Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Coming December 6th to iOS and Android Devices

Rockstar have announced that the 10th anniversary of Vice City will be coming on the 6th of December to various iOS and Android devices for a price of US$4.99. Below are the compatible devices released so far.

Apple iOS Devices: iPad, iPhone 4, 4S & 5, iPod touch 4th & 5th Generation

 Android Phones: Motorola Razr, Razr Maxx, Razr Maxx HD, Motorola Atrix, Motorola Photon, Motorola Droid Bionic, HTC Rezound, HTC One X, HTC One S, HTC Evo 3D, HTC Sensation, HTC Droid Incredible 2, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Note 1 & 2, Samsung S2, Samsung Galaxy R, Sony Xperia Play, Sony Xperia S, P, T & TL, Sony Walkman Z Series Media Player, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus 4
 
Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, LG Optimus Pad, Medion Lifetab, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 / 10.1, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tablet P, Toshiba Thrive, HTC Flyer, Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10

 

Rockstar also mentioned that certain memorabilia will be released as part of the festivities. We are hoping for a Tommy Vercetti figure likes last year’s Claude Speed! Stay tuned for any updates.

Pre-order GTA V in AUS/NZ

Rockstar officially released a list of international pre-order locations recently:

Here in AUS/NZ, EB Games and JB Hi Fi have officially started taking pre-orders as well as advertising GTA V’s release date of Autumn 2013 (Spring 2013 in the Northern hemisphere) in store.

EB Games is offering a double-sided poster however the Los Santos photo viewers, handed out internationally, are not part of the pre-order bonuses unfortunately.

Several New Screens; Dan Houser IGN Interview and GI Q&A

Ending off the week with a bang, several more screens were released via The Official XBOX Facebook page.

Furthermore IGN’s interview with Dan Houser, gave a unique insight into Rockstar’s motivations regarding the direction of the game and the interview answered several exciting questions

We’re doing the biggest world we ever made. Putting the most things to do in it. A real focus on bank robberies and heists with a lot of planning to them. A real focus on multiplayer. Then the three changeable characters. That would be how I’d begin trying to describe it. Then I’d describe in a more lyrical sense, I suppose… Modern-day California in all its glory. Or southern California. We really wanted to get the kind of lunacy and underbelly of this place at the edge of the western world. The rest of the interview can be read here

More over hot off the heels of Game Informer’s cover reveal a bit over a week ago, they answered some pressing fan questions. Game Informer said:

Last week, we asked fans to submit questions regarding Grand Theft Auto V. We received over 500 submissions, and I did my best to answer the most common questions.

Several of the questions you posed have no answers yet. We didn’t discuss the cover system, shooting mechanics, safe houses, car handling, game installation, health system, map, number of missions, hunting wildlife, radio stations, downloadable content, and multiplayer because we had no meaningful information to share.

You can read the Q&A here

Even More GTA V Screens!

The joyful GTA V media carries on rolling in. As if the sensational second trailer was not enough for the day, more screenshots have been revealed. They include Trevor on the run from the police on his quad bike, an alternate view of the Game Informer screenshot of Vespucci Beach and a nice view of Los Santos.

GTA V – New Artwork, Screens and Character Breakdowns

Despite posting a lengthy interview with Rockstar Games producer Leslie Benzies, IGN were not finished with their GTA V coverage for the day. We are now treated to new artwork and character breakdowns of the three main characters Michael, Franklin and Trevor as well as two new screenshots.

Michael

What would’ve happened if Salvatore Leone got out of the racket before it consumed him? Or if Tommy Vercetti bridled his criminal urges and retired to raise a family? Rockstar is looking to retired former criminal Michael, Grand Theft Auto V’s lead protagonist, to explore the narrative of a man at his breaking point with everything and nothing to lose. He thought he could buy his way into a life worth living, forsaking his past for the hope of domestic bliss. He likely never imagined that he’d become undone by the very urban excesses he spent his glory years trying to shore up. Or maybe he did; maybe he knew that he’d never be happy as a husband, that his wife’s love would grow cold and materialistic, and that he wasn’t the kind of man who could ever earn the love of his children. Its topics like these – not pulled from current events as much as directly observed from our collective living rooms – that pave the way for GTA V’s neo-anti-hero.

