We're pumped for GTA. You're pumped for GTA. But what about Rockstar's peers, rivals and contemporaries in development circles- are they as strenuously pumped for Grand Theft Auto as the rest of us? Or do they harbour some deep rooted, green-eyed hatred for the game that everyone is babbling about? We fired some Grand Theft Auto related questions to a few of our favourite developers to see how they rate Rockstar and the seemingly unstoppable GTA series.
Frank O'Connor | Writing lead | Bungie
GamesRadar: There's no denying GTA IV is the most anticipated game of the year on 360 and PS3: what are your feelings about the game from what you've seen so far?
Frank O'Connor: What I see is some really lovely lighting, a vastly improved look and aesthetics for what was arguably the biggest, most ambitious sandbox ever created. What I hear is that there have been a lot of very cool enhancements made to things like gunplay, camera, car handling and cinematics. In short, I can't wait to get my hands on it.
GR: How many of the other GTA games have you played and which one did you admire most?
FC: Actually, I've played all of them – I'm a very, very old man. Back when it was 2D, top-down and made by (then) DMA, I remember thinking, "I wonder what this would look like with Tron quality graphics?" As I said, I am terribly, terribly old. My favorite is probably Vice City, which is a testament to the soundtrack and era as well as the game itself.
Above: Just like GTA, Bungie's Halo series has sold like hot holy cakes baked by the Pope
GR: From a developer point of view how do you rate Rockstar?
FC: I think the stuff they do with cohesive worlds is absolutely standard setting. Bungie makes huge, ambitious sandboxes, but with boundaries imposed by the constrictions of linear gameplay. GTA has to incorporate that philosophically, but not physically (their cities are effectively boundless) – and still balance the two gameplay styles. They've done it so far with aplomb, style and moments of sheer brilliance – all the while walking a tightrope of feigned outrage from "concerned citizens" with their tongue firmly in cheek. I am really excited to see what they do with multiplayer – like you guys, I've been reading all that stuff and having a truly Pavlovian reaction. Once that drool dries, I can look forward to the downloadable content – which suits my impatience for their sequels very, very well.
GR: Will you be buying GTA IV on day one?
FC: Not if they send me a free one today for pimping it so hard. Also, my colleague Brian needs one too so we can do developer-type testing of their multiplayer and DLC. Right Brian?
GR: Okay, thanks for your time. Is there anything you want to plug to GamesRadar readers?
FC: Yes. Get the free Heroic map pack for Halo 3. It’s been free for a couple of weeks and really opens up the multiplayer experience. And if you feel like it, buy the new Legendary pack too.