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The voice of GTAIV's Roman is broke, rent him

Those keeping up on Grand Theft Auto IV (that's all of you, right?) will remember that a few weeks ago Michael Hollick, best known as the voice of Niko Bellic in GTAIV, was covered by the New York Times in an article pointing out that the actor will receive no residuals or royalties of any kind for his performance. It's important to note that he doesn't point the finger at Rockstar but rather the Screen Actors Guild, which does not have specific rules regarding electronic performances.

While Hollick may have landed the New York Times, Jason Zumwalt, the voice of Niko's cousin Roman, has turned to YouTube. Where it could be argued that Hollick's approach to the matter had a certain degree of tact, Zumwalt's approach is a bit ... different. Essentially, he's asking gamers to "Rent Roman." It's all a little hard to explain. Maybe you should just watch the video. Find it after the break (NSFW thanks to some salty language).

Continue reading The voice of GTAIV's Roman is broke, rent him

Zero Punctuation visits Liberty City

Yahtzee's latest Zero Punctuation review this week is none other than everyone's favorite crime simulator, Grand Theft Auto IV. While he (of course) does his best to pick the game's fault apart one by one, Yahtzee still comes across as actually liking the game. Fans of ZP will know that this is high praise indeed (though we imagine it will still spark nasty, hate-filled emails from GTA fanboys). As for the negatives, the review makes note of wonky driving, escort missions, and the constant need to entertain Niko's friends. Beyond such criticisms though, the review deigns to call Grand Theft Auto IV "really good." Find the review embedded after the break.

[Thanks, webster1990]

Continue reading Zero Punctuation visits Liberty City

UK GTAIV first week sales: 926,000 copies

Hey, remember those ridiculously high Grand Theft Auto IV sales estimates Chart-Track provided for the UK? It looks like they weren't ridiculously high enough, as the final numbers have now been released. Sales for the first week of GTAIV availability in the UK reached a whopping 926,000 copies (approximately) with 631,000 being sold on the first day, handily topping the original day one estimate of 609,000. Of the 926,000 copies sold during the first week, 514,000 were for Xbox 360 with the remaining 413,000 going to the Playstation 3.

The game also managed to drive console sales, raising Xbox 360 sales by 125 percent and PS3 sales by 127 percent from the previous week. Perhaps most impressive of all, in its first week of sales GTAIV has already surpassed all but the top three UK titles of 2007 (FIFA 08, Brain Training, and Call of Duty 4). Just to clarify, that's one week sales versus total sales for 2007. One last statistic: GTAIV is now the record holder for one week sales for a multiplatform game in the UK.


[Via Joystiq]

Note: You may have noticed that 413,000 and 514,000 don't add up to 926,000. We're guessing that the numbers are the result of rounding one way or another.

GTAIV carjacks top spot on Xbox Live

Well that didn't take long. Major Nelson has posted the most recent Xbox Live activity top ten. As predicted, Grand Theft Auto IV has (appropriately) stolen the top spot from Call of Duty 4. It would be interesting to find out the percentage of players playing multiplayer versus those that are sticking to the single-player campaign. Regardless, given the amount of content there is to discover in GTAIV, it's likely that it will remain at number one for quite some time. The question now is what game has the power to knock it down. The only thing that comes to mind is (Game of the Year 2008) Ninja Gaiden II. As much as we know Ryu could probably take Niko one-on-one, we're not sure his game has the strength to topple GTAIV.

[Thanks, marklar]

Greenberg: GTAIV could steal top Live spot

Is it all that surprising? Xbox 360 director of product management (and all around snappy dresser) Aaron Greenberg told Reuters that it wouldn't be surprising to see Grand Theft Auto IV snag the top position on Xbox Live. While most Xbox Live gamers know that shooters like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3 are generally the major competitors for the number one slot on Xbox Live, Greenberg said of GTAIV, "The multiplayer in this game is so well implemented that I can't imagine anyone owning a copy without trying to play it on Xbox Live." Greenberg is probably right about that. After all, he forecasts (correctly, we'd guess) that GTAIV will be the highest selling game of 2008, so there will certainly be plenty of players ready to go online. The question is whether or not players will continue to play once they've given multiplayer a try.

