Just as importantly, it’s being designed with gameplay in mind, so distances between key areas of the city will be smaller than they are in real New York. Rockstar wants to create the feeling of the Big Apple without the everyday frustrations. There won’t be any technical delays either as, after one initial load; there will be no more loading pauses even when entering and exiting buildings. Also, to keep things in proportion, there won’t be any plane travel. That might have been appropriate for the state-sized San Andreas, but isn’t really practical for simply journeying between neighborhoods.
This “New York feeling” extends way beyond the architecture and road network. New York is the archetypal urban landscape, developed over years of immigration to become a bustling international city with every creed, culture and color. Liberty City’s citizens must have real personality and real purpose - they have to live. So as you pass by you’ll see people smoking, sitting, reading, chatting and working, just like any major town.
Lighting is a vital part of that NY vibe - New York is a dramatically different place in the day than the night. In the sunshine, the majesty of the architecture is there for all to see, but as the shadows grow longer and work turns to play the air becomes electric with excitement and opportunity.
All these elements - the people, the lighting, the look - have to come together for Rockstar to capture the essence of New York. And it’s this realistic edge that makes GTA IV feel like the grittiest GTA yet. Photorealism aside, Rockstar intend to utilize PS3’s raw physics power, especially for character movements. Instead of scripted animations, pedestrians will react according to environment and circumstance. This can be seen in the opening mission. Niko’s weight shifts from side to side, while his posture changes as he negotiates the corridors in Roman’s office - a musty mess of paper work and faded ambition rather than a center of a burgeoning empire. It does, with its tainted windows, cracked walls and dusty surfaces, demonstrate the level of in-depth detail that GTA IV’s interiors will have.