I’m guessing that by now Grand Theft Auto doesn’t need an introduction. Here’s the Grand Theft Auto series’ history. See where it all began, from a simple game with a lot of potential, to some of the best games in history. What started out as a mere source of entertainment quickly became a part of our life. Ahh… sweet memories… Enjoy!
The series debuted in 1997 with the first GTA, a 2D game with a simple story and… a not so special graphics engine. The storyline was set in the same year, 1997. GTA quickly became one of the most popular games at that time, being the first videogame to offer players the freedom of roaming 3 immense cities: Liberty City (which later on is the main city in GTA3), Vice City (which later on is the main city of GTAVC) and San Andreas (which later on is the main city of GTASA).
In 1999, 2 expansion packs were released: GTA London, 1969 and GTA London, 1961.
In October 1999, the sequel was released. The game featured a slightly improved graphics engine, but the gameplay was still the same. A fictional newspaper which is marked 2013 leads us to believe that the year the storyline is set in is 2013. The city is referred to as “Anywhere City”, which is split into 3 neighborhoods: The Downtown Area, The Residential District and The Industrial District. There’s a total number of 7 gangs in Anywhere City: Zaibatsu, Loonies, Yakuza, SRS (Sex and Reproductive Systems) Scientists, Rednecks, The Russian Mob and Hare Krishna.
In 2001 the third GTA game is released, a game that revolutionized the GTA series, as well as the entire gaming universe. GTA3 was the first 3D GTA, allowing players to see the action from a third person perspective, rather than a topdown view, as in previous games. Everything goes down in Liberty City, a New York based fictional city that consists of 3 different islands: Portland, Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale.
In GTA3 professional voice-acting has been implemented, rather than just using some mumbling sounds and subtitles as in previous games. GTA3 enjoyed a remarkable success, becoming the most bought PlayStation 2 game ever to have hit the shelves. However, the game’s intense violence lead to its banning in some countries such as Japan. The following gangs are present in GTA3: Triads, Yardies, Yakuza, Diablos, Colombian Cartel, Southside Hoods and The Italian Mafia.
On the 27th of October 2002 the fourth installment in the GTA series makes its appearance: GTA Vice City. It became the most sold game of the year, which comes as no surprise. As of July 2006, GTAVC is the most sold PlayStation 2 game in history. With GTAVC, Rockstar managed to widen the player’s possibilities, allowing him to ride motorcycles, sail numerous boats, fly planes and helicopters, and much more. Vice City is based on Miami, Florida, as the resemblance is amazing. The game is set in 1986, in the fictional city of Vice City. The graphics engine is pretty much the same as the one used for GTA3, but with minor improvements.
Like in GTA3, players can also do police missions, ambulance missions, fireman missions, taxi missions, and even deliver pizza. Here are the gangs players can run into in Vice City: Cubans, Haitians, Streetwannabees, Bikers, The Army, P.I.G.s (Patrol Invest Group), Golfers and Marios.
On the 26th of October 2004, another “revolution” of the GTA series makes its way into our lives: GTA San Andreas. This was by far the most freedom giving GTA game ever. You could change clothes, modify cars, fly with a jetpack (for the first time) and even eat ’till you puked. The graphics engine has been greatly enhanced and the gameplay has suffered some mild modifications. In GTASA players, for the first time, could swim, climb over walls and fences, ride a bike, fly a jetpack, shoot with two weapons at once, and many more! The game is set in the small, peaceful city of San Andreas. Wait… no it’s not! The game is set in the immense city of San Andreas (4 times bigger than Vice City and 5 times bigger than Liberty City), a city filled with various law-breaking gangs and corrupt cops. It ain’t exactly Heaven. For the first time, San Andreas features schools where players can learn how to drive a car, sail, fly and ride a motorcycle. As if we didn’t already know. But you still have to “learn” to drive a car and fly if you want to finish the game. GTASA features about 200 different types of cars, when GTA3 only features 85. Also, in GTASA, players can make girlfriends, take ’em out for dinner, a drink, even dancing. After a while, players can even
screw make passionate love with their loving girlfriends. If in real life we try to eat less and watch our weight, in GTASA we can eat ’till we blow! Or at least ’till we puke. CJ (Carl Johnson, the main character) can be a skinny see-thru kid, or a fat Sun-blocking monster. It’s the player’s choice. Oh, wait, I forgot to mention. You can also work out and lose some of those extra pounds, put some muscles on, or learn some new fighting moves, which will later be useful when trying to save the Earth from the freakishly evil zombie demons from space engaging in to the death battles with your enemies. Or the guy whose car you stole. Anyway, as I was saying, GTASA is great! It’s inspired from California and Nevada and is split into 3 islands: Los Santos (inspired from Los Angeles), San Fierro (inspired from San Francisco) and Las Venturas (inspired from Las Vegas). These are the gangs you’ll run into in San Andreas: Grove Street Families (CJ’s homies), Ballas, Varios Loz Aztecas, Los Santos Vagos, The Da Nang Boys, The San Fierro Rifa, The Triads and The Italian Mob.
