Tag: Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5 Xbox 360 vs PS3 Faceoff

 
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Disk sizeDisc One: 7.7GB, Disc Two: 7.8GB17.4GB
Install7876MB (mandatory)8486MB (mandatory)
Surround soundDolby DigitalDolby Digital, 5.1 LPCM

Never a series short on ambition, Grand Theft Auto’s latest instalment brings to life one of the most beautiful and lavishly detailed sandbox worlds of the current generation. Long-time readers will recall that GTA4 represented a similar milestone moment in the showdown between PS3 and 360 back in 2008, with each version handling the newly-forged RAGE engine with unique visual trade-offs and Microsoft’s platform taking a lead in the performance stakes. Five years on it’s high tide for round two: the core engine work has seen great upheaval and the 49 virtual square miles of game world are impeccably presented on both platforms. Once again though there are key advantages to either side.

At its heart, RAGE is comprised of mostly in-house developed parts, from the animation engine and rendering framework to a bespoke scripting language – allowing developer Rockstar North to custom-tailor unique events for missions, and even design mini-games such as golf and tennis. But its core strength, stemming back to earlier iterations on PS2, is its ability to stream assets such as textures, buildings and oncoming vehicles seamlessly on memory-limited hardware. Level-of-detail scaling is used subtly, and in the case of thick, urban sprawls, skyscrapers act as occluders to allow culling of unseen geometry. Given the tight memory budgets of the PS3 and 360, tricks like these are crucial for keeping the game running at a fair clip, and to avoid abrupt pop-in.

For PS3 in particular, the technology has come a long way in harnessing the console’s notoriously finicky split-pool setup for RAM. The limitation evidently proved to be a roadblock for budgeting on the video memory side with GTA4, where the decision was made to render at a native resolution of 1152×640 – a 20 per cent cut-down compared to the Microsoft release. Thankfully this has now been addressed, and for the latest entry the PS3 version matches the 360′s full 1280×720 framebuffer. It looks gloriously clear, and image quality is now identical down to the pixel.

Thankfully Grand Theft Auto 5 synchronises the time of day before each major mission in a timelapse-style speed-up, though as always we’re at the mercy of the game’s simulated weather and randomised car placement.

It’s clear that, while each version of GTA4 offered a different look that befitted the technical limitations of each platform, now we have two versions that look very close indeed. The expensive 2x multi-sample anti-aliasing used on 360 is now gone, and so too is the PS3′s forceful blur filter – both releases now opting for a refined post-processing approach. The resulting image is minimal on blur, and very reminiscent of Rockstar’s Max Payne 3, covering all details such as geometry and alpha transparencies at minimal expense to tackle jagged edges. Dropping the Vaseline blur on PS3 stands as an especially big coup d’etat for image quality purists – something recognised by Rockstar itself during development of The Ballad of Gay Tony expansion, where it was axed outright. Similarly, we’re pleased to see the 360′s distinctive dithering artifacting has disappeared.

But, as with most late-generation Face-Offs, the best way to put differences into context is to start with the assumption that everything is otherwise the same. For Grand Theft Auto 5 this is very much the case – and overlooking some nitpicks, just about every single geometric detail and effect across Los Santos is like-for-like between PS3 and 360. However, there is one glaring contrast throughout our tests that can’t be ignored.

New Grand Theft Auto V Release Tipped To Rake in £1 Billion in Sales

IT IS the dark Scots vision of the American way of life set to create computer game history and make £1 billion in sales.

From bank heists and skydiving through to stock trading and yoga, the sprawling world of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is set to redefine the parameters of video gaming on its release next week.

Scattered with flashes of ribald Caledonian humour and in-jokes, the title is the brainchild of Rockstar North, a studio based in Edinburgh’s Greenside Row.

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The three protagonists

Five years in the making, the game’s development and marketing budget of £170 million is the equivalent of a blockbuster film. Such is the success of the series, industry experts believe its latest incarnation will rewrite the record books, shifting 25 million copies in the first year alone, achieving sales of £1bn.

Confidence in the release is such that shares in Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s parent firm, have nearly doubled in value in the past year.

The new game revolves around a satirical recreation of southern California. With players able to switch between three protagonists, the 49-square-mile world boasts a welter of activities, such as scuba diving with sharks and hijacking trains.

For those who have watched the franchise grow from its humble roots in an office in Dundee’s Perth Road – the first base for Rockstar’s predecessor, DMA Design – to arguably the largest entertainment product in the world, there is little doubt the new release will be a huge hit.

“By any sort of commercial scale, Grand Theft Auto is easily Scotland’s largest cultural export ever. The series has sold something like 135 million copies so far,” said Brian ­Baglow, who worked as a writer on the first GTA game and now runs the Scottish Games Network, an umbrella body for the nation’s games sector. “It’s coming up to 17 years since GTA began and it’s become something I don’t think anyone involved with the original game would have expected.

“The series has come on not just in leaps and bounds, but in long jumps since then. It’s become far more than the sum of its parts, it’s a fully global phenomenon. This is the fifth major release, and the nice thing is that all of them have been made here in Scotland.”

David Kushner, the author of Jacked: The Outlaw Story Of Grand Theft Auto, agreed: “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sets records. GTA IV ended up in Guinness World Records so I would certainly anticipate the new game will do just as well.”

In order to realise their most ambitious game yet, Rockstar North’s 300-strong staff analysed census data, vehicle sales records and hundreds of thousands of photographs to depict Los Angeles and its environs.

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Grand Theft Auto V box art
Source: http://www.nerdacy.com/

Aaron Garbut, a University of Dundee graduate who is the series art director, made several visits to California, consulting off-duty police officers and architectural historians to create a bustling alternate ­reality.

He said: “I think, most of all, what we’ve done is create a world that you can lose yourself in. A place that’s interesting and fun to live in. I’ve effectively lived more in the game world than I have in Edinburgh over the past several years as we’ve filled it out.”

Rockstar North is likely to face criticism in some quarters following GTA V’s release on 17 September, given that players are able to visit strip clubs and use marijuana, while real-life gang members are among the voice cast.

Such controversy, Baglow believes, overlooks the fact that GTA has become a cornerstone of modern entertainment.

“For many people in power globally, GTA is just a great big red flashing light because it’s perceived as something bad and violent, defined by tabloid hysteria,” he said. “But if the series was just about gratuitous violence, it would not have achieved the sales and success it has.

“It is a massive cultural and creative success. It’s arguably bigger than the next Star Wars film, and the games industry has been behind GTA from the get-go. I’d really like to see the UK government acknowledge the fact one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world was made here.”

Although it is a homage to an idealized America, the Scottish roots of GTA V will be evident. An in-game stock exchange goes by the name of Bawsaq, for example, while one of the vast bridges in the game’s world is a replica of the Forth Road Bridge.

Baglow said: “We can sometimes have a schizophrenic idea about culture in Scotland. There’s an idea that because GTA is set in contemporary America, it has nothing to do with this country. On the other hand, we are critical of things dripping with tartan, shortbread and wee Scottie dogs.

“This isn’t something exclusive to video games, it’s the entire cultural sector. Until we feel confident enough to go out and achieve a big product which happens to have been made in Scotland, but isn’t necessarily Scottish, I think we will keep running into problems.”

Grand Theft Auto IV – 11 Days Before Launch

The excitement is mounting. It’s now less than two weeks (11 days, in fact) until Grand Theft Auto V is released on the world. With new details revealed every day and nothing but positive reaction web-wide, you might be forgiven for thinking this could be one of the biggest games of all time. Any way you look at it, it’s kind of a big deal, right?

Go back to 2008 – 18th April 2008, to be precise – and you’ll see a very similar situation. The 18th was 11 days before Grand Theft Auto IV hit stores. What did we think? What were we talking about? What information were Rockstar trickling out?

I wanted to find out.

Grand Theft Auto IV Goes Gold

Take Two announced, 11 days before launch, that Grand Theft Auto IV had gone gold. This was marked by an interview on the Opie and Anthony show with writer Lazlow Jones, better known for his appearances on a variety of GTA radio stations. He spoke about the GTA IV’s 100 adverts, about the depth of the in-game internet and about how being shot in specific areas will affect Niko in different ways. His example was being shot in the leg causing Niko to limp…

Recording dialogue took a huge amount of time for Grand Theft Auto IV. Ten hours a day, five days a week for many weeks. It shows. The radio stuff in GTA IV is excellent, and, with a boost in focus on audio design for GTA V, I can only imagine things have been as busy again in the last few months.

The day before saw the launch of the Rockstar Social Club, a feature that had a few bugs to begin with but which, in the report linked above, seems to have been positively received. Skip forward a few years and it seems people groan a little about having to use it.

It Doesn’t Have Split-Screen

Stephen Tolito, still writing for MTV at the time, needed to stress that you wouldn’t be able to play Grand Theft Auto IV with a friend via split-screen.

Sorry, but the option is just not there. Players can go anywhere in “GTA IV”‘s massive city while in any of the multiplayer modes. I just can’t see how a single Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 could have been expected to render two different parts of Liberty City at once even in a half-screen size. That’s what many game makers tell me, too, when this topic comes up. For all horsepower of this new generation of hardware, split-screen is just something that doesn’t work. Not when the alternative — online one-system-per-TV gaming — is so easily achievable.
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Screenshot from GTA IV Single Player

Considering some of the things we’ve seen since GTA IV launched, perhaps it wasn’t entirely true that Liberty City, as it exists in the multiplayer mode, couldn’t have had two players playing it together. It’s also funny, considering the state of GTA IV’s multiplayer at times, that anybody would have ever called it an easier alternative.

You Don’t Have a Copy of GTA IV

Everybody on the internet was claiming to have a copy of GTA IV. EVERYBODY. If you were on a message board that at all had anything to do with GTA IV, you’d have come into one of the many fakes that ended up on YouTube.

The phenomenon became so widespread that GamesRadar’s Chris Antista ran a story about a particular case on their forums. He probably wishes he hasn’t.

Within five pages of the post above, you see a harmless joke explode into something else entirely. Ah, the internet of 2008. Completely different to that of today.

Microsoft Were Confident with their “Episodes”

March 2008 saw the Xbox 360 outsell the PS3, and part of the reason for that, Microsoft claimed, was because Xbox 360 was the place to play Grand Theft Auto IV.

From a post on GamesIndustry.biz:

“Whether it’s the results of online polls or data from pre-sells, consumers have made it clear that the benefits of Xbox Live and exclusive access to GTA IV episodic content are making Xbox 360 the chosen place to play GTA IV,” said the company. Microsoft sold 262,000 Xbox 360 consoles in March, compared to Sony’s 257,000 units. Despite the monthly spat between the two companies, Nintendo once again proved its home console dominance with over 720,000 units sold during the same period. Yesterday, Microsoft boasted that its marketing spend for the release of Grand Theft Auto IV wouldequal that of last year’s Halo 3.

Still, it seems to have worked.

Grand Theft Auto IV: Downloadable Cities

This is just a rumour, but did you know Rockstar are adding an entirely new city to Grand Theft Auto IV?

From CVG’s Grand Theft Auto IV Collectors Magazine (via Softpedia):

“Of course, to call games as vastly ambitious as Vice City or San Andreas mere ‘expansion packs’ seems childish, but nevertheless, the downloadable content (DLC) coming for the Xbox 360 version of IV has repositioned those games in just this way. DLC so far has meant the odd new car, jumper of bit of horse armour, but GTA IV is set to completely redefine the idea with expansions that are to GTA IV what Vice City or San Andreas were GTA III. Yes, Rockstar is clearly hinting at new downloadable cities; and the chances of them being London, Vice City or SA again are slim to none. So that’s new as in brand new. GTA IV’s Liberty City is the beginning. Think about that and be excited.”

The expansion packs did end up redefining Liberty City in many ways, but those changes were firmly set within the confines of the city. Where this one came from, well… we may never know.

Can We Catch STDs in GTA IV?

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Ricky Gervais at the comedy club in Algonquin, Liberty City

Some people wanted to see working petrol stations, others wanted to be able to spend actual time in jail. One person at GamesFAQs was desperate to catch herpes. Apparently there are things you really can’t do on your own.

Ricky Gervais To Make an Appearance

Back when Ricky Gervais was described as a “British comedian” and Karl Pilkington needed a wikipedia link so that people knew exactly who he was, Gervais let slip that he was involved in the new GTA game. Ars Technica covered the story on the 18th.

