Steve Bauman | Associate Producer | Gas Powered Games
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?
Steve Bauman: I've never seen it in person, and purposely avoid most previews because I want to be surprised. But what little I've read about the multiplayer alone puts it near, "this sounds like the best game ever" territory. I've also heard aiming is improved on consoles, which is a big deal for me as I've always played it on the PC, where it hasn't been an issue. (I'm a crazy good keyboard driver.)
So, assuming Rockstar nails the execution, you have the big, open GTA world, improved gameplay mechanics that were already pretty solid to begin with, add some amazing multiplayer... that's a pretty killer combination. It may be the only game I need for the rest of 2008. (Uh, aside from Space Siege, coming to your PC this fall.)
GR: How many of the other GTA games have you played and which one did you admire most?
SB: I've played them all, including the first two top-down games and the "London" expansion - I'll always have a soft spot for the "gouranga!" power-up. (In my past life as a magazine editor, I reviewed them all; the lowest rating I remember giving one of the games was 4/5 stars for GTA II)
I probably admire Vice City the most for having the ballsiest setting; who knew running over people while Flock of Seagulls played in the background would work, and that it would resonate so strongly with people outside of my age group (i.e. those of us old enough to have photographic evidence of Flock of Seagulls-style hair)? But I think San Andreas is the best overall game of the bunch, though I wish they hadn't dropped the weird power-ups you could find in previous games. I still have it installed on my PC, and occasionally when bored, I'll fire it up and create a 5-star wanted situation just to see how long I can survive. Yeah, I'm weird like that.
Above: Steve Bauman of Gas Powered Games (maker of Supreme Commander) reckons GTA IV might provide all the gaming he needs for 2008
GR: From a developer point of view how do you rate Rockstar?
SB: They're far from perfect, as they always manage to get a clunker of a mission or two in each game - I'm looking at you, helicopter mission from Vice City - but clearly the studio responsible for GTA is one of the most talented in the industry.
I'm particularly impressed with the writing in the series, which is generally fantastic. I do think San Andreas started a slight trend toward more sophmoric and base humor, which I hope GTA IV doesn't take too far. I think GTA III and Vice City were sharper satires, though the main plot of San Andreas was stronger. (I also grew up in L.A., so the setting and sense of place resonated pretty strongly, albeit in that exaggerated GTA way.)
GR: Will you be buying GTA IV on day one?
SB: I already have the special edition pre-ordered.