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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
October 19th is just around the corner!


From CVG.
http://www.computerandvideogames.com....php?id=164713



By now we've all digested, regurgitated and re-digested that US mag's first look at what's bound to be the biggest game of 2007. But when Rockstar asked CVG to come down to its office and see the same presentation first-hand, it would have been rude not to. There's only so much feel for a game you can get from bullet-point nuggets of others peoples' information. CVG needed to see the mighty GTA IV for itself and form its own opinion.


Ushered into a dark room with comfy black leather couches and a massive HD telly, Rockstar tag team Hamish Brown (head of UK PR) and Hugh Michaels (senior product manager) sat us down and introduced us to the game they say the company's been "dreaming of for years". They're quick to point out that this is not a sequel to San Andreas, if anything it's more of a continuation of GTA III.




"IV is more evolved in detail," we're told, "this is not more of the same. We're creating an experience that just couldn't be done before because of hardware limitations of the last generation. We're focusing on the tactility of how the player controls the game and interacts with the world around him. We're going for precision and fidelity. This is what we've dreamt about."


As we already know, GTA IV tells the story of an immigrant arriving in a very real-world take on New York City now confirmed as Liberty City. It will also be a much more realistic take on NYC than what we saw in the previous vision of Liberty City. Previous games were based around mobsters, this one isn't.


To recap, the plot tells the story of Niko Bellic, an Eastern European lured to Liberty City by tales of grandeur from his cousin Roman. Thinking that Liberty will be the answer to his prayers, Niko heads for Liberty City. As soon as he gets there it becomes clear that Roman has been telling pork pies. He's up to his eyes in debts and surrounded by bad people. Niko has to dig him out. "It's about how Niko discovers and interacts with his new world," says Rockstar. "It's not a rags to riches story, it's more of a rags to prettier rags story."


So after a bit of background it was finally time to see what Rockstar has been working on since they finished San Andreas.




We first see Niko standing in the reception of a taxi rank, with a few NPCs going about their daily business. It's immediately clear that the game's been given a much darker, grittier graphical treatment and has stepped away from the cartoon-like presentation of previous GTAs. Sunlight seeps in through the half-open blinds casting shadows across the protagonist and the room.


Bellic then steps outside and strolls down the road (the pavement is also washed with shadows of buildings and railings) towards Broker Bridge, brushing past pedestrians and gently shoving them out of the way who in turn react accordingly with raised arms and a bit of verbal. The animation is impressive and instantly reminded us of what Ubisoft is doing with Assassin's Creed as far moving through and interacting with crowds is concerned.


"The environment is our take on NYC and the surrounding areas, Rockstar tells us. "This has become a character in itself. It's similar in scope to San Andreas, both horizontally and vertically. We've caught the oppressing feeling of Liberty City, which hasn't benefited from the financial boom of real-world NYC. Interaction is a true next-gen experience and we're setting the benchmark. IV will be one seamless experience, with no loading times from beginning to end."




To back-up this huge boast, Bellic walks into a house, combs the interior with a handheld pistol, holsters his weapon and walks slowly through the house into the back yard and then down to an ally with hobos huddled around a fire. From approaching the house, entering and exiting, we saw no visible signs of loading.


Showcasing the vertical density of the environment, Bellic climbs a telegraph poll and the camera pans left and right revealing an elevated view of a bridge and tracks with trains running. Niko now has a centre of gravity that helps the immersion and realism of the character, says Rockstar.


The term "go anywhere and do anything has never been truer", continues our guide. We then see Bellic smash a car window of a vehicle called an Admiral, hotwire it and drive off. It's not just a case of pressing triangle to steal cars anymore. We were then treated to a Sunday drive through some of the streets of the city that included Masterson Street, Oakley Street, Tulsa Street, Cisco Street, Delaware Avenue, East Hook and Rotterdam Hill.


After a quick drive round town we're in a docklands areas near the waterfront. Here Rockstar points out that everything in the city has its own context and that people do what you'd expect them to, according to where they are. We saw people hanging around building site waiting to start work, but we were told that if we pop back ten minutes later they'll be at work. The whole city will continue to go about its business around you.




There was a certain amount of photo-realism to some of the buildings but not all. During the entire demo the free-roaming camera was strategically manoeuvred so we couldn't see any skyline. This must have been because they either didn't want us to see buildings popping up in the background or there were spoilers up there. We've got no choice but to wait and see. The GTA IV code is guarded 24/7 within the company and only a handful of people authorised to see it.


We're nearing the end of the short demo and we see Niko pull out a mobile phone and call a contact in the city. He asks him over to Liberty City to meet up. Apparently you'll be using your mobile a lot to interact with other characters. And that's all we were given. In fact, that's all anyone's been given so far.


To the people who are put off by all the hype, it genuinely looked incredible. And we're not just gushing for the sake of it. The level of detail that's gone into creating Liberty City is impressive. If the rest of the city is as equally brimming with life, then experiencing this living, breathing environment will be one of the most immersive gaming experiences you're likely to have this year.


Regarding the still-to-be-announced multiplayer portion of the game we were told, "There will be online multiplayer but we're not creating an MMO." Anything on downloadable content? "It won't just be small add-on packs with new outfits. We won't disappoint," Rockstar promised.

The release date of October 19 for both Xbox 360 and PS3 is still standing firm. When asked if there's any chance of the game slipping, our Rockstar rep said, "We're good at hitting deadlines but I don't think we see one or two weeks late as being 'slippage'."


Since our preview has gone live Rockstar has contacted CVG to tell us that the game is 100 percent on target to hit its release date and that there will be no 'slippage'.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cysquatch /forum/post/0


There was a certain amount of photo-realism to some of the buildings but not all.

I don't know what these guys are smoking.

This game will have average or below average graphics, like all games by this developer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralt /forum/post/0


I don't know what these guys are smoking.

This game will have average or below average graphics, like all games by this developer.

Yet leaps and bounds over the previous GTAs. And that's good enough for me.
 

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Photo Realisim just means higher-resolution textures.
 

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Thanks for posting, I had no idea there was a new preview out. Looks incredible! The only thing that bugs me is Niko has this dead-looking expression on his face in all the pictures. I hope they're still working on the facial animation stuff.

Quote:
The release date of October 19 for both Xbox 360 and PS3 is still standing firm. When asked if there's any chance of the game slipping, our Rockstar rep said, "We're good at hitting deadlines but I don't think we see one or two weeks late as being 'slippage'."


Since our preview has gone live Rockstar has contacted CVG to tell us that the game is 100 percent on target to hit its release date and that there will be no 'slippage'.

I don't doubt this at all. When they announce a date that's when it's done.
 
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