Last week, Game Informer invited GTA fans to ask questions about their recent experience at R*. Game Informer's Andrew Reiner, the only journalist so far to have seen Grand Theft Auto IV in action, promised to answer as many of your questions as he can. The answers are in...
(Interesting points: There are no airplanes in GTA IV, but flying remains a big part of the game. This means you will be able to fly helicopters. Niko can also climb telephone poles, it seems.)
Kobe Asks: I heard that you can’t fly in Liberty City anymore. What is up with that?! Flying is one of my favorite parts of this series!
This is incorrect. There are no airplanes in the game, but flying is still there. One means of this is the helicopter. As Dan pointed out, this is just one city and a plane really doesn’t fit into that very well for gameplay. Flying is still very much a large part of the game.
Did you see any female pedestrians? Are there any good looking chicks?
Sigh.... Truth be told, I’m curious why anyone would want to know this. Is this really one of the top questions? If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t recall myself thinking “man, that chick is banging” or “I find myself strangely attracted to this game”, but I can confirm that there are female pedestrians in the game. There’s a ton of ‘em, too. They shop. They talk. They even wear clothing.
Did you see some indication of seasons (winter, summer, spring...)?
Sadly, the demo that Rockstar presented was only about 15 minutes in length. Time of day definitely progresses, but whether it progresses throughout an entire calendar year remains to be seen.
How is the AI? Are the enemies smarter? Can they find cover?
This is another area that Rockstar is keeping under wraps at the moment. I can, however, tell you that I saw a truck driver swerve onto the sidewalk right in front of where we were walking. This strange little incident also took the Rockstar representatives by surprise. It almost looked like the driver was drunk, but then again, he could have just been in a hurry too.
Is it possible to climb on a ladder?
I didn’t see Niko climb a ladder, per se, but I did see him ascend a telephone pole to get a bird’s eye view of Liberty City. He didn’t climb up it like a gorilla, however. He simply pulled himself up on the series of rungs on the pole. This feat was actually quite impressive. You could clearly see his weight transfer from side to side as he moved up the pole.
Can you speak with other pedestrians on the street?
Niko seemed to have other things on his mind than talk with pedestrians. The people we passed, however, were very vocal.
Chester Asks: What was the first mission in the game, and what was you first word when you saw this new game?
I didn’t get to see the first mission in the game, but if I had to guess, I would imagine it would have something to do with the taxi stand that Niko’s cousin runs. As for my first word…I can’t print it here, but I did follow it up with “Oh my God!”
Matt Asks: Did it seem to you like Liberty City was an authentically sized city? A problem that I had with San Andreas was that you could drive to a coast in two minutes. Do you think it will be different this time?
Great question. In terms of scale, it definitely feels more like a realistic city. It feels you are traversing New York City. As you’ve seen in the trailer, there are a number of ways to traverse this massive area.
We didn't see any boats in the trailer, what can you tell us about them?
Dan wouldn’t go into specifics on this one, but the only type of vehicle he said that wouldn’t be in the game was the airplane. So this should point to boats still being a part of the GTA experience.
What can you say about the graphics quality? Can you compare the trailer to the game, is the trailers quality better or worse?
Rockstar is still putting polish on the graphics. The demo I saw was definitely a step up from the trailer…which is kind of ridiculous given how great it looked already.
Can you buy properties like you could in Vice City?
Again, no specifics were given, but Dan did say that this isn’t a game of real estate, or from rags to riches. I wouldn’t be surprised if you eventually do find new places to call home, but it sounds to me like properties might be handled in a different way – perhaps tied to moments in the story.
Will there be girlfriends like in San Andreas? If yes, can you marry them?
What is with you people and your woman-related questions. Yes, there are girlfriends. I forgot to ask if you could marry them.
Zhooles Asks: Unusual vehicles. Will be there any and if will, name them please.
Rockstar wouldn’t reveal anything in the demo, but strange vehicles are very much a part of the GTA experience. Dan said that much of the game revolves around Niko. I have a feeling that the choice of the vehicles does as well.
Aaron Hall Asks: Rockstar have said that the cars in GTA IV will have all new physics to them and the camera will be closer to allow a better driving perspective of cruising Liberty city and seeing more detail on the cars.Could you please elaborate on the experience of driving best as possible and what’s new to the experience? Thanks.
