Over three years after it was first mentioned at Microsoft's E3 2006 press event, the final Xbox 360-exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV episode has been fully revealed. Today, Rockstar Games released the first trailer for the Ballad of Gay Tony, due out October 29 as both an Xbox Live download and part of the compilation Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.
Episodes from Liberty City will also include the first GTAIV episode, the grungy biker-gang saga The Lost and Damned. The Ballad of Gay Tony will take a more glamorous tack than its predecessor, profiling the right-hand man, Luis Lopez, of Liberty City's biggest night-club impresario, Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince. The trailer also shows a packed dance floor and Prince talking about owning the "hottest gay and straight clubs" in Liberty City.
However, it's the action of the Ballad of Gay Tony that is most eye-catching. Rockstar has apparently decided to end GTAIV with the sort of over-the-top action featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Lopez is seen climbing the equivalent of the Empire State Building while being chased by four military helicopters. In another scene, San Andreas' skydiving makes a return, with Lopez using a parachute to quickly exit another helicopter. In another, an attack helicopter tears up a street with rocket fire.
Today also saw some new Ballad of Gay Tony details surface via an article in USA Today. Apparently, an increasingly unstable Prince has developed a drug addiction, and Lopez must help him quickly earn money to pay off a mountain of debt. As a result, Lopez rises higher in Liberty City's social circles, in which he finds as many problems as he did at the street level.
One mission briefly glimpsed in the trailer has Lopez unhitching a subway car so a rich collector can take it away--with a helicopter crane. According to Rockstar cofounder Dan Houser, who was the Ballad of Gay Tony's lead writer, such scenes are meant to be the grand finale of the GTAIV story arc, which began with a penniless immigrant committing small-time crime.
"We definitely wanted it to feel more like the way action films are when they get ridiculous," Houser told USA Today. "Suddenly you're lifting up train cars with helicopters and it looks amazing and ridiculous, and after what you've gone through in the past, you're like, 'Wow, this is a really good payoff for completing this journey.' "