Saturday, 31 March 2007

GTA IV Trailer - 9 Rumours Debunked

"The gaming world goes into speculation overdrive"

Rumour #1
The character in the trailer might not be the character you play as.

What I think:
While this would buck the trend of trailers for Vice City and San Andreas, the Eastern European character certainly doesn't look like the natural choice to star in the game.

In fairness, we only see him for a matter of seconds but he lacks the on-screen charisma of CJ and Tommy Vercetti. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, he doesn't fit into any of the existing GTA story arcs - the closest match being the Russian mafia that appeared briefly in GTA: SA.

Having said that, I am most likely seeing him as he appears at the very beginning of the game - weaponless and moneyless - and it wouldn't be unlike Rockstar to tell another rags to riches story. So, a haircut, shave, a sharp suit and an Uzi 9mm in both fists could turn him to a kick ass hero.

Chances of the rumour being true:

Rumour #2
The style of gameplay has changed...

What I think:
The fact that the visual style of the game has been given more realistic overtones and the in-game characters a slightly less cartoony gait has been taken as a hint that GTA IV will offer a different flavour of game than before.

For example: will the iconic, yet distinctly 'gamey' HUD remain? And won't the gaudy flashing marker points, look a bit incongruous against the gritty art direction? Might this new look inspire a complete overhaul of the game dynamics, it's been suggested.

Even more pertinently - with the increased level of graphical detail are Rockstar North comfortable including the same level of riotous violent abandon without the conscience-numbing cloak of graphical un-realism seen in previous GTAs. Won't mowing down swathes of pedestrians feel a bit too close to the bone in this glorious hi-def detail?

You know what? I doubt it. I really do. It's more likely they'll ramp it up.

Chances of the rumour being true:

Rumour #3
I'll be able to go inside all of those massive skyscrapers...

What I think:
To which we'll reply very simply - do I really need to? Sure it would be a fascinating press release stat or a killer magazine headline. But if you were to work out the sum total of every room in every domestic and business building in the New York area it starts to sound a bit unlikely. In fact it sounds like complete madness.

I reckon you'll see a considerable increase in visitable interiors - and they'll be better modelled and more destructible (check out the one near the end of the trailer with the sexy lighting) - but they'll have to be in the context of the game's storyline. In honesty who's really going to take pleasure out of visiting identikit bedroom 12,123,987 - even if the Blu-ray disc does allow for it.

Chances of the rumour being true:
Sort of, but on less of a grand scale.

Rumour #4
Liberty City won't be the only city...

This all depends on whether the creators are going for hugely detailed microcosm or a more sparsely detailed macrocosm. Will they concentrate on populating Liberty City with thousands of breakable people, vehicles, shops, businesses and houses or will they think bigger and risk creating a lot of unopenable doors and flat textured store fronts? I think smaller and more detailed over bigger and less detailed is the key here.

The spanner in the works is the fact the lad in the trailer opens up the possibility of a European connection - something not properly tackled in the series since GTA: London. The trailer could in fact be a huge teaser for a much bigger game spanning the Atlantic. You never know - the next trailer might show the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.

Chances of the rumour being true:
I'm not writing it off yet.

Rumour #5
People trafficking will become an in-game side mission...

A cryptic clue in the short piece of dialogue reveals that your man has a past in people trafficking - a distinctly current 'issue'. The reality of this is pretty nasty - poverty stricken immigrants paying to hide in the back of articulated lorries filled with potatoes. It would be a pretty bold step to take on a crime like this in comparison to the more vanilla drugs, gangs and prostitution rackets and again points to a more serious feel to the games 'vibe' as Rockstar will no doubt to refer to.

Might we really see human smuggling side missions with cash awarded for bodies delivered still breathing? Or are we just clutching at straws and taking everything a little bit too literally?

Chances of the rumour being true:
I won't put anything past GTA.

Rumour #6
The entire Liberty City subway system will be at your disposal...

This seems fair-dos. In GTA 3 and San Andreas you had limited use of a train system - it seems like a logical progression to open this up to cover longer distances like Coney Island to the Bronx. Similarly, the Ferry Port makes an appearance at the beginning of the trailer so we'll be sorely disappointed if we can't captain an ocean liner into an Iceberg at some point.

Chances of the rumour being true:
Sounds pretty likely to us.

Rumour #7
It might be the first online multiplayer GTA...

There's nothing in the trailer to suggest this, but at the expense of wild speculation, it would seem strange if a version of the PSP's multiplayer modes didn't make it into the fully online enabled PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. There's also no hint as to what the promised exclusive downloadable content might be - is it going to be extra cars, weapons and outfits or go deeper and offer new missions, areas and interiors. I'll state the obvious - I can't tell from the trailer.

Chances of the rumour being true:
100% true, but to what extent we don't know.

Rumour #8
Airborne vehicles might be a no-no

This is a bit of misinformation. Just because the trailer doesn't show any forms of air transport like the early San Andreas trailer did, doesn't mean you won't be cruising across Manhattan in a Zeppelin for kicks. Equally probable are helicopters and planes.

However, there is a kick in the teeth at the end of this story. If I am to assume (and i am at the moment) that GTA IV is only set in one city, the idea of supersonic jet travel (made viable by the scale of San Andreas) seems a bit frivolous and pointless. Think about it - since when has anyone taken a Learjet from Newark Airport to JFK? And we're not even going to mention the fact that giving someone a jet to fly-over Manhattan could lead to some pretty tasteless YouTube videos...

Chances of the rumour being true:
i'm going controversial and saying no planes...

Rumour #9
Most things will be destructible

Is this really the holy grail of next-gen games? If so give us a few beers and a bunch of lairy mates and we're going to have levelled Liberty City in a matter of hours. The problem is, what happens to the game once you've smashed it all in? Would you have to wait two years of game time before it was all rebuilt?

So, it's not even hinted at in the trailer - but we've got some insider knowledge (ex-Rockstar employee, imbibed with pints) that suggests Rockstar North are attempting a much higher level of ruinability than in GTA San Andreas, where the best you could do was drive through the odd picket fence. I'm not suggesting driving into a building will level it - but we do expect objects inside buildings to be more damageable and more mission set-pieces that see things reduced to rubble. Okay, maybe we started this rumour.

Chances of the rumour being true:
I say yes - in a limited fashion.

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