From what I was shown, the only new element was breaking the window of the car to get in. The animation for this was awesome, and something I wish I had seen more than once. The car I saw was newer in make – which was evidenced in both the beautiful crimson sheen and suspension that handled pot holes and variances in the road with ease. Now, I only saw one car, but it really did have that new car look to it. It’ll be interesting to see how Rockstar handles the shocks and struts for other vehicles in the game.
If I had to give a comparison, I would say that the new camera angle positioning is more like Midnight Club now. It’s closer, allowing the player to see more of the minute detailing on the car, and also lower, allowing you to see more of the horizon and verticality of the city.
Alex Sheridan Asks: As far as the surrounding area of Liberty City goes, what can we expect to see in things such as countryside relative to San Andreas?
From what I am told, you will not see countryside like you did in San Andreas. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the expanded content that Rockstar is planning through Xbox Live will offer new areas to explore. I can definitely see them adding a fifth borough to Liberty City, but outside of this, anything is possible.
Have you seen members of any mobs in the game? If yes, which? Is new Liberty City a detailed copy of NY, or just is looking like it? Are there houses enterable without loading?
I didn’t see any mob members, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Rockstar didn’t reveal everything to me. There’s still a lot of the game that remains blanketed in mystery. It is GTA, however, so I would be shocked if a mob or two or three weren’t involved. As for your second question, Liberty City is modeled after New York City, but it isn’t a copy, per se. As Dan pointed out in the magazine, the real world isn’t fun. You can’t just throw in the city and expect gameplay to emerge from that. There are certainly recognizable parts to it, but the gameplay comes first.
Sacha Asks: Will characters from earlier GTAs appear in the game?
Rockstar wouldn’t say outright, but from the smile that Dan Houser gave me, I would say there’s a good possibility of crossover.
Bobby Swansom Asks: Will the player have to go to the gym and eat right as in GTA:SA?
It doesn’t sound like Niko is the sort of person who does a lot of working out to staying in shape. From this, don’t expect him to have to work out to stay slim. As for eating, I doubt we’ll see him doing that, either. The one thing I am not sure of is whether or not he can get haircuts or buy clothing.
J Asks: Is it true that there's no load time?
I didn’t see one load in the entire demo, and this included visiting two interiors at different points on the map.
Marcus Asks: What was the phone like?
The graphic for the phone wasn’t finished just yet, so I won’t go into the detail on that, but it seemed that the interface was very simple in design and easy to use. Truth be told, it looked like a real cell phone. We just have to see if it drops as many calls as a real phone.
Brenny Asks: Is it still the same three cars over and over again like previous games we've seen?
I’m not sure which GTA you’ve played, but I have always had more than three cars to choose from. There’s a good chance you’ll see more taxi cabs than usual, but if anything, there should be plenty of rides to choose from.
Gary S Writes: How are the graphics and how far is the draw distance in the game ?
The visuals are tremendous and easily some of the best I have seen. What’s scary about this statement is that Rockstar North is still improving upon the visuals. There’s little question that it will be one of the best looking games come this holiday. As for the draw distance, I didn’t see one building, car, streetlamp, or pedestrian pop up. The framerate was also incredibly smooth and the lighting really couldn’t have been much better.
Isaac "Sculay" Hussain Asks: Will there be a Xbox 360 Demo?
Rockstar hasn’t announced anything yet, but I have a feeling most people will pick this game up whether they play it in advance or not.
A Canadian Asks: I just wanted to know when GTA IV for Xbox 360 will be in stores in Quebec, Canada.
Nope. Rockstar specifically told me that Quebec is the one location on earth that won’t be getting GTA IV. Actually, I have no idea. Call your store to find out.
Matthew James Asks: Compared to previous GTA titles, how big is GTA IV?
I already talked a lot about the city, so I will answer this question like it is being asked about the length of the game itself. I asked Dan this, and he said it should be comparable to all the other GTA games, but they don’t know exactly how long it is since the game is still in development. In other words, you’ll still be able to vest hundreds of hours. The multiplayer component, which is still a mystery, could greatly expand the time you spend with it too.
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