13 things we already know about GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Two of the villains are familiar faces.

While Bulgarin at first seemed like he’d be Niko’s primary antagonist in GTA IV, we ended up seeing very little of him. He’ll likely be a much more prominent figure in The Ballad of Gay Tony, and killing him could be a big part of the episode’s final act.

Also, if we were to hazard a guess - based on the fact that he’s convinced Tony and Luis stole the diamonds from him - it’s probably Bulgarin who sends the protagonists out to buy the diamonds in the first place. That would point to him possibly being an overarching antagonist throughout the game – the kind that starts as a mission-giving boss and ends as a corpse.

The same could be said of Ray Boccino, who sets himself up from the start to be antagonistic toward Tony and Luis. It’s Ray that orders Johnny to snatch the diamonds at the docks, and orders Niko to hand them off at the museum and then kidnap Gracie to get them back. We know Luis won’t kill him – that task falls to Niko – and we’re not even sure if Luis will be aware of Ray’s machinations. But one thing is certain: he’ll be out to make your life miserable.

Expect cameos from Brucie, Bernie and more of GTA IV’s supporting characters.

Two stories into GTA IV, we know that Liberty City’s underworld is smaller than you’d think. Although Niko and Johnny didn’t exactly run with the same circle of friends, there was considerable overlap with the characters that showed up around them. Meanwhile, Gay Tony is a club owner, and club owners know a lot of people. Here’s who we’re almost positive we’ll see again:

• Brucie Kibbutz: Not only does Brucie know Gay Tony, but his affinity for clubbing means their paths will almost certainly cross more than a few times over the course of the episode. We could totally see him going to Tony for certain legally questionable items (like bull shark testosterone), in which case Luis would likely be ordered to go and acquire them for him.

• Bernie Crane/Florian Cravic: As one of the only other prominently gay characters in GTA IV, it’s pretty damn likely that Bernie will make another appearance in the Ballad of Gay Tony. Also, he’s an admirer of Luis, as you’ll learn if you wiretap Deputy Mayor Bryce Dawkins’ car in The Lost and Damned. At this point, we’re willing to bet he’ll show up in more than a few of the new episode’s missions.

• Bryce Dawkins: With the near-certainty of Bernie’s reappearance comes that of his boyfriend, Liberty City’s closeted deputy mayor. Considering that Luis’ boss is apparently a prominent figure in Liberty’s gay scene, we expect we’ll finally see Dawkins as an onscreen character. In fact, we’re ready to peg him as this episode’s obligatory corrupt political operative – you know, the one that always needs a henchman? Think Congressman Stubbs, U.L. Paper, Mike Toreno and Donald Love. Dawkins has plenty of skeletons in his closet, and it’ll probably fall to Luis to make sure they stay there.

• Ashley Butler: The Lost and Damned’s most tragic meth freak will probably show up in The Ballad of Gay Tony at some point, if only because of her apparent relationship with Ray Boccino. At this point we doubt you’ll have to put up with her junkie antics like Johnny did, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see her show up briefly to be depressing.

• Gracie Ancelotti: This one’s a no-brainer - we already know Gracie’s close enough to Tony for him to try and ransom her from kidnappers, so if she isn’t a near-constant presence during the new episode, we’ll be surprised.

The settings and scenarios will be more like Vice City.

Based on the logo alone, we can expect The Ballad of Gay Tony to be a lot more colorful, glamorous and over-the-top than GTA IV or The Lost and Damned. You’re a bouncer at a glitzy nightclub. You’re a bodyguard and assistant to man deeply involved in the entertainment business. You’re working for the Italian Mafia, not the Russians or Puerto Ricans.

Speculating further, you’ll probably be asked to drive gleaming limos and shiny sports cars. You’ll probably be dealing with strippers, heiresses and cokeheads. You’ll probably hear a lot of dance music.

In other words, this could be a small taste of current-gen Vice City. Who knows? Maybe they’ll throw in jet skis, porn studios, golf courses and a much older Candy Suxxx as well.

The underlying themes, however, will still be pure GTA IV.

Luis may work for and hang out with a bunch of rich, hedonistic, superficial socialites, but Rockstar is pretty adamant that he’s not one of them. From the press release: “Players will struggle with the competing loyalties of family and friends, and with the uncertainty about who is real and who is fake in a world in which everyone has a price.”

Expect a story of complex duality, grounded in harsh reality. Luis is likely nothing more than a street hood and drug dealer, plucked out of obscurity by Gay Tony. He may mingle with the wealthy and famous, but he may also remain loyal to his original friends in the North Dominican Drug Dealers. He will probably earn good money, but will probably still live in a ghetto and still support an impoverished, recently immigrated family.

At least one of Luis’s close allies will die.

Near the end of The Lost and Damned, after attacking Gay Tony’s gang, you can surf the internet and find the following news story. We doubt its inclusion was an accident. The only question is: Will Luis avenge his friend’s murder? Or is Luis the murderer?

Rockstar revealed all of this over a year ago.

Most of us were surprised by the announcement of The Ballad of Gay Tony, as well as by the identity of its hero. Some savvy fans, however, have been putting the pieces together for months now. Obviously, seeing Luis pop up in mission after mission – as described previously – was something of a giveaway. The biggest clue, though, came from a single Achievement / Trophy.

Rewarded after beating the Museum Piece mission, “Impossible Trinity” seemed like a strange choice of words at the time. Now we can see that Rockstar was leaving us hints. This is presumably the only time – in all three storylines – that the trio of protagonists come together at once. An impossible trinity.

