What does the American Dream mean today? For Niko Bellic, fresh off the boat from Europe, it is the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, the gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves, and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them and a living nightmare for those who don't.”
— Official Description
Grand Theft Auto IV (also known as GTA IV or GTA 4) is the eleventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series and the first game in the HD Universe of the series.
Development of Grand Theft Auto IV began soon after the release of San Andreas and was shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide. The game introduced a shift to a more realistic and detailed style and tone for the series. Unlike previous entries, Grand Theft Auto IV lacked a strong cinematic influence, as the team attempted an original approach to the story. As part of their research for the open world, the development team conducted extensive field research in New York, capturing over 100,000 photographs and several hours of video. The developers considered the world to be the most important element of the game; though not the largest map in the series, they considered it comparable in scope due to its verticality and level of detail. The budget climbed to over US$100 million, making it one of the most expensive video games to develop.
The game was developed by Rockstar North and was published and released by Rockstar Games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were released worldwide to widespread hype on April 29, 2008. GTA IV has subsequently been awarded the Gaming World Record of the Most Successful Entertainment Launch of All Time, and has received numerous other awards and accolades. The PC version was released on December 3, 2008. GTA IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City were released for Xbox One via backwards compatibility on February 9
Grand Theft Auto IV is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. It is possible to have several active missions running at one time, as some require players to wait for further instructions or events. Outside of missions, players can freely roam the game's open world and complete optional side missions. Composed of the fictional city of Liberty City, the world is larger in area than most earlier Grand Theft Auto series entries. At the beginning of the game, players can only explore the first island—composed of Dukes and Broker—with all other islands unlocking as the story progresses.
Players use melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies, and may run, jump, swim or use vehicles to navigate the game's world. There is a first-person perspective option when using vehicles. In combat, auto-aim and a cover system can be used as assistance against enemies. Should players take damage, their health meter can be fully regenerated by eating, using medical kits, or calling for paramedics. If players commit crimes, the game's law enforcement agencies may respond as indicated by a "wanted" meter in the head-up display (HUD). On the meter, the displayed stars indicate the current wanted level (for example, at the maximum six-star level, efforts by law enforcement to incapacitate players become very aggressive). Law enforcement officers will search for players who leave the wanted vicinity. The wanted meter enters a cool-down mode and eventually recedes when players are hidden from the officers' line of sight.