With the Byron Report still in mainstream newspapers' minds, it's inevitable that crosshairs are going to be targeted on Rockstar's latest GTA sequel eventually... with the aim being controversy.
It's up for debate whether it'd be anywhere near as good without the violence, sexual inuendo or ability to rundown a park full of pedestrians (we know which side we'd take). But here's the targets critics are going to gun for anyway...
Ladies of the night
Goes without saying this one; the digital prossies in Rockstar's Euphoria sandbox are even more realistic and full-on than before - which means the newspaper press are likely to get riled up all over again. In GTA IV you're offered three tiers of 'service', each as we're sure you can imagine resulting in a different sexual activity. You can't see what's going on, but it's more than enough to get the middle-aged mothers shouting.
Screaming a car down the pavement through pedestrians raises the occasional frown in GTA III, but thanks to IV's Euphoria physics engine, a Liberty City car collision is completely cringe-worthy. Run down a pedestrian and they'll flop realistically onto the bonnet, or flail into the air in a painfully realistic fashion. Don't let Anne Diamond see this. She'll go mental.
Potentially upsetting the US's media even further, GTA IV's got more of what the USA really hates - filthy, dirty sex. As part of Niko's extracurricular activities, which include bowling, darts and drinking, he can head off to a strip joint and get his own private dance.
It's not the most explicit display we've seen in a game, but it's graphic enough that if mummy catches little Jimmy getting a show, she's going to shout like a mad woman in the direction of the Daily Mail.
Had a few
Unlike the other potential controversies, this is completely new territory for GTA; again in the extracurricular areas of the game, Niko can take his cousin Roman out for a few beers - and then attempt to drive the car home steaming drunk.
Your vision is blurred and the handling is all over the place, making it more than likely that some poor granny's going to see the wrong end of a bumper. The DVLA will NOT like this one bit.
Rockstar's trademark humour, a Scottish development team and North American setting inevitably means that GTA IV pretty much takes the mickey out of the USA for 100 hours of gaming. Crooked Politicians, Terrorism, Media Paranoia; nothing is safe from Dan Houser's satire, and the good old US of A gets quite a roasting. Most can appreciate the radio ads etc for the jokes they are, but frankly we see the Southern Newspaper columns already being scribbled...