D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director
June 28, 2007 - The second trailer for the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV went live earlier, showcasing some of the gameplay we can expect in Rockstar's next gen version of their most popular series. The title "Looking for that special someone" belies the action-packed nature of the trailer. Apparently, the trailer leads us to believe that Niko has, by his own admission, been searching "for ten years" although he doesn't necessarily say who the individual he has been searching for is. There is also another moment in the trailer where Niko enthusiastically yells that "I guarantee that you will find this man!," and the tone of voice he uses makes the sought after individual sound like he may have a bleak future.
Apparently, the 'special someone' that Niko is searching for doesn't have anything to do with romance and appears to be a goal of one of his missions or possibly his overall objective. The trailer is filled with moments that show off the new level of realism we can expect with our action, including concerted police efforts, varied pedestrians, and an incredible level of detail in the building interiors. We also get our first glimpse at Niko's cousin.
The trailer includes many elements that seem to tell a larger story that could possibly encompass a single mission or the entire game. Again, the visuals in the game are incredible, with the level of detail in every background and character model impressing even at this relatively early stage. The characters convey emotion in their faces, as there are moments we can see anger in Niko's eyes and exhortation from a mystery woman that pleads for "no more violence."
Some of the trailer highlights include Niko dangling from the struts of a helicopter, presumably in an effort to hijack it, a trio of S.W.A.T. team members moving stealthily around a cordoned off bank (bank robbery mission?), Niko and cousin moving down a hallway to kick open a door, Niko encountering a police blockade that fires a few shots into the windshield, and Niko driving his vehicle into a gas station, diving free at the last moment.
There are a lot of moments of note in the trailer that beg the question of the game's level of freedom. The scenes in which Niko is dangling from the back of a truck and later a helicopter make us wonder if this trait is attached to a specific mission or if it is a new ability. The same question can be asked of the scene where Niko and his cousin kick down a door. Will he be able to do that at will or will that be a situation specific ability or a cutscene? The viewpoint makes it apparent that particular encounter was a cutscene, but we can hope for the possibility given the new level of realism and freedom.
Another impressive thing shown was the deformation of vehicles. Niko was shown firing an automatic weapon, and then we were treated to being shown a vehicle as the bullet holes appeared and the tire flattened. There was also the aforementioned scene where police gunfire cracked Niko's windshield in places, so hopefully this deformation translates to the actual gameplay. It would be great to have real-time vehicle damage, including gunshots, and not the previous vehicle explosion after preset amount of damage occurs.
In the scene with Niko walking towards the camera, it is impressive that his eyes actually seem to shift as he walks instead of staring resolutely and lifelessly forward. There is a child getting beaten up on the basketball court in one scene behind Niko, which may speak for a new level of interaction and independence between NPCs. There is also a slightly hidden piece of character art from GTA III in the graffiti of one scene, which gives us a subtle connection between the games.
Read on! There's more analysis and pictures on the second page!