Friday 30 March 2007
While Los Santos, San Fierro, Las Venturas, Vice City and the original Liberty City were decent approximations of iconic American cities, the debut GTA IV video hints at an incredible level of realism for the PS3 and Xbox 360 iteration - not just in terms of the buildings but also their geographical positioning and sense of scale.
New York will still be referred to as fictional Liberty City but it seems feasible from close examination of the trailer that an aerial view of the environs will match the authentic Google Maps version far closer than the one seen in GTA 3. In many ways it's approaching the whole city thing in the same manner as The Getaway did for London.
What does this mean for the gameplay? Everything points to a less cartoonified visual style and a more mature subject matter with the Eastern European character mentioning people smuggling as one of his past crimes. Then there's the austere orchestral music, a far cry from the funk and hip hop of San Andreas and the 80s ballads of Vice City. Could this be suggestive of a major change? To look at it another way: are we looking at the first 'serious' GTA?
To see just how close Rockstar North's interpretations of New York's landmarks are to the real thing, we've done you a visual comparison. It's pretty surprising - and comes across as something of a loving ode to the Big Apple, especially when you consider Rockstar's HQ and influential Executive Producer Sam Houser are based there.
Please note: Captures are in no way representative of the full high-def trailer which you can catch here and here - they're just for comparison purposes. We expect official high-res screens later in the day.
Above: Location #1 Brooklyn Bridge
Sunset colour aside, this view of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge is pretty damn accurate - if only we could have found a picture with a boat in it. It is however, right next to the South Street Seaport.