Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
|Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony|
|Developer(s)||Rockstar North[N 1]|
|Series||Grand Theft Auto|
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony is the second of two episodic expansion packs available for the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV, developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the fourth expansion pack in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the fourteenth installment overall. The game was released individually for the Xbox 360 on 29 October 2009, and for the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows on 13 April 2010, as part of a standalone disc-based package titled Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, which also contains Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned and does not require the base game to be played. Microsoft added Episodes from Liberty City to its backwards compatibility list for Xbox One platforms in February 2017.
Set concurrently with the events of Grand Theft Auto IV and The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony follows Luis Fernando Lopez, a Dominican former drug dealer-turned-bodyguard and best friend of Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince, a nightclub magnate and high-status socialite in Liberty City. The main storyline of the episode focuses on Luis's efforts to help Tony overcome various problems, including drugs, debts, disputes with Mafia crime families, and attempts on both of their lives. It also ties up loose ends from Grand Theft Auto IV and The Lost and Damned regarding the diamond storyline that connects all three games.
The game received largely positive reviews from critics and is retrospectively considered to be among the best downloadable content packs on record.
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony is an action-adventure game set in the open world environment of Liberty City. It features similar gameplay, and the same setting as Grand Theft Auto IV. A notable addition, previously introduced in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, is a scoring system for missions. The score has no effect, but gauges the player's overall performance in a mission, as well as unique goals they accomplished. The player can redo missions to improve their score. The player also has new activities, side jobs, vehicles, and weapons. Luis may call on his friends, Armando and Henrique, to use their special abilities: Armando can sell weapons to Luis while Henrique can supply him a vehicle. Luis can also take them on friend activities.
The Ballad of Gay Tony features "side jobs" for players to earn more money. These include Drug Wars, Triathlon Races, managing Prince's nightclubs, entering an Underground Fight Tournament, and BASE jumping. Drug Wars perform similarly to Gang Wars in The Lost and Damned; the player must acquire a drug stash and take it to a drop-off point, with many variations, while being pursued by rival gangs. Triathlon Races consist of skydiving to a collection of boats, sailing through checkpoints, landing at a collection of cars, and street racing to the finish line. Club Management focuses on Luis working as a bouncer for Prince's clubs, handling situations with clubgoers or assisting/chauffeuring VIPs.
Other new activities include golfing at a driving range, a dancing minigame at clubs, drinking games, and air hockey. New weapons, vehicles, and a parachute are also added in this expansion. Other minor changes include a modified display and HUD, such as an altimeter when the player is in the air. The game's multiplayer added new activities.
The Ballad of Gay Tony takes place within the same setting of Liberty City used for Grand Theft Auto IV, although with players able to explore the city from the start after completing the DLC's first mission. The events of the DLC take place alongside those of the main game and of The Lost and Damned, with the game's missions intertwining with both of these, some of which involve events seen from Luis' perspective.
In 2008, after witnessing the robbery of the Bank of Liberty,[N 2] Luis Fernando Lopez (Mario D'Leon) meets with his employer and business partner, nightclub owner "Gay" Tony Prince (David Kenner). Struggling to run the clubs Maisonette 9 and Hercules, Tony takes out loans from the Ancelotti crime family and Mori Kibbutz (Jeff Gurner) in order to keep them running, ending up in severe debt. Luis finds himself working with both Mori and Rocco Pelosi (Greg Siff), an Ancelotti mobster, to pay off Tony's debts. At the same time, he helps his drug dealing friends - Armando Torres (Jaime Fernandez) & Henrique Bardas (J Salome Martinez Jr.) - out of several botched deals, and assists Yusuf Amir (Omid Djalili), an Emirati real estate developer interested in buying Tony's clubs, with a number of vehicle 'acquisitions'. Luis soon becomes annoyed with Tony's failure to stay in control of his clubs and the constant problems he brings from his debts, but eventually settles matters with Mori.
Later, Tony makes plans to buy $2 million worth of smuggled diamonds in order to sell them at a higher price. However, the deal is ambushed by members of The Lost biker gang, led by Johnny Klebitz (Scott Hill), resulting in the death of Tony's boyfriend Evan Moss (Robert Youells) and the loss of the diamonds.[N 3] Tony soon locates the stolen merchandise, and has Luis ambush the exchange between Johnny, Niko Bellic (Michael Hollick), and the Jewish mob to take back the diamonds.[N 4] During this time, Luis also takes on jobs for Russian crime lord Ray Bulgarin (Vitali Baganov), who offers to help cover Tony's debts, but turns on them when he reveals the diamonds were originally his property. Don Giovanni Ancelotti soon orders Luis and Tony to give the diamonds as a ransom payment for his daughter Gracie (Rebecca Benhayon), who was kidnapped by Niko.[N 5] The diamonds are ultimately lost when Bulgarin intercepts the exchange, though Luis and Tony manage to save Gracie and return her to her father.[N 6]
Rocco later meets with Luis, and advises him to kill Tony to gain favour with Bulgarin, so that he will spare him. Though he contemplates doing so, Luis ultimately refuses and fends off Bulgarin's men when they attack Maisonette 9. Deciding to retaliate, Luis tells Tony to hide while he disrupts Bulgarin's drug operations. Upon learning that Bulgarin is fleeing the city by plane, Luis pursues him with Yusuf's help, and kills him aboard his plane. Bulgarin drops a grenade in the process, destroying the plane, but Luis is able to parachute to safety. Reuniting with Tony, the pair decide to reopen the clubs, and decline Yusuf's proposal to buy them, preferring to keep ownership of the clubs for the moment.
The diamonds are found in the trash by a homeless Vietnam War veteran, who sells them and departs for Vice City.
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. At the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, The Ballad of Gay Tony was awarded the Best DLC award.
- Rockstar Toronto ported the game to Microsoft Windows.
- The heist is carried out by Niko Bellic, Patrick McReary, the latter's brother Derrick, and associate Michael Keane in the mission "Three Leaf Clover" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
- The event is also depicted in the mission "Diamonds in the Rough" in Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned, from Johnny's perspective.
- The exchange is also depicted in "Museum Piece" in Grand Theft Auto IV and "Collector's Item" in Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned, from Niko's and Johnny's perspective, respectively.
- As depicted in the mission "I'll Take Her" in Grand Theft Auto IV.
- The exchange is also depicted in the mission "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Grand Theft Auto IV, from Niko's perspective.
- Rockstar North (13 April 2010). Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Microsoft Windows). Rockstar Games. Level/area: Credits.
- Gibson, Ellie (23 July 2009). "New GTAIV DLC gets release date News // Xbox 360 /// Eurogamer - Games Reviews, News and More". Eurogamer. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
- Greg Miller (18 March 2010). "Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Gets Delayed – PlayStation 3 News at IGN". Ps3.ign.com. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- "Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Financial Results". Take Two. 26 May 2009. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "Rockstar Games". Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Bramwell, Tom. "Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Larry Hester (9 June 2015). "The Coolest LGBT Video Game Characters Ever". Complex. Retrieved 1 October 2020.