Will GTAIV take the top spot? We're going to go out on a limb and say yes. Will it stay? We'll have to wait and see.

[Via Joystiq]

Behold: the GTAIV Special Edition unboxing

We realize that many, many Grand Theft Auto fans have already perused the contents of their shiny, new Special Editions of Grand Theft Auto IV -- which includes an actual safety deposit box, among other things -- but there are also plenty of gamers out there who opted to grab the vanilla edition instead. It is with this in mind that we point you to 360Sync's unboxing of the Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition (it's the Canadian version -- note the "Édition spéciale"). Grab your smoking jacket, pour the Courvoisier, and savor the images.

Joystiq Network poll: GTAIV causing problems?

Amidst reports that Grand Theft Auto IV is causing problems for owners of both the 360 and PS3 version, we'd like to poll our community on the subject. Most reports claim that the game freezes, forcing players to restart the game (reports also suggest that models other than the 60GB PS3 are not affected). Thus far, only one X3F blogger (me) has encountered any issues. When attempting to retry a mission, said blogger was greeted with an unending loading screen and forced to shut off the console.

We've set up a network wide poll that will be shared among Joystiq, PS3 Fanboy, and Xbox 360 Fanboy to get an idea of how widespread the problem is. Let us know if you've had any issues and don't forget to detail your problems in the comments.

Are you having problems with Grand Theft Auto IV?
Yes, and I use the Xbox 360
Yes, and I use the 60GB PS3
Yes, and I use the non-60GB PS3 (please specify in comments)
No problem (Xbox 360)
No problem (60GB PS3)
No problem (non-60GB PS3; please specify in comments)
Don't own the game, I just felt compelled to click something

GTAIV broke UK sales record says Chart-Track

According to Chart-Track (as reported by, Grand Theft Auto IV has handily shattered UK game sales records in several categories. First of all, the game broke overall first day sales records, with a whopping 609,000 copies sold. This tops the previous record held by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which sold 501,000 on its first day in 2004. Regarding specific consoles, GTAIV's first day sales reached 335,000 units on Xbox 360, breaking the previous record of 266,000 units held by Halo 3. First day sales on PS3 hit 274,000, trouncing the previous record of 80,000 units held by Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. For the moment, the figures remain estimates and they may change once Chart-Track combs through the numbers on May 6. Expect official numbers then.

[Via Joystiq]

Small Wait Auto: GTAIV Wal-Mart launch recap (Tulsa, OK)

Click to embiggen

Apart from the one guy standing behind me, the image above represents the entirety of the crowd that was on hand for the midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto IV at the Woodland Hills Wal-Mart in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That's all of them. Seriously, there's no one hidden off camera (apart from behind-me-guy mentioned above). There is no line extending down the DVD isle. What you see is it. I've been to midnight launches before, and I can tell you that this was by far the smoothest one I've had to endure. Compared to the hours I had to wait in line for Halo 3 last year (in addition to the time I spent once the line actually started moving), Wal-Mart was nothing. I was literally standing at a register at midnight, and I was back in my car, game in hand, by 12:07.

Wal-Mart's plans for the GTAIV launch were leaked earlier this month, proclaiming that the chain wanted to be the "Fastest way to play GTA IV." While it seems to be more out of coincidence than actual planning, my Wal-Mart certainly proved to be quick. After the break, I've compiled some of the reasons to consider Wal-Mart for your next midnight launch.

Continue reading Small Wait Auto: GTAIV Wal-Mart launch recap (Tulsa, OK)

GTAIV midnight launch: where will you be?

So, Grand Theft Auto IV officially launches tonight at midnight (perhaps you've heard). For many gamers, this means standing in line at they're local retailer, whether it be Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or GameStop, or elsewhere. Standing in line, generally speaking, isn't the most entertaining of activities. We suggest you bring a book, a portable gaming system, rations, and perhaps a chair. Should those things fail you, you may be forced to talk to someone. It's a tricky prospect, we know. How about this then, why not leave a comment on this post, proclaiming loudly and proudly where you'll be picking up your copy. Who knows, maybe a fellow fanboy from your neck of the woods will leave a similar comment. Perhaps you will meet said fanboy and become gaming friends forever.

Or, you know, you could just leave the comment to pass the time while you wait for midnight to arrive. Your call.

Shipping this week: good luck Iron Man edition

Remember when an analysts predicted that the release of Grand Theft Auto IV could derail the ticket sales of the Iron Man movie that releases this week? While the idea that big video game launches hindering movie releases is nothing new -- they said the same thing about Halo 3 -- we have one more prediction to make about the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV: it's going to put a serious damper on sales of the Iron Man video game. You see, they both come out this week. Sure, a game might steal money from a film, but a big game will definitely steal money from a smaller game. They will be competing for the same shelf space after all.

Well, competing might be too kind a word.

[Via Joystiq]

Wal-Mart's GTAIV launch plans revealed

Joystiq reports that Wal-Mart's intranet -- known as 'The Wire' -- now contains the über store's employee guide for the Grand Theft Auto IV launch next week. The plans note that Wal-Mart plans to position itself as the easiest and fastest way to procure GTAIV. Specifically, Wal-Mart plans to play this image up by having plenty of copies in stock for the midnight launch at 24-hour stores and utilizing dedicated checkout lines for the game. Frankly, we think they're onto something, and we think anyone who has ever heard the dreaded words "did you pre-order?" when trying to procure a game elsewhere will agree. Oh, and the plans make it pretty clear that employees are not to sell the game prior to April 29, so don't go looking for the street date to be broken. Check out the gallery below for images of Wal-Mart's entire launch guide.

Gallery: Wal-Mart GTA IV plans

Watch the UK's slick GTAIV ad

It looks like Microsoft is putting its massive pile of GTAIV marketing money to good use. The latest advertisement out of the UK does two things very well. One, it introduces gamers to Niko, the game's protagonist. Niko is visible for the entirety of the commercial and it's pretty clear that he is both large and in charge. Two, it showcases the variety of locations and interactions that can be had in Liberty City. Lots of people, interesting architecture, and of course, explosions, serve to highlight just what gamers can expect. Oh, and let's not forget the carjacking. It sits right at the end of the commercial, as if to say "yeah, GTA is back."

So, can we have it now? Because we'd really like to stop talking about it and start playing it.

[Via Joystiq]

Eurogamer takes GTAIV for a spin

As the impending release of Grand Theft Auto IV draws closer, the relative media content begins to pour out more steadily. One of the latest outlets to contribute to the growing stream of coverage is Eurogamer, which has laid down a three page preview of the game. The preview covers a lot but the overall focus is that Grand Theft Auto IV does everything its predecessors have done while reminding you that this is a new-gen GTA and it comes with new-gen perks. For instance, character models are now capable of much more detailed expressions that weren't possible in previous iterations. As Eurogamer puts it, "Niko and his fellow citizens have facial muscles that betray their reactions, can look each other in the eye, speak to one another with moving lips, take one another by the hand - and twist arms."

The preview also lauds the game for details such as its use of Euphoria to generate procedural stumbling animations when Niko is drunk. The preview concludes by noting that GTAIV's many features and details would be considered "back-of-the-box material" in most games, but are such a natural part of GTAIV that the game's demonstrators neglected to mention them.

The preview is really a good read and, at the very least, it will help you pass a few minutes between now and April 29.

GTAIV sales: it's the attach rate, stupid!

Not to be outdone by the Pach-attack, UBS analyst Ben Schachter has his own Grand Theft Auto IV predictions to lay down. Schachter is keen to point out that one cannot measure the success of GTAIV by comparing its sales to previous iterations of the game, the reason being that there just aren't as Xbox 360s and PS3s in people's homes as there were Playstation 2s and Xboxes back in the heyday of the series. The key then, according to Schachter, is to measure the number of copies sold versus the number of consoles out there. In other words, GTAIV's success will be a measure of its attach rate.

Said attach rate could hover around or over 30% (representing 7-8 million copies) should GTAIV's metacritic average remain above 95% (which is looking good so far). He notes that an attach rate higher than 26% "would beat expectations." Assuming the game reaches the mark of 8 million copies sold, we're talking around $480 million in sales. And that's before you factor in Europe, which Schachter believew "could do similar numbers."

Schachter concludes his remarks by noting that a potential delay caused by an (in his view inevitable) EA acquisition of Take Two is "extremely unlikely," so all you worriers out there can rest easy.

[Via Joystiq]

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