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Grand Theft Auto IV: Audio Q&A

How many speaking parts are there in the game? How much dialogue?

WM: It’s difficult to quantify how many speaking parts there are, but at our last count there were over 740 unique voices in the game. There are over 80,000 individual lines of dialogue, more than 7000 of which are Niko’s lines. If you were to listen to each line back to back, it would take over 29 hours. Also, these figures don’t take the radio, TV, and mo-capped cut-scene dialogue into consideration.

What’s different about the pedestrians in GTA 4 compared to previous games?

WM: The pedestrian AI is much more complex in GTA4 than it has been in previous games, and we have to create dialogue to cope with this - peds now do a lot more than they could do previously, and can react in more ways to what happens in the game.

We also decided to make the pedestrian dialogue more realistic in GTA4. As an example, peds in previous games would walk around and randomly chat to themselves if they weren’t doing much else. In real life, people (generally!) don’t go around talking to themselves, so we dropped this behavior from GTA4. However, we realized that the random chat of old GTA games was a good way for the player to pick-up on what sort of personality a ped has, so we created the cell-phone conversations in GTA4 as one realistic way of portraying personality.

The GTA series has a reputation for having incredible soundtracks that really set the mood for the whole game. How do you decide what tracks to put in?

CC: Sam Houser had a clear vision for the music on GTA IV. It was very important to present a soundtrack that displayed a contemporary, fresh sound that reflects Liberty City, its residents, cultures, fashions and locations. It was decided early on that contemporary Hip Hop, Dance Rock and Russian music should take up a lot of the airwaves.

Ivan Pavlovich and Andi Hanley (The Soundtrack supervisors) are two guys who know the NY music scene inside and out. They sourced the music for IV by searching for some of the hottest new sounds around - and found them. Together with Sam and I, we listened to tons of different styles of music until we found a vibe that would work for each station. It was a very long process, but at the same time very exciting and simple, a track either works in the game or it doesn't, it either fits the vibe of its station, or it doesn't. When we have a few good tracks that fit together, it creates a strong vibe and we build a station from that.

As well as an abundance of new and exclusive tracks, a lot of care went in to finding classic sounds of NYC. We've touched on classic music from the likes of CBGB's, Studio 54, Hip Hop, jazz and afro beat just to name a few...