You call yourself a GTA fan?! I bet you’ve never even heard of GTA Advance! Meh, I don’t blame you. Who has? Except for those of you who actually own a Gameboy Advance. I pitty the fool who plays GTA on a Gameboy Advance! So does Mr. T. Well, not really, but I like to think so. Now, back to the point. GTAA. The First GTA for the Gameboy Advance. It was released on the same day as GTASA and is highly unpopular (gee, I wonder why…). The graphics are pretty much identical to those from the first GTA (what can I say, the GBA sucks). The game is set in 2000 (1 year before GTA3) and the main character is called Mike (yeah, I know. Who the hell’s he?). Anyway, there’s not much to say about GTAA,
besides that it sucks, so I’ll just move on.
The day: 25th. The month: October. The year: 2005. It’s a sunny day outside, kids are playing in the sand, mothers are are talking and fathers are checkin’ out the hot next door chick who just moved in. *Go daddies, go daddies!* But wait! What’s that noise?! It’s getting closer! Wait! Today is the 25th of october 2005, which can only mean one thing! GTA Liberty City Stories is out, people! Grab your wallets and empty your pockets, for tonight, thou shalt not sleep! Except for those of you who don’t own a PS 2 or a PSP. Yeah, you’re gonna’ get a good night’s sleep tonight. Why? Because those bastards at Rockstar “forgot” to make a PC version of the game, that’s why! I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. And furious. How could they do that to us?! HOW?! Starting July 2006, GTALCS is the most sold PSP game in history! The guys at Rockstar are practically swimming in money. Imagine what it would have been like if a PC version had been made. Not only would they be swimming in money, they would be eating it! Bathing in it. Starting camp fires with it. Whipping their asses with it, and maybe even more! But noooo, Rockstar decided to make only PS and PSP versions of the game. I wonder who started their cars for them for the next few weeks. The adventure is set in 1998 (3 years before GTA3). The main character is Tony Cipriani (remember him from GTA3?). The city, as you may have already figured it out, is Liberty City. It’s pretty much the same as before, only with slight modifications. If a PC version does not exist, it’s not worth wasting my breath over it. Well… my fingers that is. Moving on…
GTAVCS was released on the 31st of October 2006. Like GTALCS, it was only released for the PS2 and PSP. *cough* bastards *cough* Remember GTAVC? Remember that dude in the beginning, the one that lands with a chopper? The one that gets shot and dies? Guess what? He’s the main character now! Yup, you heard me. Victor Vance. Lance Vance’s (remember him from GTAVC?) older brother. The year is 1984 (2 years before GTAVC) and the city is… guess. Probably the most important aspect of the game is the reduced clumping. “Huh? What? What’s that?” you ask? Reduced clumping means we most probably won’t see 2 or more of the same ped or vehicle at the same time. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. It would have been even cooler on the PC.
