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GTA IV briefing in Game Informer, multiplayer and more

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Game Informer gets the scoop on GTAIV in the May issue (not on "newsstands" yet), getting a peek at the Xbox 360 work-in-progress running on a debug unit. So, what's new besides what we saw in the trailer? Lots.

Setting:
re-created Liberty City (better mirrors real-world NYC; smaller "geographical mass" than San Andreas, but more densely populated)
  • MetLife building = "Getalife"
  • Statue of Liberty = "Statue of Happiness"
  • DUMBO = "BOABO" (Beneath the Offramp of the Algonquin Bridge Overpass
  • Area includes an adaptation of four of NYC's boroughs (no love for Staten Island), and a section of Jersey:
    • Manhattan = "Algonquin" (The Lenape did speak an Algonquin language from which our word "Manhattan" is derived)
    • Brooklyn = "Broker"
    • Queens = "Dukes" (a duke ranks just below a prince)
    • Bronx = "Bohan"
    • New Jersey = "Alderney" (also named for one of the British Channel Islands -- or a breed of cattle)
Main character: Niko Bellic; "Eastern European" ('cause who really keeps track of the countries over there?)
  • Lured to Liberty by cousin Roman's suspicious emails (Roman claims to be living the America Dream: 2 women, 4 hot tubs, and 15 sports cars); Roman actually operates a rundown taxi depot in Broker and has gotten himself into a "load of trouble"
  • NEWS FLASH: "Many of Niko's activities revolve around being a criminal"

Miscellaneous:

  • NPCs: lots of "non-American" characters, varied behaviors (e.g., shopping, drinking, smoking, chirping, hurrying, or just maxing on the stoop), "context sensitive," and dependent on environment; more freaks: "angry yuppies" and "lunatics"
  • Dynamic storyline: "A big part of the game is delivering story in new ways and allowing the player to plot their [sic] own destiny"; less of a sense of being a slave to NPCs' demands; communication is also dynamic (in person, by celly, etc.)
  • No planes; but motorbikes
  • Improved physics; characters' movements are influenced by weight and variations in physical terrain
  • Emphasis on night and day lighting
  • Seamless loading after initial boot (even between indoor and outdoor environments)
  • No details about targeting system -- but Rockstar claims to have found the new "sweet spot"
  • Voice casting will not focus on big-name stars; soundtrack will reflect 2007
  • Crime experts and ex-police have helped Rockstar create a realistic contemporary criminal atmosphere (i.e., it's not the 80s or 90s anymore; crime and crime-fighting have evolved)
  • Multiplayer confirmed; not MMO
  • Both Xbox 360 and PS3 version will 'likely' be identical; Xbox 360 version will include exclusive episodic content (what about PS3?)
Read - GTA4.net
Scans - Xboxic (also peep: The Last Boss)

[Thanks to everyone that sent this in!]

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