Contributors: Charlie Barratt, Mikel Reparaz
Damn, Rockstar is full of surprises. Who could have guessed that the developer’s franchise - built on gritty crime, bloody violence, hardened characters and grossly exaggerated stereotypes - would debut an entry with words like “ballad” and “gay” right in the title? When the first downloadable content starred leather-clad biker gangs listening to classic rock, who could foresee a second expansion’s logo with rainbow lettering and disco ball sparkles?
Actually… everyone. If you were paying close enough attention during the events of GTA IV and The Lost and Damned, as a matter of fact, you could predict a huge portion of The Ballad of Gay Tony, including everything from heroes and villains to locations and specific missions.
Skeptical? Here are 13 things we already know.
The protagonist is not Gay Tony.
Read enough online news stories in GTA IV and the name Tony Prince should be familiar. A nightclub owner and Liberty City celebrity, he is often quoted for his dissatisfaction with the current quality of after hours entertainment in the metropolis. Not enough drugs and orgies in post-9/11 America, apparently. The reports also make his affiliation with the Ancelottis – the weakest of the local Italian Mafia’s five leading families – abundantly clear.
You, however, will play as Luis Fernando Lopez, a Dominican gangster and Gay Tony’s hired bodyguard, bouncer and full-time assistant.
Despite the provocative title, your character will be heterosexual.
Rockstar loves to court controversy, and is turning out to be surprisingly progressive with their games’ recent subject matter. Apparently, though, even the developer has some inhibitions. While you will no doubt be surrounded by homosexual characters in The Ballad of Gay Tony – some hopefully less stereotypical and predictably portrayed than others – the lead man is straight.
How can we be sure? Because the most obviously gay character in the original Grand Theft Auto IV, Bernie Crane, said so. In the first expansion, you’re asked to wiretap the vehicle of a local politician, Bryce Dawkins… who, contradictory to his “family values” platform, is having an affair with Bernie. Once you’ve laid the trap, you get to call a secret government number and listen to the taped conversations. One of them goes like this:
Niko Bellic and Johnny Klebitz will definitely make appearances.
This is 100% guaranteed. In fact, you’ve already seen the three men together, in both the original GTA IV storyline and in the second expansion. Niko, Johnny and Luis have played crucial, though different, parts in at least four previous missions. They’ve even appeared in many of the same cutscenes.
Because of this frequent overlap, we can easily predict several of Luis’s missions in The Ballad of Gay Tony. Let’s begin…
Mission Prediction #1: Bank Robbery Escape
Everybody who’s played through GTA IV remembers Three Leaf Clover, the balls-hard bank-robbery mission undertaken by Niko and the McReary brothers. What you might not remember, however, is that Luis is one of the hostages during that robbery. Seriously, you can even kill him while he’s cowering on the floor.
The question is, what was Luis doing in the bank when the McRearys hit? Was he running an errand, or did someone send him there? Was he planning to rob the place with a note before the hardcore criminals rolled in, or did he have advance knowledge of their heist? It’s possible that, in all the confusion following the robbery, Luis’ plan was to grab something important and book it out without anyone noticing.
Whatever his reasons, Luis’ appearance in the Bank of Liberty is more than just coincidence. Whether it’s as an innocent bystander or a behind-the-scenes schemer, you can bet that trying to escape from the storm of cops and gunfire that descends on the bank will be part of Luis’ story.
Mission Prediction #2: Diamond Deal
When we learned the identity of GTA IV’s third protagonist, it became increasingly clear that the real story of the game wasn’t about Niko’s immigration and disillusionment, or about Johnny Klebitz and his gang of aging thugs. No, the real story is about a little sack of diamonds and the people who are willing to kill and be killed to get their hands on them.
We’ve already seen how the diamonds make their way from the Platypus (the cargo liner Niko rides in on) to Liberty City; Gay Tony heads down to the docks to buy them from the men who smuggled them in. As Luis, it’ll be your task to escort him down to the docks, and then clean up the mess when the deal is ruined by Johnny Klebitz and his bikers (who in turn were sent by scummy Mafioso Ray Boccino). While Johnny chases down the limo carrying the diamonds, it’ll be up to you, as Luis, to kill every last Lost biker that stays behind to try and murder you.
Mission Prediction #3: Museum Ambush
Ever wonder who the guy is that suddenly ambushes Niko, Johnny and Isaac Roth during the Museum Piece/Collector’s Item mission, killing Mori Green and completely ruining the diamond deal? We know now that it’s Luis, who’s most likely there to get the diamonds back for Gay Tony.
As Luis, you’ll likely have to sneak up to the window from which he ambushes the deal, after which you’ll get to shoot the place up and make off with the diamonds while Niko and Johnny blast their way through your men. While the carnage erupts downstairs, you’ll need to make your escape through the roof and take down any of Isaac’s men who get in your way before hauling ass to safety.
Mission Prediction #4: Ransom Return
Remember Gracie Ancelotti, the mobster’s daughter you kidnapped as Niko? When it came time to exchange her for the game’s now-iconic diamonds, it wasn’t her father who showed up to make the handover – it was her friend Gay Tony, accompanied by level-headed Luis. When Tony and Packie start arguing, it’s Niko who shuts them up, and Luis who suggests a fair way to trade the diamonds for the girl.
Just then, however, Russian crime boss Rodislav Bulgarin and his thugs show up to snatch both Gracie and the diamonds. In the ensuing chaos, the diamonds are thrown into a passing truck, but it’s unclear what happens to Gracie, Bulgarin, Luis and Gay Tony. However, it’s pretty likely that Luis kills Bulgarin in the ensuing violence, if only for calling him Gay Tony’s “Dominican bitch.”