To Blow You Away - One City At A Time
god! No I'm not exclaiming joyously over the
announcement of another Grand Theft Auto game;
that was inevitable. I'm merely thankful that
the folks at Rockstar (and our secret source)
finally answered the big question: What city
is San Andreas going to be modeled after? The
answer is, hold onto your hats and take a breath....
city at all.
Andreas: A State of Mind
That's right. San Andreas won't be modeled after
Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Francisco. Disappointed?
You shouldn't be. You see, San Andreas will
be modeled after ALL of them. San Andreas is
the "state" and the three virtual
cities found within will be based on the aforementioned
areas. Pretty cool huh? That means that instead
of getting one place to gangbang, carjack, rob,
steal, murder, blowup, shootup and generally
wreak havoc in, you'll get three: Los Santos
(based on LA), San Fierro (San Fran) and Las
we've been told the three cities won't all be
available at the getgo, like the previous GTA
games the new areas will be unlocked after successfully
completing the various missions. Rockstar is
allowing a Johnny Wadd size of fun however because
moving between the cities will allow you to
travel through forests, deserts a mountain (!!!)
and other scenic motorways where you can get
your crazy ass into all sorts of trouble. Rural
areas translate into hicktowns and grasschewers,
and we all know that Rockstar has been waiting
a long time to poke fun at the hard working
Gas Station owners across America. Can't wait
to see what one of those "TexMexico"
gas station public toilets translates into....
I can almost smell it now....
Whole New World
this means to the player is Rockstar is finally
beginning to realize it's dream of world domination.
Actually, I'm not sure if it's this world or
the virtual world I'm referring to and that's
a little scary. With the dough Rockstar has
made off GTA 3 and GTA: Vice City, it's no whacko
concept to think that they've made more money
small countries. Hell, possibly BIG countries.
I'm sure Russia would kill for a piece of the
secret source explained over drinks and food
at the Sony Party, that this game will feature
a less satirical ambiance than the previous
games. But don't think Rockstar is looking to
take the game in the direction of Manhunt just
yet. They know the fans love the fun they've
been poking at the expense of pop culture; it
just won't be quite so cutesy. Of course calling
the GTA series "cutesy" is grounds
for slander, I realize, but Rockstar definitely
wants to make a departure into more serious
avenues with this release.
Gonna Party Like It Was Just 1989....
you think of turbulent times in recent history
from a civic unrest standpoint, the LA riots
of the early 90's come to mind. Hence Rockstar
has decided to base the games timeline smack
dab in this era which will certainly have more
repercussions in the city of Los Santos, than
in the San Venturra or San Fierro. As you might
guess, this is where the game takes a darker
turn and instead of mobster caricatures played
for laughs in previous titles, players will
be dealing with gangland. Hey, this is the era
of the Bloods and The Crips folks and remember,
they didn't much care for each other.
city of Los Santos is where we meet our main
player character, Carl Johnson, an African American
who is returning to Los Santos after spending
the last half decade in Liberty City. Talk about
going from the frying pan into the fire. Carl
brings some heavy baggage with him right from
the start, another first for the GTA series,
because players will not have to play the game
to unravel the characters history, but rather
the emphasis is on unfolding his future and
get him out of the life he's leading; one way
When I'm Out, They Pull Me Right Back In Again....
Carl returns to Los Santos for his mother's
funeral he soon discovers that the place he
left 5 years before has become a former shadow
of what it used to be. His brother, Sweet Johnson
still holds him responsible for the death that
took the life of their other brother Brian years
before. Carl's sister Kendall and Sweet are
feuding and Johnson's gangbanging bro's, Ryder
and Smoke no longer have the streets in control.
Rival gangs are taking over making life on the
streets even more dangerous and the family is
literally crumbling. Johnson doesn't want to
get involved after having made a clean break
from his former lifestyle, but two corrupt cops
named Eddie Polaski and Frank Tenpenny are making
things tough on everyone and very quickly into
the game it becomes apparent that Johnson has
to get nasty to protect the ones he loves.
are the dirtiest, foulest cops since Harvey
Keitel in The Bad Lieutenant. Keitel had a shred
of decency in him at least, somewhere in there.
Tenpenny and Polaski are just plain powerhungry
and enjoy what they do," said our secret
source. "Definitely overtones of the Rodney
King beating are in here and street justice
will be served. But you already knew that."
all about the bling bling and you can expect
the rap lifestyle to play a part in the game,
but specifics aren't known. When we asked if
music played a role in the actual game, for
example involving yourself into the underworld
of rap and it's vices - rather than just a soundtrack
- our source wouldn't say, but the look on his/her
face seemed like we touched a nerve.
you get the big car and the house and the gold,
that's the Bling Bling. It's not your first
goal in this game. You're not looking to get
famous in San Andreas. You're looking for a
way out and to protect yourself and your family.
That's priority number one. Other life goals
will come much later."
can assume from this that the game will take
you from point A - Z, rather than from point
A - B, in terms of character evolution. Where
players finish may also not be as linear as
previous titles. The end result of the journey
it appears, is up to the way the character behaves.
