GTA IV rumors debunked #2

Forums: love 'em or really, really hate 'em, there's often a thread of fact or scrap ofinfo to be found among the flame wars and name-calling. As wereported yesterday, if a recent post slapped on the GameFAQs forum is to be believed, they're also home to some earth-shattering inside information. Or just idle rumor.

The poster, Jadex9,claims to know a Rockstar employee who's blabbed a torrent of eyebrow-raising info about Grand Theft Auto IV, its characters, and its gameplay - all of which challenges what you thought you knew about Rockstar's newest epic. So beware, there be spoilers here.

So, in the interests of gamers worldwide, we've taken it upon ourselves (again) to examine each rumored factoid, and apply our rigorous knowledge and experience of the GTA series in deciding its potential possibility. Don't agree? Well, then our very own forums are awaiting your opinions...

Rumor #1
You'll actually play as Niko's cousin, Roman

What we think:
Jadex9 claims Niko is a smoke screen, and it's Roman - his taxi-firm running, Liberty City-dwelling cousin - that takes over as the lead role. But Roman doesn't fit the usual GTA-style. Game Informer's recent hands on describes him as a friendly, fairly harmless guy.

However, apparently Roman is so distraught with what happens to Niko (see below) that he loses his normal calm demeanor. Instead, he decides to take on the whole city, with the idea that he'llbecome as rich as he can before he's surely killed by the same guys who did for his cousin.

We don't like this at all. It's pretty rudimentary plotting, Roman seems like a typical GTA supporting character (weak, flawed,in trouble), and the idea of justgetting richer before being killed hardlyinspires us.Rockstar wouldn't do that to us. Would they?

Chances of the rumor being true:
Extremely likely. But only if...

Rumor #2
Niko is killed during the initial stages

What we think:
Jadex9's contact says that that your first missions see you control trailer-star Niko Bellic, before he's killed in a drug deal gone wrong. Which sounds interesting, we must admit - remember the head-screw that came from thestartling character switch in MGS2?

But, to be honest, we'dbe disappointed if this wastrue. We want to explore Liberty City as a tough-as-nails newcomer, a grizzled stranger- notas Roman, someone who's lived there for years, and isn't really that appealing asa character.

The "strange new world" theme isn't new. Think CJ returning to an unrecognizable neighborhood orTommy rocking up in Miami for the first time. In our opinion, Niko's unfamiliarity makes him a perfect lead, and a fascinating character. We can't see him being killed off so cheaply, but you never can tell with Rockstar...

Chances of the rumor being true:
Fairly unlikely.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.