We reported on San Andreas coming to Japan back in November, now we're a few days late here, but you can blame that on the fact we don't know anyone who speaks Japanese, and the fact there was no press release in the Western world. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released in stores across Japan last week, on Thursday, 25th January to be precise, that's according to the official Japanese GTASA site itself. Rather surprisingly it seems to be doing quite well considering how previous iterations didn't prove to be particularly popular among the Japanese - German gaming site GameFront.de reported last Friday that first day sales figures show around 200,000 copies were shifted.
The official Japanese GTASA site has been carrying a few news updates in the past month, mainly to announce Capcom's promotional events and parties for the game, in addition to wallpapers and the official trailer release. There's no need to start digging around the Japanese site looking for new content though - the wallpapers and trailer are the exact same ones we were presented with 2 and a half years ago, albeit with Japanese subtitles.
The game is rated Z by CERO, the Japanese equivalent to the ESRB. This is the highest rating a game can achieve in Japan and is equal to the AO rating seen on American games, and basically means the game should only be played by persons aged 18 and older.
Link to official 'announcement': GTASA.jp (On the News page - in Japanese)
Some times I just can't relax enough while playing GTA San Andreas, so I made a mod to help out with that just a bit. This mod will replace your Go Kart in GTA San Andreas with a La Z Boy Recliner.
You can download the La Z Boy Recliner mod here.
I also have added 2 rendered preview shots of the recliner out of game.
You can also purchase the model for use in other applications here.
And check out the GTAforums post for the mod here.
After the farce with the ESRB adding and then removing the listing for Vice City Stories PS2 version, we now have much more definitive information which essentially confirms the title's existence.
A search on playstation.com for "Vice City Stories" now reveals a PlayStation 2 port of the game, the more detailed page can be found here. Note the fact it now has a SLUS number, a unique number Sony give to each game they certify.
Rockstar don't comment on "rumours and speculation", so we will have to wait for an official press release from Take Two to confirm the title, it can't be too long until we get one - more and more of the larger gaming sites have picked up on the ESRB article and have reported on it so it's pretty well known already.
Well it's been a while since I have made any mods for GTA and lately I have not been too sure that there would ever be any more. I have been working as tech support for a major car and home audio company, playing a lot of Runescape, FFXI online and I also like messing around in Second Life as well as everyday family life with my wife and my 2 kids. Even with all these things that tend to come before my modding and modelling I still think about you all everyday. So finally I have put away a little time and made all of you a nice little mod that I like to call The Granite Maul. The idea for the granite maul came from Runescape and the lame model of an ugly granite maul which is in that game. I decided that since I could not modify the one in Runescape to make it better that I would just make one from scratch for San Andreas. To all the staff at TGTAP and to fans all over the world sorry for just disappearing.
The ESRB's listing of Vice City Stories for the PS2 may just have been a huge blunder after all. Earlier today the Entertainment Software Rating Board removed the PlayStation 2 version of Vice City Stories from their website. The search we linked to yesterday now returns just 1 result - the PSP version of Vice City Stories.
I can't think of any reason for the ESRB to remove a rating, unless of course that decision was made by TakeTwo or Rockstar, but in any case the game wasn't ever 100% confirmed. As of yet we still haven't seen an official press release from Take Two announcing the title for PS2, hopefully we will do soon, as you are no doubt just as confused as we are.
It's been all but confirmed by Rockstar themselves now, the question many people have been wondering about has finally been answered. Vice City Stories does indeed look like it's coming to the PS2 after all.
Many people speculated that Rockstar would not bother porting the game to the PS2, seeing as we will see the release of Grand Theft Auto IV this October dwarfing all other GTA games, but a search on the official ESRB website for "Vice City Stories" now lists a PlayStation 2 version of the game too, with the same 'M' rating and descriptors as the PSP version. This means Rockstar must have submitted the game to them.
See for yourselves on the ESRB Search page for "Vice City Stories". We'll hopefully have a press release from Take Two soon, confirming that this is correct. Stay tuned for more VCS and GTA4 updates.
UPDATE: After reading some of the comments here I checked other countries rating sites and was unable to find any other mention of a PS2 version. The BBFC (UK) only has the trailers rated for the UK, PEGI (Europe) only has the PSP version, and while the OFLC (Australia) does have a PS2 version rated, it doesn't have a PSP version there, suggesting the listing is a slight mistake by the webmasters when it was submitted back in September.
Thanks to Neil for the heads up.
Before we start receiving information on GTA IV, which will hopefully be soon, I've rounded up all the facts, rumours and news we've heard so far to bring you all up to date with where we're currently at.
GTA4 is currently scheduled for release on October 16th 2007 in North America, and October 19th 2007 in Europe. The game will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 simultaneously.
The Xbox 360 version will feature downloadable episodes providing hours of new gameplay content, these downloads will be made available via Xbox Live.
