New details for Grand Theft Auto IV have spilled their way onto the Internet, expanding on what we can expect when the game launches on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this October.
The game will be as significantly different as GTA III was to the previous top-down crime capers, Rockstar founder Dan Houser told Game Informer, and will offer much wider choice and freedom to the player.
As we already know from the trailer, GTA IV will take place in Liberty City (New York) in 2007, and will revolve around an Eastern European fellow. This chap, the main character, is Niko Bellic - an immigrant in search of the "American Dream".
His cousin Roman persuaded him to make the move by boasting a life of luxury, but it eventually turns out he was using this as a cover to hide his own failures. He'll be your only contact until you can find your feet, and ultimately carve out your own destiny.
One of the biggest differences in the new game will be the way you interact with other people. In previous iterations you've been at the beck and call of others, picking up your phone to receive orders. But this time around you'll be able to dial out, calling people to arrange rendezvouses and correlate your own plans. There will still be an element of following someone else's game plan, but the freedom of choice is something Rockstar is proudly standing by.
In GTA IV, four of the five boroughs of New York have been recreated for you to explore, as well as parts of New Jersey. Broker is the equivalent of Brooklyn, Manhattan is now Algonquin, Queens becomes Dukes, the Bronx is Brohan, and New Jersey transforms into Alderney.
While that doesn't give the fourth game the largest geographical playing field in the series, the level of detail and freedom should apparently more than make up for it.
We've already seen the impressive lighting effects, sumptuous skyline, and next-gen sheen from the trailer. What is less evident is the vastly enhanced AI, where NPCs will walk and talk much more convincingly, going about their daily routines around you. And apparently the game will only look better as we get closer to launch.
As with other games you can expect voice acting and an impressive array of radio stations to choose from while you're joyriding in Liberty City. However, it's unlikely we'll see Hollywood actors in the lead roles in this game, as Rockstar is making an effort to choose less well-known talent, both for voices and for the track listing.
Multiplayer is also going to be included this time around, but it isn't going to be an MMORPG. It's going to be something separate to the single-player experience that will be fun, interesting, and progressive.
Technically the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will look and feel the same, and loading screens should be non existent after your initial entry into the world.
However, Microsoft's console will offer that exclusive downloadable content its boasted about at every opportunity, though there's still speculation as to whether the Blu-ray disc will include more to begin with.
It's all shaping up very well indeed. Be sure to go and see the very first trailer for the game over on Eurogamer TV if you haven't already. And you should have, really. Everyone else has.