So. Now we know. San Andreas is NOT Los Angeles, it's a whole state. Los Santos, on the other hand is, to all intents and purposes, LA. The game's two other cities, San Fierro and Las Venturra are based on San Francisco and Las Vegas respectively. There'll be countryside between the three main areas, each of which is roughly the same size as the whole of Vice City. Big, in other words. Overall, the game will be an incredible four to six times the size of its predecessor.
Main character Carl Johnson is going to have his work cut out. Returning to his old haunts after five years in the Liberty City slammer, and blamed by his older brother Sweet for younger bro' Brian's accidental death, he'll be making his way through an early 90's streetscape besieged by rival gangs.
The most significant gameplay changes are a new stamina meter, meaning you need to eat, and massively improved building interiors. You'll be able to commit burglary now, or run a casino in Las Venturra. If you're feeling less ambitious you can just gamble away your ill-gotten gains on the tables in LV.
Brilliantly, improved AI means you can recruit a gang, the Orange Grove Families, and drag members along on missions. Up to four people can complete a drive-by mission, for instance.
GTA: San Andreas is due out in the UK on October 22nd