GTA V special and collector’s editions revealed

Rockstar Games has revealed the two booty-filled editions that will accompany the standard edition of GTA V in September.

Revealed via an announcement on the Rockstar Games Newswire, GTA V will be available in a Special Edition and glitzy Collector’s Edition – both of which are available for pre-order from today.

The content-heavy editions will include the following (as revealed on the Rockstar website):

“The Grand Theft Auto V Special Edition includes:

  • Full retail copy of Grand Theft Auto V
  • Collectible SteelBook with Exclusive Artwork – This special SteelBook features double-sided, never-before-seen artwork of Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Custom color and metallic treatments bring out the detail of the artwork created exclusively for this SteelBook.
  • Blueprint Map – This exclusive, additional 21.5” x 26.75” map displays a blueprint view of Los Santos and Blaine County. Cryptic markings indicate locations for fast cash and other points of interest for the up-and-coming entrepreneur.
  • Special Ability Boost – Michael, Franklin and Trevor each have a unique special ability. With this boost, the special ability bar will generate 25% faster.
  • Stunt Plane Trials – Single player Stunt Plane Trials let you take on additional aerial challenges spread throughout Los Santos and Blaine County.
  • Bonus Outfits, Tattoos and More – Michael, Franklin and Trevor get bonus outfits in their wardrobes, character specific tattoos at tattoo parlors, and special deals from shopkeepers across Los Santos and Blaine County.
  • Additional Weapons – When visiting Ammunation stores in single player, merchants will have special weapons in their inventory available for free: the Pistol .50, Bullpup Shotgun and melee Hammer.”
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Behold, the Collector’s Edition cometh!

The Collector’s Edition, however, will feature the following (again, as presented on the Rockstar Newswire):

“The Grand Theft Auto V Collector’s Edition includes all the contents of Grand Theft Auto V Special Edition as described above plus:

Grand Theft Auto V Security Deposit Bag with Logo Key – Inspired by the heists in Grand Theft Auto V, this custom 10.75” x 8.5” money bag features a pop-up style lock and laser cut logo key to secure important items. The reverse side features a pressed Rockstar Games logo on the security mount with a framed ID window.

Grand Theft Auto V New Era 9FIFTY™ Snapback Cap – This exclusive New Era 9FIFTY™ cap features an embroidered Los Santos logo on the front, a stitched, black Rockstar Games logo on the wearer’s left side, a Grand Theft Auto ‘V’ logo applique on the opposite side, and snapback closure for an adjustable fit.

Custom Characters for Grand Theft Auto Online – Get classic Grand Theft Auto characters to use within the Grand Theft Auto Online Character Creation System.

Unique Vehicles and Garage Property – Players will instantly receive a garage to store custom vehicles. In single player, the garage will be stocked with the 1930’s style Hotknife hotrod and the CarbonRS sports bike. In Grand Theft Auto Online, players will get the high-end Khamelion electric car.”

The Collector’s Edition will also come in a nifty black box that’s “foil embossed” with a “matte, scuff-resistant film lamination”. Who says Rockstar don’t know how to party, ah?

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Blimp. Blimp. BLIIIIIIMP!!!

And, for those that pre-order GTA V (including the Special, Collector’s and standard retail editions), you’ll get access to the Atomic Blimp vehicle as well. Rockstar also confirmed that any pre-orders made prior to this announcement will also receive access to the blimp vehicle.

Grand Theft Auto V will release worldwide on September 17. You can pre-order your copy of GTA V via the Rockstar website, but expect retailers to have their own links (no doubt with additional exclusive content) up in due time. Looking for more GTA goodness? Check out our recent Late to the Party | GTA IV.

Gaming History 101 | Rockstar Games – Part One

Today we take a look at the history of one of gamings most revered developers, Rockstar Games. From humble beginnings in the music industry to a standard of gaming quality few can match, Rockstar has expanded into eight separate studios and a library of high-scoring and, more importantly, high-quality titles. Welcome, ladies and gents, to Gaming History 101.

Perhaps the title of this article is a little misleading. This is less a history of Rockstar Games, but more a history of two like-minded brothers. A history of their venture into gaming and the mantra that has flowed through every game that’s left their studios (yes, and that includes Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis).

