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GTA IV: Episodes from Liberty City Interview

Exclusive: Rockstar North on its impossible trinity

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Johnny's realization that his leader Billy Grey may not have the gang's best interests at heart sets up the conflict that drives the entire episode. And we always knew that we would explore Liberty City's highlife, and Luis' entire back story was created to give us maximal opportunity cover everything we wanted, from paparazzi and clubland to serious, explosive action.

If there really are thousands of stories to tell in Liberty City, why choose these three in particular?

Sarwar: There is a gameplay and story arc that begins with Niko, an immigrant who arrives in Liberty City with nothing, and we introduce the world through his eyes. Liberty City is brand new to him and the game reflects that.

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Johnny Klebbitz and The Lost Motorcycle Club are residents of Liberty City, but they're also outlaws, which allowed us to tell a very different tale while introducing some amazing bikes, some new gang-based gameplay mechanics and some extremely violent and cool race missions, among other things.

The Ballad of Gay Tony explores exactly the same world, but it's a vastly different place to the world where Niko spends most of his time. Johnny is an outcast, yet Luis spends his time with VIP's and celebrities. Where Niko initially struggles to find weapons, Luis has access to whatever he wants.

The tone shifts from gritty realism through to an over-the-top, chaotic and colourful conclusion. This makes sense from both the stories we intended to tell within the city, and the gameplay elements we wanted to introduce with each episode. The stories themselves bind together to give an impression of Liberty City as we intended: a massive, sprawling metropolis full of activity and life.

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