Grand Theft Auto IV will be simultaneously available for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and is currently planned to be in stores in North America on October 16, 2007 and in Europe on October 19, 2007. It comes as no surprise to see that the PC version isn’t mentioned anywhere. GTAIV takes place in Liberty City (again), but this time, everything is different. The city looks more like New York and the level of realism is amazing. The graphics engine used is called RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine). NaturalMotion, the award-winning developer of 3D animation technology based on Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS), announced a partnership with Rockstar Games to integrate NaturalMotion’s revolutionary euphoria engine into upcoming next-generation Rockstar Games titles. Rockstar’s integration of euphoria is well advanced, with today’s announcement following several months of close collaboration between the two companies. Based on NaturalMotion’s DMS technology, euphoria uses the processing power of PS3 and Xbox 360 to simulate the human body and motor nervous system, thus creating fully interactive game characters that act differently every time. With euphoria, games move away from canned animation, towards a much richer, life-like experience that is unique to the player. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Here’s a “summary” of all that is known so far:
* The protagonist’s name is Niko Bellic. (Likely to be Croatian in origin)
* Niko was persuaded to move to Liberty City by his cousin Roman, who claimed to be living a wonderful life there with two beautiful women, fifteen sports cars, and lots of money etc, but he was in fact telling a lie in order to hide his own failures. Roman is the only person you know in Liberty City at the beginning of the game, and he becomes one of your major connections at the start. Niko is a tough character whereas Roman is friendly. Roman is heavily in debt and a lot of people are after him – he needs Niko’s support. They are constantly bickering.
* Variations in the terrain cause realistic changes in the walking animation of Niko. The physics have also improved and character movements are more realistic.
* Multiplayer will exist, but it will be something that coincides with single-player and will not be an MMO.
* The MetLife building now bears the name Getalife, the Statue of Liberty is now the Statue of Happiness, and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is called BOABO (Beneath the Offramp of the Algonquin Bridge Overpass).
* In Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar have recreated 4 of the 5 boroughs in New York, as well as part of New Jersey. Broker is the GTA IV equivalent of Brooklyn, Manhattan is now called Algonquin, Queens is now Dukes, the Bronx is Bohan, and New Jersey is Alderney.
* There is only one city. There may be motorcycles, but there will be no planes, rollerblades or unicycles, and I wouldn’t expect jetpacks or Harriers. Rockstar wants the city to feel realistic and fit the style of the character.
* The city is almost as large as San Andreas, but will not have any useless space like countryside or desert. Every space will be cram-packed with detail.
* The city will be highly contrasted between daytime and nighttime.
* Freedom is emphasized. You continue to take orders from mission givers, but you are not forced to spend your time being a slave to them. You can go see who you want to, practically when you want to. You just call someone up and see if they are available.
* The story unfolds in a number of different ways. R* is giving people more freedom, more choice and more sense of control over their destiny – the structure of the storyline is quite different to previous games.
* Contacts will be called from your cell phone. It’s LCD screen has options for Phonebook, Messages, Organizer and Camera. Niko’s Phonebook has options such as: City Contact, Docks Friend, and Cab Contact. The cell phone will allow the player to call contacts instead of meeting them in person, which should make the player feel more independent.
* Game Informer play tested the Xbox 360 version. It is to be identical to the PS3 version except for episodic content.
* The voice talent for GTA IV will be less big names and more suited to the characters. The soundtrack will also be geared more towards the feel of the city and less focused on big names.
* The game will load once and then never again, and not even during interior transitions.
* It is implied that there will be greater emphasis on pedestrian AI, and they will come with all sorts of temperaments. They will also be seen doing realistic things like smoking a cigarette, reading a book, sitting on a bench, etc.
* You will also see a lot more of pedestrian criminals being arrested by the police.
* Rockstar have now spent over 3 years developing the game, and Dan Houser compares the leap from GTA III to GTA IV, to the leap from GTA to GTA III.
* There are about four different camera angles
* The in-car camera basically acts as a first-person view, where you’re able to look around across the bonnet (hood)
* Weather effects aren’t merely for show, they will affect gameplay (such as vehicle handling)
* You’ll be able to use the right analogue stick on the Xbox 360 (and presumably PS3) controller to look around.
* Our time with Niko Bellic began in Liberty City’s equivalent of Times Square called Star Junction.
* The population on the street wasn’t that dense, possibly due to the “early nature of the code”.
* The way Niko moved with muscularity and purpose. His sense of balance and weight, even his face expressions – none of it seems forced.
* Niko uses his mobile phone (cellphone) and calls up his associate ‘Little Jacob’ a Caribbean arms dealer. Most possibly this guy, whose artwork circulated on the net and in some previews, few weeks ago.
* After your chat with ‘Little Jacob’, he tells you to meet him in an alleyway in Rotterdam Hill.
