Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned
|Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned|
|Series||Grand Theft Auto|
|Engine||RAGE, Euphoria (motion engine)|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360
17 February 2009
PlayStation 3 & Microsoft Windows
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (originally known as Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned) is the first of two episodic expansion packs developed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto IV, developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was first released for the Xbox 360 on 17 February 2009 and on PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows on 13 April 2010. It is the third expansion pack game in the Grand Theft Auto series (the first since Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961, released in 1999), and the twelfth release overall.
The Lost and Damned features a new protagonist, Johnny Klebitz, who is a member of the Alderney chapter of one percenter motorcycle club The Lost, a club which is featured in missions throughout the course of Grand Theft Auto IV. Dan Houser, vice-president of creative development at Rockstar Games, claims the episode shows "a different side of Liberty City". Jeronimo Barrera, Vice-President of Product Development for Rockstar Games, has said that the episodes are experiments because they are not sure that there are enough users with access to online content on the Xbox 360. Take-Two Interactive's Chief Financial Officer, Lainie Goldstein revealed that Microsoft was paying a total of $50 million for the first two episodes.
A combined standalone disc-based package titled Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, which does not require the original Grand Theft Auto IV game to be played, was released and contains both The Lost and Damned and Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Perhaps the biggest new feature in The Lost and Damned is the availability of mid-mission checkpoints. The player is thus spared repeated trips to a given location to trigger a failed mission again — an often criticised aspect of the Grand Theft Auto series. Checkpoints are only available by retrying the mission after it has been previously failed — going to the mission start point begins the mission from scratch.
The Lost and Damned otherwise features similar gameplay to Grand Theft Auto IV. Additions to the game include new weapons and vehicles, such as Johnny's custom-made motorcycle. However, his way of handling vehicles is less proficient than the way he handles any motorcycle. The player is able to telephone various members of the Lost to provide assistance. Terry, for instance, will drive to a location near to Johnny and sell him weapons and armour, while Clay can deliver a bike of the player's choice to him directly.
Another addition to The Lost and Damned is gang wars. Once the player has completed a certain amount of them, weapons spawn in either the clubhouse and/or safehouse depending on how far the player has progressed in the story, and every subsequent 10 gang wars up to 50, a new weapon will spawn. During some missions and gang wars, Johnny is accompanied by a team of bikers. As each biker takes part in more missions, they will gain fighting experience. If, at any time, a biker is killed in a mission or gang war, they will be replaced by another in the next.
In an interview with IGN, the president of Rockstar North stated that The Lost and Damned would have a third of the number of missions as Grand Theft Auto IV, placing its length at approximately 10–15 hours, depending on how focused the player is on the storyline.
The multiplayer modes are:
- Witness Protection - One team is The Lost biker gang and they must try to eliminate a bus carrying witnesses while the other team is NOOSE who try to protect the bus as it delivers the witnesses to police stations around Liberty City.
- Races - Racing on bikes with racers carrying bats and smashing each other, similar to the video game Road Rash.
- Lone Wolf Biker - Free for all style mode where one player is the Lone Wolf and all other players must chase and kill that player to become the Lone Wolf. At the end of the game, whoever was the Lone Wolf for the longest time, wins.
- Own the City - Try to gain control of the city section by section, based on San Andreas' gang wars.
- Club Business - Like the original Mafia mode in GTA IV, but with a total of 8 players riding together as one gang. The player receives calls from Angus who tells you to carry out certain tasks for The Lost.
- Chopper vs. Chopper - Helicopter vs bike. Bike rider tries to get through checkpoints while the helicopter tries to stop the biker.
The story begins with Jonathan "Johnny" Klebitz and all the members of the famous biker gang, The Lost Motorcycle Club, driving through the streets of Alderney at night. In a brief cameo, Niko Bellic, the main character of Grand Theft Auto IV, swears at a passer-by on the street as the gang drives past.
Johnny is the vice-president of the gang, but has been the acting president for a year because the club's president, Billy Grey, has been in court-ordered rehab after being arrested for narcotics possession. As leader, Johnny has established The Lost throughout Liberty City by making truces and deals after suffering several financial troubles, mainly caused by Billy's poor leadership. The most notable truce is with The Lost's rivals, The Angels of Death, which has allowed The Lost to operate their drug deals and gun running operations more freely.
On being released from rehab, Billy immediately reverts to a life of crime and tensions quickly grow between Billy and Johnny, who believe the gang should go different ways. Johnny wants to keep the gang running smoothly, deeming war with other gangs as immature and bad for business, whereas Billy prefers acts of random violence and mayhem. As such, Billy quickly leads the Lost to assault the Angels of Death Clubhouse, beginning a gang war against the Angels of Death, which serves as the main backdrop for the game.
Meanwhile, Johnny does business with drug dealer Elizabeta Torres and Uptown Riders' Malc and DeSean. He is also entrapped by Congressman Thomas Stubbs III into committing several assassinations and planting a bug in the car of Deputy Mayor Bryce Dawkins (which is given to Niko Bellic by Bernie Crane soon after in Grand Theft Auto IV).
From time to time Johnny is forced to help his ex-girlfriend Ashley, a drug addict who constantly gets herself into trouble, including saving her from a group of thugs and paying off her debts to Dimitri Rascalov by kidnapping Roman Bellic.
