Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action-adventure video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by games developer Rockstar North in the United Kingdom. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system. The game involves a separate timeline and world than its predecessors, starting the fourth "era" in the Grand Theft Auto series, and is set in fictional Liberty City, based heavily on modern day New York City.[a] The game follows Niko Bellic, a veteran of an unnamed war in Eastern Europe, who comes to the United States in search of the American Dream, but quickly becomes entangled in a world of gangs, crime, and corruption. Like other games in the series, GTA IV is composed of elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features open world gameplay, in which players can interact with the game world at their leisure. Grand Theft Auto IV also features several online multiplayer modes.
Two expansion packs have been developed for the game, originally released as downloadable content for the Xbox 360 version throughout 2009. Both The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony feature new plots that are interconnected with the main GTA IV storyline, and follow new protagonists. The two episodes have been released together for all platforms as a stand-alone game called Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City. A bundle that contained both the original GTA IV game and the Episodes was also released, titled Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition. The 2009 handheld game Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars revisited the Liberty City of GTA IV.
As the first game of the critically acclaimed series to appear on seventh generation consoles, Grand Theft Auto IV was widely anticipated. A major commercial and critical success, it broke industry records with sales of around 3.6 million units on its first day of release and grossing more than $500 million in revenue in the first week, selling an estimated 6 million units worldwide. As of September 2011[update], the game had shipped over 22 million copies. Grand Theft Auto IV won numerous awards from both gaming and mainstream press, including several recognitions as Game of the Year, and is in the highest ranks on several professional game critic review-aggregating websites. In late 2011, Rockstar Games announced that Grand Theft Auto V was in full development. On 2 November 2011 after much speculation a trailer of Grand Theft Auto V was released.
- 1.1 Combat and police response
- 1.2 Vehicles
- 1.3 Communication
- 1.4 Multiplayer
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Quite like its predecessors, the core gameplay of GTA IV consists of giving the player a large, open world environment in which to move around freely. On foot, the player character can walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and perform basic hand-to-hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, helicopters, and motorcycles. Grand Theft Auto IV takes advantage of Natural Motion's Euphoria engine, which combines artificial intelligence, bio-mechanics and physics to make open, non-linear environments that allow players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although completing most of the storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain content and parts of the city, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not attempting a storyline mission, players can free-roam, giving them the ability to do activities. Side missions such as locating and destroying criminals in the police car database or participating in street races can keep the player occupied for hours.
It is possible to have many active missions running at one time, as some missions run over the course of several days and require the player to wait for further instructions or events. The player can also attempt a variety of optional side missions. Grand Theft Auto IV also contains morality choices at many points throughout the game, which alter the storyline appropriately depending on the player's choice. Which of the game's two different endings occurs is determined by one of these choices.
Combat and police response
Combat in Grand Theft Auto IV has been reworked to include a cover system.
Gunfights in GTA IV are conducted using a third-person system. The game's cover system allows the player to deftly move between cover, to fire blindly, aim freely, and target a specific enemy. Individual body parts can also be targeted. Additionally, Niko can perform "cinematic executions" at certain points in the story. Niko's health is shown by a green semicircle on the left side of the mini-map, while a blue semicircle on the right represents armour. When locked on a target, their health and (if applicable) armour level appears in the target circle. There are more hand-to-hand combat moves than in past games in the series, namely punching, kicking, "alternative" punching, dodging and blocking, disarming an opponent, and counter-attacking.
If Niko is injured, he can recover health by eating, drinking soda, sleeping, using medical kits, using his mobile phone to call for paramedics, using a "cheat", calling one of his girlfriends for medical advice, etc. Body armour can absorb gunshots and explosive damage but is gradually used up in the process. If Niko's health level reaches zero, the action stops, and he re-appears at the nearest hospital having lost some money (but retaining his weapons).
The Wanted Level system has changed from previous Grand Theft Auto games. Although their star levels are retained (which increase with the number or severity of criminal acts by the player, with corresponding increases in law enforcement interference), the law enforcement agencies which may pursue the player have changed, with the focus on making them more realistic. In previous Grand Theft Auto titles, as wanted level rose the player was pursued by increasingly well-armed and violent agencies, culminating with the Army at the highest wanted level. In Grand Theft Auto IV, the police are assisted by NOOSE (National Office of Security Enforcement — a parody of SWAT and DHS) officers at a three-star wanted level, who are joined by either NOOSE's Tactical Response Unit (a parody of the NYPD ESU) or FIB (Federal Investigation Bureau — a parody of the FBI) at even higher wanted levels. Like previous GTA games, a police helicopter pursues the player at a three-star wanted level, but this is replaced by a helicopter gunship at the five-star level, though it utilises sharp-shooters rather than its mounted gatling guns.
When the police are in pursuit of Niko, a circular search area appears on the map in which the police will be looking for him. The area grows with increased wanted level, and re-centres itself on Niko's location if he is spotted by the police. If the player escapes from the search area without being seen by law enforcement units, and can stay out of sight of police for a short time without committing any more crimes, the search is soon aborted. This is different from the previous methods of evading authorites such as changing clothes and collecting bribes. Wanted levels can also be lost either by changing the colour of the current vehicle, or entering a safehouse and going to sleep. The player has the option of attempting to escape arrest before being handcuffed, at the cost of increasing the wanted level by one star (the traditional bold letters that note "Busted" for arrest are absent), although the police will immediately open fire. However, this move is only possible with a one star wanted level, as the police will focus more on killing the player at higher wanted levels, rather than arresting him.
