Gametrailers.com have an interview with Michael Hollick, the voice of Niko from GTA IV.
Hollick was originally drafted in to do just the motion capture, and at that point he wasn't even told which game it was for. But when the director heard his mock Serbian accent, he was brought in for the voice too. In the interview, he draws comparisons with Andy Serkis, who did the motion capture and voice for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, after originally only being a placeholder for the CGI.
As it turns out, the only reason New Zealand also received the “watered-down” version of GTA IV was because it was simply easier for Take-Two to ship copies of one version of the game to all of Australia’s neighboring countries. Stan Calif, founder and director of First Games, was upset at that however. So upset that he went to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) and submitted the original version of the game (while paying NZD00, or USD80) to have it reviewed for an R18 rating. After weeks of waiting, his efforts paid off and the uncut version of GTA IV will now be sold at First Games! Calif told Geekpulp:
First Games are proud to be able to deliver GTA IV uncut to New Zealanders. We have been committed from the outset to provide Kiwi gamers with the freedom to purchase an unaltered version of GTA IV. After much hard work and expense we are now able to deliver GTA IV in the way that Rockstar originally intended.
It’s good to hear more people will now be able to enjoy and have the same experience as everyone else has with GTA IV! You can buy the game at their website, it should also be available at First Games stores.
In related news, we now know what exactly was taken out of the Australian version of GTA IV. PALGN.au reports:
... there is no way to select a ‘service’ from the prostitute. The sexual intercourse sex animation has also been completely removed, so players will only see the car bounce from a locked rear-view. In the uncut version, after selecting a service from the prostitute, players can rotate the camera to see the prostitute’s actions.
Also in the Australian version, no blood pools will appear beneath a dead person after shooting or stabbing them to death. There are blood splatters, but no blood pools. In the uncut version, blood will slowly ooze out from under a body, and it is possible to create bloody footprints by walking through the blood, or bloody tyre tracks from driving through it. Finally, when Niko or other NPCs are injured in the uncut version, light blood patches appear on their bodies which basically represent bruises/bullet wounds.
Be sure to voice your opinion and tell us what you think of the entire ordeal in our forums!
I wasn’t planning on making any more San Andreas mods, however May 22, 2008, was my wife’s birthday so I decided to make her something special. She has stood by me through all of my modding and 3D modeling, and understands more about game mechanics / 3D modeling from just having to live with me than anyone who doesn’t enjoy the work that goes into making these free mods should know! The mod takes the Rustler plane from San Andreas and attaches a birthday banner to the back of it. You can also change the banner texture included and make your own banners to fly behind the plane.
You can download the mod here.
Happy birthday sweety!
Michael Hollick, who provided the voice of Niko Bellic in GTA IV has complained that he doesn't earn any royalties on the game. Even though Rockstar has made more than 0 million in sales, Hollick earns nothing beyond the original 0k he was paid.
If this was television, film or radio, Hollick and the other actors involved would have made millions by now through royalties, even through getting only a tiny cut of the profits.
I don't blame Rockstar. I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games. Yes, the technology is important, but it's the human performances within them that people really connect to, and I hope actors will get more respect for the work they do within those technologies.
Is it time for video game actors to be treated the same as other actors? Or should they just be paid one-off for the work they do? Let us know what you think in our forums.
Jack Thompson, the Floridian lawyer who has launched several misguided attacks against video games, has been recommended as guilty on 27 counts of professional misconduct by a Bar trial judge.
21 counts are against his attacks on GTA games, and a further 4 from his attempt to get Bully declared as a public nuisance. The Florida Supreme Court must now make a ruling on whether he is guilty
JT has repeatedly attacked publishers Take Two for the supposedly inappropriate content of GTA games, and for them being apparently sold and "pushed" to children.
After considering the arguments presented by the Florida Bar and the Respondent (Thompson), observing the Respondent's demeanor during the nine-day trial proceedings, and carefully reviewing the record consisting of four volumes of exhibits totaling 1700 pages and approximately 2400 pages of transcribed testimony, the Court finds that the facts, circumstances and evidence presented regarding the Respondent's conduct, supports a finding of guilt as to certain Florida Bar rules...
The Bar trial judge, Dava Tunis, found the violent video game activist guilty of misconduct such as "Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The state Supreme Court will have to make a ruling based on those recommendations, with a disciplinary hearing planned for the first week of June.
However, Thompson also has filed federal lawsuits against the Florida Bar and Florida Supreme Court in relation to the Bar charges and other sanctions.
GameSpy has put together a great guide to the radio stations in Liberty City, detailing what you may know on the station, and what to check out if you’ve come to like a certain specific station. They’ve even listed the similar radio stations from past Grand Theft Auto games, high and low points for the station, and its notable artists! You can check it out here.
Rockstar has announced that they’ll be extending the “100% Club” contest on the Rockstar Social Club another two weeks. They’ve done so to “ensure that everyone has a chance to get in on the action.” Getting 100% in the game earns you the “Key to the City” prize.
