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Grand Theft Auto IV

Perspective Studios logoLong Island Business News has posted a feature on Perspective Studios. While the name might not sound familiar to you, there's an excellent chance that you've seen Perspective's work. This is the company Rockstar Games used for motion capture in Grand Theft Auto IV. According to the LIBN, Perspective has an "exclusive contract with Rockstar Games." In addition to work on GTA IV, the company has worked on Manhunt 2, Uncharted and more.

With all the fornicating and prostitute beating that's possible in GTAIV, I'm sure many of you wonder what happens in Perspective's mo-cap sessions. To answer the burning question that's on everyone's mind, studio director Rich Nelson said:

"We’ve done sex. Simulated, of course."

I was looking for a *wink* *wink* or a *nudge* *nudge* in the article, but didn't see any. I guess what happens in a mo-cap session stays in a mo-cap session.

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The parent group Common Sense Media has reviewed Grand Theft Auto IV: Lost and Damned (X-Play Review: 5/5) in possibly the most well-informed review from a parent group that I've ever seen.

Also, their tagline is awesome: "Full-frontal male nudity shocks in hefty expansion with mature themes."

Apart from that, the review admits that the game is good and worth checking out if you're old enough to play mature games. Despite the reviewer's recommendation that the game "should be kept away -- far away -- from children," you can tell that he actually played the game and put some thought into his review.

I wish all of the reviews out of outlets like this were as informed and honest. Most of them tend to only focus on what they don't approve of and show extremely limited knowledge about the game. But then again, the purpose of those reviews is to shock and scare... not inform.

Looking at the author's other reviews, I can quickly see that he isn't giving bad scores to mature games just because they are mature.

Kudos to you, Common Sense Media.

Source (via Kotaku)

Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

It appears that one of the cinematics in the new Grand Theft Auto IV expansion pack, The Lost and Damned, features a little surprise -- a penis shaped surprise.

Considering that Rockstar is infamous for their shock-and-awe style of video game development -- especially in the Grand Theft Auto franchise (Hot Coffee anyone? Delicious!) -- the gratuitous inclusion of the manhammer is not completely out of the blue.

However, you're probably wondering how they managed to slip in a little wee-wee. Apparently, the cash and prizes appears in a scene where its main character, Johnny Klebbitz goes to see Congressman Thomas Stubbs who is getting a "massage"  at a private gentleman's club. When the two enter the steam room to talk privately, Stubbs gets comfortable and shows his flaccid baby poker.

My, my, my...how the tables have turned! For years, we girls have been forced to consume endless bouncy polygons, carefully and lovingly crafted by animators into the shape of female chesticles. All of a sudden, a little virtual man log is put out into the world and everyone's got their controllers in a bunch.

Well, I say, "Good show!" I can't wait for my dose of computer generated boy parts! As a salute to feminism and the new order, I really don't think Rockstar should stop here. I smell a video game revolution on the horizon. Now, I want to see dong in Table Tennis darn it!

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MTV has uncovered some details on the radio stations that will be featured in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned. In addition to the new story and gameplay elements the Xbox 360 expansion offers, The Lost and Damned will have new DJs, songs, and musicians. MTV reported:

"Hip-hop station the Beat 102.7 is gaining a new show of popular hip-hop DJed by Funkmaster Flex and headlined by two new Busta Rhymes tracks. One of them, 'The Conglomerate,' features Young Jeezy and Jadakiss. The Beat is also getting a show DJed by Statik Selektah, featuring all hip-hop recorded and mixed specifically for GTA. One of the headliners there is Freeway, who told MTV News that Selektah asked him to get into the game. Liberty City Hardcore is gaining a new death-metal show DJed by Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Soulfly fame. Among the artists featured will be Bathory. Liberty Rock Radio 97.8 is getting new rock songs, with Iggy Pop returning as the DJ. Radio Broker, the indie-rock station DJed by Juliette Lewis, is also getting new music." 

It's impressive that Rockstar took the time and spent the money to give The Lost and Damned its own unique soundtrack. Acquiring new songs and recording VO for celebrities is not cheap. When you consider that all this effort and money was for downloadable content, it's even more noteworthy.

Any tracks or DJs interest you?

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One of the coolest features of Grand Theft Auto IV was the ability to instantly purchase music you heard in the game without leaving Liberty City. The upcoming "Lost and Damned" DLC will offer the same feature, but with a vital change: The tunes won't be coming from Amazon's music service. Instead, they'll be coming from Apple's iTunes.