Music, hip-hop and philosophy

rockstar gamesIt all starts with Dan and Sam Houser, two English boys with dreams of making it big the world of music video production. It was the early-nineties, and Dan and Sam, with their love of hip-hop and it’s philosophies on self-expression, got a ticket to the big time when they scored jobs at music label BMG in London.

But for all their hopes and dreams of carving out a career in the music biz, something just didn’t click and the Houser bros started to look elsewhere for that elusive creative spark. And despite no experience in programming, that spark led them to the burgeoning world of games.

The land of Irn Bru and shortbread

rockstar gamesIn 1993, BMG made something of a bold move and created BMG Interactive, a new wing of the company dedicated to creating them there computer games. It was a gutsy move indeed, but the gaming industry was an ever-expanding beast, and the advent of 3D was in full-ascendance.

Stepping into practically unknown territory, BMG looked to anyone that could bring a new and exciting take on the humble game. Disillusioned with the reality of working in music, Dan and Sam jumped at the chance to pour their creative potential into something new and unknown.

rockstar gamesBMG Interactive will hardly be remembered for changing the landscape of games in those early days, but games like Courier Crisis and Fire & Klawd showed a desire to break away from the strict tropes of game design and rewrite the strict rules of the industry. “It’s in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing,” commented Dan in a interview with Famitsu (translated by 1UP) in 2011. “You have to have originality in your games; you have to have some kind of interesting message. You could say that the goalpoint of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we’re trying to do”.

To kickstart it’s gaming portfolio, BMG signed a design partnership in 1995 with Edinburgh-based developer DMA Design, a dev famous for their black-humoured puzzler Lemmings. And despite being whisked off to Scotland to work with their new Scottish partners, Dan and Sam discovered the talent pool that would lead them to their career-defining game: Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto vs The Daily Mail

rockstar gamesReleased in 1998 on PC and the PlayStation, Grand Theft Auto wasn’t exactly a runaway success, but it stood as a fundamental departure from the game design mantras of the previous decade. Grand Theft Auto didn’t have much a story either; it simply dropped you into a top-down viewed-world and let you decide your own path in a living, breathing world. Such freedom might seem commonplace now, but in 1998 such an anti-linear experience was mind-blowing.

rockstar gamesGrand Theft Auto was also violent, really violent. It was no more violent than something like Doom, but it’s ‘real-world’ setting of Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas was enough to get some serious fingers waving. The Daily Mail discovered an overnight hate for games and called for it to be banned. That ban never came, but Grand Theft Auto had taken the first step of stripping away the sugarcoated reputation games had gained within the mainstream media.

That same year, aspiring US-based publisher Take-Two saw Grand Theft Auto as the perfect fit for it’s focus on a darker, more adult direction for its output. Take-Two bought BMG Interactive from BMG, shipped it over to New York and, just like that, Rockstar Games was born.

Hey, hey I wanna be a Rockstar (apologies for the Nickelback reference)

rockstar gameWith their new venture alive and kicking, Dan, Sam and their fellow founding members Terry Donovan, Jamie King and Gary Foreman reached back to DMA Design in the hopes of making the next Grand Theft Auto bigger, better and well, ballsier. Grand Theft Auto 2 arrived in 1999, and while it was no great leap from the first game, the quality of production from DMA and the creative direction of the Houser bros was there for all to see.

Grand Theft Auto 2 also introduced a fictional gang warfare system, where helping one group would lead other gangs to jump you if you entered their territory. And, just like the first game, you could go on Kill Frenzies and run over as many lines of Harry Krishna as your heart could contend with. The live-action intro (later re-dubbed GTA: The Movie) even had Scott Maslen from Eastenders! East-enders! Big time, people, big time.

rockstar gamesGrand Theft Auto 2 sold respectably and it received a mixture of reviews that swayed towards the positive, but Dan and Sam were already looking to do more than just create a game in the same engine. They didn’t just want to create ‘okay’ games like the Midnight Club series; they wanted to take the rule book, blow it to its base atoms, then reconstruct it in a way no one could see coming.

And in 2001, they did just that. That was the year that Rockstar Games gave light to the revolution starter that was Grand Theft Auto 3. That was the year that s**t got real…

Later this week, we’ll be finishing up our history of Rockstar Games with the ever-expanding saga of GTA, the second coming of Red Dead and some mind-destroying sales figures. For more GTA news and general games-related tom-foolery, follow us on Twitter @infiniterobots. Keep it Infinite!

