Grand Theft Auto IV: The Trailering

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The Grand Theft Auto IV trailer is here.

So yeah: it’s set in New York City (here at Time we’re trained from birth, like Spartans, to add the word “City” after every mention of New York, capital C, to distinguish it from the State), and in the present day (there are some up-to-the-minute jokes in the billboards). Looks like we’ve got some post-Soviet Russian Gangster action, too. There’s a grim, heavy, gloomy, almost operatic vibe, very different from the sun-splashed 80′s camp of Vice City. Interesting.

Obviously Rockstar is spinning this as an “event” game, which I’m reasonably happy to go along with. I’ve written and spoken a lot of admiring things about the GTA franchise, and meant them: the violence and sex doesn’t really faze me, and I think it’s genuinely advanced video games as a storytelling medium. And plus now they’ve updated the engine, it doesn’t even look like crap anymore. (Though I wonder, now that the people look like people and not Tinker Toys and Easter Island statues, whether the violence will start to faze me a bit.)

1UP has some first impressions of the trailer here. And here’s a sharp-eyed list of 10 things you didn’t see when you watched it. They caught–which I didn’t–that the music is from Philip Glass’s very pretty score for the art-house stonerfest Koyaanisqatsi. So cultured, those CVGers.

Oh, and further reading: Wired has a great piece on the seedy, pulpy story of Rockstar and Take Two, the companies behind the GTA series, written by the brilliant David Kushner. If you haven’t picked up his book Masters of Doom, about the early days of id Software, well, it’s really really good. (Kushner’s piece is doubly timely because Take Two’s shareholders just ousted the company’s board…)

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