Looking at Rockstar’s cultural short-cuts
As Rockstar’s company HQ is in New York, it’s obviously a place they know and love. But New York has been an inspiration for many artists and filmmakers through the years which will obviously influence the look, feel and events of the game. Also there’s the Eastern European angle - Niko is a character who could have come from many Hollywood productions featuring the Russian Mafia. A few come to mind.
Behind Enemy Lines
Niko looks a lot like Sasha, the Serbian sniper played by Vladimir Mashkov, in this Owen Wilson action film. Is Niko ex-military?
This series is the most entertaining depiction of modern day mafia around, and there’re some obvious tie-ins with GTA IV, most noticeably the geography used - Tony lives in New Jersey.
Also, there’s one famous episode that springs to mind concerning the Eastern European connection - that’s Pine Barrens, where Paulie Walnuts and Christopher Moltisanti get lost in the New Jersey countryside while trying to kill Valery, a Russian mobster, who happened to be an ex-special forces soldier.
An art pic produced by Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola that concentrates on man’s environment using lapse photography and slow motion footage. This is what the GTA IV trailer is based on, even down to the Phillip Glass-style soundtrack.