Max Payne 3 ships 4 million copies

Publisher Take-Two reports a drop in their losses for the financial year that ended in March 2013, with Max Payne 3 leading the way in sales.

max payne 3The Rockstar developed threequel was named by Take-Two as one of their biggest successes of 2012, with shipments of Max Payne 3 reaching 3 million in the first week of it’s release.

BioShock Infinite has also proven a money-maker for Take-Two, with a reported 3.7 million units shipped since it’s release in March of this year. Sales of the season pass for any upcoming DLC have also been strong.

Take-Two will be looking to 2013 as successful as the previous year with Grand Theft Auto V set for global release on 17 September 2013.

Late to the party | GTA IV

Welcome to Late to the Party, a new feature where one of our writers takes a trip down memory lane to experience a game for the first time. Can a game stand up without the hype and fanfare of its release? This week, content editor Dom dives into the world of GTA IV.

So yeah, as the title suggests, I’m a little late to this party. Back in 2008, when everyone was literally frothing at the unmentionables about Rockstar’s new Grand Theft Auto game, I couldn’t be less bothered. I hadn’t played the game, but a mixture of abject poverty (read: university) and a general aversion to the ‘in thing’ led my attention elsewhere.

Going mental with a rocket launcher

Like a lot of gamers, I remember a certain game or franchise for a sense of fun that’s easily lost these days of cinematic visuals and blockbuster budgets. I used to play GTA 3 or Vice City for hours after a mission, smashing into a traffic jam at top speed or turning on the all weapons cheat and seeing how long I could survive (for ages, by the way).

gta iv
Another normal day in a normal city.

But something about the new GTA felt far removed from that sense of cartoon-ish lunacy. GTA had moved on, and I hadn’t. Of course, Saints Row came along and filled that gap, but we’ve all got an almost subconscious loyalty to certain brands that lead us to judge them even harsher than others.

Boom goes the dynamite

And then it just clicked. Just like that.

Suddenly I GOT what Rockstar were trying to do. GTA IV is a game that’s just as much about a sense of reserve as it is a sense of destructive madness. It’s a game with a desire to retain its sense of style and character. Giving Nico a rocket launcher from the off would have been fun, but his (and your) journey would have been robbed of its much-needed tension.

gta iv
Helicopters are stupid fun, especially in multiplayer.

In Sleeping Dogs and Wheelman you can lean out of your car mid-chase and shoot the tires of a pursing police car, sending the hapless copper into a death spiral. Those games do have their tough moments, but too much power ultimately robbed them of any true sense of presence within a hierarchy. The player was king, almost from the off. In GTA IV you start out with nothing; you start out AS nothing. You get a pistol and a few rubbish cars. The areas you start in are murky and beaten-down, as are the people who inhabit its streets.

A sense of style, a sense of restraint

Then you get your first glimpse of Algonquin, with it’s New York style neon signs and bustling atmosphere. The constrictive streets are gone in place of grandeur and verticality. It’s a masterful sense of breathing space that signals a change in the games direction. Suddenly all the grimy darkness of those first five or six hours makes a great deal of sense.

The sense of restrain that Rockstar use in GTA IV really hit me after a few hours playtime. I’d just chased down and spared a NPC in one of the many mini-choices you’re given throughout the game. With a call made the mission was over; job done. Thing was, the chase had been across some night-time rooftops, leaping across buildings here and there. Only now I was stuck on a roof. I was almost going to leap off, thinking “Hey, I’ll just pull my parachute before I hit the ground”. Then I realised I didn’t have a parachute and a grappling gun. I had a pistol and a questionable Eastern European accent. It was an odd eye opener that only served to draw me further into the realm of Liberty City.

gta iv
Just look at the atmosphere! Just look!

An emotional response

I didn’t think I’d care about the characters of GTA IV either. I’ve never had that much of an emotional attachment to any of the characters of from previous Grand Theft Auto games (but on the other hand, I absolutely loved the characters in Red Dead Redemption and Bully). But something about the grey-scale of the GTA IV cast touched a nerve.

