Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
$19.99 (Xbox Live Download, 1600 Microsoft Points)
$39.99 (Episodes From Liberty City retail disc, includes The Lost And Damned)
ESRB Rating: Mature
All Ballad of Gay Tony Content
What kind of game is it?
It's a standalone expansion to Grand Theft Auto IV, much like its predecessor expansion The Lost and Damned. Many view the GTA series as the epitome of open-world game design, with rich characterization and 3D action that varies between shooting and exploration. It is also possible to steal cars, and then drive them.
Who's the Developer?
The bio on Rockstar Games is worth an entire feature story by itself, but we'll be brief: the New York City-based company was founded in 1998 by a group of developerse, most notable of which are the brothers Dan and Sam Houser. Their three marquee game franchises are Grand Theft Auto, Midnight Club, and Max Payne, while other offerings include Red Dead Revolver/Redemption, The Warriors, Manhunt, and State of Emergency. Besieged by the mainstream media for the "Hot Coffee" incident, Rockstar Games is no stranger to controversy. (You may now hand me the award for "Understatement of the Year.")
What's the story?
"Gay Tony" Prince is the owner and proprietor of Liberty City's finest nightclubs, but on his way to the top of the social pecking order, he made enemies and incurred massive debt. As his bodyguard Luis Lopez, you're in charge of keeping Gay Tony safe and profitable. Explosions, mayhem and death ensue. It's Grand Theft Auto, whaddya want? Expect to see references to GTA IV and its first expansion The Lost and Damned.
What's Episodes From Liberty City?
It's a retail disc that features both The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. It doesn't require the original Grand Theft Auto IV in order to play it, but unfortunately for PS3 owners and PC gamers, it's still exclusive to the Xbox 360.
What'd we say?
Sterling McGarvey reviewed The Ballad of Gay Tony and gave it a score of 5/5:
"Ultimately, the credits genuinely encapsulate the fifty-odd hours I’ve invested in Grand Theft Auto IV over the past 18 months, and I’m confident that fans will feel the same way. Life goes on for these characters -- even if we’re not going to see new tales from the city -- and it’s a rewardingly upbeat celebration of the time you’ve invested in the world. The Ballad of Gay Tony serves as a great send-off for the Liberty City story arc, and provides good structure for Rockstar North’s next foray into the Grand Theft Auto universe."
See it in action: