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Your Questions Answered

by Steven Rodriguez - May 12, 2008, 12:27 am EDT

How big is Grand Theft Auto IV? Most of the questions in this edition of the mailbag are about it. If you've got something else on your mind, you can always ask us!

No doubt you've gotten plenty about this already, but here goes:

Is Nintendo INSANE for launching Mario Kart Wii the same week as Grand Theft Auto IV? Even though the games are aimed at completely different markets, why would they release the (arguably) biggest Wii game this year during the launch of (arguably, again) the biggest game in history?

What gives? Do you think Nintendo acknowledged this and released Mario Kart Wii BECAUSE of GTA IV or are they just not concerned?

- FVDub

Libery City

From Nintendo's point of view, it could care less about Grand Theft Auto IV's concurrent release date. The two games are clearly targeted at different markets; as you said: GTA IV is going after the mature gamer, and Mario Kart Wii is targeting families. There are enough people out there buying games that the two audiences aren't going to tread on the sales of the other. Nintendo knows that. Yeah, GTA IV is a big game. But Mario Kart ain't no slouch, either.

Realistically though, 99% of the media's video game coverage, in the past few weeks, has been highlighting the successes and controversies of GTA IV. An opening week take of $500-million—that's half a billion dollars in less than seven days—is impossible to not notice, no matter who you are. Now, think about Iron Man's opening weekend in the movie theaters. It flirted with a $100-million box office take. Do you know what movie came in second place? Do you even care? In that same vein, Mario Kart kind of got lost in the shuffle a bit, at least in terms of free exposure.

Mario Kart Wii is one of Nintendo's big franchises. The games in the series only come around once every console cycle. It takes something big to push a major Nintendo game out of the limelight. That should tell you something about Grand Theft Auto IV.

Is anybody else afraid that a game like GTAIV is going to dethrone Zelda and Mario as the highest rated games in history? I know I am. A game like GTA doesn't deserve that kind of honor. I've played all of the ones for the PS2, and they all were extremely overrated and in my humble opinion boring. Fight against GTA IV!

- Smithers 2.2

What's there to be "afraid" of? Is it because one of the greatest games ever made (at the moment) isn't on a Nintendo console and not developed by Nintendo? Oh no! The sky is falling! Cats and dogs living together! The end of the world is upon us!

Uhhh ... no.

If you go to a game review collection site like GameRankings or MetaCritic, the thing you're going to see a lot of are 10/10s (or equivalent) from an overwhelming majority of major game publications, including the ones that are traditionally stubborn with handing out their top score. That alone should tell you something about how good the game is.

However, consider that in the current era of game review coverage, a lot more publications are reviewing games nowadays compared to previous generations. I'm looking at GameRankings right now and not only the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of GTA IV are now rated as the first- and second-best games of all time (on the average), it's a full percentage point clear of Ocarina of Time on the N64, with a dozen more publications reviewing it. That is statistically significant. Big time.

I've played a bit of GTA IV, though I don't yet own it. Because of that I'm not in a position to comment on the game's quality directly. But given all the universal praise it's getting, from so many different people, I can't agree with your comment of it not being deserving of the "honor" of being thought of the best-rated game of all time. If it's a groundbreaking game, and everyone agrees it's a groundbreaking game, it deserves everything it gets.

Hey guys, just thought I'd ask. Could any of you hook me up with friend codes. Don't know anyone in particular with a Wii as of right now and could use people on the list. Particularly those from the podcast, since I listen in often. Thanks

- Shaunzy

If you're a member of the Nintendo World Report Forums, you can find a lot of friend codes of NWR readers for just about every kind of online-enabled Wii and Nintendo DS game in our Friend Codes forum. If you look hard enough, you can find friend codes of NWR staffers in there, too! It's free to join, you know!

DO U think the GTA series will every coming to the wii platform. They gave us Bully and they gave us Table tennis. I am hoping to god that they give us the GTA series or at least san andreas for the Wii. Thanks KK3256.

- KK3256

Detroit Michigan

I think it will, but it's not going to be a port of Grand Theft Auto IV. The scope of the game and the design of the game world make it pretty much impossible we'll ever see a version of GTA IV running on Wii hardware. However, if the Wii becomes the market leader this generation, which is highly likely, there could be enough Wii owners interested in the GTA style of game for Rockstar to think about getting the series on the console in one form or another.

The best case scenario for it happening, as I see it, is for Rockstar to make another "Stories" edition of GTA and release it concurrently for the PlayStation 2 (and/or PSP) and Wii. Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories are a bit dated for a port at this point, so that would leave a hypothetical San Andreas Stories, if it were to be made, most likely to appear on the Wii in the immediate future. At least from Sony's side of the fence, I think a new GTA Stories game makes a lot of sense given that there are still a lot of PS2 owners who aren't going to get a PS3 for quite some time but still would like to see a new GTA game. If Rockstar wants to bring their game franchise to the Wii, that would be the perfect opportunity to do it.

Why does it seem like the Wii is the only console right now that allows every friggin' game conceptualized to come out? I've seen games that looked like a five-year-old made it. Why doesn't Nintendo have all games to be released get sent to them to do a quick quality check before licensing it? This could have fixed issues like the infamous GH3 mono issue or save us from dozens of crappy games

- raptorspik

Nintendo's game certification process only checks to make sure third-party games are compliant with Nintendo hardware. As long games are fully functional and don't cause anything unexpected to happen to Wii or DS consoles while in use, like: displaying confusing messages on-screen, inadvertently deleting game save data, causing regular crashes, or other issues that consumers could blame Nintendo for, the game will get a pass. Nintendo may come across some game issues during its testing process; it's not specifically looking for them. Ultimately, the quality of the game being released rests solely on the shoulders of the publisher and developer producing the game.

It's not in Nintendo's best interest to reject games just because they are “crappy,” since those crappy games will still sell and Nintendo will pick up a few bucks with every copy of those games sold. Nintendo gets a lot of money through licensing fees, which is the money publishers pay for the right to put their games on a Nintendo console. If Nintendo were to enforce quality standards for third-party games today, like it used to in the NES days, publishers would be more inclined to put their games on other consoles, and Nintendo would lose out on a lot of that revenue.

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