkish Official Xbox Magazine has further details about Rockstar's upcoming blockbuster game GTA IV. A number of sites are corroborating the following information, including Kotaku, MaxConsole.net, and Games Radar (now linked on The Greedy Gamer home page). As such, I'm just gonna follow suit and give my readers a little more insight into GTA IV, along with my personal opinions and concerns.

The following are details regarding features found in the upcoming GTA IV. This information is courtesy of MaxConsole.net, Kotaku, and Games Radar.

  1. "When you move, there is a slight vibration with every footstep when you run."

    If you'd read the GTA IV article in Game Informer's May 2007 issue, you'd already know about the amount of work being put into Niko's interactions with the game's environment. Much like Gears of War, Niko will feel solid when you move him about the environment. The amount of feedback and feel you get from your controller will depend on the surface and slope of the ground on which Niko is walking or running. I hope other game developers follow suit so that we can finally say goodbye to the traditional hover and slide feel of previous games (e.g. Halo).

  2. "The HUD has been removed- no health or armour indicators, it is all visual- and if you have armour, you actually have a bulletproof vest which visually deteriorates."

    I'm a big fan of HUD-less games, except where the HUD would exist in real-life (i.e. G.R.A.W. and G.R.A.W. 2). By removing the HUD, Rockstar forces you to become one with Niko. Your ability to survive will depend on how quickly and accurately you can assess Niko's current state of well-being. Two shots in the chest but the vest is holding up? Cool, forward march! Or has Niko just taken one in the kneecap and another in the shoulder, blood trailing behind him as he struggles harder and harder with each step? Better find a place to hide and heal up.

  3. "Flamethrower and rocket launcher are still in the game."

    Is this even news? It's like saying there will be still be prostitutes and annoyingly difficult mini-games in GTA IV! What I do expect this time around, though, is for the LCPD to play a more active role and take more notice of your character if you happen to be walking around carrying a flamethrower or rocket launcher. Just as in real-life, simple possession of such weapons could prove to be enough to warrant obtaining a wanted level.

  4. "Explosions are larger than ever, and there is a mission in the game based on creating an awesome chain reaction of car explosions- apparently this looks awesome"

    The other night, I made a pile of ten gang cars, about twenty explosive barrels, and eight limpet charges while playing Crackdown. When I detonated the charges, the resulting explosion was pretty impressive. I have faith in Rockstar Games and I would expect GTA IV's explosions to put Crackdown's to shame. Please Rockstar, don't let us down...

  5. "Cars don't explode unless you blow them up- i.e. they wont explode if you just keep crashing or hitting them- you have to rocket launch into them."

    This is definitely a nice touch. In the real world, cars just don't explode all that much. I remember an episode of Mythbusters where they firmly disspelled the myth that a few gunshot rounds to a vehicle's gas tank can cause an explosion. Although this non-exploding car feature is not a necessity (heck, blowing up cars in Crackdown is lots of fun in and of itself), it does give us a little insight on Rockstar's plans for GTA IV: realism.

  6. "Niko doesn't get tired- you can run forever, it just wont be as fast as in previous games."

    If this is true, it'll be nice to go through a game without having to hold up and let Niko catch his breath. Mind you, the fact that Niko runs slower than other protagonists in the GTA series will most likely mean that I'll be spending as little time on foot as possible.

  7. "More RPG elements. For example, failing to catch the train at 7pm will result in a missed mission."

    I'm not exactly sure how time-sensitive goals are considered an RPG element, but I understand what Rockstar is trying to do here. Rather than allow each iteration through GTA IV play out in the same way for everyone, Rockstar is looking to create diversity in possible game experiences. Having players choose between two, three or more possible story paths is a good way of doing this. I remember picking up Blade Runner whose main feature was different possible story lines all leading to different possible endings.

  8. "Gore is back and better, bullet wounds show, blood appears where you shoot people, they limp if you shoot them in the leg, and hold their arm if you shoot their arm. Apparently when you run someone over it is disturbing."

    Again, we see Rockstar's attempts to create a believable, living, breathing world. The fact that the game's violence is more realistic will greatly change how people play the game.

    Just as there are the sick bastards out there who will take great pleasure in acting out realistic acts of extreme violence on the innocent populace of Liberty City, there are gamers who'll take a more measured approach to GTA IV. Controlled violence and careful driving, unless placed in a kill-or-be-killed situation, may become standard practice for many gamers. I, for one, will be careful to limit my aggression in GTA IV to those deserving it. The fact that GTA IV will be using the Euphoria A.I. engine (at least, it was the last I heard) means that NPC characters will have the ability to beg and plead for their lives since they know that they are "alive" and would like to keep it that way.

    I don't know about you but game or not, I couldn't bring myself to do harm to anyone who's begging for mercy. In fact, I'm a little concerned that there will be young adults (and kids with bad parents) out there playing this game and killing with little or no remorse. I really hope that game retailers do a good job of preventing the sale of this game to minors, directly and by properly educating parents of what appears in the game and why it is not suitable for Little Jimmy.

  9. "No eating, girlfriends, keeping fit- but your skills do improve over time (e.g. driving, etc.)."

    Great news again! The girlfriend mini-games found in GTA: San Andreas were boring and served no real purpose to the game. I have a wife in real life: I don't need to manage eight girlfriends in a video game at the same time.

    I'm also happy to see that eating and working out not required in GTA IV. These elements were fun to try in GTA: San Andreas, but they were gimmicky at best. GTA IV seems to hold a lot of promise and shouldn't resort to gimmicks to generate further interest in a game that sure to fly off store shelves.

  10. "Secret vehicles and plenty of goodies at 100% completion- no more details given."

    The GTA series has always set the bar for in-game accomplishments required to obtain 100% completion. I am giddily awaiting release of GTA IV's achievement list: it's gonna be great!
  11. "Land size is bigger than the 3 cities (not country) in SA put together."

    The country side that made up the bulk of GTA: San Andreas didn't impress me. I found the game's pace quite slow due to the looming threat of having to drive out into the desert to perform some menial task. A bigger land size does not necessarily translate to more fun. This shouldn't hold true for Liberty City which is being made larger than Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas combined. I think we'll all have a blast exploring such a large space jam packed with tons of detail. Remember that Rockstar has already told us that there is no wasted space in Liberty City - everything is there for a reason and everything has a purpose.

  12. "Graphics are better than Saint's Row- draw distance is literally as far as you can see."

    Saint's Row's graphics are very good, but I find the frame rate to be a little choppy at times. Rockstar Games has proved that they know how to get the most out of console hardware. I have no doubt in my mind that GTA IV will run smoothly and look absolutely stunning! Not only will Saint's Row be put to shame, but I think that Saint's Row 2 developer Volition Inc. will have quite the uphill battle ahead.

  13. "New trailer will be on the internet 28th of June."

    If you read The Greedy Gamer regularly (or subscribe to my RSS Feed), you'd already know about the second GTA IV trailer.

    The trailer, titled "Looking For That Special Someone", is being released on June 28th and will be viewable on Rockstar Games' web site (link).

If the Turkish Xbox magazine writers are on the money with their article then I'd say that GTA IV has gone from being a candidate for Game of the Year to a solid favourite, holding a slight edge to BioShock for the honour.

It looks like 2007 is really shaping up to be a great year for gamers!