You've taken the day off, right? Oh joyous day, it's when Rockstar will finally reveal the trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. Wait, no ... I'm sorry. What I meant to say was:
With only hours to go, there are so many directions Rockstar can take their series that I can't even venture to guess. Actually, screw that -- if Chad can do it, so can I!
[Artwork by Topher "Hushgush" Cantler; I got him drunk at a karaoke bar and tricked him into it.]
What's with the emphasis on IV, Rockstar? Oh, I see where you're going with this -- FORE. OK, now it all makes sense.
Surprising us all, Rockstar will reveal that the latest in their popular franchise is a golf game. But what will set Fore apart from its next-generation golf-petitors is its open world gameplay.
Not limited to the main path, players can hop in a golf cart and terrorize an entire course. But you know what? That’s too narrow in scope. In Fore, you can actually leave the course and go on a murderous, bogey-induced rampage. Using a wide array of clubs to beat up old ladies, children, and police officers will have Jack Thompson, in no time flat, penning irate letters to people who will disregard him.
But in the most surprising twist of all, you can also use your clubs for good. One mission can have you gently helping a cat out of a tree with a nine iron and another has you delivering (in your customizable golf cart) vaccines to sick orphans. This will also having Thompson writing letters to people who don't care about him, because let's face it -- not many people do.
Soundtrack: Oh yeah.
Players start as a single-celled organism, working their way through evolution as they create their personalized, gun-toting life form. Like Spore, as players make the next step in the evolutionary chain, they can add and remove various parts, truly customizing their experience.
You think putting a pair of feet on your head will give you an advantage on that tricky “Pick up the boss' daughter, protect her from the angry thugs who are all voiced by Christopher Walken” mission? Go right ahead, but beware -- some additions may hinder your progress.
The procedural animation found in Maxis’ game makes its way to GTAS, and not having the right limbs in the right places could have you hobbling all over the games fully-realized universe, leaving you vulnerable to gang bangers with five (or more) stingers.
Soundtrack: Brian Eno making whale noises with a straw.
You know the Euphoria animation engine being used in the upcoming next-gen Star Wars title? Back in February, Natural Motion (the cats behind Euphoria) and Rockstar announced a partnership, saying that the technology would be used in future Rockstar titles.
The natural conclusion, of course, is that Rockstar was so impressed by the tech used in the Star Wars games that they had to have it for themselves. Not content with simply taking the technology, what if Rockstar took the entire license?
Enter Grand Theft Auto IV: A
Space was a no go, because that was their other idea.
Soundtrack sample: “Yoda,” Weird Al Yankovich
Forget for a second that “autossey” is not a word; Rockstar has proven they can make almost anything work (a ping pong game? What the f**k?).
Space exploration at its finest, 2001: GTA takes your main character into space to go where no other Rockstar character has gone before. The twist here is that nothing happens. There are no other life forms like you might expect and you won’t even see any futuristic technology (it is 2001, after all).
The game is endorsed by NASA and will do for astronauts what Purr Pals did for cats (that is to say, it makes the experience of being an astronaut insufferably mind-numbing). You travel for hours alone, only occasionally taking the time to do something “interesting” like eating meat flavored gunk out of a toothpaste tube.
Millions of children’s dreams are crushed and parents get angry. Rockstar does it again.
Soundtrack: Composer Alex North’s unused score for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, as interpreted by Fantômas
Rockstar has confirmed that the engine used to power Rockstar Presents Table Tennis (the cleverly titled Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) would be utilized in future next-gen titles. For a Rockstar game, it was uncharacteristically gorgeous, with eerily realistic faces, textures, and more.
But what if Rockstar not only took the tech, but the entire concept to the next level? What if IV took place in an alternate universe in where ping pong is not only an important sport, but a way of life?
Players control Table Tennis’ Liu Ping, as he works his way up the ranks to become the top player in the game’s 3 cities (Ping Pang Qiu, Takkyu, and Taak-gu). Along the way, he stops at nothing to reach his goal, even if that means bludgeoning or decapitating opponents (and police officers, of course) with one of five styles of table tennis blades.
The game features “Doubles Play,” a co-op campaign which two-players can play either online or off.
Soundtrack: The sound of Take-Two’s stock plummeting if they actually released a game like this.