"We are so excited to be releasing Grand Theft Auto IV," said Rockstar Games founder, Sam Houser, today. Not as excited as we are to finally be playing it, Sammy boy.
29 April is the day now set in stone for worldwide release, after last October's original release date came and went. That was all down to "one or two" issues with the PS3 version. Contractual obligations meant the ready-and-waiting Xbox 360 game couldn't come out ahead of it, hence the wait.
Exciting new features to look forward to as you guide Niko through his life of crime are refined drive-by shooting controls and more 'realistic' police responses. Now civilians can report your criminal behaviour and police will only look for you in the area the crime was reported, so if you can hot-foot it out of there quick enough without being spotted you'll be laughing all the way to your next mission.
There's also no diving into a spray shop to cleanse your wanted status. New tricks include changing your threads, swapping cars and the good ol' running into a house and fleeing out the back door.
Jacking cars just got a whole lot harder too. You'll have to break the window and hotwire stationary motors, rather than just yanking the door open and setting off, and drivers you wrench from the wheel will put up more of a fight. Oh, and now the boot can be used for stashing bodies, firearms, shopping – that sort of thing.
You'll also get a mobile which can be used for, among other things, pinpointing bad guys. Just call their number if they're in a crowd and wait for their phone to ring. Cunning.
There was lots more besides demoed today, including getting drunk (be prepared for some serious Blair Witch camera shake) and the fact that, for once, other random citizens of Liberty City can find themselves in police chases, giving you a rest for a while.
Pre orders are being taken now. Form an orderly line behind us, please.
Grand Theft Auto IV
On sale: 29 April (pre-order now)
Contact: Rockstar Games