Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a DS exclusive no more; Rockstar Games announced today the touch screen-enabled trip through Liberty City is arriving on PSP later this year. Lower-than-expected sales may have been a primary motivator here, but is moving the game to PSP the right move? Chinatown Wars is not the GTA experience Rockstar has delivered on the platform before -- in fact, prior to Chinatown Wars' release, Rockstar told the press there were specific reasons GTA was different on each platform.
Gordon Hall, founder and president of Chinatown Wars developer Rockstar Leeds, was interviewed by a number of publications, where he discussed the reasons Chinatown Wars looked and felt so different from Rocsktar's previous GTA handheld games.
"The PSP "Stories" games were designed as an exercise in delivering a fully realized GTA experience for the hardware, which we've always felt has been more of a "portable console" in some ways. Their production was no easy task, and we feel we truly broke through the idea of what kind of console-like experiences you can take with you." -- GameSpot
"For the DS, however, we're working with something that feels less-so like a portable console. Thus, the thinking would have to be a bit different behind the design of the game, and since the hardware obviously has some very different capabilities in terms of what it can do, the amount of work that would have to go into building a fully realized GTA experience that could stand up to what we've done on consoles would have to be incredible. This is essentially the reason why we've moved onto DS, it was the challenge that we knew it would be." -- GameSpot
"Everything we created for this game came, first and foremost, from a desire to make a really playable GTA experience on this hardware. The interpretation on the DS may be different than that of the PSP or Xbox 360. For example, we want to tell a fun and emotive story. On the PSP or console versions, we'd get in mo-cap and vocal actors; on the DS, we've gone for the graphic-novel approach, but we still work with the same guys creating the stories, characters, and dialogue, so it's still GTA in spirit. In other areas, having the touch screen has enabled us to push the player's experience further than could ever be done on other hardware. In one mission, you have to make your way up to a rooftop and take a guy out with a sniper rifle. It's so satisfying building the rifle from a suitcase of parts with the touch screen; it rounds off the whole feel of that mission." -- 1UP
Given these comments and the expectations Rockstar's created with previous PSP GTA titles, do you think we'll see them heavily rework Chinatown Wars' presentation to match up?