Microsoft have released some crazy statistics regaring GTA IV's effect on Xbox 360 sales and Xbox Live:
Last week, Xbox 360 console sales went up by 54% compared to the week before.
According to retailers more than 60% of all GTA games sold in the first week were the Xbox 360 version
Roughly 40% of consoles are now bought with a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV
Regarding Xbox LIVE:
In the first week, more than 2.3 million gamers played Grand Theft Auto IV on Xbox LIVE
GTA IV is now the number one played game on Xbox LIVE
Over the weekend, the Xbox LIVE service reached 1 million users playing at the same time
Gamers have unlocked more than 12 million achievements worth over 100 million gamerscore points in GTA IV
On average, every gamer spent 4 hours playing GTA IV on Xbox LIVE last week
What do you think the reason is for GTA IV's immense success? Let us know in the forums.
Xbox Live’s Major Nelson revealed Tuesday that GTA IV stole the top spot on the list of activity on Xbox Live the first week it was released. Obviously this was expected (by me at least), nearly half of my friends list is constantly playing the game so it really is no surprise. Below’s the full list:
Xbox 360 Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1 GTA IV
2 Call of Duty 4
3 Halo 3
4 Guitar Hero III
5 Gears of War
6 Rock Band
7 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® Vegas 2
8 Iron Man Demo
9 FIFA 08
10 Forza Motorsport 2
Lets see how long GTA IV can remain king on the Xbox Live activity list!
Some amazing gaming is being done down at UC San Diego, with the guys there re-engineering their massive HIPerSpace monitor array to play GTA IV. This system has 220 million pixels and is attached to a "graphics super cluster" that relies on eighty NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 GPUs.
220 million pixels is roughly equivalent to a 20480×10800 display, a hundred times bigger than the highest-resolution screens we have these days, and 200 times bigger than hi-definition 1080p.
It doesn't look like they're utilising anything more than 1080p whilst playing GTA IV, and the black gaps between monitors is annoying, but it still looks awesome. Anybody think they can match that?
More pics @ engadget
After debunking several rumours posted on our forums in the last few days, an official patch is now actually here for PS3 owners. Just a heads-up for next time you're online and start up GTA IV - you'll be prompted to download the v1.01 update, which is 18MB in size.
Rockstar Games has released a GTA IV patch for Playstation 3 today that prevents GameSpy’s servers from being overloaded and therefore reduces the impact on those servers that were causing the game to stutter and lock up. We continue to monitor the performance of the game both on and offline and will provide further updates as necessary. We want to assure everyone that, together with our hardware partners, we continue to strive to give our fans the best possible interactive entertainment experiences possible. This update will ensure that everyone will experience Grand Theft Auto IV the way it was intended. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.
Also, no word on a patch for Xbox 360 gamers yet, we'll keep you updated if we find out anything though.
We posted about the UK's 'day 1' sales figures for GTA IV last week, and now Take 2 have published a press release concerning overall worldwide sales data so far, the figures are amazing.
New York, NY – May 7, 2008 – Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), said today that Grand Theft Auto IV has surpassed all-time entertainment records for day one and week one sales by dollar value. Released on Tuesday, April 29th, Grand Theft Auto IV, the critically acclaimed video game, has sold through to consumers approximately 6 million units globally with an estimated retail value of more than 0 million in the first week. Grand Theft Auto IV sold approximately 3.6 million units on its opening day with a retail value of approximately 0 million globally.
"We knew Grand Theft Auto IV would break new ground in terms of the player's experience, with its compelling story line, extraordinary gameplay and action that ranges over a broad urban canvas. Now, it has broken sales and rating records as well. Grand Theft Auto IV's first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date. We congratulate the entire Rockstar team on creating a must-have experience that takes the legendary Grand Theft Auto franchise to a new level," said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two.
"Rockstar's goal is to make each new title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise even better than those that preceded it, and Grand Theft Auto IV is a smashing success on that score. Grand Theft Auto IV makes full use of the power of next generation technology, and offers players an experience unique in the interactive entertainment medium. This game sets a new standard in the industry, with critics hailing it as both an artistic and technological masterpiece," said Ben Feder, Take-Two's Chief Executive Officer.
So there you have it. 6 million units in just the fist week, and over half of those were on the first day!
Link: Take2 Press Release
Following on our tradition of making 100% checklists for the GTA games, I have uploaded our Grand Theft Auto IV one today. An HTML version is viewable on the website for those of you just wanting a quick look to see what you've got left to do, a printable .pdf file is also available for those of you who want to print it out and tick off everything you've done so far. The checklist is (as far as we know) the most complete on the web right now and we believe it is entirely accurate. If you do think there are any mistakes anywhere, please point them out to us so we can fix them - some minor cosmetic changes are due to be made to the file anyway. Hopefully you'll find it useful!
An article on Reuters is reporting that Take-Two, publishers of Grand Theft Auto IV, are suing the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), "accusing it of pulling ads promoting the blockbuster without explanation".
The video game's publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. sued the transit authority in Manhattan federal court for violating its free speech and contractual rights, saying it pulled its posters within days of the ads first appearing on April 22.