Common to the rest of the series, vehicles are the predominant means of travel in GTA IV. Every vehicle in the game uses the in-game minimap as a GPS device. "Way-points" can be placed on the map, plotting the shortest legal route between Niko and the destination on the minimap. The player can also hail a taxi or cab, which allows travel between destinations without having to drive. The journey can also be skipped, so the player arrives at their destination instantly. However, if the player decides to skip the journey, it will cost them more money. During car chases, the player can focus the camera on the target vehicle by holding the cinematic camera button, and also free-aim and fire out of the vehicle using one-handed firearms. The player may also drop grenades or Molotov cocktails. The player cannot pilot fixed-wing aircraft, which was possible in previous games of the series, but can still pilot helicopters. The game also lacks parachutes, though they were later reintroduced in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony. The player can also take the Subway system. This allows the player to travel quickly between stations across the city. The service is very cheap, as the cost is only $1 per station. There are 26 stations in total across the map, however a 27th station, called Dukes Blvd is closed for maintenance.
Whereas previous games in the series frequently used public telephones to relay missions to the player, in GTA IV a "Whiz"-brand mobile phone is used. It has several uses, including viewing text messages and appointments, arranging to meet friends for activities, and also for choosing to retry failed missions. The player can also take photos for certain missions, and call 911 to summon the emergency services. The police will arrest felons, and paramedics are able to restore Niko's health. The phone also allows access to the game's multiplayer mode. The player can also call other characters to talk to them, or ask for a service that they can provide, such as transportation or a reduction in wanted level. Also, cheat codes may be entered by dialling certain numbers on the mobile phone.
The game also features several different in-game databases that Niko can make use of. An in-game version of the Internet can be used by accessing the Internet café chain, "TW@", located throughout the city or by accessing a computer in a safehouse. There are over 100 fictitious websites that can be accessed within the game, and Niko can also send and receive email (including junk mail) and set up prospective dates. Although the Internet café was seen in Grand Theft Auto III, internet browsing was not possible. In a police vehicle, Niko can use an in-car computer to access Liberty City's criminal database, discover information about various criminals in Liberty City and even track them down for a reward. The game also features in-game television programming, with several viewable channels featuring programmes and advertisements. The television shows cover a wide variety of genres, including a history channel, reality shows, card games, and cartoons.
Grand Theft Auto IV includes online multiplayer, with 15 modes of play available. It supports up to 16 players (32 players in the PC version) and allows players to explore the entire city. Hosts of the games can control many variables, such as police presence, traffic, and weapons. The console editions of the game do not feature any split screen or LAN multiplayer modes, but the PC version does have LAN support. All versions of the game include voice chat.
The online games are split into ranked and unranked matches. The reward for the ranked gameplay is cash, which determines players' ranks. Players use a customisable character in the majority of play modes, and cash earned during play gradually makes more customisation options available.
Several different game modes are available. Team based gameplay modes include Team Deathmatch, where 2–8 teams compete to accumulate the most kills in a traditional deathmatch; Team Mafiya Work, in which 2–8 teams compete to complete contract work for the "mafiya", such as escorting/killing targets or stealing cars; Team Car Jack City where 2–8 teams compete to steal cars and earn money for keeping them undamaged; Cops n' Crooks, featuring a team of cops who must compete against a team of crooks (which features the "All for One" variation – requiring the cops to kill the crooks' "Boss" before he is escorted to the extraction point – and the "One for All" variation – requiring the cops to kill all of the crooks before they reach the extraction point); and Turf War, involving two teams who compete to take control of designated areas of the map and control them for as long as possible.
The game also includes a variety of racing and cooperative modes, which include Race, in which players race through checkpoints in a traditional automobile race; a GTA race variation, where players race through checkpoints in an automobile race, with the ability to combat their opponents; Hangman's N.O.O.S.E., a co-op mode that requires players to collect a person from the airport and safely escort him to the extraction point before the cops kill him; Deal Breaker, a co-op mission that requires players to assault a construction site captured by enemies, then chase a group of enemies before they escape; and Bomb da Base II, a co-op mission that requires players to clear out a ship, then destroy it with explosives, referencing the mission Bomb Da Base from Grand Theft Auto III which featured a similar objective of destroying a ship with explosives. The game also features a Free Mode, in which players have the entire map open to explore, with no end goal or mission to complete.
Certain features from the single player mode are disabled in the multiplayer modes, such as the bowling, darts, and pool mini-games. The cheats, clubs and Internet café and some forms of transport (i.e. subway trains and taxi ride) are also disabled.
Grand Theft Auto series
1961 – London, 1961GTA 2 era
1969 – London, 1969
1997 – Grand Theft Auto
1999 – Grand Theft Auto 2GTA III era
1984 – Vice City StoriesGTA IV era
1986 – Vice City
1992 – San Andreas
1998 – Liberty City Stories
2000 – Advance
2001 – Grand Theft Auto III
2008 – Grand Theft Auto IV
2009 – Chinatown WarsGTA V era
TBA – Grand Theft Auto V
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (December 2010)|
Grand Theft Auto IV follows the story of Niko Bellic, a thirty-year-old veteran of an unnamed war in Eastern Europe, who is haunted by the betrayal of his 15 man army unit. Ten years later, after a smuggling run goes bad due to a betrayal from a partner, Niko leaves Eastern Europe to escape the anger of his employer, Ray Bulgarin. After six months in the merchant navy (serving aboard the cargo ship The Platypus), and believing the stories of his cousin Roman, Niko comes to Liberty City to pursue the American Dream as well as searching for Florian Cravic, the man he believes to be the traitor of his unit. After his arrival, however, Niko quickly learns that Roman's tales of riches and luxury were lies concealing struggles with gambling debts and loansharks, and that Roman lives in a dirty apartment rather than a mansion.
