After weeks of anticipation, the trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV has premiered on the game's official Web site. The preview, which can also be downloaded below, offers millions their first glimpse of the eagerly awaited game--and some clues about its setting and characters.
At first glance, the trailer, titled "Things Will Be Different," shows what appears to be New York City. Landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge are all clearly shown in vivid detail, thanks to the new RAGE graphics engine, which was previously used in Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis.
However, the devil is in the details, and a closer look at the trailer appears to indicate that it is set in a totally revamped version of Liberty City. A ship registered to Liberty City is shown docked at a wharf. A derelict "Liberty Ferry" is shown, as is a skyscraper with the logo "Liberteen" in front of it. During a shot of a Times Square-like plaza, a sign for the Liberty Tree newspaper can be seen, as can a small banner that appears to say "Welcome to Liberty City."
When questioned by GameSpot, a Rockstar rep played coy. "We would like to let the trailer speak for itself," he said. "However, we can confirm that all footage in the trailer 'Things Will Be Different' was captured directly from 720p gameplay running real time in our RAGE engine on a next-gen gaming console." The latter comments make it unclear if the trailer is for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version of the game.
One thing that is clearly present in "Things Will Be Different" is the series' traditional wicked humor. Re-creations of various landmarks had parody names, including the MetLife Building, which sports a giant "GetaLife" logo. The Times Square replica contains a movie poster for the fictional film I Slept With Your Mom and a billboard for Top Hooker, an apparent parody of reality show America's Next Top Model. The trailer also shows that several faux brands from San Andreas will return, including Sprunk, Cluckin' Bell Chicken, and BurgerShot.
The trailer closes by introducing what could be Grand Theft Auto IV's protagonist. A swarthy man with short black hair and a beard is shown in close-up looking around. "Life is complicated," a voice-over says with a pronounced accent, possibly Eastern European. "I've killed people, smuggled people, sold people," the voice continues, "perhaps, here things will be different." Given the series' signature violence, that prospect appears unlikely.
Grand Theft Auto IV ships in the US on October 16 and in Europe on October 19, and has not yet been rated.