Eventually, Billy is arrested after a failed drug deal with the Triads (which was actually partly set up by Billy, as revealed in The Ballad of Gay Tony) and Johnny takes over as President of The Lost. This immediately sparks a civil war within the gang, one half sides with Johnny, the other with secretary Brian Jeremy, who is still faithful to Billy and believes Johnny to be responsible for Billy's arrest. Brian stages a coup against Johnny in which most of the Lost are killed. Johnny and his friends manage to come out on top, but Brian escapes. Soon after, Mafia capo Ray Boccino sells Brian's location to Johnny in the interest of stabilising his business with the Lost. Johnny goes to the safehouse and kills Brian along with the last of his goons, putting an end to the civil war.
After killing Brian, Johnny repays Boccino by stealing $2 million worth of diamonds for him from Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince (while killing Tony's boyfriend Evan Moss in the process). When Johnny tries to collect his share of the diamond money, he becomes part of the infamous diamond deal seen in Grand Theft Auto IV, and manages to get away with all of the $2 million that Boccino was to receive for the diamonds. Johnny gives the money to the Lost's treasurer Jim Fitzgerald. Soon after both Jim and Johnny are held captive by Boccino, but fight their way free and are pursued by Boccino's men. Johnny leads his pursuers into an ambush in Alderney. However, when he returns to the Lost Clubhouse, Johnny learns from Ashley that Jim has been killed (by Niko Bellic).
Shortly after, Stubbs reveals that Billy is planning to testify against the Lost, pin all its crimes on Johnny, and enter Witness Protection Program. Johnny leads the remaining members of the Lost in a daring raid on the state prison in Alderney, where Billy is being detained, and personally executes him. With Billy dead, the surviving members of the Lost return to their vandalized clubhouse, where it is revealed that the only surviving members are Johnny, Clay Simons, Terry Thorpe and paraplegic Angus Martin. With their club and brotherhood destroyed, they decide to burn the clubhouse to the ground. The last shot is of them watching it burn, contemplating what comes next. Ashley later promises Johnny that she will enter rehab, with Johnny wishing her the best.
At several points throughout the course of the game, the plot intertwines with events from Grand Theft Auto IV and is seen and played out from Johnny's perspective. These include Elizabeta's drug deal gone awry, and Ray Boccino's diamond operation (both of which were played from Niko's perspective in the main game). It is revealed that it was Johnny who kidnapped Roman Bellic and took him to the warehouse in Bohan where Niko eventually rescued him in the main game (Roman hints this in a text message to Niko). It is also revealed that a seemingly random biker that Niko killed for Ray Boccino in the main game was actually Johnny's best friend, Jim Fitzgerald (in the mission No Way on the Subway). Also, Niko's killing of The Lost member Jason Michaels under orders from Mikhail Faustin is blamed on The Angels of Death by Billy Grey, who uses it as an excuse to re-ignite the gang war between them. The ending movie shows key points in the original story line, such as Niko and Roman finding their home and cab business destroyed, and Niko executing Vlad, with The Lost riding in the background. One of the missions also involves Tony Prince from The Ballad of Gay Tony, including the trading of Ray Bulgarin's diamonds, and provides Johnny's perspective to the first piece of plot to that expansion's storyline.
Apart from the original Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, several new tracks were added to the radio stations in the expansion. LCHC - Liberty City Hardcore and Liberty Rock Radio saw the biggest addition of new tracks, to go with the expansion's overall biker/rock theme. LCHC also got the addition of a new radio show dedicated to extreme metal hosted by Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy).
Additional tracks were added to the rotation of The Beat 102.7 (with DJ Statik Selektah & Funkmaster Flex) and Radio Broker as well as a new radio show on the talk station WKTT; The Martin Serious Show (a parody of Shock jock style radio programs, in particular The Howard Stern Show). Some of the new tracks include songs from the Australian hard rock heavyweights, AC/DC, along with Deep Purple, The Doors and Bon Jovi.
The content was first announced during Microsoft's 2006 E3 press conference on 9 May 2006. Peter Moore, then head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division described downloadable content as "epic episode packs", and not just an extra car or character. A press release during the conference said that the packs would add "hours of entirely new gameplay" to the game. On 20 February 2008, it was initially announced that the extra content would be introduced starting August 2008. As part of its second quarter financial reports Take-Two announced that the downloadable content had been delayed and would be released during the first quarter of its 2009 financial year (November 2008–January 2009). On 13 November 2008, Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick warned that while they were aiming to release the first episode pack by January 2009, the date may have had to change to the second financial quarter of 2009 (February–April) depending on the completion date. The 17 February release date was eventually announced one week after Zelnick's warning.
The game was acclaimed by critics who cited its improved motorcycle mechanics in comparison to the previous games, dramatic storyline, quality voice acting, addictive multiplayer component and other new content which added many hours of game time. Complaints with the game have included auto-aiming issues and weak gang AI, which were a noticeable problem in the original game.
In the opening cutscene for the mission 'Politics', Tom Stubbs exposes his genitals in a full-frontal shot facing towards the camera after getting off a massage table and discussing his plans with Johnny. Parental advisory group Common Sense Media issued a public warning about the expansion pack due to a full-frontal male nudity scene during the cutscene. They claimed the game was "even more controversial than its predecessors" because it featured "full frontal male nudity".
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