Whispers of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PS2

By David Rasmussen, 7th May 06
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When it comes to games that will lure people into wasting (throwing away) $250 for a PSP ($315 if you are talking about the PSP bundle pack at Costco, which presently features NBA Live 06 and SOCOM : Fire Team Bravo) one of the best player magnets to the PSP is it’s version of the mega popular Grand Theft Auto series, mainly Grand Theft Auto : Liberty City Stories.
However if you are a PS2 owner and do NOT plan on wasting $250-$315 on a PSP then you have, to date, been out of luck when it came to releases like Liberty City Stories… until now.
Take Two, who presently owns GTA’s creators Rockstar Games, apparently isn’t giong to wait for more people to be “lured” into buying a PSP by taking their heavy hitter from the PSP (Liberty City Stories) and shopping it over to the PS2 this coming June… maybe.

Originally slated for a 2nd Quarter release (ending in a few days), the game was pushed back to June 2006 as it’s latest release date to date for it‘s PS2 version. Yeah, you’d think that this would be a major vote of disconfidence in the PSP if they’re pushing a PS2 version at this date (kind of like the vote of disconfidence in the GameCube when CAPCOM (within a year) was pushing out a PS2 version of Resident Evil 4).
Still I wouldn’t call this a complete vote of disconfidence, because it’s not like they aren’t planning a new GTA for the PSP (which they are). Still, I guess it is abit of a disconfidence vote since I personally wouldn’t have any personal confidence in such an overpriced glitch rumored handheld like the PSP.

If you have been following the word on the release, however, you might have had a few “?” come

up over your head about it, especially in the “logic” behind the delays and what is happening with the release in terms of the price they‘re going to be charging you for it.

First off there are a few strange stories about the delay in the release which seems to make no sense.
For instance in April word had it that the PS2 version of Liberty City Stories was going to be held back because the publisher wanted to release it’s XBox360 game “Table Tennis” before then… say what? Table Tennis? You want to hold back on a surefire fan favorite like GTA : Liberty City Stories for a possible underwhelming game title like XBox360’s Table Tennis? Are you serious?
That game, PS, is due at the end of May (26th) which I guess makes sense in regard to the rumored plans to have Liberty City Stories hit in June, but still… who can fathom the logic behind holding back a surefire cash cow money maker (start pulling on the udders to bring forth the cash) for a thing like, of all things, Table Tennis. If someone sees the logic in thoughts like that let me know.

Another strangeness is it’s release time and price.
It seems that, to date, Grand Theft Auto games has usually been associated with Santa & Christmas, with each previous version rolling out into the stores at the start of November near the fabled Holiday season (where lots of people will be snagging up copies for the Christmas rush).
Also the games have never been known for having a bargain price on new releases, with GTA games always going out for the most you can get for a PS2 game, aka $50, without fail. This, by the way, is what was charged for it on it’s PSP release, $50, for

comparison’s sake.

So then WHY is this version, Liberty City Stories, breaking the mold twice over by not only coming out at the start of the summer with a present (possibly due to change) date of June 6th, and at a steal no less with a price tag of $20 - $30 (with the European version coming 3 days later at a bit of a higher tag at 30 euros or 20 GBP (aka $37 to $35 respectively)?! What is with that!
Mind you I have no personal qualms over paying out less from my pocket for a new version of GTA, but still it seems abit off if you ask me (given the GTA history to date). Then again maybe this is not as much of a mystery if you think about it… think.
Yes, this is NOT the debut of the game like the last GTA PS2 game San Andreas, but Liberty City Stories might as well be a premiere since I can’t imagine much GTA devotees out there have had a chance to play this (mostly since it was to date an exclusive on an expensive handheld that a few people own)!
Seems to me TakeTwo/Rockstar want to widen exposure for GTA : Liberty City Stories, and want to get it out to as many people as possible. The best way to do that, obviously, is either to drop the price of the PSP in order to make it available to a wider demographic of players, or to port it to the widely owned PS2 console. Obviously the latter was chosen over the harder to accomplish (or pull off) former.

That is good news for PS2 fans, but not so good for PSP fans.
Yeah, I know, if you are a PSP owner you’re hopping mad now.
I mean you had to dish

out the full $50 for your copy, but now you’re looking like a chump because Rockstar is shipping this to PS2 owners (like me) at a marked down price which means we get the same game at a nice steal at $20-$30! And, lest we forget, we get to have the game play as it should since we have that second analog stick on our controller which you didn’t have on that PSP!
Still PSP players shouldn’t be too put out by this turn of events because the next GTA game will be an exclusive PSP release, which should make up for the benefits we PS2 owners are getting on LCS.

As for Liberty City Stories? At this early stage of the game there isn’t much going for me in terms of what the PS2 version will be like, HOWEVER since it IS selling for $20 to $30 I’m going to guess that Liberty City Stories is going to be a straight PSP to PS2 port with little or no bells or whistles thrown in for PS2 players (past the fact that the controls now take into account the return of the second analog stick that was not available on the PSP version). Don’t quote me since I have as little information as you do, but it seems likely since (for a hot anticipated game) I can see no other reason they would take this virtual portable crack of an addictive handheld video game and give it to you at such a cutrate price.
But this is only a whisper. In over a month we’ll have the good word on the release, and a first look, so keep an eye open and I’ll have more for you soon on this as we roll into June and it’s rumored releases.

By David Rasmussen, 7th May 06

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