No GTA Has Gone Before
Vice City allowed more variation than GTA3,
Rockstar is going above and beyond that benchmark
which gamers will discover when they experience
the gigantic leap between Vice City and San
has said that there is so much to do in the
game, that they promise every mission will require
gamers to learn something new about the game,
whether it be a skill, move or cool secret.
That's great news for players who thought that
some of the missions in previous games were
a little repetitive. Mind you, we don't think
we heard anyone say that out loud, as there
would have been threats tossed in their general
of the new abilities which is sure to please
parents and law enforcement everywhere is the
home invasion robbery. It will take careful
planning to pull off a home break in, and as
we were told, some home owners like to protect
themselves with firearms that will rearrange
your haircut if you aren't careful - after all,
we're talking America here. If you do manage
to pull off your own urban Ocean's Eleven heist,
you'll be justly rewarded. Fail and you'll either
be dead or carted off to the jail. Jail this
time around, we're told, won't just be a respawn
point. You'll have to deal with others in the
lockup and this is super secret - possibly even
spend time in the clink where you'll meet up
with allies and enemies and even learn new skills
- aside from the license plate making kind (although
we're told you might be able to do that too!).
Andreas is expected to deliver gameplay which
will reflect the strengths and characteristics
of the city the player is currently in. Gangland
activity, hot cars and lots of shooting will
encapsulate the Los Santos area of the game.
San Fierro with it's many hills will focus on
a variety of driving missions and Las Venturra
will be a gamblers paradise where fortunes will
be lost and won in a heartbeat. Who needs a
money cheat when you've got Craps?
doesn't mean the game will be divided neatly
into sections; Rockstar isn't about to do that.
Each area will still offer countless hours of
exploration and varied missions - some you can't
even imagine and have never done before in a
videogame. Ever. That's got to whet your appetite.
referring to the movie starring Ron Howard in
our title above, not Grand Theft Auto: the Videogame....but
I can see how you'd be confused. Rockstar is
once again delivering on it's promise to add
tons of new vehicles to the game. Some of which
will be familiar from past games and others
which will blow you away. As in previous titles
of the franchise, the vehicles will be homages
to real world designs, but the logistics to
license them for the game would literally take
years. Not only will there be planes, boats,
cars, motorcycles, helicopters and scooters
but Rockstar has unveiled that bicycles will
play a part as well. Our secret source mentioned
the possibility of skateboards as well.
area of gameplay which will get Senator Lieberman
off his ass and in front of the pulpit, is the
inclusion of driveby's with 4 characters. While
you drive and lean out the window to put a cap
in someone's behind, up to 3 other characters
can do the same. Surely one of you will hit
the mark. It's really just all about being efficient,
moreso than violent.....right?
physics and handling of the vehicles are also
getting an upgrade which will be music to the
ears of people who say they don't like the control.
Not sure what they're talking about, but hey,
other little nugget that was hinted was the
ability to fly large scale planes, which was
removed from the first version of GTA3 due to
the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The planes won't
be readily available but will eventually allow
players to fly from one city to another without
all of the driving and hillbilly encounters.
Just like in real life. We're not sure whether
you'll be flying them yourself or if you'll
be a passenger. It would make more sense in
the reality of the story to be a passenger as
it's doubtful Carl will be getting his pilots
license at the beginning of the game.
Chitty Bang Bang
we've got confirmation on new wheels, but what
about the meat and potatoes? You know, the weapons?
Oh there will be a lot of new weapons but nothing
insane like light sabers. All of the weapons
have to exist within the timeline and the reality
of the story Rockstar is telling. We were told
one cool little tidbit that Rockstar is finally
allowing duel weapons control for those who
like their gunfights with a little more John
Woo / Hong Kong action. Eat your heart out Lara
Croft...wherever you are.
only have the weapon selections improved but
Rockstar is implementing rag doll physics to
make sure melee weapons, bullets, cars and other
nasty modes of destruction make a frightening
visual impact on the denizens of San Andreas.
Ouch. It sounds painful already.
well, Rockstar is refining the controls and
allowing for much more finesse when it comes
to aiming as well as fighting. Taking a page
from True Crime: Streets of LA, San Andreas
will feature more fighting than was ever previously
featured. As our secret source tells us:
Johnson grew up on the streets of Los Santos.
If you don't know how to fight, you're dead.
Tommy Vercetti and the dude from GTA3 were white
trash. They didn't grow up on the streets in
the same way that Carl did. So yeah, expect
a lot of fighting moves.You'll all be very pleasantly
surprised with what this boy can do."
delicious. Also another first for the series
is the ability to swim. No more feeding the
fishes this time around. This was only implied
but we're reading between the lines here, but
remember when we mentioned jail? And San Fierro?
Well, there happens to be a real famous jail
there that if you want to escape from, you'll
have to swim for it. Hope you got some of that
shark repellent from Batman and Robin....
