On January 31st, Rockstar Games announced GTA V was pushed back to September 17th. Since then, Rockstar had nothing more to show or say. Almost 2 months have passed and Rockstar won’t show anything, what does it mean?
To understand it, we can have a look at what Rockstar Games has done in the past for GTA IV. The game release was announced at E3 2007 for October 16th, that would have been 4 months later. GTA IV got released on April 29 2008. 6 months late.
Trailer 1: “Things Will Be Different”
Released on March 29, 2007 at 22:00 UTC. At the time the trailer was released, Rockstar’s servers for the trailer’s official website became almost immediately overloaded.
Trailer 2: “Looking For That Special Someone”
Released on June 28, 2007 at 17:00 UTC.
Trailer 3: “Move Up, Ladies”
Released on December 06, 2007 at 21:00 UTC.
Trailer 4: “Good Lord, What Are You Doing?” AKA “Everyone’s a Rat”
Released on March 27, 2008 at 22:00 UTC.
Box art unveiling
On November 28 2007, a video was released, labelled “Official Box Art Unveiling”.
On February 08 2008, Rockstar Games released five teaser trailers for Grand Theft Auto IV.
- Vlad Glebov: The first teaser shows the character Vladimir Glebov.
- Manny Escuela: The second teaser is about character Manny Escuela.
- Roman Bellic: The third teaser is about character Roman Bellic.
- Whiz Wireless: The fourth teaser is about wireless communication Whiz.
- Steinway Beer Garden: The fifth teaser is about a bar called The Steinway Beer Garden.
On February 21 2008, two further teasers were released.
- Dilettante Hybrid: The sixth teaser is about a new car called the Karin Dilettante – a hybrid vehicle based on the Toyota Prius.
- Phil Bell: The seventh teaser is about the character Phil Bell.
On March 07 2008, another two teasers were released.
- Packie McReary: The eighth teaser shows the character Patrick “Packie” McReary.
- LCPD Recruitment: The ninth teaser is about a policeman Brian O’Toole who describes his job, to recruit more people.
- Gamestop TV Spot: This tenth teaser trailer shows a tour by a Top Celebrity name Jeremy St. Ives about life in Liberty City.
On April 11 2008, two teasers were released.
- Playboy X: The eleventh teaser shows the character Playboy X.
- Liberty City Gun Club: The twelfth teaser is about liquor, guns and fun.
On April 25 2008, a teaser was released.
- Niko Bellic: The thirteenth teaser shows the character Niko Bellic.
On April 04 2008, a commercial was released, showing Niko walking towards the camera in many areas from a prison to an airport. The main purpose of the video is to showcase both the realistic environments and the fluid walking animation of the main character. The video is 0:59 in length, however there is a shorter version that is about 0:30 in length. In Europe, the advert advertises only the Xbox 360 version and not the PlayStation 3 version. It features the typical ‘Xbox Swoosh’ at the end.
WKTT Talk Radio
On July 13 2007, a Liberty City radio station dubbed “WKTT Talk Radio – We Know The Truth” was launched. The teaser site mentions that people can do their part for the War on Terror by calling in and ranting. The phone number listed can be called allowing the caller to leave a voice mail message of their thoughts on what is wrong with their health, the world, America, or themselves personally. Callers are asked to first read the Terms and Conditions before calling which allow Rockstar to use the voice mail message in GTA IV.
In parts of Belgium, wanted posters depicting Niko Bellic and Little Jacob appeared. The posters list specific details of each character, such as the characters’ height, weight, and age. Niko is wanted for questioning in an investigation of a grand theft auto incident and Little Jacob for robbery and firearms possession. Other information revealed within the posters were the names of two streets in the game, Lorimar Street and Wordite Street; a possible way of car-jacking within the game via assaulting the driver with a baseball bat and a possible, unofficially released character within the game, “Detective Moeller”. Rockstar Games has indicated that these promotion posters were accidentally released and therefore unofficial. However, besides being released on the game’s main website, these posters were later sent to numerous GTA fansites as parts of exclusive press kits referred to as ‘Hidden Packages’.
On February 08 2008, Rockstar Games relaunched the official Grand Theft Auto IV website with previously unseen content from the game.
The site introduces itself with a view of the Liberty City skyline and “Welcome to Liberty City” followed by numerous slogans, for example “Come and visit! You’ll be desperate to leave” and “The American dream? It’s time to wake up.”
The main content is split into three sections: People and Places, Recreation and Entertainment, and Goods and Services. The new website features new teaser trailers and several images of in-game characters and locations, as well as a basic outline of the map of Liberty City. There are several advertisements for in-game products and services including a dating site, a mobile phone company, and the return of the drink, Sprunk, which was also featured in the previous game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Within these in-game advertisements are downloads for wallpapers, buddy icons, and MySpace layouts. There is also a mini-game and a personality quiz. In addition, six of the eighteen in-game radio stations can currently be previewed.
On April 11 2008, the “multiplayer” section of the website was updated with details on different multiplayer functions available.
Grand Theft Auto IV: Special Edition
Grand Theft Auto IV: Special Edition was announced on May 21 2007 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.
What did we learn?
Rockstar Games is amazing from a marketing point of view. They have good teasers, good viral marketing, commercials and work with fansites.
The only thing we have got for GTA V until now is 2 teasers and something around 75 screenshots. While the marketing for GTA IV started with the first teaser on March 27th 2007, it really only began with the website re-launch on February 8th 2008. Not even 3 months before the game finally released. When Rockstar Games really started though, you would get something new every second week.
Rockstar Games didn’t even start marketing on GTA V. Of course, there was 2 trailers and some press review, but as we’ve seen Rockstar makes things big, especially going viral at some point.
In the light of the past, we can expect to see much more soon starting with the box art reveal around mid-April, if Rockstar uses the same strategy as before.