Although Rockstar Games hasn't publicly announced the reason for the change, it's probably because iTunes is a more widely adopted service than Amazon's. One of the reasons Rockstar chose Amazon had to do with the company offering MP3s that were not "locked" with Digital Rights Management.

Now that iTunes is doing away with the DRM, it's not a problem. Since iTunes is used by a lot more people than Amazon's service, more people are likely to buy music, so Rockstar and the artists will make more money. Basically, everyone is happy -- except Amazon, of course.

I download through iTunes, so I'm pretty psyched... but I didn't use the song downloader when I played through GTA IV. How about you?

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Think Services has announced the finalists for the Game Developers Choice Awards. The awards take place in March during the company's Game Developers Conference. The company's press release noted that, "Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet leads the nominees for the awards with seven nominations, including the coveted Game of the Year award; Number None’s Braid follows closely with five nominations.  Other nominees for that category include Fallout 3  and Left 4 Dead, which each received a total of four award nominations, Rockstar North’s Grand Theft Auto IV, which earned a total of three nominations, and Lionhead Studios’ Fable 2."

And the nominees are:

Game of the Year
Fable 2 (Lionhead Studios)
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
Left 4 Dead (Valve Software)
Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar North)

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The first of two long awaited Xbox 360 exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV episode packs, GTA IV: The Lost and Damned comes down the digital pipe on February 17th. I got my hands on the upcoming expansion at Rockstar’s downtown New York office and delved into the world of Johnny Klebitz.

GTA IV devotees will remember Klebitz as a biker -- the second-in-command of The Lost motorcycle gang from the "Blow Your Cover" mission. I never got that far, so Klebitz was new to me. Rockstar did its best to make playing the episode a completely new experience for gamers. It re-skinned the user interface to look a little grittier, threw a new filter on the camera to make everything a little darker, and created roughly 20 hours of exclusive new gameplay including new cut scenes, voice work and even new banter on Liberty City’s radio stations. And yes, there are exclusive guns. Rockstar threw in five new weapons reminiscent of the arsenal found in the Terminator flicks (pipe bomb, sawed off shotgun, combat shotgun, machine pistol and grenade launcher).

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According to combined sales data from GfK, ChartTrack, Enterbrain and the NPD Group, the worldwide best-selling video game in 2008 was Mario Kart Wii! Nintendo cleaned up in the charts: A full three of the top five games were from the Japanese company, proving that Universal appeal trumps hardcore gamer opinion. Here's the rest of the best-seller list:

1) Mario Kart Wii: This cart-racing, banana-dropping simulator sold 8.94 million units, five million in the US, 2 million in Japan and 1.94 million in the the U.K.

2) Wii Fit: This fitness game and yoga simulator sold sold 8.31 million copies, total: 4.55 million in the US, 2.15 million in Japan and 1.61 million in England.

3) GTA IV: 7.29 million people bought this open world crime simulator, mostly in the U.S. 5.18m were shifted in the States, and 1.85 sold in the UK. Only 256,000 customers picked the title up in Japan.

4) Super Smash Bros Brawl: Sold 6.32 million overall. 4.17 million came in the US, with 1.75 million in Japan and 404,000 in the UK.

5) Call Of Duty: World At War: The Activision first-person-shooter sold 5.89 million games overall, with 4.46 million in the US and 1.43 million in the UK. The title was not released in Japan.

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Rockstar Games has provided RockstarWatch with achievment information and a new screen shot for "The Lost and Damned" downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV. The expansion is set to hit Xbox Live on February 17, 2009. The achievments are:

  • Get Good Wood – 50 – In the Bike Races, whack off 69 bikers with a bat.
  • Easy Rider – 100 – Finish The Story
  • Full Chat – 70 – Your backup are riding at their best!
  • The Lost Boy – 25 – All hail the leader of The Lost!
  • One Percenter – 5 – Billy is back on his bike.

Last time I checked with you gentleman and ladies, the reaction for "The Lost and Damned" was mixed. Some of you were amped for it, while others moved on the newer games and had left GTA IV behind. Now that the DLC is less than a month away from release, how do you feel? Psyched for it? Or do you just not care at this point.

