GTA IV previews go live! 10 new screenshots released.

It’s been six long months since Take2 announced the delay of Grand Theft Auto IV. The response from the community was a mixture of outrage and apathy with aggravated gamers choosing to either lambaste all companies involved or simply shrug it off and move on.

Some dedicated fans stayed strong, however, crossing their fingers in hopes that more in-depth previews would appear due to the delay. Unfortunately, aside from a few teaser trailers and screenshots, the GTA IV scene fell into a disappointing lull. Grand Theft Auto fansites — GTANet included — struggled to fill the silence with whatever we could muster. But despite our best attempts, we knew all too well that nothing could be done to make up for the lack of much-needed previews and updates.

Until now.

KikizoGamesRadarIGNVideoGamer, and ComputerAndVideoGames have just unveiled their latest previews of Grand Theft Auto 4, the first major collection of online GTA IV previews since July of last year. The previews are based on a 90 minute preview session granted to them by Rockstar Games last week, and come with 10 never-before-seen screenshots of GTA4:

There is a lot of new info to digest, but we recommend Kikizo as a good starting point. In terms of depth, Kikizo once again stands out well above the rest. And according to a recent poll at our forums, it seems to be the preferred choice amongst GTA fans. Be sure to give them some much-deserved credit by checking out their new preview.

Summary of new details:

  • The game has now essentially been completed. Rockstar are just polishing the game and dealing with bugs, glitches and minor things.
  • The release date has yet to be decided. “Before the end of April” is unfortunately all we know. The gaming press will receive a hands-on preview before then – in approximately one month from now.
  • The Liberty City map was shown briefly during the demo. Kikizo describe it as containing a large island in the middle (Algonquin) with a similarly sized island to the left (Alderney) and two islands to the right – a small one (Bohan) up north with Broker and Dukes underneath. Rockstar also commented on the map found in Trailer 3 by our forum member Bluespot. “My God!” was their reaction. In other words, yes, it is indeed the map. Well done to Bluespot!
  • Liberty City will contain a subway system, which Niko is able to use. The system covers – at the very least – Broker and Algonquin, but we aren’t sure about the other areas yet.
  • A speedboat journey around (approximately) half of Algonquin lasted 5 real-world minutes.
  • In terms of camera views, all the traditional views are still there, and there will now also be a dashboard view.
  • During the demo, they passed a restaurant called “Poop Deck,” where they met with Francis McGreary. Other places mentioned are Oneida Avenue, 99 Long Road (Broker), a bar called Perestroika, South Parkway, Franklyn Street Westbank, and Albannay.
  • Three missions were previewed during the demonstration. The first one was “Search and Delete,” followed by “Deconstruction for Beginners” and then “Truck Hustle”. A new character called Playboy X is introduced by Elizabeta (a mutual friend) during the second mission. Playboy X lives in a mansion, and eventually provides missions for Niko. A second character called Dwayne Ford is introduced, who just got out of prison. He taught Playboy X “everything he knows,” apparently. In the third mission, two characters called Ray and Bell are introduced. They are from the mafia, and are trying to help Niko find someone, but want some favours done in return.
  • The character Brucie is introduced to Niko by his cousin Roman. Brucie runs a garage just around the corner from Roman’s taxi depot in Broker.
  • Characters often look different each time you see them instead of perpetually wearing the same clothes like in previous GTAs.
  • The red and blue search radius on the radar is centred around the point where the crime was committed, and your last known whereabouts.
  • Every police car in Liberty City has an on-board computer, on which you can access the police database files for anybody who’s got a criminal record, or any other details that the police are aware of.
  • You can smash your own car window to enable you to shoot from it; you can free-aim outside of your window using the right analogue.
  • Liberty City has one airport, based on JFK, called Francis International Airport (yes, it’s the same name given to the airport in GTA3). It is located in on the East of the city.
  • Progress is automatically saved after completing a mission. There are also safe houses dotted around the city, which you can save at any time.
  • In this demo, the cell network is called Badger, whereas in the last demo it was called Whiz.
  • Building and maintaining relationships with characters is important. During the preview, Jacob comes to meet you rather than vice versa. This is only possible once your friendship with Jacob has developed to a certain stage. Relationships can be damaged if you (for example) fail to turn up for meetings, or snub the character too many times. Maintaining good relationships with characters provides benefits.
  • Pool, eating, darts, drinking and bowling are just some of the activities you can do with your friends to maintain relationships. The cellphone is used to access these activities via a menu. If you go for a drink and drink too much, Niko will get drunk. When this happens, the radar reads “You are drunk. Your vision is blurred.” and the camera begins to shake, which makes driving difficult.
  • There is a radio station called IF99.
  • The game clock is no longer one minute = one hour. It is now two minutes = one hour. So days now last longer.
  • Niko receives phone calls from people throughout the game. If someone really wants to get in touch with you about an important issue, they will keep on phoning.
  • The new targetting system was described. There are eight purple segments in the target circle that make up someone’s health, which you get when you’re locked on – during free aiming you don’t get the indicator.
  • Expensive cars have better GPS systems than poorer ones. The one they enter during the preview session “talks us through the streets!”
  • The cellphone can be used to listen to radio stations, so now you can listen to music at any time.
  • The GTA 4 weather system does not feature seasons, and there is no snow.