Niko defends Roman from his loansharks several times, eventually killing Vlad Glebov, Roman's Russian loanshark, for having sex with Roman's girlfriend Mallorie. Niko also begins dating a friend of Mallorie's named Michelle and befriends Jamaican drug and arms dealer "Little" Jacob Hughes. Niko also befriends steroid junkie and chop shop owner Bruce "Brucie" Kibbutz.
After Vlad's murder, Niko and Roman are kidnapped by members of the Liberty City Bratva, on order of Mikhail Faustin and his associate, Dimitri Rascalov. However Faustin is not angry with Niko for killing Vlad, and instead hires him. Niko quickly learns that Faustin is a psychopath when Faustin orders him to kill the son of Kenny Petrović, the most powerful man in the Liberty City Bratva. Dimitri tries to negotiate an agreement, but Petrović demands revenge. Dimitri presents Niko with two options: either Niko assassinates Faustin, or he dies. However, when Niko meets with Dimitri to collect on the assassination, Dimitri betrays Niko to his angry former employer Ray Bulgarin. Niko manages to fight his way through the ambush but Dimitri and Bulgarin escape.
Immediately afterwards Niko and Roman are forced to escape to Bohan when their apartment and taxi company are destroyed in arson attacks by Dimitri's men. To make ends meet Niko takes jobs for former gangbanger Manny Escuela, prominent drug dealer Elizabeta Torres, Irish mobster Packie McReary, and Algonquin drug dealer Playboy X. Niko also becomes an errand boy for both Mafia Capo Ray Boccino and crooked Deputy Police Commissioner Francis McReary.
However, things go poorly in Bohan: one of the drug deals that Niko is working for Elizabeta turns out to be a sting and another is busted. After the latter incident, Niko's current girlfriend Michelle then reveals that she works for a government agency and entraps Niko into working for Michelle's agency, known only by its cover: United Liberty Paper. Niko kills several known or suspected terrorists for the agency in exchange for the promise of assistance in finding the man who betrayed Niko's unit. The Liberty City Police Department begins to close in on Elizabeta, who kills Manny Escuela when he attempts a citizens arrest. Soon afterwards Elizabeta is arrested. According to the ingame news channel, Weazel News, she is sentenced to 300 years imprisonment (that is, 30 counts of drug posession with a sentence of 10 years each).
Niko assists Ray Boccino in a conflict diamond deal with Jewish Mafia Capo and diamond dealer Isaac Roth, which goes badly and leads to the diamonds being stolen by Luis Lopez and the money being stolen by Johnny Klebitz. In retaliation Boccino sends Niko to kill Roth and Johnny's friend Jim Fitzgerald.
In exchange for Niko's help, Boccino locates Florian Cravic, the man that Niko has been searching for. But when Niko confronts Cravic he discovers that Florian has changed his name to Bernie Crane and has become an effeminate homosexual. Niko immediately determines that Bernie is not the person responsible for his unit's betrayal, leaving him one remaining suspect: Darko Brevic.
Niko also works for both Playboy X and Playboy's mentor Dwayne Forge. After Niko kills Playboy's business partners as a favour for Forge, the relationship between Playboy and Forge becomes so poisonous that each asks Niko to kill the other, leaving Niko a choice between the two.
While in Algonquin Niko develops a strong connection with the McReary family, including Packie's older brothers Gerald and Derrick, and their sister Kate, with whom he begins a non-sexual relationship. Together Niko, Packie, and Derrick, along with "Saint" Michael Keane, heist the Bank of Liberty in Algonquin. However, the robbery does not go smoothly; Michael is killed and the others are forced to shoot their way out past the police to escape. After the robbery Niko works with Gerry McReary to destroy the relationship between the Ancelotti Crime Family and their Albanian muscle-men.
Meanwhile Derrick spends most of his share on drugs and alcohol, and sends Niko to eliminate former partners he believes are informing on him. Soon Francis McReary becomes concerned that Derrick's drug behaviour could ruin his plans to become police commissioner, and tells Niko to kill Derrick. Soon after Derrick asks Niko to kill Francis first giving Niko a choice between the two. In either case Niko is invited to the McReary funeral and informed that Gerry has been arrested.
After his incarceration, Gerry contacts Niko and asks him to help in the kidnapping of Gracie, the daughter of the Don of the Ancelloti Family, in exchange for a ransom of the "cursed" conflict diamonds stolen by Luis Lopez. However after exchanging Grace to Gay Tony for the diamonds, Niko and Packie are surprised by Ray Bulgarin, who claims the diamonds are his. In the ensuing gunfight the diamonds are thrown into a passing dumptruck and lost.
Niko also does work for the Pegorino family in Alderney, mainly with Associate Phil Bell, stealing heroin, and later for Don Jimmy Pegorino. This leads to a war between the Pegorinos, Pavanos, and Ancellottis. Eventually, after working for Pegorino several times, Niko is sent to kill Ray Boccino because Pegorino is convinced Boccino is an informant.
