Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Spotlight

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 25

Episodes from Liberty City, SSFIV, SEGA All-Stars Racing, Superstars V8, Dead to Rights and AVP.

Digital FoundryGTA: Ballad of Gay Tony Face-Off

Direct comparison of 360 and PS3 versions.

Digital FoundryGTA: Ballad of Gay Tony performance analysis

Has the GTA IV engine evolved for the new eps?

Key events

Charting the phenomenal progress of video games these past few decades is easy enough. You've probably seen an image of PlayStation-era Lara Croft in all her stark polygonal beauty contrasted side-by-side with her modern character model. If not, perhaps you've seen Wolfenstein: The New Order's B.J. Blazkowicz sat next to his coarsely drawn early incarnation. Look at all those pixels, all that detail, and marvel at how far we've come.

Digital FoundryInside Digital Foundry: What Grand Theft Auto 4 did for us

How the Rockstar classic shaped the way that we look at games.

We're just three days away from the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 - closer to two if you're planning to attend a midnight launch for the year's most eagerly awaited game. At Digital Foundry, we're aiming to bring you our findings on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game as soon as we can, but in the meantime we thought we'd take the time to pay tribute to its predecessor, not least because so much of what we do and the way we approach games today hails from the seismic release of GTA4 five years ago, and that Face-Off we produced at the time.

MS: Xbox exclusive games, DLC 

MS: Xbox exclusive games, DLC "critical"

Explains how it secures exclusive content.

Exclusive games and downloadable content are "critical" for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has said.

Exclusive content - even if it's only for a set period of time - is crucial for differentiating the Xbox 360 from the PlayStation 3 and Wii, Microsoft's European boss Chris Lewis told Eurogamer.

"They are important," he said. "DLC windows of exclusivity are critical for us for differentiation. We'll continue to bring those exclusives through our own studio work, Gears and Forza and other titles."

Read more

FeatureCheap This Week - 20/07/11

GTA 4 Episodes! GRID! Killzone 2!

Buckle up folks, here's another boatload of discounted digital fun for you to get your grubby mitts all over. The best priced games from all over the land are collected right here for your convenience. Get yourself over to SavyGamer.co.uk to keep up to date with all the cheap games, as and when they are cheap.

Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 25

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 25

Episodes from Liberty City, SSFIV, SEGA All-Stars Racing, Superstars V8, Dead to Rights and AVP.

As we reach the quarter-century of cross-platform Face-Off features, we thought it was time to do a little spring-cleaning on the format itself. The idea was to supplement the already vast range of video and screenshot assets with additional analysis and data.

The reasoning was that while we love telling you what we think, the more information you have, the more informed your purchasing decisions will be and the more discussion points there are for the inevitable post-article comments pile-up.

So what's new? We've ignored the superior range of surround sound options possessed by the PS3 for too long, so for those of you who have their consoles hooked up to a decent amplifier capable of multiple audio decoding options, now you can see where PS3 employs less compression or additional sound channels. While Xbox 360 games are standardised at max quality 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1, PlayStation 3 supports the same format and also 5.1 lossless PCM, 7.1 lossless PCM, plus fan-favourite DTS. This is now highlighted for each game.

Read more

Was the GTAIV DLC a 12-month exclusive?

Was the GTAIV DLC a 12-month exclusive?

Stakeholders won't say, but it looks like it.

Rockstar has told Eurogamer it cannot comment on how long the Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content was exclusive to Xbox 360, although in hindsight it appears to have been a 12-month deal.

Just under 14 months elapsed between The Lost and Damned appearing on Xbox Live and its eventual appearance on PS3 this month, suggesting the deal may have been measured from the release of the first add-on (the second, The Ballad of Gay Tony, arrived relatively recently on Xbox 360 and is already available for PS3).

Microsoft also wouldn't verify the length of the exclusivity deal to Eurogamer. The platform holder reportedly paid millions and millions of dollars to secure it in 2006. Sony pointed us back to Rockstar and Microsoft.

Read more

GTA episodes live on PSN tomorrow

Plus: Final Fight! Sam & Max! Skate 3 demo!

Sony has updated the PlayStation shops with all manner of treats - and the promises of the GTA IV downloadable episodes, which are both due to go live tomorrow.

GTA IV episodes delayed on PC/PS3

Sony asks for last-minute changes.

Rockstar has announced that The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony have been delayed on PC and PS3 due after Sony asked for some changes.

GTA V to be announced before E3?

GTA V to be announced before E3?

Analyst reckons suspension is building.

Games industry analyst Mike Hickey has said a Grand Theft Auto V announcement may be on the way - and that it could be made before E3 kicks off in June.