“It’s a first—which always interests me…” said Gervais, “Games have outsold Hollywood for the past few years so it’s nice to be a small part of that.”

Give it up for ZiT

What a small world it is. Back on April 18th 2008, Steven Van Eekeren found something he liked the sound of. ZiT Music is such an odd service out of context as you’re playing, although it makes a little more sense when you learn its connection to MP3s.

With ZiT Music Service, simply dial ZIT-555-0100 from anywhere in Liberty City whenever you hear a song you’re into and that song will be tagged for purchase later via the Rockstar Social Club and Amazon MP3.

Things You Could Do Instead of Install

Microsoft weren’t only confident about the Episodes in 2008. There had been some negativity surrounding the PS3 install time for GTA IV and Microsoft PR decided to take advantage of the situation.

They sent out the following email, made public by VG24/7. For an extra interesting read, check out the comments. 2008 was a time when Xbox 360 was winning.

With the OXM review hitting streets today, and your own preview impressions which are looking great, hopefully you’ll all be a bit wiser as to the ins and outs of GTA IV now. I’m sure you’ve all seen the chatter from the 1up GTA IV Preview on the PS3 install time….just a few thoughts on what you could do in this time if you were actually playing the 360 version from the moment you insert the disc….

· Steal your first dozen or so cars and test out the improved vehicle handling?

· Check out the cool features on your mobile phone?

· Rack up a 5 Star Wanted Rating?

· Have a blast of your first MP game on Xbox LIVE?

· Ditch the tracksuit chic and buy some new clothes?

· Unlock your first GTA IV Achievement and boost your Gamerscore?

….Or just start downloading a film from Xbox LIVE Video Store to watch later – check out the latest batch of arrivals this weekend!

The OXM Review Hit Streets

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Selecting character model in multiplayer

There was a lot of news, 11 days before the official release of Grand Theft Auto IV, but there was also a pretty long-awaited review. OXM gave Grand Theft Auto a 10/10 (“naturally,” one of the few original write-ups says). Utterly stunning in every respect might be fair, but I’m thinking the comparison between GTA IV’s choices and Bioshock’s might go a little far…

Conclusion

I’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto IV again in recent weeks, and it’s amazing to play it knowing how close we were to the cusp of a digital revolution. Jokes about phones that can take pictures and how agonizingly slow text messaging is… They still remain funny, but only because you can place them into the context of 2008. The world has changed so much in five years, but the denizens of the internet have not. They still get excited about every new piece of information, they still discuss and debate over every little thing and Microsoft and Sony fans will never just be able to get on.

Reading through all of this is also quite worrying. To see the feverish defence of any little complaint in comment sections. Knocking Grand Theft Auto IV is pretty widely accepted now, and I wonder how much of this excitement will remain when the flaws in Grand Theft Auto V inevitably come out. Will the excitement remain long enough to make GTA V another best seller or will, like Bioshock, Tomb Raider and The Last of Us before it, that same excitement give way to honest critique and even slight disappointment.

With only 11 days to go, it won’t take long for us to find out.

GTA 5 Latest Information!

If you have been living under a rock for the past few months then you need to open up your eyes and see that GTA 5 is going to be a very promising title! In case you haven’t been up to date, I’m going to fill you in with some of the latest GTA 5 news…

Even if you haven’t been under a rock it’s hard to keep up with all the news regarding this prime title known as Grand Theft Auto 5, which will be released on September 17, 2013. So what’s is the latest news?

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Official in-game screenshot from Rockstar Games

  • GTA 5 will feature not 2, not 5, but 15 different species of animals

Now we don’t have too much information regarding how you will be able to interact with these animals, but I’m sure Rockstar won’t disappoint considering they took the time to add 15 different types. I’ve played animal breeding games that have had less variety. Apparently you will have the ability to customize your dog though which should be enjoyable. I mean customizing dogs is my second favorite thing to do, right behind robbing banks. In all seriousness I look forward to seeing all this animal goodness.

  • GTA 5′s voice acting for gang members were done by real gang members

Grand Theft Auto does a great job at being an authentic game, especially now that their voice acting for gang members was done by real gang members. GTA 5 producer known as Lazlow Jones can take it from here.

“When we record all these ambient characters that are in the world we go towards authenticity. So in the game, part of the element of the story is that there’s these gangs, these rival gangs.”