Take Two accused the authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a 0,000 (150,000 pounds) ad campaign agreement that included running "Grand Theft Auto 4" poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June.
The suit seeks an order for the transit authority to run the ads as well as monetary damages of at least 0,000.
The article goes on to say that the suit says "the advertisements were removed following a report by a Fox News affiliate that questioned why the ad was allowed to run after a wave of violent crimes in Chicago". Unbelievable.
Great to see T2 fighting back over this farce, let's hope they win this one.
Thanks Jordan for the heads-up.
An interesting article appeared on Kotaku yesterday, reporting on zombies appearing in GTA IV's multiplayer gameplay, wearing nothing but yellow underpants, sporting the R* logo of course.
There are a few comments indicating gamers have seen zombies in online play, but nothing about transforming into one yet. Theories range from getting killed by a Rockstar employee, to killing a Rockstar employee, to getting the highest ranking.
They quote the official strategy guide (I don't have it) "If you see unclothed characters, look out! Only players who have reached the max ranking of 10 and a few other "special" people get the honor of shooting in their skivvies." But this player says he's only at Level 2. The user's name in the forums is GTA. I couldn't find a PSN ID for him.
The player says he thinks he unlocked the outfit by killing a R* developer online (on the Xbox 360 you unlock an achievement for doing this, so it's possible this may be a PS3 exclusive). You can see some lovely photos of this over at Kotaku.
Let us know if you've come across this by posting in our forums.
How far will Jack Thompson go? He has surprised us before with some of the most ridiculous arguments and court cases, but this is something I have never expected. Jack Thompson has sent a letter to Strauss Zelnick (Take Two's executive) mother with some pretty harsh wording.
The pornography and violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers’ children, but, hey, your son Strauss has recently assured the world that he is "a Boy Scout, everybody knows that." I’d love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Ted Bundy merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now. It should be red and green, for obvious reasons.
This is just one insulting paragraph out of the whole letter. Sadly, there are a lot more. Jack even references the Bible.
Shame on Jack for making such an idiotic move. The funniest part is is that it will do absolutely nothing. Read it here.
Taking a quick break from GTA IV mayhem with a news story we feel should have been posted about 10 years ago... and probably was...
I originally had no intention of making this post, but due to the rising number of websites covering the story I thought it would be a good idea. A number of respectable gaming sites have over the past couple of days posted up reports of a bizarre rumour regarding GTA2 and it's alleged impending release on to the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store, and I just wanted to put it out there as fact that there is no truth in this so called rumour.
The rumour itself centres around the official GTA2 website and the flash countdown shown upon skipping the intro. The top part of the countdown always shows today's date, and a time which always starts at 09:38:00. Below this is a date in the future, always 21 days later, with the time exactly 2 hours ahead of the top one. The clocks both reset every 60 seconds.
Apparently, this has never been spotted by the rumor starter, whomever it was, who believed that the site had been updated and intended to be a clue towards a release of some kind by Rockstar Games. This was despite the fact the website has been online almost 10 years and as far as I know has always had this on the website. The fact that professional gaming websites are reporting this now is both amusing and slightly worrying.
For those not in the know, GTA2 (and earlier, GTA1) was made freely available for the PC over 3 years ago - Because of this I'm not sure that many people would even bother with an XBLA or PSN version, since presumably you'd need to pay for it.
The lucky guys at Kikizo were the recipients of some free Pißwasser beer from Rockstar today, pictures of the stuff can be seen in their article. More importantly, their review is also finally out. They, like most other sites, have given the game an amazing 10/10 across all areas, but unlike other reviews, they've actually had time to go through and complete the game, and have kept their review spoiler free so it's okay to read.
The Final Word: Yes, it's worth all the hype and more. I absolutely love this game, and I can't WAIT for the episodic updates. Just make sure you get both of those endings! And don't even think about using cheats until you've done it properly.
Check it out, Kikizo's GTAIV review.
ELSPA sent out a press release today with some amazing statistics on how Grand Theft Auto IV sold in the UK on day 1. The previous day 1 record was held by GTA San Andreas, which back in 2004 saw a total of 501,000 copies sold. GTA IV has "comfortably eclipsed" that record, selling a total of 609,000 units (combined PS3 and Xbox 360 totals) in it's first 24 hours.
Of these 609,000 units, 335,000 were the Xbox 360 version of the game - beating out the previous record holder Halo 3, which had managed 266,000 on it's release day. Similarly, the game set a new record on PS3 with the game selling 274,000 units, easily beating out the previous record holder Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, which managed just 80,000 sales. The figures show that the Xbox 360 version is slightly more popular at the moment with 56% of the share, while the PS3 version therefore has 44%.
ELSPA managing director, Mike Rawlinson, commented "The scale of GTA's day one sales are phenomenal and reflect a vibrant market which continues to grow".
Statistics for the United States and other territories should be available soon, where we expect the game to have sold equally as well.
Source: ELSPA (via GamesPress.com)