Official Xbox Magazine Preview

The June 2005 issue of the Official Xbox Magazine USA has started reaching the homes of subscribers. In it is a 6-page Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Xbox preview we have had the opportunity to read. There are plenty of screenshots, albeit none new, as the new screenshots were all accidentally released recently in digital format. The article is one of the bigger previews of the Xbox version however, it is even quoted on the official Xbox version site. On to the summary.

  • Objects (people, cars, airplanes, hookers) will have 40-50% more polygons than in the PS2 version. Textures therefore also of much higher resolution.
  • The graphics engine has been rewritten “from the ground up with Xbox in mind.” Now real-time shadows included.
  • Draw distance expanded by 3-5 times, shorter loading times.

Besides those improvements, most of which we know about already, there was more. The article included a section where they outlined the celebrities who have lended their voices to the game (Samuel Jackson, The Game, Ice T, etc). There is also a page about the recent imitations of GTA that have surfaced on the video game market (50 Cent: Bulletproof, Scarface, Fear & Respect etc). And for the kicker, OXM managed to secure a nice little interview with Les Benzies, president of Rockstar North. Here is an excerpt:

OXM: So many things were added to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (swimming, bicycles, gambling, skydiving, two-player modes, etc.). Was there anything that you tried to get in but didn’t quite make the cut?

Les Benzies: Of course, but the leap from Vice City is enormous. Squeezing everything in that we did ensures a big impact for the player when they first play the game that is sustained throughout the many hours of gameplay. Bad sequels will often fall into the classic trap of attempting to over-deliver, and then fail when trying to make everything work. We feel the balance we struck between new features and polish and attention to details given to them was just right.

It’s always pleasant to read what the people at Rockstar say, and this interview is no exception. Les talks about the music of San Andreas, the transformation the GTA series made going from Vice City to San Andreas, and dodges over the question of multiplayer by saying “we’ll only add multiplayer to the series when we can offer an experience that meets, ideally exceeds, the single-player one. Simply tacking on something lackluster wouldn’t do the franchise justice.” Let’s hope that they will offer the multiplayer experience for GTA4 then?

Leave comments at the forums and pick up the magazine for a read-through if you live in the United States.