* You can skip taxi rides for convenience, or enjoy it in full from a first person viewpoint, allowing you to soak in the sights of Liberty City.
* You can slip Little Jacob some money.
* Niko receives another phone call from a shady lawyer Goldberg, of Goldberg , Ligner & Shyster.
* Niko can enter an internet cafe and upload his CV to their website, he’s going to get himself an interview and then kill Goldberg.
* The Internet Cafe is called Tw@ Cafe, another returning brand from Grand Theft Auto III.
* Niko can hop onto PC’s and start surfing away.
* GTA IV’s web is accessible from any computer in the game. Though it is still unknown how much breadth the interweb of GTA World is going to take.
* Once Niko has uploaded his CV, he will receive a Phone Call to confirm his interview time.
* Unlike past GTA’s, this mission can interrupted, your interview isn’t till the next day, so you’re free to carry out your business till then.
* Any carry out your business you will, as it’s time to pay the nefarious McReary a visit at Castle Gardens, the coast-side hangout overlooking The Statue of Happiness (Statue of Liberty).
* McReary has had a Memory Stick stolen from him which contains sensitive data, and he wants you to get it back for him.
* Niko gets in a cab and heads to the meeting point that McReary has arranged.
* When Niko gets to the river, he sees people, but he doesn’t know who is who, so he pulls that trusty mobile phone and gives him a call, so he can see who pulls out a phone, Clever hey.
* Niko draws his weapon, casually walks upto the guy who answered the phone and puts three bullets in the back of his head, he grabs the memory stick and starts running, with a three star wanted level in tow.
* Any crime you commit will give you a wanted level.
* Jack a car anywhere and you’ll get a star because there are witnesses.
* Instead of cops just screaming to your position though, the star rating your given translates to a visible search area on the radar, if you manage to escape the search circular search area, then your wanted level will flash and disappear.
* If you’re spotted though, the center of the circle changes to your position, and you’ll have to start again.
* This opens up numerous options, as the police only operate on their own line of sight, if they can’t see you, they can’t stop you.
* In GTA IV, every street is named, and the police use this information to hunt you down.
* If you’re spotted on Star Junction in a Comet, for example, you’ll hear it on the police radio.
* During our time with Niko, he escapes the clutches of the law with a clever vehicle switch.
* After outfoxing a pursuing police car with a hard right turn, Bellic speeds into a nearby car park, neatly obscured by a bridge. Quickly, he jumps out of his vehicle breaks into another and calmly cruises out of the search zone. Of course had he been spotted committing this further felony, the search would have changed, and most likely widened.
* Before the interview Niko goes to Perseus, a menswear store and spends $2,000 on a suit and shoes.
* Bellic’s phone alarm sounds – it’s time for the interview and he heads off to carry out his duty.
* After a brief chat with the receptionist from outside the building via the intercom, Bellic wanders casually into the offices.
* Niko enters Goldberg’s office, where the unsuspecting lawyer seems more than happy to see him, that is until Niko pulls a gun and points it at Goldberg’s head.
* Goldberg then rears back in fear, but before he can plead for his life, he has a bullet in his skull.
* He slumps to the floor, and his secretary, alerted by the noise, runs into the room and sounds the alarm.
* Unsurprisingly the office security and police aren’t just going to let Niko walk out onto the streets, he’s going to have to fight.
* Immediately Niko is confronted by an overweight pistol-wielding security guard, Niko takes cover and fires blind shots in order to pin his opponent down, he then pops out, takes aim and puts two bullets in the security guards heart.
* As Niko continues his firefight to escape the offices, he speeds toward the front desk as bullets rain down from the newly arrived police, slamming into cover and blindly spraying Uzi fire into the distance.
* So in a hail of blood and bullets, Niko takes down the first wave of police onslaught, his three star wanted level providing a far greater obstacle than ever before.
* As Niko carries his now battered frame outside, the noise of a police chopper rattles overhead.
* The sound is incredibly loud, overbearing and overpowering.
* The gunfight is now far more intense. According to the magazine, it’s closest resemblance is Gears Of War. It also states, “The gun battle in Michael Mann’s film Heat is often referenced as the Holy Grail for videogame combat, and Grand Theft Auto IV may have cracked it”.