Toward the end of the story, United Liberty Paper locates Darko Brevic and brings him to Liberty City as a final reward. Niko confronts Darko, who is now a drug-addicted wreck, and learns that Darko betrayed the group for $1,000. The player is then left with the option of either executing or sparing Darko. Having dealt with his past Niko is summoned by Pegorino, who demands one final favour: to help with an extremely lucrative deal on the heroin in collusion with Dimitri Rascalov.Finale
The story features two possible endings depending on the choice made by the player at this point in the game: to strike a Deal with Dimitri or exact Revenge on him. In both endings Niko sees Pegorino as an enemy for allying so closely with Dimitri, and both antagonists are killed. The major difference in each ending is that either Roman Bellic in Deal or Kate McReary in Revenge dies.
If the player chooses to go through with the Deal, Niko meets Phil Bell to retrieve the money once Dimitri delivers the heroin to another location. However Dimitri takes the heroin for himself instead. Niko and Phil are forced to fight to escape, but retrieve the drug money regardless. Kate McReary, who was against making the deal, is disappointed with Niko and refuses to attend Roman and Mallorie's wedding. At the wedding, an assassin sent by Dimitri kills Roman with a stray bullet as Niko disarms and kills him. A devastated and vengeful Niko follows some henchmen to where Dimitri and Pegorino are hiding. There he witnesses Dimitri betray and kill Pegorino out of greed before escaping in a chopper. Niko chases Dimitri to Happiness Island, where Niko kills Dimitri in the shadow of the Statue of Happiness. The story ends with Niko concerned for the well-being of his soul. After the end credits, Mallorie reveals to Niko in a phone call that she is pregnant with Roman's child, later Kate calls Niko saying that she will be there for him.
If the player chooses to exact Revenge, Niko ambushes Dimitri on the cargo ship Platypus and executes him. In the aftermath, Roman and Mallorie's wedding takes place and Jimmy Pegorino, furious after Niko's betrayal, commits a drive-by shooting outside the church killing Kate McReary. However, now that Pegorino has lost his ally Dimitri and angered both Niko (and thereby his many friends) and the five mafia families, the entire underworld of Liberty City wants him dead and he goes into hiding. Niko follows some henchmen to Pegorino's location where Niko attempts to kill him, but Pegorino escapes. Niko chases and executes Pegorino in the shadow of the Statue of Happiness. After the end credits, Roman reveals to Niko in a phone call that he and Mallorie are expecting a child and if it is a girl, they will name her Kate in memory of Niko's girlfriend. Packie later calls him and states that he will stay in Liberty City to take care of his mother, after mourning for the loss of his sister .
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GTA IV's rendition of Liberty City closely resembles modern New York City
Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in a redesigned version of Liberty City consisting of four boroughs, based on four of the boroughs of New York City. Broker is the equivalent of Brooklyn; Queens is Dukes; Bronx is Bohan and Manhattan is Algonquin. Adjacent to the city is the independent state of Alderney, based on Northern New Jersey and named after the Channel Island of the same name. The developers omitted a Staten Island-esque area, believing that gameplay based in such an area would not be fun. There are three minor islands present: Charge Island (based loosely on Randall's Island), Colony Island (based on Roosevelt Island), and Happiness Island (based on Liberty Island and complete with a parody of the Statue of Liberty called the Statue of Happiness). Initially, the city's bridges are locked down due to a terrorist threat, and the player is constantly pursued by police if they are crossed, but eventually the blockades are lifted and the player is able to cross the Broker, Algonquin and Northwood Heights bridges and explore the rest of the city. The "Francis International Airport" is based on several New York City-area airports, most notably LaGuardia and JFK.
The protagonist Niko Bellic with the main antagonist Dimitri Rascalov at a seaside amusement park.
The characters that appear in Grand Theft Auto IV are diverse and relative to the respective boroughs of Liberty City they are based in; belonging to various gangs and ethnic groups. The player controls Niko Bellic, a veteran of the Yugoslav Wars. According to Dan Houser, virtually none of the characters from the previous games would return, as "most of the characters we liked were dead," further evidenced by in-game graffiti bidding farewell to these characters.
Unlike previous games in the series, the voice actors of Grand Theft Auto IV do not include notable and high-profile celebrities, instead opting for lesser known actors, except for such as Michael Hollick, Jason Zumwalt, Timothy Adams and Coolie Ranx. Katt Williams and Ricky Gervais, one of the more famous cameos that appear, have their likenesses and comedy depicted in an in-game comedy club. Actress/singer Juliette Lewis, meanwhile, provides a radio DJ voiceover as herself.
Like previous games in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto IV features a soundtrack that can be heard through radio stations while the player is in a vehicle. Liberty City is serviced by 19 radio stations, three of which are talk radio stations. The other stations feature music from a large range of genres. There are notable inclusions to the game's soundtrack, such as tracks from Jean Michel Jarre, Genesis, David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, The Sisters of Mercy, Seryoga, Bob Marley, Don Omar, The Who, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, Black Sabbath, Philip Glass, Simian Mobile Disco, Bathory, Nas, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Lloyd, Miles Davis, Loose Ends, Elton John, ZZ Top, R.E.M., MC Lyte and Barry White.
The theme song of Grand Theft Auto IV is "Soviet Connection" composed by Michael Hunter, who also composed the theme for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. People who provide voices for the radio DJs include fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, musicians Iggy Pop, Femi Kuti, Jimmy Gestapo and Ruslana, and real-life radio talk show host Lazlow Jones. Saturday Night Live actors Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis appear on the liberal and conservative radio talk shows respectively, with Fred Armisen playing several guests on Lazlow's "Integrity 2.0". Numerous other comedians, including Jim Norton, Patrice O'Neal, Rick Shapiro, and Robert Kelly, as well as radio hosts Opie & Anthony appeared on the radio and/or as characters in-game.
The game uses a similar music system to that of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In other games in the series, each radio station was essentially a single looped sound file, playing the same songs, announcements and advertisements in the same order each time. With the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto IV, each sound file is held separately, and sequenced randomly, allowing songs to be played in different orders, announcements to songs to be different each time, and plot events to be mentioned on the stations. Certain songs are also edited to incorporate references to the fictional Liberty City.
Following a partnership between Rockstar Games and Amazon.com, players are able to purchase real world MP3s through GTA IV's in-game mobile phone. Players are able to mark radio songs that they like by dialling ZIT-555-0100 on Niko's phone. They will then receive a text message providing the name of the song and the artist. If registered on Rockstar's 'Social Club' website, a player will also receive a real world e-mail with a link to an Amazon.com playlist where all of the player's marked songs will be listed and available to purchase.
Mural ad for the game on a wall in New York City, July 2007.
Work on Grand Theft Auto IV began in November 2004, almost immediately after the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Around 150 game developers worked on Grand Theft Auto IV, led by core members of the Grand Theft Auto III team. The game uses Rockstar's own RAGE game engine, which was previously used in Rockstar Table Tennis, in combination with the Euphoria game animation engine. Instead of pre-written animations, Euphoria uses procedural animation to control the way the player moves, enabling character movements to be more realistic. The Euphoria engine also enables NPCs to react in a realistic way to the player's actions. In one preview, a player knocked an NPC out of a window and the character grabbed onto a ledge to stop himself from falling. The game also uses middleware from Image Metrics to facilitate intricate facial expressions and ease the process of incorporating lip-synching. Foliage in the game is produced through SpeedTree.
Grand Theft Auto IV sees a shift in the series to a more realistic and detailed style and tone, partly a result of the transition to consoles which offered high-definition graphics and the new and improved capabilities of such consoles. Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser said "what we're taking as our watchword on [GTA IV] is the idea of what high definition actually means. Not just in terms of graphics, which obviously we are achieving, but in terms of all aspects of the design. [...] You know, trying to make something more realistic, more held together, but still retaining the overall coherence that the other games had." Art director Aaron Garbut said one of the reasons they decided to set the game in New York because "we all knew what an amazing, diverse, vibrant, cinematic city it is. [...] And since we were hoping to push the detail, variety and life, for lack of a better word, to such a degree it seemed that basing the game in a city so synonymous with these things was a great fit." Dan Houser added "because we were working in high definition and we knew we'd need a shitload of research, we wanted to be somewhere where we had a foothold." The developers consciously avoided creating a block for block recreation of New York City, Dan Houser said "what we've always tried to do is make a thing that looks real and has the qualities of a real environment, but is also fun from a game design perspective." The Grand Theft Auto IV rendition of Liberty City is far more detailed and is the largest individual city in the Grand Theft Auto series. Although smaller than San Andreas, Liberty City is comparable to it in terms of scope when "the level of verticality of the city, the number of buildings you can go into, and the level of detail in those buildings" are taken into account. The goal for Liberty City was to have no dead spots or irrelevant spaces, such as the wide open deserts in San Andreas. To achieve a realistic environment, the Rockstar North team, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, made two trips to New York for research, one at the start of the project (which is done with every GTA game) and another smaller one further into development. A full-time research team, based in New York, handled further requests for information ranging from the ethnic minority of a neighbourhood to videos of traffic patterns.
The story of Grand Theft Auto IV was written by Dan Houser and Rupert Humphries. Unlike previous Grand Theft Auto games which have a strong cultural or cinematic influence, "[GTA IV doesn't] really have any cinematic influences", said Dan Houser, "we were consciously trying to go, well, if videogames are going to develop into the next stage, then the thing isn't to try and do a loving tribute or reference other stuff. It's to reference the actual place itself." Houser also said, "In terms of the character, we wanted something that felt fresh and new and not something that was obviously derived from [a] movie. [...] Maybe [we] could do something ourselves that would live alongside that stuff."
Music supervisor Ivan Pavlovich said "[we had] to pick the songs that make New York today what it is, but make sure they won't feel dated by the time the game comes out." The developers contacted over 2,000 people in order to obtain recording and publishing rights. They even hired a private investigator to locate the relatives of late Skatt Bros. member Sean Delaney to license the band's song, "Walk the Night". Citing sources close to the deals, Billboard reported that Rockstar paid as much as $5,000 per composition and another $5,000 per master recording per track. Developers originally considered letting players purchase music by going to an in-game record shop and for Niko to have an MP3 player, but both ideas were cut. DJ Green Lantern produced tracks exclusively for the game's hip-hop radio station The Beat 102.7. Record label owner and record producer Bobby Konders, who hosts the in-game radio station Massive B Soundsystem 96.9, went through the extra effort of flying to Jamaica to get dancehall artists to re-record tracks to make references to the boroughs of Liberty City.
