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That was the news – Week 14, 2008: Seven days in Liberty City news, the week GTA IV hype hit top gear


The last week in games news was dominated by one game and one game only.

Yes, Relic announced Dawn of War II, and yes, it looks great. It looks as though another Thief's on the way, and that's fine. Even news that journalists had been to Konami Japan and finished MGS4 just bounced off the surface.

In the grand scheme of things, it was all filler. Nothing came close to GTA IV's impending release as an attention generator, nor will it for the foreseeable future.

Last week, GTA IV cemented its place as the most hyped videogame in history. Since last Monday - as we entered April and the title's launch month - the news merry-go-round and the gaggle that follow it have been talking about little else.

Monday was just ridiculous. The game was rated an 18 by the BBFC, was rumoured for DS and was shown in shots to be running in multiplayer for the first time, screens which were swiftly removed.

IGN also posted a 9,000-word interview with Dan Houser on Monday, just in case people had forgotten April was GTA IV month, which marked, by our reckoning, the longest piece written on GTA up to that point. How fragile that record proved to be.

It was just the beginning of a week in which hype surrounding the game seemed to reach more epic proportions every day. The scene was set for GTA hysteria. Even mentioning the acronym now causes a netplosion.

Grand Theft oughtta

Normally middling stories about polls, such as one on IGN which asked readers whether they'd be buying the game on 360 or PS3, achieved top billing on all the major blogs as the faithful on aggregators like N4G tore it to shreds.

Tuesday wasn't over for GTA, though. Janco analyst Mike Hickey weighed in with his sales predictions for the game, saying it could sell 5.8 million in its first week, backing up a previous 6 million figure from Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter.

Wednesday brought news that BBFC rating information had revealed just under eight hours of cut-scenes in the title.

In more movie-related news, it transpired that the much-publicised final trailer for the game actually wasn't, as a promo reel for GameStop encouraging pre-orders hit the web. Again, even a new glimpse of the title was seen as a major event.

GTA Word World War

There was only one big GTA IV story on Thursday, but it was a cracker. CVG is to return to the newsstands, said Future, in the form of a new series called CVG Presents. The first edition, all 180 pages of it, was to be fully focused on the GTA series. IGN suitably humbled, left sitting at home staring at the pieces of its broken word count, the GTA news machine rolled on.

Friday brought the depressing inevitability that the game would be cut for Australia, as well as stratospheric sales news.

Hudson Square analyst Daniel Ernst said that in his opinion GTA IV would hit 13 million sales this year. That's big beans.

Pachter immediately shot back that he thought such a figure was possible but unlikely.

If the game does hit that sort of level this year that it would likely give it the crown of biggest game of this console generation, and almost certainly put it passed San Andreas (12 million approx) and Vice City (18 million approx) in terms of complete sales.

It wasn't over. On Saturday, purportedly the world's first GTA IV review hit the web, only to be removed post haste. Interest surrounding the piece, which was almost certainly written by someone that has never even played the game, was huge. All that was left of the piece on Sunday morning was the message, “This site has been removed at the advice of legal council.” If you look now, there's just a note saying the piece had been pulled and that "Rockstar is awesome". You betcha.

Houser 'bout that?

It's only going to get worse (better?). Even this Morning, Pachter was seen on GTTV saying that EA would have an "economic incentive" to delay the game if it took over Take-Two in time.

But who cares? It's news gold. And if things pan out as almost everyone thinks they will, we're now staring down the barrel of this generation's defining gun. Again. Didn't think the Housers could do it? From the look of things, Sam and Dan are about to show videogaming what "doing it" really means, and GTA IV alone is going to set the tone for this entire hardware cycle. Jolly exciting, isn't it?

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