Dan Houser: “Michael, to me, is… Who is he? I know who he is, I’m just trying to… He’s the person who is trying to ignore some rather large mistakes that they have made. The person who’s trying to forget about certain practical but still selfish decisions that they took. He’s a man, also, obsessed by images and by appearances and who, when the world doesn’t live up to those images and appearances, doesn’t know what to do. He just retreats into his head. What he also is, when we started out… What he kind of evolved into as we began thinking about him and developing him… He was the first character we came up with. He began as the idea of, what happens to a regular GTA protagonist after they retire? Then you think, what would make him retire? He’s a man with a big ego and plenty of good values and plenty of bad values.

“One of the advantages of the three-character system is you can have characters who, if they were the only protagonist, would be far too flawed for you to find appealing. With other equally flawed protagonists, but flawed in different ways, I think it gets more understandable. His flaws are certainly his large ego, an inability to control his temper, and his willingness to make large moral compromises. To me, that’s a very interesting character. A guy who’s in his mid-40s and on the cusp of middle age who doesn’t know what to do, but made a bunch of money and does not know what to do with it. He’s theoretically won, but the spoils of victory aren’t necessarily what he imagined. For us that’s a very interesting character, unlike what we’ve done in the past or what we’ve seen in much entertainment in general, let alone any video games. That was interesting.”

Trevor

What’s so enthralling about Trevor is that he’s the mirror image of Michael. Whereas Michael is established and living the high life – Houser describes him as the GTA character that won — Trevor is stuck in a trailer park. He’s unhinged and untrusting. The pilot lives in filth and isn’t afraid to set a car on fire just because. He’s the dark night to Michael’s bright day, and while all we know is that these former friends had a falling out, it’s enough to be the most interesting story thread we know about GTA V. How could their paths have diverged so much? Does Michael’s place in witness protection mean he double-crossed Trevor? How will that dynamic play out in missions? We’ll have to wait and see.

Dan Houser: “Trevor was the other side of the GTA coin, I suppose. He’s the person who’s driven purely by desire, resentment, no thought for tomorrow whatsoever, completely id rather than ego-driven. Constant partying, constant madness. The only thing he doesn’t want to do is stop. He wants to keep going and ride it all to the end. Won’t take an insult from anybody. Kills without remorse, like a true psychopath, but very sentimental for the right reasons when it suits him. That seemed like another side of the kind of GTA coin or the GTA world, but very rarely as the protagonist. That seemed an interesting guy to have as a protagonist. Very unlike anyone we’ve had in a game before. If you began to develop him and Michael and their previous relationships… We wanted this feeling where you start off thinking one’s good and the other’s awful. Then you get spun the other way. Then you get spun back the first way, until you can’t decide.”

Franklin

Franklin lives in South Los Santos and is the most traditional protagonist of Grand Theft Auto V’s trio, ex-street gangster who’s always looking for new opportunities. He’s a repo man working for Armenian luxury car dealership, which scams ambitious young hotshots by selling them high-end cars they cannot afford, only for Franklin to forcefully take them back when they default on the repayments. He’s befriended Michael after doing a job together and now Michael sees him as “the son he never had.”

Dan Houser: “The idea with Franklin was someone stepping outside their comfort zone and their normal way of doing things, because that way, even though they’re still in their mid-20s or whatever, that hasn’t worked. That world that they thought they’d be in and be able to make a success of has, thanks to the modern world or the changes in the economy or whatever it is, just failed. It doesn’t really exist. They’re now looking for something new. A new opportunity. They’ve gotten their qualifications and gotten all their experience and all they’re good at is driving and robbing. How do actually go forward and who do you get to a kind of mentor you? That was a good contrast. The gang-banger in the post-gang-banging world.”

Stayed tuned to RockstarLasia for even more GTA V information and the big one itself; Trailer #2 which debuts in a mere 19 hours!

Credit – IGN

IGN interviews Leslie Benzies about GTA V

As part of IGN’s GTA V blowout week, they recently sat down and interviewed Rockstar Games producer Leslie Benzies. He discusses topics such as the new three main character experiment, wanting to be pioneers in the multiplayer realm and meeting fans lofty expectations.

Sam and Dan Houser are synonymous with Grand Theft Auto. The brothers, born in London in the ’70s, turned a passion for American crime movies and spaghetti westerns into some of the biggest gaming franchises on the planet in GTA and Red Dead Redemption. But although the Housers are the visible creative forces of Rockstar, there’s one man who’s worked tirelessly in the shadows on Grand Theft Auto since GTA III – Leslie Benzies. He’s been the producer on the series since it exploded into 3D in 2001, and as the head of Edinburgh development studio Rockstar North, he’s overseen no less than nine GTA games, not to mention Red Dead, LA Noire and Max Payne 3.

