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Next GTA due in Q4 2004

Colour us surprised.

Take-Two (surely Rockstar?) has confirmed that the next GTA game will be released in Q4 2004. According to reports, Take-Two executive veepee Cindi Buckwalter told attendees at a New York City technology conference that the game will be released "in the back half of '04, Q4," although she wouldn't be drawn on the name - despite widespread internet rumours of a Las Vegas or Los Angeles-based title (please, not another flat one!).

Beyond the release date then, we know nothing. Take-Two CFO Karl Winters said, "I want to be prudent about our comments. We're very excited about the brand," adding "We had a lot of questions about how we could possibly create something that could compete with Grand Theft Auto 3. None of us who were sitting here a year ago would have suggested we would have the type of success we had with Vice City."

But before all that, Rockstar/Take-Two has the GTA developer's other project, Manhunt, to worry about. Due out on November 21st, the game (previewed here) is unlikely to reach the same giddy heights of stardom as the last two GTA titles, but captured the attention of the media earlier this year with its shocking premise and curious gameplay ideas. We'll let you know how it's shaping up just as soon as Rockstar strips away the layers of presidential security and releases it into the wild.

Elsewhere, the publisher aims to consolidate sales of both GTA3 and Vice City by relaunching its two most successful titles as a Double Pack - and introducing them to the Xbox format, which should happen sometime next month. It will be interesting to see how they're received by an Xbox press generally hostile to overdue PS2 ports.