Rockstar Games: the kings of hype. Say what you will about the company's (often
excellent) games, but there are few better firms out there at getting people excited
in the run-up to launch. Part of that is down to the quality of past games, but a lot
of it is down to each trailer being stuffed with clues, featuring an excellent
selection of soundtracks, and boasting a level of production values rarely seen
of GTA trailers now here, the VideoGamer.com crew get all misty-eyed and
take a look back at the trailers for the previous three games in the main series;
what they showed and more importantly what they told us about the games in
GTA III may have arrived at retail with the minimum of fuss, but there was no
chance of the same happening for Vice City. The hype for this was just as high as
it is for GTA V, and released just a year after GTA III, Rockstar had to show what
Much like the trailer for GTA V, Vice's sun-burnished look was immediately at odds
with the grey scale palette of its predecessor. And, like GTA V, Vice's trailer
focused on the fun and the ridiculous. Motorbikes! Helicopters! Licenced pop tunes!
Hawaiian shirts! Scarface: The Videogame, before that was actually a thing!
Essentially a trailer for the popular perception of the actual 1980s itself, this tease
demonstrated just how much Rockstar had moved on in under a year.
Compare and contrast one of the earlier GTA III trailers, such as
this one, with Vice
and it's obvious which direction the sequel was going in. III had hardly been the
most serious game in the world (despite the allusions in the trailers), but it was
Vice that introduced some of the elements that would become hallmarks of the
series. High profile tunes (A Flock Of Seagulls' 'I Ran (So Far Away) features here)
earmarked GTA as a series with an unusual - for videogames, at least - sense of
style and place. Essentially, anyone who saw this and didn't freak out was already
Exchanging the east coast for the west and changing angles from gangsters to
gangstas, San Andreas was quite possibly the most anticipated game of the
decade. And considering it came out in the same year as Halo 2 and Half-Life 2,
that's saying something.
Again, Rockstar didn't disappoint with its marketing. According to our super serious
research (asking around the office), San Andreas' 'Welcome to the Jungle' trailer is
the most memorable of them all.
It's not hard to see why. Again, Rockstar picks its song well: one of Guns 'n' Roses'
biggest tunes gives the trailer a harder edge than the poppy, sun-lounger drive-by
Vice equivalent, while also referencing Los Santos' reputation. The sheer scale of
the game is also front and centre. Previous trailers had focused on the cars, but
San Andreas was all about the aircraft. Private jets are among the many planes on
display, showing various quick cuts of different planes cruising over diverse
elements of the world (inluding downtown LS, the San Fierro bridge and the Las
Venturas strip). It wasn't all high flying however: the shots of gang members riding
bicycles, police corruption and CJ fighting for his life nicely contrasted to the glitz
and glamour. And you could swim!
Yeah, the Philip Glass-scored debut trailer was an intriguing, moody first glimpse
and the most straight-laced of the recent GTA games, but it's the excellent TV ad
that really sticks in the memory.
There's something very cool about watching Niko Bellic striding towards the camera,
following his journey from fresh off the boat to sharp-suited death dealer and back
again. It's the editing that makes this; Niko's environment changing behind him not
only in tune to the actions of the populace but also the excellent backing track,
LCD Soundsystem's 'Get Innocuous'.
It was also a great chance to see what GTA IV would be like at 'street level', and
the grubby, cold, grey feeling to Liberty City that informs the final game is present