There is a familiar pattern to media coverage whenever Rockstar publishes a game. There is talk about how the developer has used its newest game to iterate upon and redefine the open world genre. There are almost always articles on how various Hollywood films influenced Rockstar's development process. And there are at least one or two polemics that attack the developer for transgressing established norms about what can and cannot be done in video games. This last type of essay inevitably concludes that video games are bad, and lead to an increase in interpersonal violence as well as the downfall of civilisation.
UPDATE 14/2/17 4:20pm: The results are in for GTA4's Episodes from Liberty City, tested via Xbox One backward compatibility - and perhaps not surprisingly, we're seeing the same kind of performance profile we saw on the main game.
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.
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.
I'm back in Liberty City again. It doesn't feel like five years since Grand Theft Auto 4, but while other games have been traded in or loaned out, that disc has remained beneath the TV, a passport waiting to be used.
"Keep walking, asshole, before I shove this nightstick where the sun don't shine."
Rude, abrasive, unnecessary. It's all of these things, but I'd let it go, just because it's a hell of a lot of hassle to do anything about it.
But I do a double take. This is a policeman. A PoliceMAN. I'm Johnny Motherf***ing Klebitz. I'm part of The Lost and the Damned, whose entire purpose is to F*** the MAN. I'm not going to let this slide.
Every Sunday we bring you a feature selected from our archive. This week, to celebrate the imminent release of Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS4 and Xbox One, we bring you Dan Whitehead's paean to an unloved GTA4 character. This article was originally published in November 2011.
Behold! Here's your essential weekly guide to spending slightly less on games than you might pay otherwise. Cheap This Week is a collection of the best deals from across the land every Wednesday; read on to find out which gaming deals we think are worth your attention this week. If you want updates about which games are cheap pumped into your web browser every second, be sure to head to SavyGamer.co.uk.
Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz's widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial, is a weekly dissection of an issue weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.
You won't find too many exec interviews on Eurogamer - we usually leave that sort of thing to our friends over at GamesIndustry.biz. But we got the opportunity to speak to Ben Feder, CEO of Take-Two, at E3 this year. Seeing as he's a big deal, and his company publishes one of the most successful videogame franchises ever, we thought we'd give it a go. Read on to find out Feder's opinion of Jack Thompson, whether he thinks there's a line to be drawn with violence in games and what day GTA V is out. Maybe not the last one.
For many gamers, GTA was born on the PC in 2D. We've all got our memories of racing through the time-limited demo, the squeaky phone gibberish playing over mission instructions, trying to work out the lyrics to Four-Letter Love, and doing the bomb-on-a-bus mission. But that was a while ago, back when Speed starring Keanu Reeves was a cultural touchstone. These days, GTA is synonymous with consoles, having bossed the last PlayStation for Sony and given Microsoft something to shout about for the last 18 months. Did you know they have some exclusive DLC coming up? Did you?
Even without the Eurogamer comparison feature, the internet has been set ablaze by GTA IV PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 face-off discussions. But mere digital incendiaries are not enough for a release of this magnitude. It's time to go nuclear.
GTA IV adds many elements to the established series that fans have been clamouring for, such as a better combat system, cars that don't vanish if you leave them for two minutes, autosaves and instant mission restarts. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited feature, however, is the addition of online functionality. It's not strictly new, of course, since there have long been PC mods that allow players to romp together on that platform while the PSP off-shoot series has also boasted Wi-Fi multiplayer challenges.
We're not going to pretend otherwise. Today is all about you-know-what to the exclusion of all those other we-don't-care-right-nows. But because we get spoiled rotten in this gig, we've already had a string of days spent you-know-whatting ourselves into a mild madness - and it's time to give something back.
You'll have read Tom's considered appraisal by now, of course, and we have irrefutable evidence that a lot of you are already falling under the spell of Liberty City. So now we're going to continue our coverage of GTA IV on launch day with a collection of gameplay videos showing off key new features in the long-awaited return of the series, plus some of our favourite moments so far. Remember: if you choose to play them back in this window, you can double-click to go full-screen!
It goes without saying that these being gameplay videos, they are also technically SPOILERS, but this is the Internet, so perhaps it doesn't go without saying. Also (are you ready to look behind the curtain?) we needed to include this paragraph to make the page layout work, so you're stuck with it.
Did you read part one of our interview with Grand Theft Auto art director Aaron Garbut? I thought so - I've always liked you. In which case you already know how a GTA game begins development, how characters and story are integrated, and why Rockstar prefers to be inspired by a real-world location rather than recreating one.
Grand Theft Auto IV is finished. It's on the way to the shops right now, in a herd of lorries guarded by helicopter gunships and men who wear sunglasses indoors and keep touching their radio earpieces ostentatiously. The information they're being fed is that you can't have it. Not yet. Not for another week.
Grand Theft Auto IV's 29th April arrival on PS3 and 360 has been widely, not to mention voluminously heralded as the defining moment of this generation of consoles. Cruising around Liberty City in high definition on the biggest LCD television in the world, you can easily tell why: where Vice City and San Andreas were only able to extrapolate from the GTA III base - albeit to record-breaking effect - getting to know GTA IV is a steady sequence of pleasant surprises and sensible reconfigurations. Liberty City may be, to borrow from the game's amusing website, "where the American Dream comes to die", but it's also where the Grand Theft Auto series has come to be reborn.
It's rather quaint to think that just over six years ago, we were all a-twitter at the prospect of Grand Theft Auto III and its swanky new 3D world. "How will that classic top-down gameplay work in 3D?" we mused, like big silly things. "Could it possibly beat Driver?" we pondered in all seriousness. Aah, innocent times.
Ever since Peter Moore's bicep set the clock running on 10th May 2006, the world has been watching and waiting, and Rockstar has probably been sleeping rather badly - albeit on rather more comfortable sheets than the ones it was soiling in October 2001 when Grand Theft Auto III first went on sale.
A Most Wanted list you say? Cripes, whatever next: a Tips and Cheats pamphlet to go with Eurogamer's promotional Pacman Beach Ball cover mount? Still, it's the summer, there are precious few games around and, with an awful lot of new titles coming up towards the end of the year you might quite reasonably want to know which ones to keep an eye on.