Crazier yet, you can see all three heroes escaping the museum during the end credits for The Lost and Damned. See for yourself in the video below:

Above: Johnny exits through the side door. Niko blasts through the front. Luis sneaks out on the roof.

Rockstar had the whole thing planned from the very beginning. If not, then they are some damn good improvisers

May 28, 2009

5 cool things you missed in GTA IV
Super strippers, serial killers, sasquatches, sex-crazed socialites and more!

Review: The Lost and Damned
The first downloadable episode delivers another killer Liberty City story

50 ways to die in GTA IV
Watch Niko get burnt, battered, shot, crushed and more in our exclusive video


  • TheOther - July 1, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    By the way, about the club kid's death, it's actually Johnny who kills him, in the mission where you steal the diamonds from Tony Prince. The club kid is the one carrying the diamonds in the limo, and he's the one you kill for the diamonds.
  • malik13 - July 1, 2009 12:56 p.m.

    I would like to see some things in this episode that the original and The Lost And Damned lacked such as... more options like in Saints Row 2... a mod shop for cars... more weapons (chainsaws, golf clubs, you know)... an offline multiplayer mode (like in San Andreas)... more weapons that can be used for drive bye's (RPG's, Shotgun's, basically anything)... being able to recruit your gang (GTA SA)... and some more. Anyway nice article guys, really helpful.
  • lovinmyps3 - June 2, 2009 4:22 a.m.

    @ Solstice and XxDESTROYERxX maybe you guys should stop being such homophobes and if your friends wouldnt hang out with you because you're playing a game with the word "gay" in it than you should get new friends.
  • Vaibhav - May 31, 2009 6:01 p.m.

    I wanted to know if The Lost and The Damned & The Ballad of Gay Tony are available on disks...could you answer Gamesradar???PLEASE!!!Are they only available for download on the Xbox 360???
  • Solstice - May 30, 2009 5:19 a.m.

    @ XxDESTROYERxX. I argee completely. I don't know what my friends'll think about me if they saw me with this game. Hell, I'd feel very uncomfortable buying the thing. I don't know what my parents would say if I wanted this game. I don't want them thinking something's wrong with me or something. For example: My parents and I in WalMart. Parents: ''What do you want for your birthday?'' Me: ''A videogame.'' Parents: ''What kind?'' Me: ''Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.'' Parents: ''Are you sure?'' Me: ''Yeah.'' Parents: (Worried look on their face.) Seriously, they should've had another name for that.
  • Demonflare - May 29, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    They better stop making more GTA's I sware. Their gonna get stupid, and people will just give em 10/10
  • gaming_goon - May 29, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    I love the gta 4 story. It is utterly fantastic. I think gta 4 has the best story ever.
  • hardcorekiller - May 29, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    LOL. another GtA. Will there be more GTAs After this?
  • Drama - May 29, 2009 5:36 a.m.

    @VoodooPanda: We all know it was the jews, silly.
  • FrozenImplosion - May 28, 2009 5:59 p.m.

    HAHAHA "random lady"
  • lovinmyps3 - May 28, 2009 5:14 p.m.

    is there any word yet on whether rockstar wants to release these on ps3? cause GTA IV is one of my all time favorite games and i dont want to buy an xbox simply to play lost and damned and this instalment.
  • elchetos - May 28, 2009 4:37 p.m.

    Well, if rockstar likes to create controversy, this is definitely one way to do it. The hard core gaming community has never been known for tolerance towards homosexuals, on the contrary, they bash them and use the words "gay" and "fag" as insults, to name some of them. I wonder how well this will sell, and how the gaymer community will react to it. I'm sure there will be some recognition from a group or two, only time will tell. As a gaymer, I can only shrug until the real deal comes out, and I really hope this'll be released for ps3 (already have been hearing rumours about the lost and the damned being released in the near future for ps3). Keep up the good work GR!
  • smallberry - May 28, 2009 5:19 a.m.

    Wow you guys did some awesome research on this. Maybe R* will announce Lost and Damned for PS3 this E3. Then some pigs shall fly.
  • Elbo444 - May 28, 2009 5:08 a.m.

    why are there french subtitles in that video of the diamond deal? hopefully they'll fix some of the bugs in multiplayer with this dlc, getting tired of the 3 second delay between my screen and theirs, hopefully they add some better gametypes too I WANT A ZOMBIES GAMETYPE GOD DAMNIT
  • PinkLenny - May 28, 2009 4:49 a.m.

    i dont really care about the story im only int interested in what new cars there are going to be
  • game-thugsta - May 28, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    woahhh thats some crazyy stuff man
  • HRhuffnstuff - May 28, 2009 2:20 a.m.

    I was a bit sceptical when first reading this. But in all actuality, a lot of this makes sense. You guys bringthings up I would have never thought to look at. I'm already a bit excited.
  • VoodooPanda - May 28, 2009 2:20 a.m.

    Wow looks like you guys really know how to connect the dots. Ever consider trying to find out who really did 9/11? Bonus points if you can link Rockstar to it.
  • Morning Ninja - May 28, 2009 1:47 a.m.

    Isn't the game going to be around $40? I heard them say it'll be a seperate game, Like Halo 3 ODST, which you don't need a disk because the gmae is seperate.
  • Cyberninja - May 28, 2009 1:33 a.m.

    this is really well writen but do you journalists every get any sleep? im only writing first because i want to learn when dontsayimfirst became able to take away amendent rights and kick me off gamesrader

Showing 1-20 of 47 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000