Lately we've seen the infamous Florida lawyer Jack Thompson up to his old tricks again. Spong was just one of a number of websites which received a copy of an email JT sent to Bill Gates, his nonsensical rhetoric can be read in full at Spong, the general jist of it is that he's trying to persuade Microsoft to prevent sales of Grand Theft Auto IV to millions of minors, a figure which he sources from an article which has no mention of the game at all. Nice try Jack, but yet again you fail.
Set in the UK?
Back in August 2006, Craig Kerr was hired by Rockstar North as an environment artist. A quick look at his portfolio shows us that much of his work was based on places in the UK. While the images don't seem to be live anymore, he does state they were what landed him the job. This is a relatively small hint that GTA4 could feature London and/or some other UK areas as a setting. Of course this is more of a speculative observation, and should not be taken as a hard fact, yet.
Europe also features heavily in the thoughts of fans, as do some American locales such as Chicago, as well as Rockstar's fictional Carcer City. In any case it would be wise to rule out Los Angeles as a possible locale, as Rockstar's upcoming L.A. Noire (official site) is using this setting, albeit in a 1940's era - a time period we could also rule out.
In-Game Advertising = Modern Day / Future Setting?
In a press conference held by Take Two back in early December, in-game advertising was mentioned as an option for creating an additional revenue stream from GTA4. The implications of this are that if GTA4 will indeed have in-game ads, it would suggest a present day or near-future setting. The reasons for this simply being that adverts for modern day products/services would be completely out of place in a game set in the past, there wouldn't be any relevance and they would be ignored. The response to this prospect by some fans was that many would prefer the game to retain it's fictitious, satirical adverts based off real life products, as these obviously add a lot of humour to the game.
Wii want GTA
Also in December, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said in an interview with an American television station that Nintendo has done all it can to persuade Take-Two Interactive Software to bring the Grand Theft Auto franchise to Nintendo consoles, and it is now up to the third party publisher to decide whether Rockstar Games' best-selling franchise will appear on Wii. The main concern from fans has been how the game would make use of the Wii's remote as the controller.
GTA4 PC Version
There is currently no official word on a PC version of GTA4, though it is highly expected. The PC versions of GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas all had a period of months before they appeared on the PC, it is hopeful that Rockstar will once again follow the same pattern. Modifications often being cited as one of the main reasons for purchasing he game for the PC, in addition to better graphics and multiplayer capabilities through 3rd party modifications.
Our current poll suggests that over half of you are willing to wait for the PC version to come out before you play the game. Though this may be a little biased based on the fact we have thousands of people visiting this site for mods everyday, it's strong evidence that a PC version is sought after by the fans.
Fans have been longing for multiplayer capability since GTA3, over 5 years ago. Some of the more curious members of the GTA community found from looking through various files show that Rockstar were actually planning on implementing such a feature in GTA3, which wasn't completed for what could be a number of reasons. GTA San Andreas was Rockstar's first venture into this domain, with 2 player minigames bringing a little more replayability to the PS2 and Xbox versions. The two GTA releases on PSP featured Ad-Hoc mode multiplayer support for up to 6 players, other than that there have only been third party modifications for the main three PC games, MTA and SA-MP being the current big two for San Andreas.
The fact that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have decent online gaming brings more hope to fans for a proper multiplayer experience on the console versions.
New Game Engine
Grand Theft Auto 4 is expected to make use of RAGE (Rockstar's Advanced Game Engine), previously used in Rockstar's Table Tennis game for the Xbox 360. The benfits of this are needless to say, much improved aesthetics, and better rendering of objects amongst other things. Gameplay will hopefully be an immense improvement over previous iterations.
In late 2006, Janco Partners analyst Mike Mickey stated that there are a total of 150 developers working on Grand Theft Auto 4, which is more than any other GTA game so far. For comparisons sake, GTA Vice City supposedly had 120 developers working on it. The sheer enormity of Grand Theft Auto 4 is likely to amaze everyone with the huge increase in developers working on it, coupled with the advanced capabilities of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
A new COO at R*
On January 3rd, a Take Two Press Release revealed Rockstar Games had appointed Gary Dale as the new Chief Operating Officer, with former COO Terry Donovan presumably having left the company. Dale was the European Managing Director for Capcom since 2003, and has worked with Rockstar Games in the past. He brings with him "a wealth of operational experience and industry knowledge to Rockstar Games".
That's all we have for now. You can discuss this round up in our forums, and more specifically talk about the game in our GTA4 forum along with an abundance of fans. We've made a couple of minor layout changes (it's still not final though) to the GTA4 section of our website, and have removed some obsolete content. We'll be updating our GTA IV pages soon to reflect what we find out, so stay tuned for more updates on that.
Just a short post to say happy new year to you all from everyone here at The GTA Place! We hope you had a great year, and that 2007 will be even better for you. GTA4 will be in our hands in just 10 months time, we've got lots to look forward to, and a lot of news to report on.
Keep checking back here for regular updates, and you can discuss everything about GTA in our forums. That's where all the action currently is, you'll find everyone celebrating the new year in this topic.
Happy new year everyone.