"There is building suspension for a pre-E3 GTA V announcement," he said, as reported by Industrygamers. "Although we expect nothing from Rockstar at this year’s official E3 event."

Rockstar is more likely to hold a separate press event and make the announcement independent of any publisher conferences, apparently. That's because GTA V really is kind of a big deal.

Read more

Episodes From Liberty City

Episodes From Liberty City

Happy choppers.

It's nothing if not strange to be reviewing the same thing for the second time in a fortnight, but then Rockstar has sent us down strange roads before. The Ballad of Gay Tony is the same now as it was last week, but the fact that it is also available on a disc it shares with The Lost and Damned, and which doesn't require the original Grand Theft Auto IV to play, asks different questions of a review.

It's possible, for example, that you're considering whether to buy this having never bought or played GTAIV - in which case your impressions may be mixed. The Liberty City of the current generation is a vast, colourful and varied environment, brimming with the series' trademark satirical humour and eccentricity, but whereas 18 months ago it seemed a technical marvel, 18 months on it's merely at the handsome end of competent, and drops frames more noticeably than an epileptic optometrist. And the core of GTA is very much still going to icons on the mini-map to receive a briefing and then driving somewhere to do some shooting, or similar.

Mechanics are solid but unspectacular, and lack the finesse intervening games have standardised. The cover-based third-person gunplay, for example, is sticky, and awkward in close quarters, and you never feel as comfortable as you do in comparable action games when you're moving around on foot. Sometimes, as when jumping or navigating buildings, it's as though the programmers spent so long making the world around you operate properly that they struggled to accommodate your need to touch it. The driving physics have also proven divisive. With that said, modern GTA is less frustrating than it was on PS2 and Xbox in many respects; you can even restart missions without having to go off and buy your guns again. Progress!

Read more

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Rockstar's second downloadable add-on for Grand Theft Auto IV may be known as The Ballad of Gay Tony, but anyone who goes in expecting a radical social message from the world's most controversial developer will be disappointed. If anything, the homosexuality angle is superfluous to Rockstar's agenda: the GTA games have always demonstrated that acting outside the law is the great equaliser, and The Ballad is yet another story of how crime begets crime no matter your class, creed or sexual preference.

While the first episode, The Lost and Damned, focused on Liberty City's biker gangs, The Ballad of Gay Tony is rooted in the glitzy party districts of Algonquin, where nightclub impresario Tony Prince and his business partner and player character Luis Lopez preside over a pair of night spots. Lopez is a typical GTA hero - surrounded by addicts and criminals whom he looks down upon despite being, on the evidence of your actions and his justifications, the worst of all of them.

His adventures crisscross the stories of Niko Bellic and Johnny Klebitz, and it's entertaining to watch Rockstar coax more depth out of its existing matrix of conflicting plot-lines, but the smartest trick here is to shift the focus away from you and onto the supporting cast. Prince is a whiny coke-and-pills addict, and Lopez is a philandering murderer, which turns out to be as much his fault as yours. Neither is particularly sympathetic, and - perhaps deliberately - neither is particularly funny.

Read more

Gay Tony has sexy bits, says BBFC

Enough to ensure it gets an 18 rating.

The BBFC has revealed there are some "strong" sexy moments in upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable add-on The Ballad of Gay Tony.

I'm going to miss Johnny Klebitz, the troubled anti-hero of The Lost and Damned. I'm going to miss his weary presence, miss the reassuring outline of his oddly noble nose, and miss his fatherly way with a sawed-off shotgun. New GTA IV DLC means that old friends move back into the shadows while former bit-parts step forward to take centre stage, so Klebitz and his biker gang have ducked out, making way for Liberty City's party class: big-spending, coke-powered low-lifes whose days pass in a neon blur of turbulent excess.

New GTAIV DLC gets release date

New GTAIV DLC gets release date

Ballad of Gay Tony here for Halloween.

Rockstar has announced the next batch of downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV will be available via Xbox Live on 29th October.

The Ballad of Gay Tony will see you playing as Luis Lopez, who works for nightclub boss Tony "Gay Tony" Prince. As previously announced it will cost 1600 Microsoft Points (GBP 13.60 / EUR 19.20).

Or you could pick up Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, a disc release featuring both DLC episodes released so far. It's also out on the 29th and will cost $39.99 over in the States. We're checking with Rockstar for a European price.

Read more

Second GTAIV episode named, detailed

Plus: standalone two-episode disc also due.

Rockstar has announced that the second Xbox 360-exclusive downloadable episode for Grand Theft Auto IV is called The Ballad of Gay Tony and is due out this autumn.