I don’t know about you but I love the fact that they take the time to make sure they have every detail right, including gang voices.

Here is a summary of some of the other features you may want to know about:

  • There will be all kinds of multiplayer missions including some that involve all 16 players
  • You have the ability to take a shower in your apartment (Ain’t nobody got time for dat!)
  • You can ‘Make it Rain’ while in a strip club, you also have the ability to touch the girls if your into messing around with digital chicks
  • You have the ability to use a debit car and even deposit money through ATM’s
  • You can equip masks and glasses through your inventory to disguise yourself before shooting up a joint
  • You can watch movies at the local movie theaters
  • Enjoy playing golf to let out some steam in-between missions? Your in luck because there is a 18-hole golf course
  • You can even drive a train! Choo chooo

Grand Theft Auto 5: Will It Live Up To The Hype?

As soon as Grand Theft Auto 5 was announced a huge amount of hype and excitement quickly built up surrounding the game. I’ve never really enjoyed the Grand Theft Auto series myself but even I’m really quite excited for the newest installment in the series, of all the games I’ve seen that have generated this much hype I believe that this could be one of the few games that will actually live up to the hype. From all the footage I’ve seen so far and peoples reactions to the game Grand Theft Auto 5 has a lot going for it.

To start with it seems like Rockstar have listened to a lot of the feedback they got from the previous game and taken it all into consideration for Grand Theft Auto 5 to try and please those who were a little disappointed by the previous game. The game is set in the fictional city of Los Santos which was a fan favorite from one of the previous games Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and also features the return of customizable cars which was one of the larger things that disappointed a lot fans in the previous game. The gameplay has also been tweaked in Grand Theft Auto to ensure that everything runs as quickly and as fluid as possible. For example all of the weapons are now available via one easy to use wheel just like the one featured in Red Dead Redemption. The driving has also been improved in Grand Theft Auto 5. Each type of car now feels and behaves different to any other car in the game. Each of these new tweaks will make the exploring the city more interesting and it will also be easier for any new players to get to grips with the game.

3D impression of Grand Theft Auto V

3D impression of Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5 has 3 playable characters that have interwoven storylines throughout the game. The player can switch freely between each of these 3 characters as they play through the main story missions and also when they are out exploring the city. This allows each player to experience the game in a different way to other players may also cause players to want to play through the game multiple times to experience each mission from all of the different points of view available. The missions also have different ways for the player to complete them giving the player more freedom.

When the main story missions are finished each of the characters carry on as they were at the end of the mission or carry on with their own lives, this helps bring each character to life better and makes them seem more like actual people instead of just characters that tag along to help during each mission. Each of the characters can be customized with new clothes, haircuts and tattoo’s with any money the player earns during each mission.

The multiplayer portion of the game has had a lot more features added to it in Grand Theft Auto 5 and allows the player to buy houses to show off to their friends and also allows the player to have show off any cars they have customized in their garage where their cars can be stored. The multiplayer also includes co-op activities for players to complete as well as the normal competitive multiplayer modes.  Players can also customize their online character to make them stand out in the crowd when playing online and with friends.

In my own opinion Grand Theft Auto 5 is a great improvement over the previous game and has been made more accessible to people who may not have played any of the Grand Theft Auto games before. From all of these things I’ve heard from multiple different hands on videos I’ve watched on YouTube and the reactions of the people who have been able to play the game before it is released Grand Theft Auto 5 has a lot of potential and in my opinion could quite easily live up to the hype that is surrounding it and become one of the top games of this year. With the new addition of 3 playable characters encouraging multiple playthroughs of the game and giving the player multiple ways to complete each mission, the new activities available in both the multiplayer and singleplayer portions of the game and the overall tweaks to the gameplay Grand Theft Auto 5 is definitely one of this years games to watch.

On a little side note I’m also looking forward to seeing how much controversy this game causes in the media when it’s released

This 3D Map of Grand Theft Auto 5 is Awesome

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Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series have put together what appears to be a map of Los Santos in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 game from Rockstar.

The map is unlike existing maps of the game in that it’s rendered entirely in 3D with all the topographical features of the terrain in Los Santos.

Grand Theft Auto 5 is slated for a September 17, 2013 release on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and represents years of hard work from Rockstar.