The Corporate Vice-President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division, Peter Moore, announced at E3 2006 that the game would appear on Xbox 360, by rolling up his sleeve to reveal a GTA IV temporary tattoo. Rockstar Games initially appeared to be committed to the original 16 October 2007 release date; however, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter suggested that Take-Two may choose to delay the release of the game in order to boost its financial results for 2008 and to avoid competing with the release of other highly anticipated titles, such as Halo 3. Rockstar responded by saying that Grand Theft Auto IV was still on track for release in "late October". On 2 August 2007, Take-Two announced that Grand Theft Auto IV would miss its original release date of 16 October 2007 contrary to their previous statements, and would be delayed to their second fiscal quarter (February–April) of 2008. In a later conference call with investors, Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick attributed the delay to "almost strictly technological problems ... not problems, but challenges." It was revealed that technical difficulties with the PlayStation 3 version of the game contributed to the delay, along with storage problems on the Xbox 360. On 24 January 2008, Take-Two announced that Grand Theft Auto IV would be released on 29 April 2008. As the release date approached, Rockstar Games and Take-Two marketed the game heavily through various forms, including television ads, Internet video, billboards, viral marketing, and a redesigned website. A special edition of the game was also released for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. At a Take-Two shareholder meeting on 18 April 2008, Take-Two CEO Ben Feder announced that GTA IV had already "gone gold" and was "in production and in trucks en route to retailers". The game was eventually released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles in Europe, North America, and Oceania on 29 April 2008, and in Japan on 30 October 2008. A Microsoft Windows version of the game was released in North America on 2 December 2008 and in Europe on 3 December 2008. It was made available on Steam on 4 January 2009. Overall, Grand Theft Auto IV took over 1000 people and more than three and a half years to complete, with a total cost estimated at approximately $100 million, making it one of the most expensive games ever developed (as of 2012 only Star Wars: The Old Republic has been reported to have a higher development cost than that of Grand Theft Auto IV).
The cover art for Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.
Two episodic packs for Grand Theft Auto IV have been released. These two episodes were first released separately on Xbox Live as downloadable content (DLC), requiring the original game to play. Following that in October 2009 they were released together as part of a standalone game called Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City for the Xbox 360 that does not require the original Grand Theft Auto IV media to be playable. The first expansion is entitled The Lost and Damned, originally released on 17 February 2009. The second is entitled The Ballad of Gay Tony, released on 29 October 2009. Both episodes were released for PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows on 13 April 2010 in North America and on 16 April 2010 in Europe.
Jeronimo Barrera, Vice President of Product Development for Rockstar Games, has said that the episodes are experiments because they are not sure that there are enough users with access to online content on the Xbox 360. Take-Two Interactive's Chief Financial Officer, Lainie Goldstein revealed that Microsoft was paying a total of $50 million for the first two episodes.
In January 2010 Rockstar announced that the DLC as well as Episodes From Liberty City would be made available for the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows on 13 April 2010 in North America and 16 April 2010 in Europe.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition, including the original Grand Theft Auto IV and its two episodic expansions, was listed on online stores before being confirmed by Rockstar. The compilation was released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows on 26 October 2010 in North America, and 29 October in Europe.The Lost and Damned
The first episode, titled The Lost and Damned, was released on Xbox Live on 17 February 2009. The episode features a new central character, Johnny Klebitz, a member of Liberty City's biker gang The Lost, which was featured in several GTA IV missions. Dan Houser stated the episode shows "a different side of Liberty City".The Ballad of Gay Tony
The second episode, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, was released on 29 October 2009. The episode features a new central character, Luis Fernando Lopez, an assistant to nightclub owner Tony "Gay Tony" Prince, and follows him as he resolves the conflicts of his friends, family, and boss.
Upon the game's release, Kotaku reported that several PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners had complained of the game freezing during the initial cut-scene, rendering it unplayable. It was also reported on Kotaku that the online multiplayer was down on release day for most PlayStation 3 users. On 7 May 2008, Rockstar released a patch for the PlayStation 3 version of the game to improve the multiplayer experience. According to Rockstar, the update prevents GameSpy's servers from being overloaded and therefore reduces the impact on those servers that were causing the game to stutter and lock up. Further multiplayer fixes were made available on 23 June 2008.
On 27 October 2008, Rockstar released an update which added Trophy support to the PlayStation 3 version. Like Achievements on the Xbox 360, Trophies may be unlocked by completing certain unique tasks.
On 15 November 2008, another patch (1.04) was released for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
On 12 December 2008, a patch (184.108.40.206) was released for the Microsoft Windows version of the game. This patch added DirectInput support, enabling non-Microsoft controllers to be used.
On 24 January 2009, another patch (220.127.116.11) was released for the Microsoft Windows version of the game. It fixed many performance and graphical issues as well as correcting issues created by the first patch.
On 20 February 2009, a patch was released for the European and Australian releases of the game, fixing an error caused by a previous update to The Lost And Damned, which had reversed regional censorship rules for the European and Australian editions of the game.
On 21 March 2009, a third patch (18.104.22.168) was released for the Microsoft Windows version of the game. This fixed many major graphic flaws such as headlights on the player's car consuming too much GPU power.
On 19 June 2009, a fourth patch (22.214.171.124) was released for the Microsoft Windows version of the game. Rockstar Toronto called it a 'Maintenance Update' and said that it is in preparation for a future patch. Rockstar says this patch "ensures all copies of the game are properly aligned for the next gold master build pressing".
On 4 September 2009, another patch was released for the Xbox 360 version of the game. It was released to patch cheat exploits in Xbox Live multiplayer.
On 10 November 2009, a fifth patch (126.96.36.199) was released for the Microsoft Windows version of the game. It fixed some minor bugs, improved keyboard mapping and added some cheating deterrents.
On 23 March 2010, a patch (1.06) was released for the PlayStation 3 version of the game. The intro music was slightly modified to begin after the opening logos. In preparation for the downloadable content, trophies for The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony were added. The options for online multiplayer matches were completely re-ordered ("Auto-Aim" placed at the top, rather than "Location") to better fit players' priorities. The multiplayer invite problem which occurs when having more than 50 people on a friends list, has been fixed. The glitch that occurs in Bomb Da Base II, which kicks all players back to single player mode has also been fixed. Also any NPC in single player mode that gets injured will get in the back of the ambulance when they recover. Also new dialogue was integrated. An explosion in the sky in "Out Of Commission" is enhanced, and it is implied that it is the explosion of Bulgarin's jet (both missions take place at the same time).
