A couple of weeks ago, Take-2 trademarked “City Stories” sending GTA fans into a mild flurry as imaginations huffed and puffed their hopes to heights beyond probability, if only for a day. Trademarks come and go all the time, and the most surprising thing about City Stories is that it wasn’t already trademarked. Rockstar did release GTA Vice City Stories and GTA Liberty City Stories to the PSP years ago, starting a sub-story to help further connect devotees to the greater GTA universe.
Whether GTA: City Stories is indeed the specific name of an upcoming game or not, what should be less of a surprise is that Rockstar would look to make a standalone GTA experience for iOS. Could GTA: City Stories be an iOS game? If not, we should still anticipate a GTA game for iOS in the near future.
Because GTA likes to sleep around. Eventually a GTA game makes its way through various ports onto every conceivable format with the power to run it. It may takes years, but Rockstar knows the GTA brand will always find an audience on any format it lands on - its reputation extends well beyond the divides of casual and hardcore; social and indie.
However, don’t let that fool you into thinking Rockstar takes the formats themselves lightly. Say what you will about the industry giant and its games, but you can’t deny the effort and determination it puts into pushing the boundaries of what a machine can deliver from a technical perspective and for that first foray – prior to any ports - that means creating a bespoke experience. Whether that is open-worlds on 32-bit machines, persistent online worlds on 64-bit machines, motion-based Table Tennis on the Wii or top-down touchscreen fun on the DS, Rockstar has a habit of going in hard on a successful format with a unique GTA entry.
Surely the booming tablets are on Rockstar’s radar. Not for a port, but for a standalone experience. One purpose built to capitalise on the ecosystem and the interface in a way that makes sense to the GTA brand. Over the last year and half the iPad’s stock as a genuine gaming device has grown and there is an install-base there that would not only be aware of (and hungry for) GTA, but it’s an audience well beyond the combined might of the next-gen consoles and handhelds.
The iPad totally deserves its own GTA experience. Ports of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas (yes -the full, massive game!) already exist on the format, already showing Rockstar’s faith in the format as a distribution platform. And since we launched Grab It six months ago, we’ve been stunned not only by the number of quality, console-like experiences that have come through our doors (République, The Shadow Sun, Oceanhorn, etc.), but by the number of triple-A console developers that have either quit their teams or refocussed them on the iPad and indie scenes. Epic Games, Crytek, Blizzard, Eidos, Remedy, Criterion, Irrational Games, Lionhead and Sony Santa Monica, just to name a few.
Whether you welcome the rise of tablets or give in to hate, developers like what it can deliver in its distribution method, power and install-base. So while you wait, why not check out the GTA ports already available on iOS (they’re listed below) – it will whet your appetite for City Stories, or whatever it ends up being called, when it hits a tablet near you, sometime after my imagination has huffed and puffed itself out.
- GTA III
- GTA: Vice City
- GTA: San Andreas
- The Shadow Sun
While You're Over At The App Store - Have You Collected All The Grab It Episodes?
- Episode 1 - With The Making of République (*free sample issue)
- Episode 2 - With The Making of Oceanhorn
- Episode 3 - With The Making of Monument Valley
- Episode 4 - With The Making of Last Inua
- Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection