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GTA IV: Not out now

Oct 19, 2007

Today should have been another landmark world-changing day for Rockstar. If everything had gone according to plan, we'd have been on extended hiatus while Grand Theft Auto IV's incredibly detailed world sucked us in like a vacuum. But it wasn't to be.

In case you didn't know (where have you been?!) Grand Theft Auto IV was originally due to launch today, 19 October 2007. Rockstar are traditionally spot on with release dates, even those issued 12 months in advance. Not this time, though. GTA IV suffered an unexplained delay, pushing it into next year - and the reasons still aren't clear even now.

So to stave off the looming sense of disappointment over what could have been, we're going to take a trawl through all the crucial twists and turns of Rockstar's next big thing. Sure, it can't satisfy our need for GTAIV entirely, but it'll make things a bit easier. For a while...

March 29, 2007 - Things Will Be Different
We'd waited and waited, but finally Rockstar was ready to reveal Grand Theft Auto's next-gen incarnation with a teasing, evocative and speculation-feeding trailertitled "Things Will Be Different". It was immediately clear that Rockstar wasn't mincing its words.

May 24, 2007 - The First Look
Rockstar invite the world's press to see the future of GTA in action, and it universally impresses. We notice that every demo given to every media outlet is exactly (exactly) the same, but it doesn't matter because, come on, this is Grand Theft Auto IV!

So what did we discover? We're instantly convinced that GTA has taken a step away from the cartoonish style of previous episodes, and moved into more realistic and gritty territory. Lead thug Nico moves like a real person, convincing and characterful. His movements are more contextual, too, with him hugging walls for cover, sneaking through corridors and breaking a car window before hotwiring the engine.

We see no loading screens, no pauses when entering buildings, and the face of a gorgeously smooth and detailed cityscape. Pedestrians change with the times - workers appearing during rush hour, menacing hoodlums stalking the streets by night. Everything is different.