The Rockstar Games Social Club is a web site that displays the gameplay statistics of registered users and feature competitions and awards based on player activity within the game. The Social Club web site was announced on 27 March 2008 and launched on 17 April 2008. The main features of Social Club launched on the same date of the game itself 29 April 2008. Social Club will also provide online features for Rockstar's latest Midnight Club game, Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Social Club consists of multiple parts. It initially included the LCPD Police Blotter, The Story Gang, The 100% Club, The Hall Of Fame, The Liberty City Marathon and The Zit.
In an interview with PlayStation World magazine, Rockstar mentioned that they will "heavily support" Sony's PlayStation Home, a community-based service for the PlayStation Network. Rockstar also mentioned that visitors to their PlayStation Home apartment would receive 'goodies' such as clothing for their avatar and items and decorations for their own PlayStation Home apartment.
The Windows version of GTA IV includes a replay editor. This screenshot shows the Clips interface which is used to capture game footage. System requirements
Hard drive space
On 6 August 2008, Rockstar announced that a Microsoft Windows version was in development by Rockstar North and Rockstar Toronto. The game was originally announced for release in North America on 18 November 2008 and in Europe on 21 November 2008 but was later pushed back to 2 and 3 December 2008, respectively.
It contains expanded features, including traffic density control, draw distance configurations and a replay editor. The replay editor allows players to record and edit game clips, videos can then be uploaded to Rockstar's Social Club website. It utilises Games for Windows - Live for online play and supports 32 players for multiplayer. SecuROM protection is utilised and a one time online activation is required in order to play the game.
Critical receptionReception Aggregate scores Aggregator Score Review scores Publication Score
|Computer and Video Games||9.4/10|
|Official Xbox Magazine (UK)||10/10|
|PC Gamer UK||92%|
|PC Gamer US||92%|
Grand Theft Auto IV has received universal acclaim from video game critics. The review aggregators Metacritic rate it as the second best game of all time behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Grand Theft Auto IV is the fourth highest rated game on Gamerankings and the fifth highest on GameRatio. Ahead of its worldwide release, most publications were not sent copies of the game. Instead, reviewers had to play the game on Rockstar premises or in booked hotel rooms.
The May 2008 issue of Official Xbox Magazine (UK) published the first Grand Theft Auto IV review, giving the game the maximum score of 10/10. The magazine also stated that the game has an "amazingly realistic world; stunning action set pieces; genuinely engrossing storyline; hugely entertaining multiplayer;" and that it is "vast in every respect." PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) also gave the game 10/10 in their May 2008 issue, describing the game as "a masterpiece that improves on all GTA's best bits." Xbox World 360 gave the game a 98% rating, the highest it has ever given to any game, mentioning the game was "everything we were entitled to expect, and yet somehow impossibly more." GameSpot gave the game a perfect 10, making it the first game since 2001 that GameSpot had rated perfect. The review called the game "compelling", with a "plethora of online multiplayer features" and stated that GTA IV is "undoubtedly the best Grand Theft Auto yet."
Hilary Goldstein of IGN gave the game a 10/10 score, with the game earning 10/10 in each individual category: presentation, sound, graphics, gameplay, and lasting appeal. It is the first game in the publication's history to receive straight-10 subscores across the board. Goldstein called the game "just as big a leap forward as Grand Theft Auto III, albeit in subtler ways", and said it "sets a new benchmark for open-world games", with "no one major weak aspect". Goldstein's only serious criticism was for "the occasional flaw in the cover system", but the review concluded with the statement that "We don't give 10s often—just to games that merit the score."
The British newspaper Daily Star gave it a positive review, saying: "This could be a console defining title, one that in years to come people will remember as the stand-out of the era." The New York Times wrote a favourable review as well, calling it a "violent, intelligent, profane, endearing, obnoxious, sly, richly textured and thoroughly compelling work of cultural satire disguised as fun." The film magazine Empire gave the game a perfect 5/5 in its game reviews section, calling it "damn-near perfect".
Despite the almost unanimous praise given to GTA IV, the game has received some criticism, particularly its Windows port. A review in Ars Technica states that the game "...[is] not perfect. It does not deserve unquestioned, unadulterated praise. In many ways, the slight regression of the series from San Andreas is surprising: there are fewer vehicles, weapons, and story missions, less character customisation, and even the size of the city itself is smaller." GameSpot noted that there are occasional problems with friendly AI and avoiding the police being "a little too easy." There were some minor complaints with the game's cover system, which reviewers noted, stumbled in box-filled environments and the stickiness of cover points being an issue. The occasional presence of noticeable pop-in was also criticised.