Thing You Do
all loved the side-missions in the previous
games where you could drive an ambulance, deliver
pizza, put out fires, hunt down criminals et
al and Rockstar is promising to make these areas
of the game much more inline with your character's
progression. You won't be able to just start
putting out fires with your fire truck this
time around - the side missions will make sense
from the reality of the story arc. In the past
these missions were really nothing more than
a way to pass the time or in certain cases,
earn a secret vehicle such as Mr. Whoopee. The
missions Johnson will undertake will have an
overall encompassing effect on the character
this time. Players will actually have to undertake
these side-quests now, as Rockstar has stated
that abilities will be learned that will affect
the outcome of the main story missions.
Weight of the World
with the side-quests, players who prefer to
abuse their bodies with fast food and shun exercise
will turn into bloated versions of themselves
as evidenced by this incriminating photo of
Carl Johnson impersonating Fat Albert...or at
the very least a new CCCP journalist. The game
world will feature a plethora of restaurants
- some good, some not so good - and if you prefer
to frequent the ones that sell junkfood, then
expect that last police chase to end at the
3 foot fence you can't get your fat ass over.
Conversely players will be able to tone their
bodies as well, with weights and exercise and
pump it up quite nicely. Certainly a first in
Vice City featured numerous indoor settings
to screw around in, Rockstar is stepping up
production to provide an unprecedented amount
of buidlings, offices, houses, casinos and other
places to interact with. Filled with furniture
and other interactive devices such as phones,
San Andreas will literally be a living, breathing,
fire in a crowd in Vice City or Liberty City
and sure, you'll scatter some folks, but lay
off the trigger finger for awhile and the not
so bright citizens of either municipality will
return to their scripted AI patterns a little
too quickly. Not so in San Andreas. The AI has
been increased beyond what the team thought
possible during the development time of GTA3.
As well, the level of non-player character (NPC's)
involvement has increased from 10 minutes of
recording time to up to and over an hour for
each pedestrian. Don't expect the same canned
conversation either - you'll learn a lot from
people on the street and you'll have to play
a very long time to hear repeats.
the NPC's have more to say and do, Johnson will
also be able to recruit gang members who operate
at a high level of intelligence - therefore
giving way for the aforementioned fourway drivebys.
Completing the new artificial intelligence is
a proprietary difficulty system which will ease
up on the difficulty if you keep blowing a mission,
or increasing it if you get too damned good.
This will enable casual gamers to reach the
end of the game without having to quit their
jobs or pulling out their hair. It may also
allow many gamers to continue their realworld
relationships without becoming shut ins or hermits,
although we suspect that come October 19th,
you won't find a freakin' gamer on the streets.
Isn't that a bizarre thought? A game that is
entirely about crime on the streets could be
resonsible for making the world a safer place
because everyone is inside playing it, instead
of roaming downtown? Think about it.
the Oscar Goes To....
have no idea who Rockstar is courting for voicework
for San Andreas ut we do know that they won't
be doing anything stupid like hiring the flavor
of the month. They go for quality first, name
recognition dead last. Any company that hires
porn star Jenna Jameson is tops in our books,
simply for the fact that she can't really do
anything can she, but she does have a nice chest.
Forget what I said about quality first a sentence
ago. I've been drinking again....
Things & Rumors (Or Take With A Grain of
a game that will be sucking hype away from Halo
2 as if it was made by Electrolux (must see
if they are still in business so that my delicious
reference isn't out of date...) we're about
to be inundated with rumors, theories and conjecture
that will drive everyone a little insane. Here
is what we've heard so far and remember that
grain of salt...
- Multiplayer Online (We say
don't bet on it)
- Two player cooperative mode
- Seadoo's, rollerblades, skateboards,
747's, blimps (Hmmm...could be)
- Ability to play the game
as a superhero once you complete it (crazy
but it just might work)
- Nudity and lots of it (We'd
bet our porn collection on it)
- Nasty language (%$#@ing rights
- Simultaneous Xbox release
(Not on your life)
- Interaction with real world
movie, music and sports stars (could be cool
- Downloadable content via
the PS2 Hard Drive (We believe this could
be true which would give everyone an incentive
to buy one - which would make Sony really,
- Donald Trump doing voiceovers
- Ron Jeremy will play himself
(we'd bet our lives on it)
You Mock My Existence
so the bad news is, October isn't exactly next
month. But on the plus side, October is sooner
than November and December and January and...
you get the point. Should you pre-order San
Andreas to avoid disappointment? Yes, because
this won't be just mere disappointment if you
aren't playing it on day one. That would require
Rockstar really make this an incredible game?
Let me put it this way. When you talk to Rockstar
about this game, they just don't seem interested
in falling into the "sequel" trappings
that other publishers worry about. They don't
talk about doing better numbers or listening
to the players. They are simply out to impress
themselves and therefore, gamers will get the
best product Rockstar can make at this time.
Rockstar isn't worried about knocking your socks
off, because let's face it, that could be pretty
easy. Bigger city, more weapons, more vehicles
- TA DA! Rockstar knows that if they blow their
own socks off by pushing the envelopes of electronic
entertainment, yours will follow suit. You can't
ask for a purer form of dedication than that.