* Sadly Bellic didn’t last much longer, his lifeless corpse lies prone on the Tarmac.
* The mechanics of the firefights are now rock hard.
* As Niko sprints past pedestrians, they reel in shock, if he bumps into them, they move.
* You can even push people out of the way by simply walking into them.
* Your mobile phone acts as a calendar, a vessel for text messages, an alarm and even a camera.
* In a screenshot in the magazine, Niko was seen doing drive-by with a Glock. It may suggests that drive-by is no more dependent only on the SMGs.
* “Little Jacob”, an arm’s dealer is said to be a good friend of Niko’s cousin, you can buy weapons from him. The weapon’s are in the trunk of his car, and the method used to purchase the weapons is very similar to the way you would buy weapons from an Ammu-Nation in the other GTA’s.
* Niko meets with “Little Jacob” in Rotterdam Hill, in Alderney (the game’s recreation of New Jersey).
* Niko ends up killing Goldberg, the lawyer, as a “favor”. (This will most likely be a mission.)
* Rockstar showed off Goldberg’s death twice, both were completely different from each other. (Which makes you think, there will probably be many ways to complete a single mission.)
* There were no arrow’s on top of certain people you had to kill, you have to figure out who to gun-down on your own.
* Multiplayer is accessed through Niko’s cell phone. (GTA IV will most likely not have a menu like the other installments I suppose.)
* You must maintain and develop relationships with people and friends. (You maintain them by being loyal to the person, etc.) If this means Niko could have a girlfriend if he maintains a relationship with a certain women is unknown at the moment.
* You can use objects as cover, blind fire, and roll around. (Somewhat like Gears Of War!)
* McReary, is the “corrupt cop”, and he has “dirt on Niko’s past”.
* PLAY previewed a mission by the name of “Call And Collect”.
*Cops now can crouch to improve their accuracy for the long-range shot at you.
*Like in San Andreas, eating and sleeping will allow you to recharge your health, though you won’t find any health pick-up floating around the city.
*Though no countryside element to appear in GTA IV, Central park’s immense size will offer a variety of off-road gestures.
*Cars which are locked is going to take a lot of time than before to sit in. Also, it increases the tension significantly when you’re on the run from cops and deciding whether you are going to jack in the car.
*Niko’s phone will have his contact list, A daily calendar & organizer (through it, perhaps, you can choose for whom and when you want go for a mission), text messaging, camera and multiplayer option.
* Little Jacob offered weapons including a 9mm pistol, a shotgun, an SMG, and a micro SMG
* McReary’s first name is Francis, and he knows about a felony Niko committed
* Another vehicle is confirmed as it is noted that Niko stole a black Comet before heading off to the Humboldt River Viewpoint to kill the man who has McReary’s memory stick.
* Before Niko submitted his C.V. to the Goldberg, Ligner & Shyster website, OXM noticed that his C.V. notes that he was on the “Balkan Peace Force” and that he is adept at swimming, shooting and boxing.
* Karen is the name of the receptionist from Goldberg, Ligner & Shyster, who calls Niko to notify him of his interview. It’s not known if she is an important character or not.
* There are no references to the September 11th terrorist attacks anywhere in the game.
* Swimming is a confirmed feature
* Taxi drivers play a very important role in Liberty City – With just a push of a button, Niko can get a ride from “A to B” straight away.
* Additionally, the taxi driver will fulfil some of Niko’s requests, for example if Niko is hungry, the cab will drive him to the nearest fast food restaurant. If hurt, then he’ll drive to the hospital – places are accessible very quickly this way.
* The only time you can’t get a cab ride is when the cops are after you
* On that note, cops appear on your map as dots (while they’re searching for you)
* The preview Games Aktuell were shown lasted 45 minutes – it was played twice
* Similar to Saints Row, your radar will display a yellow line guiding you to your destination
* It takes Niko roughly 3 seconds to hot-wire a vehicle.
* The targeting system is improved and there are different hit zones
* Niko uses his mobile phone and the Internet regularly
* The editors reported seeing vehicles including Ferraris, Porsche Carrera (Comet), Volkswagen Jetta, BMWs, Mustangs, SUVs, delivery vans and garbage trucks.