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Microsoft's Captain Marketing Major Nelson has posted stats on last week's Xbox Live activity. Included in the mix are the top Xbox Live titles based on unique users and the top Xbox Live Arcade games based on full purchases. Nelson has started listing the top Community Games, also based on full purchases, which adds some interesting information for those of you that follow the space. Here are the lists!

Top Xbox Live Games (Based on Unique Users)
1 CoD: World at War
2 Halo 3
3 Call of Duty 4
4 Gears of War 2
5 Left 4 Dead
6 GTA IV
7 Fable II
8 Skate 2 Demo
9 Guitar Hero World Tour
10 FIFA 09

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Yesterday, a six-year old boy stole his parents' car after missing his school bus. The ingenious lad was determined not to be late for school and figured breaking several laws was a fair exchange (I'm sure that makes sense for children ages 6 to...I don't know, 48). When questioned, the boy said he was able to pull off his heist through knowledge he gained from video games. According to The Associated Press:

"The boy, whose name wasn't released, missed the bus, took the keys to his family's 2005 Ford Taurus and drove nearly six miles toward school while his mother was asleep, police said. He made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off the rural two-lane road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole about a mile and a half from school. The boy told police he learned to drive playing Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam video games."

The boy and his four-year old brother are currently in protective custody. There are a few takeaways here. The boy's hand-eye coordination must be pretty advanced for his age; while he didn't make it to the finish line, I'm totally impressed that he made it six miles. He's also very lucky that he wasn't seriously injured. Lastly, the parents should be in hot water for neglecting their kid, but they should also be dinged for letting a six-year old play an M-rated game. Unfortunately, someone out there is going to use this as an excuse to attack the "evils of gaming", but a youngster playing Grand Theft Auto?!? That's just bad parenting.

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Microsoft's Captain Marketing Major Nelson has released a trio of "top 20" lists for the year of 2008. The categories are top Xbox 360 Live titles (based on unique users), top Xbox Live Arcade games (based on full purchases), and the top (original) Xbox Live (based on unique users). Here are the lists!

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles

  1. Halo 3
  2. Call of Duty 4
  3. GTA IV
  4. Gears of War 2
  5. Gears of War
  6. CoD: World at War
  7. Guitar Hero III
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
  9. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo
  10. Rock Band
  11. Fable II
  12. Mirror's Edge Demo
  13. Madden NFL 09
  14. BF: Bad Company
  15. Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  16. UNO
  17. Castle Crashers
  18. COD: World at War Multiplayer Beta
  19. Forza Motorsport 2
  20. Too Human -- Demo

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X-Play's 2009 Preview Show

mdalonzo
71 Comments

Posted December 23, 2008 - By Mike D'Alonzo

UPDATE: Witness the future, today.
X-PLAY's 2009 Preview Show videos are now live! 

Tonight on X-Play, we're not content to wait until January 1st to tell you what games you should be looking forward to in 2009. Nope, we're already on it, and you're going to be happy that we are, as X-Play's 2009 Preview Show gives you all the games you need to know about for next year from A to Z(ombie), as well as a discussion with representatives of both 1up and IGN to find out what they think is worthwhile in the next year, as well.

It's going to be informative, so you might want to take notes. Just sit back, relax, and get ready for the first look at what is sure to be a landmark year in gaming...2009!

The Nintendo DS version of the violent and successful GTA franchise, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, has been given a North American release date of March 17th, 2009. "Rockstar Leeds have once again created a game that far exceeds our standard for deep and innovative entertainment," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "We are incredibly excited to share this enormous and uncompromising Grand Theft Auto experience with DS fans."

The press release quotes Edge Magazine as saying that Rockstar rebuilt "Liberty City from the ground up on DS - and not compromising its vision one iota." Sounds great, but is that really possible on a console with limited power such as the Nintendo DS? Obviously, one can't judge a GTA game until you get your hands on it, so we'll reserve such judgment until next spring. What do you think? Will you be one of the first in line to purchase a copy and take Liberty City on the road?

The upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV will be released on February 17, 2009 so you'll have to make due with this trailer until then.

Titled, The Lost and Damned, the pack will tell the story of The Lost, a biker gang in Liberty City.

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned Trailer »


I've got to admit, I'm pretty excited about this pack, provided that my $20 buys me a lengthy gameplay experience. I'm not shelling out that much for a few hours of gameplay. Rockstar claimed that GTA IV was 100 hours and that was $60 so I'm expecting about 30 hours in this pack, cool?

What do you think about this pack? Pumped?

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