The Rumors of Liberty City Stories

Yes Grand Theft Auto is known to be full of rumors. Probably the biggest rumor ever in the GTA Series has to be “Bigfoot in San Andreas”. Some rumors sound believable and are sometimes a fact in the final game while others are purely just insane!

Liberty City Stories is no exception. With a game like this rumors are bound to hit the web (and certainly from big media publications). This page is dedicated to just that. On this page you will find all rumors going around pertaining to Liberty City Stories. The main objective of this page is to provide facts, where the rumor started and to prove whether the rumor is in fact true or just a load of spoof.

[LCS Expansion] | [Flight] | [Snow] | [Custom Tracks]

Rumor 1: The Liberty City Stories expansion

The biggest rumor going around since the very early start has to be the Liberty City Stories expansion. Confusion rose all around the web and most people thought it is true that Liberty City Stories will have a bigger map. Mainly because it came from a very well known media publication OPS2 Australia.

Back in June OPS2 Australia published a Liberty City Stories preview in their July issue, which was available to subscribers around the 18th. They too got an exclusive preview at E3 2005 in Los Angeles, just like most popular gaming magazines got. But what made their preview different from the others? Well they claimed that they had the opportunity to pause the game and saw an interesting map in front of them. Let me quote on that piece:

"When LCS was paused briefly we got a chance to take a look at the map of the city. The same 3 sections of the city (Portland, Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale) were all where they should be. However rather than being a self-contained island, the PSP map showed Shoreside Vale to be nearly twice as big as it did in GTA3, with a whole new section of land lying above the other two islands, Predictably R* would not comment on this (and we get the feeling they wish we hadn’t noticed) but it hints very strongly at LCS featuring an environment that expands on the city we knew in GTA3."

-OPS2 Australia, Issue 42 July 2005

Anyone reading that article would believe it is true, being the fact that they state they saw the map. This article left us wondering for weeks to come and what gave us doubt is that no other magazines reported on this increased Shoreside Vale. Until…

A few months later they published yet again another preview for Liberty City Stories.

In late August their September issue was send out to subscribers and yet again they talked about some kind of expansion or increase in Liberty City. I quote:

"You can even stand on the waterfront on the western side of Portland Island and easily make out the detail on the buildings on the eastern side of Staunton Island. We were also able to spot the landmass on the northwest of Portland Island that we hinted at in OPS2#42 [see above] but for now just exactly what it is remains a mystery."

-OPS2 Australia, Issue 45 September 2005

It could be that they weren’t familiar with the Liberty City map from GTA3 and thought that the section of land is entirely new. Where it might have been there all along since 2001’s GTA3. So let’s go to the northwestern part of Portland in GTA3 and see what we can spot over there.

Ah! What is that I see? Some kind of landmass? Maybe this is what the journalists over at OPS2 Australia saw at the northwestern part of Liberty City Stories. All around northwest of Portland that piece of landmass is lying over there. So maybe the only thing we learned from this article is that this piece of uninhabited land will be yet again available in Liberty City Stories. However, the rumor is still there that this piece of land will be accessible in Liberty City Stories, either by bridge or traveling by Ferry or boat.

Current Verdict: Clearly we can’t say for sure. No other magazines said anything about a map increase and the journalists from the Official Playstation 2 Magazine in Australia were the only ones to report about this increased Shoreside Vale. Guess we will just have to wait and see until a copy is in our hands to investigate this mystery.


Rumor 2: Flight in Liberty City Stories

The first signs of flight in 3D Grand Theft Auto were back in the 2001 title Grand Theft Auto 3. In Francis International Airport you will find the Dodo plane. Unfortunately its wings are cutoff and flying it is not very easy. Third party mods for the PC version however made it possible to actually have a nice and steady flight. Later on in GTA: Vice City we were introduced to helicopters in GTA and the skimmer plane which took off from the water and into the air of Vice City. Flight was now a standard in Grand Theft Auto.

But when flight actually got extreme was in GTA: San Andreas that had everything a pilot could dream for. It had several helicopters and a wide variety of airplanes. So what about Liberty City Stories? Will the PSP be able to handle flight being controlled by the player? We already know the police in Liberty City Stories will be able to fly police heli’s and in the mission called “Caught in the act” you will be chased by a heli with agents hanging off the side.

Rockstar were very quiet when magazine publications asked them about it, and in several occasions they even denied it. The first one was back in June inside the Official Playstation2 Magazine in the UK, which was the first preview for the game.

OPS2:" Can we ask about Aerial transport...?"

Dan Houser: "I don't think we have it. Motorbikes are our big thing at this point. That required certain workings on the map, and to do the other stuff [planes] would require more... it would end up..."

Then for some reason Dan stopped his sentence. But what we think he would have said is something similar to what a rep told Eurogamer back in early September.

Eurogamer: Why no flying vehicles?

R*rep: No there aren't any. I would guess it’s just to do with size. To add a whole class of flying vehicles, the whole city needs to look good from half a mile up, etc, etc. I think it's just a space thing.

That was not the only time Rockstar denied flight in the game. So it is not necessarily a technical thing, but rather a “space thing” like the Rockstar rep said.

Current Verdict: No flyable aircrafts. Only the game can control them. The police and in some missions seen flying in the air.


Rumor 3: Snow in Liberty City Stories

Another rumor which is going around is the new weather effect in the GTA world, namely snow. In some magazine previews snow in Liberty City Stories are being talked about. One of them includes the American publication PSM. PSM was the first of all magazine publications to unveil the new weather effect in Liberty City Stories back in late August. When they got to play the first mission in the game “Home Sweet home” the Don's right hand man, Vinnie, takes you (or rather you drive him) to your very own apartment. While they were driving to the apartment they saw the beautiful streets of Liberty City covered in snow. Also in the preview was detailed info on how the snow will affect game play. For instance if the streets are covered in snow, the car will be much harder to control and you will have a better chance of slipping.

So this is not really a rumor anymore, but more of a fact. But what is giving fans disbelieve is the fact that we never saw any screenshots to prove that there is snow in Liberty City Stories. Also from all the online previews we received so far, none of them talked about it when they had their hands-on preview with the game.

Current Verdict: Even though we haven’t seen any screenshots of snow in Liberty City Stories nor heard anything about it in online previews, PSM (which is very reliable) saw it with their own eyes and Rockstar told them how it will affect game play. So we do know that at some time Liberty City Stories did contain snow. If it will be in the final game is still a mystery and we will only know the answer to it when the game is in our hands.


Rumor 4: Custom tracks from the memory stick

Another big rumor is whether we will be able to play custom MP3 tracks from the PSP’s memory stick. The Xbox and PC versions of GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas had this option. Technically it will be possible for Liberty City Stories to have a “user station” that plays MP3’s that is uploaded to the memory stick in the \PSP\MUSIC directory. PSP games like TOCA Race Driver 2 already have this feature. When the Official Playstation 2 Magazine in the UK asked Rockstar about this, they didn’t want to confirm or deny this.

Current Verdict: At the moment we can’t say for sure. It is possible and when rockstar were asked about it they didn’t deny or confirm it. Something to remember is that Rockstar also didn’t want to deny or confirm multiplayer in Liberty City Stories and it later were confirmed to be in the game.

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