Case in point: later on in the game you have to choose between killing two characters. Let’s call them P & D. P wants D dead because he thinks his old mentor wants his territory back. D wants P dead because he knows the young upstart doesn’t want the ex-con stealing his share of the pie. When it came down to making the choice I simply rolled up to the nearest one of the two and did what needed to be done. Turns out it was D. D lived in a squalid multi-storey, unlike Ps plush studio apartment. When I kicked the door in and starting firing my shotgun, there wasn’t an army of gang bangers flying at me. Nope, just one guy was there to back up D. He didn’t have an assault rifle or a shotgun. He had a baseball bat. So I just blew him away with a single shot. When I found D cowering in his kitchen he wasn’t firing a pistol at my head, he was shaking in the corner, the words “What are you doing, son?” tumbling from his mouth as I ended his role in the game.

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Shady, maybe even a little illegal, but beautiful.

I instantly regretted my decision. I wanted to go back and replay my actions but the game had already autosaved. The decision had been made, D was dead. It was a eye-opening revelation. This game, this five-year old game from another era in this generation, had managed to get to me in a way few other games do.

Still rolling in Liberty City

The longer I spend in Liberty City, the more I can see the nuances you only find if you delve deep enough into the world the devs have crafted. Mail boxes that explode with letters if you hit them, phone apps that let you identify the song on the radio you like the sound of. While GTA IV doesn’t quite have the sense of wild grandeur that Red Dead Redemption does, it’s charming in a way that’s neither over-bearing or needy. Liberty City feels like the kind of place that would keep turning, even if you weren’t there.

And now, as I blaze my way out the Bank of Liberty, a bag of cash strapped to my back and an assault rifle roaring in my hands, I realise I’m in GTA IV for the long haul. Damn you Rockstar, it took you five years, but you got me in the end. Now, bring on San Andreas.

Dom writes words about them there vidja gaymez. You can follow him on Twitter, if you’re that way inclined, @furianreseigh. Check out the recent three part character trailer for the next installment in the GTA franchise, GTA V! 

New GTA V character trailer

We all know Rockstar like to drip-feed their audiences, but as if to soothe the wound of having GTA V delayed until September (from it’s original release date this month), the Grand Theft Auto devs have released three separate character trailers for the price of one.

As reported previously, GTA V will follow the black-humoured journey of three different main characters. There’s Michael the family man come mobster, the gang-banger-with-dreams-of-a-better-life Franklin and all-round mental case Trevor.

Paint us excited…
Paint us excited…

It’s not clear yet how these stories will be presented, but the trailer shows the there will be distinct crossovers across each ‘campaign’. It’s also nice to see Rockstar shooting for a more realistic presentation – a la Max Payne 3.

Check out all the GTA V goodness below and let us know what you think in the comment section.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City comes to mobile

The date was October 29th 2002 and building on the huge success of Grand Theft Auto 3, Rockstar release Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Pushing the ground breaking sandbox world into the vibrant and much loved 80’s. It was a match made in heaven and it was the closet you could come to being Tony Montana.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, Rockstar will be releasing the game on a wide range of  iOS and Android devices on December 6th. (Complete list below) It will set you back £2.99 on iOS and £3.72 on Android and in my opinion that is a steal for a very underrated version of the franchise.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Love Fist

This 10th Anniversary Edition brings the full experience of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to mobile devices, with native high-resolution graphics and several enhancements unique to the iOS and Android platforms including updated character models and lighting effects, new and more precise firing and targeting options, a fully customizable control layout and native support for Retina display devices.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Sonny

Apple iOS Devices: iPad, iPhone 4, 4S & 5, iPod touch 4th & 5th Generation

Android Phones: Motorola Razr, Razr Maxx, Razr Maxx HD, Motorola Atrix, Motorola Photon, Motorola Droid Bionic, HTC Rezound, HTC One X, HTC One S, HTC Evo 3D, HTC Sensation, HTC Droid Incredible 2, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Note 1 & 2, Samsung S2, Samsung Galaxy R, Sony Xperia Play, Sony Xperia S, P, T & TL, Sony Walkman Z Series Media Player, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus 4

Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, LG Optimus Pad, Medion Lifetab, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 / 10.1, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tablet P, Toshiba Thrive, HTC Flyer, Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10

Furian Fridays | Are video games respecting adult themes or just cheapening them?

The credits on Spec Ops The Line have started to roll, and I collapse back into the sofa with an audible sigh of relief. Not that I didn’t enjoy the game, it’s more the fact the subject matter Spec Ops The Line follows is so brutally dark. Whilst my notes will soon form into a review on the very site you’re sat on at this very moment, right now I’m emotionally exhausted.

Continue reading Furian Fridays | Are video games respecting adult themes or just cheapening them?