In 2010, the game was included as one of the titles in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
Shares of Take-Two Interactive gained 3.4% amid positive reviews before the game's launch. Scott Hillis of Reuters said first week sales of the game were expected to reach $400 million. Some observers suggested that GTA IV's success could dampen the box office for the 2 May 2008 release of Iron Man, setting a precedent where movie studios will begin browsing video game release dates to check for conflicts. Matt Richtel of The New York Times said the game's release was "expected to be one of the biggest video game debuts ever" and said 5 million copies of the game were expected to be sold in the first two weeks. Analyst Michael Pachter predicted the game would sell 11 to 13 million units by the end of 2008. Pachter also expected Grand Theft Auto IV to represent 3.2% of all U.S. and European software sales for 2008 and for lifetime sales of the game to reach 16 to 19 million. Analyst Evan Wilson predicted that Grand Theft Auto IV would have opening week sales of $550 million.Sales of Grand Theft Auto IV Date Volume Ref
|29 April 2008||3,600,000|
|7 May 2008||6,000,000|
|31 May 2008||8,500,000|
|16 August 2008||10,000,000|
|31 January 2009||13,000,000|
|3 March 2010||15,000,000|
|8 June 2010||17,000,000|
|19 February 2011||20,000,000|
|14 September 2011||22,000,000|
Upon release, Grand Theft Auto IV claimed two entertainment industry sales records, posting the best single-day and seven-day sales totals for a video game. The game sold more than 3.6 million copies on its first day of availability, while also selling 6 million copies in the first week of availability (garnering $500 million in sales). In the United Kingdom, the game sold 631,000 copies on its first day of release, making it the fastest-selling game in a 24 hour period within that region, according to Chart-Track. The previous record holder in the UK, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, sold 501,000 copies within 24 hours. During the first five days of availability, the title sold 1.85 million units on the Xbox 360 and 1 million on the PlayStation 3 in the United States, according to the NPD Group; in the United Kingdom the Xbox 360 version sold 514,000 copies and the PlayStation 3 version sold 413,000, according to Chart-Track. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Grand Theft Auto IV are the fifth and eighth best-selling games of 2008 in the United States respectively. The Xbox 360 version sold in excess of 3.29 million, while the PlayStation 3 version sold in excess of 1.89 million for a combined 5.18 million copies in 2008 in the region. GameStop and EB Games reported that the game led in sales the first week after its release, noting that its stores in Puerto Rico led all districts in pre-release reservations and sales 48 hours after its release.
On 13 May 2008, Grand Theft Auto IV broke the Guinness World Records for "Highest grossing video game in 24 hours" and "Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours". It sold 3.6 million copies on day one, which equalled roughly $310 million in revenue. For first day sales it also broke the record of "Fastest-selling video game in 24 hours", previously held by Halo 3 at $170 million, however, its record was broken in November 2009 by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
As of 31 May 2008, the title has sold over 11 million copies to retailers and 8.5 million have been sold through to consumers, according to Take-Two Interactive. According to the NPD Group and GfK Chart-Track, the game has sold 4.711 million units in the US and 1.582 million in the UK, for a total of 6.293 million units as of 1 August 2008. As of 16 August 2008, the title has sold over 10 million copies through to consumers, according to Take-Two Interactive. In its first four days of availability in Japan, the title sold 133,000 copies on the PlayStation 3 and 34,000 on the Xbox 360, according to Media Create.
Sales for the Windows version of the game were considerably less successful. According to NPD Group the game debuted at #7 of their weekly top ten. One week later, the game disappeared completely from the top ten published by NPD Group.
On 3 March 2010, Take-Two Games announced that Grand Theft Auto IV has sold 15 million units globally. On 9 June 2010, Take-Two announced that Grand Theft Auto IV had sold over 17 million copies. On 10 March 2011, Take-Two announced that Grand Theft Auto IV had sold over 20 million copies and Grand Theft Auto series has now sold over 100 million copies. As of September 2011[update], the game had sold over 22 million copies.
AwardsList of awards for Grand Theft Auto IV
Michael Hollick, voice of Niko Bellic, won a Spike TV award for "Best Performance by a Human Male"
Following the critical acclaim it received on its release, Grand Theft Auto IV has received numerous awards from various critics and publications. It received several Game of the Year awards, from gaming media outlets such as Spike TV, Giant Bomb, Kotaku, and GameTrailers, as well as mainstream publications, like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Time magazine. The game has garnered over 40 Game of the Year recognitions from major publications, more than any other game that year. GTA IV also received seven nominations at the 5th British Academy Video Games Awards (BAFTA Games Awards), and three nominations at the 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, but did not win any of them.
Prior to and since the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, the game had been subject to a great deal of controversy, as was the case with previous Grand Theft Auto titles. Figures including George Galloway, Jack Thompson and Hillary Clinton have criticised the game, as have organisations including New York City officials and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD requested ESRB to change the rating of the game from "M" for ages seventeen and up to "AO", for adults due to the player's ability to drive under the influence of alcohol.
The version of GTA IV released in Australia and New Zealand was edited to remove content to allow the game to meet the requirements of the Australian classification system. However, the game was resubmitted to the New Zealand OFLC by Stan Calif, a 21-year-old student who was unhappy that New Zealand received an edited version of the game as a result of Australian censorship laws. The unedited version was subsequently given an R18 rating and cleared for sale in New Zealand. The PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV released in Australia is reported to be unedited, identical to that of other international releases, under the MA15+ rating. The PS3 and the Xbox 360 versions of the game have since been updated to be completely uncensored while the complete edition has the console version uncut for the first time at retail.
There have been reports in the United Kingdom and the United States of crimes perpetrated against people purchasing Grand Theft Auto IV, as well as employees of stores selling the game. One of these incidents, an attack near a Gamestation store in Croydon, London was later reported to be an unrelated argument between two groups of people leaving a pub and the story has been referred to as a "media panic."
Six teenagers were arrested in June 2008 after engaging in a crime spree in New Hyde Park, New York, assaulting and robbing several people, and attempting a carjacking. According to police, the teens claimed that they were "inspired" by Grand Theft Auto IV.
The first downloadable episode The Lost and Damned has a brief scene containing full-frontal male nudity, uncommon in video games.