This isn't an April Fool's gag. The next installment of Grand Theft Auto is on its way, and like The Lost and Damned and Chinatown Wars, it's still set in the massive world of GTA IV. Rockstar has unleashed a surprise announcement with The Ballad of Gay Tony coming this fall for $19.99, or 1600 Microsoft Points.
The character in focus this time is Luis Lopez, an assistant to Gay Tony, or Tony Prince, Liberty City's premier nightclub entrepreneur. The glitz-addled world could be a little dose of Vice City-style mayhem. According to Rockstar Games founder Sam Houser, expect a "focus on high-end night life." And, according to the press release, expect "uncertainty about who is real and who is fake in a world in which everyone has a price."
Also announced was the release of both The Lost and Damned and Gay Tony episodes in a single standalone disc-based game called Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City. At $39.99, it will cost the same as both DLC (downloadable content) episodes, plus it will have a physical disc and box, and will not require GTA IV to dig into its seedy pleasures.
Together, those almost add up to a GTA IV sequel. Perhaps this really is the future of game publishing: build a world once and populate it many times over. On a side note, we wonder if this bit of pre-E3 info is a sign of E309 to come. Will the lousy economy equal more DLC and less standalone content? We shall see soon enough.