Despite a glittering development history he rarely talks to the press – the last time was over four years ago. But with a deluge of Grand Theft Auto V information beginning to materialise, he took the time to discuss with IGN what the next game has in store, and how the development process has changed since GTA III.

“When we were working on GTA III we were a much smaller team doing something new and experimental,” he explains. “We had no idea how the game would be received, just a belief that what we were working on was really special. Since then we have grown in to a much larger team and our games have much higher expectations. It’s not just our own faith in each project we’ve had to repay, but our fans’ too. We could easily have churned out a new version year after year without really progressing as a franchise but if we did that eventually the fans would lose interest. We want every one of our games to meet and exceed the players’ expectations so they always want more, and as such GTA V feels like our most ambitious project yet.”

From what we’ve seen so far, Grand Theft Auto V is certainly ambitious. In terms of size we already know that it’s possible to fit the maps for San Andreas, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption into GTA V’s map, but how does creating something this vast impact the development process? “The scale of GTA is very different to LA Noire and even to RDR, so managing the team and keeping a clear creative direction becomes more difficult,” explains Benzies. “We had a lot of the North team working on RDR and LA Noire, which allowed us to gain experience of other projects and how to solve problems and use them within the new game engine we’ve created for V.”

Aside from the epic scale of the game, GTA V’s other new feature is real-time switching between three characters. It’s a bold step in a new direction, which opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities. “The ability to switch between three characters gives the player more freedom and allows us to create some truly mind-blowing missions,” enthuses Benzies. “However, to make this as seamless as possible we’ve had to overcome many problems. Off-mission, players aren’t forced to switch characters, they make the choice themselves – so it is important to ensure each character brings a unique aspect to the game.” This opens up an entirely new set of potential problems, as Benzies’ explains: “The player needs to want to switch between them and see each of their stories develop. If each character doesn’t have this appeal the player would find a favourite and try to only play as them, missing out on the bigger picture.”

It’s not the first time a GTA game has characters whose stories cross over, as Benzies points out: “In previous games we had distinct sections of interplay between the main protagonist and other characters – you did a few missions for a character and then you moved on.” In GTA V, however, the proposition is entirely different. “Here we have three protagonists interacting throughout the game. This is something we touched upon with the intersecting stories of Nico, Johnny and Luis in GTA IV but we have now made this integral to the structure of the gameplay as well as the narrative.”

 The narrative is once again key in this Grand Theft Auto, but the challenge this time around was keeping it focused while enabling the player to have control over their destiny. “As with all of our games, we have tried to make the central narrative and each character’s individual story arc an epic and cinematic journey, and this wouldn’t be possible without a degree of linearity. However, as they progress, the player will be making constant decisions. While they will make choices that will affect the narrative of the game, it is the more tactical and organic choices that will truly shape the player’s experience. Whether planning how best to execute a heist or the on-the-fly, instinctive choice of switching characters, these decisions made by the player will change the shape of the game they play.”

While the strength of the story and characters has always been a Grand Theft Auto hallmark, giving the player freedom to experiment is an equally important trait of the game. That’s never been truer than it is in GTA V, but sometimes it’s not always planned, as Benzies reveals: “Players are always finding ways of tackling missions that we hadn’t considered and we don’t want to restrict that. If a solution feels like it should work the player should be able to try it – we don’t want to restrict creativity.

“We do have a bunch of missions in GTA V that are far more freeform than anything we have done before,” he continues. “We tell you to go get something and the player decides how to do it – what characters they need on the job and what tools they need for those characters.”

Naturally, having three characters at your disposal creates more choices too.  “Having multiple characters gives the player more options for the way they play the game”, agrees Benzies. “In particular missions, characters will perform certain roles. A player who hangs back and plays as a sniper for an entire mission will have a very different experience to a player who stays close to the action or to a player who switches between them on the fly.”

One question the inclusion of multiple characters raises is how players will experience the journey from start to end – if you’re constantly flitting from one part of the map to the other, does this restrict how much you’re able to explore the world? Apparently not, says Benzies: “This is where having the three playable characters, all living in very different parts of the world, and a world that’s completely open to the player from the beginning really becomes an advantage. While the character switching helps keep the missions exciting and fresh, being able to switch between playable characters while off mission makes it a lot easier for the players to explore, especially when combined with the dynamic events system that was used to populate the wide open spaces of Red Dead Redemption.”

This means that, no matter where you are on the map, there will always be something to do, whether you’re in the middle of downtown Los Santos or stranded out in the sticks.

Importantly, Rockstar has also addressed criticism aimed at San Andreas, where often you’d be in the countryside only to find you had to get back into town, which could be a 10-minute drive away. That won’t happen in GTA V. “One character might have an ambient activity that takes them out in to the countryside; if the player decides that they want to do something different they can switch to another character and be back in the city ready to start their next mission,” says Benzies. “Having three characters allows players to explore the whole map without having to worry about the long drive back to their next objective. Also, while the countryside might be more chilled than the city there are plenty of things out there to keep curious players occupied.”

Ah yes, the countryside. The surrounding areas of Los Santos and beyond were some of my favourite bits of San Andreas, and in GTA V it looks like Rockstar has learned a lot from Red Dead Redemption in bringing them to life, not only with dynamic events to experience but in terms of the wildlife you’ll discover there. “The setting of Red Dead Redemption meant that animals were a necessity for the ambient world – something we hadn’t required in GTA previously”, says Benzies. “But because of the scale of the map [in GTA V] and the different kinds of areas involved, a countryside without animals would feel quite hollow. At the same time, animals aren’t just a backdrop – you can expect to see dogs guarding areas and causing the player trouble when they try to sneak past them.”

While the sheer size of the map is a first for GTA, the fact it’s completely open from the start is something we’ve not experienced in the series before. But such a move throws yet another handful of new questions into the mix – is the player restricted in any way, and how to do prevent someone near the beginning of the game getting their hands on the coolest stuff? “All vehicles will be present in the world from the start of the game, but they won’t all be driving through the city waiting to be stolen,” says Benzies, continuing, “If the player wants to get their hands on one of the more ‘high end’ vehicles early in the game they’ll have to work for it. For instance, airport security won’t let you just wander in and steal a jet, they’ll give you some serious opposition.”

Discovery of weapons is slightly different though, as the GTA producer explains: “Weapons are slightly different since we have to find a balance between giving the player freedom and giving them a challenge. Letting players have any weapon they want, whenever they want it, would make earlier missions less of a challenge and less satisfying. That being said, as the player makes progress through the game they will build up a satisfying arsenal.”

Grand Theft Auto V isn’t just about the guns, though. If the heat gets a bit much there are still a handful mini-games to enjoy, from golf to tennis to the triathlon, which makes a welcome return. But are these merely a distraction or has serious development time been invested into each one? “Not everyone enjoys fully fledged tennis and golf simulators so we try to offer a mix of accessibility and depth – we don’t want to make the player spend four hours learning an intricate control system but we don’t want the player to feel that these are throwaway distractions,” says Leslie. “These aren’t a huge part of the game but offer a change of pace from car chases and shootouts and add to the life of the city.”

Then of course there’s multiplayer, which has become increasingly prevalent in Rockstar’s games from GTA IV through Red Dead Redemption to Max Payne 3. Will GTA V innovate in the multiplayer space, too? “That’s what we’re working on, but we’re not ready to talk about it just yet,” teases Benzies. “Refining open world multiplayer into something really special has been a huge focus of development and we are very excited to share more information with people soon.”

However you feel about the Grand Theft Auto games, you’ve got to give Rockstar credit for attempting something new, which is especially rare when it’s experimenting with such an established franchise. The player-switching and dynamic missions are genuinely innovative for an open-world game. That said, does Benzies think that the innovations GTA V makes will revolutionise the genre in the same way GTA III did all those years ago? “We hope so,” he says. “GTA III was a technical revolution when new technology allowed us to break away from the norm and create something special. We consider subsequent refinements of the series to be revolutionary in their own way, in terms of playability, scale and narrative. For GTA V we want to push all of these to a new level while incorporating new gameplay elements that would not have been possible before. The ability to switch between different characters allows the player to do things that wouldn’t have been possible in any other GTA game, and on the multiplayer side we hope that GTA V will do for multiplayer open world games what GTA 3 did for open world single-player games.”

Whether Grand Theft Auto V achieves it’s lofty amibitions remains to be seen, but with someone like Benzies – who has over a decade at the helm of the GTA series – in charge of keeping such a behemoth on track, the early signs are certainly promising.

Credit – IGN