The Top 7... things Grand Theft Auto IV needs

1. Online multiplayer

This is the one feature that fans have been clamoring for more than any other since GTAIII. Liberty City, Vice City and the state of San Andreas were a blast to explore solo, and we couldn't help but imagine how much fun they'd be to rampage through with a friend or two. Some of you might have already gotten a taste of that - the multiplayer modes in the PSP GTAs were a blast, even if they were limited to competition, and a few enterprising modders have already made multiplayer add-ons for the PC GTAs. (And yeah, we're aware that San Andreas had a few two-player minigames built in, but we need you to think bigger than that right now.)

Above: Imagine that everyone in this shot is controlled by a player, and that it's on a next-gen system. Can you think of a better way to hook up with friends online?

As we've seen with Crackdown, bringing in a buddy opens up twice the possibilities for mayhem in an open world. Enabling three or four buddies to join in would open up a whole new world of chaos and destruction on a heretofore unrealized scale, and if any series could manage an undertaking like that, it's GTA.

For that matter, imagine what it could be like dropping into a city with 15 or 16 other random players, all independently following missions and doing their own thing. Dealing with cops and rival gangs is one thing, but imagine having to contend with other crazy assholes harboring fetishes for destruction and pockets full of weaponry - it'd add a whole new dynamic to the game. It'd probably also result in skyrocketing civilian casualties as multiplayer skirmishes tore the city apart - literally, if the destructible buildinges we mentioned earlier get implemented.

The possibilities are endless, and given that GTAIV already has a confirmed online component - the downloadable episodes that Rockstar's been hinting at for a while - it's not too much of a stretch to think that multiplayer might be in the cards. That goes double if you think of the multiplayer matches in the PSP games as a dry run for something bigger. Maybe we'll know for sure when the trailer hits on Thursday, and maybe not - but whatever the case, we're looking forward to seeing what's in store.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.