Saturday, 31 March 2007

GTA IV Trailer - Ten Things You Didn't See

"That's Right, Things Were Missed"

I've dissected to the GTA IV trailer thoroughly and picked out all of its little secrets you may have missed the first time around.

So magnifying glass in hand, here's what we've discovered...

It's Liberty City!
Despite internet reports claiming otherwise, GTA IV is indeed set (at least partially) in Liberty City - or more likely Liberty State, the area beyond Liberty City. If you're still not convinced, you can see the words 'Liberty City' plastered on a docked tanker in the trailer, a ferry and of course there's also a glimpse of the 'LCPD' patrolling the GTA IV streets.

As you can see from the comparison screenshots at the bottom of the page, the layout of GTA IV's Liberty City seems to resemble we remember from the PS2 - though obviously there's a whole lot of extra detail washed onto the streets.

As for what's beyond the walls of the famous GTA III locale, the trailer confirms GTA versions of the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and a fun park including rollercoaster, which were all missing from the PS2 instalment.

The time setting
While there's already plenty of debate over what time setting the next game takes place in, there are plenty of cues in the trailer to suggest a modern day setting for GTA IV.

The vehicles in the trailer all look pretty 2007 to us - including a BMW look-a-like and a sports car that has a very post-2000 design. There are also plenty of advertisements plastered around Liberty City that also cropped-up in the 90s-set GTA III, including Burger Shot and Cluckin' Bell.

Is that really the main Character?
The narrator in the trailer is a Russian character whose background seems to revolve around murder, smuggling and erm, selling people. The internet is already shouting from the electronic rooftops that this Eastern European chap will be the main protagonist in GTA IV, but really the trailer confirms nothing of the sort.

What it does confirms is that the story will somehow bring Eastern Europeans into the equations, which leads us to wonder what's happened to the Leone kingpins from GTA III.

Hit the water
Multiple-viewings make the GTA IV trailer's emphasis on water-based travel even more apparent; there are shots of bridges, ferry ports, a dock and some of the prettiest water effects we've seen to date in a sandbox game.

A realistically floating buoy 16 seconds in seems to suggest dynamic water physics for the fourth instalment, and of course you can see the gorgeous refraction effects later on in the trailer. A spot of boating for GTA IV seems a near-cert then, but - for as much as we hope - we just can't see jet-skiing going down in the Liberty City harbour.

Cast Your RAGE
As has always been heavily assumed, the next GTA ditches Renderware to make use of the graphically-spectacular Table Tennis RAGE engine (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine).

The confirmation comes from a Rockstar representative who told Gamespot: "We can confirm that all footage in the trailer was captured directly from 720p gameplay running real time in our Rage engine on a next-gen gaming console."

And the engine seems to be working well for the series - as you can see from the trailer tech-wise GTA IV is looking very impressive.

Super Pedestrian
We're expecting lots of advancements in how realistically the inhabitants of Liberty City live and work, but already there are a number of improvements on show in the short teaser.

At the beginning of the video you can see that the driver of the blue sports car is adjusting his rear-view mirror - a very nice touch indeed that we would never have seen working on the PS2. The pedestrians on the streets also have fully-modelled faces and carry groceries and books, which certainly adds a more realistic vibe to surroundings that the aimlessly-walking residents in GTA III.

The funny is back!
Oldschool movie buffs will recognize the spoof reference in the GTA IV trailer straight away; the music is from Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi, a dialogue-less documentary film from the early eighties that mixed landscape footage with a rolling soundtrack. The music, in case your wondering, is a piece from minimalist composer Philip Glass, who created the music for Koyaanisqatsi.

Further proving that GTA hasn't lost it's trademark humour are the plethora of fake adverts available for glimpse in the video, including upcoming TV show "America's Next Top Hooker" and "Sprunk", a beverage we probably won't picking up on the next trip round Tesco.

You can checkout the Koyaanisqatsi trailer here. Anyone for a cool glass of "Piswasser"?

Visit Vice City!
Keen-eyed viewers with seriously-ninja Photoshop skills will notice an interesting in-game ad five seconds into the trailer. On the top left of the shot just above the wall is a sign that says "Visit Vice City - $300", leading many internet forums to explode with messages of "OMG!!11 MULTIPLE CITIEZ IN GTAIV!1"

So yeah, we might be getting a tiny bit ahead of ourselves taking this tiniest of glimpses as evidence that GTA IV will contain multiple, country-wide locals, but what would be more next-gen than a trip to all three cities that we've explored so vigorously on PS2? Having said that, would Vice City even look like Vice City in a modern day setting?

Doc Oc attacks!
Another one for the eagle-eyed among us is the brief glimpse of a cable car travelling behind a bridge 30 seconds in to the trailer, leading us to fantasise over the Spider-Man-style mischief we could have jumping around fighting an imaginary Doctor Octopus.

Having said that, we're hoping Spidey's influence stretches all over GTA IV; we just can't look at that massive Crysler building without planning a Crackdown-style route up to the top, and it would be an absolute crime if we can't base-jump from one of those skyscrapers.

Clever Birds
Going from the trailer, we can see that the birds and pigeons in GTA IV are detailed and have some sort of behaviour system going on - which should please virtual game hunters everywhere.

In one scene you can see a seagull flying underneath a bridge, and in another we get a glimpse of two pigeons sitting on a statue. Will we be able to chase those dirty flying-rats through the streets? Pick them out of the skies with high-calibre rifles? At this point we'd bet money on it. (I doesn't condone the harming of pigeons).

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