|For the GTA III and GTA Liberty City Stories rendition, see Liberty City (3D Universe).|
- "Liberty City is a very different place in the 21st century. The most famous skyline in the world now belies a city gripped by fear and suspicion. In the shadow of an uncertain economy and the threat of terrorism, organized criminals, corrupt officials, and beleaguered security forces vie for supremacy in a city that is desperately trying to become a suburb. It is still a place where anything is possible, depending on how much of yourself you are prepared to sacrifice in the process."
- ―PC edition slip cover
GTA IV marks Liberty City's fourth appearance in the series after the original Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, which came out in 1997, 2001 and 2005 respectively. The new rendition of the city is, more likely, the "official" GTA universe's version of New York City. The city has more detail and personality, with many places which are based on landmarks such as the Statue of Happiness, Star Junction, and the Rotterdam Tower.
This rendition of Liberty City has versions of four of the five boroughs of New York City, plus New Jersey. Brooklyn is Broker, Queens is Dukes, Manhattan is Algonquin, and Bronx is Bohan. The state and city of New Jersey is Alderney, which technically is separate from Liberty City. The only borough not to be recreated in the game is Staten Island. Although in the game, Liberty City appears to be an isolated set of islands, the rest of America is actually nearby. Rockstar Games stated that they avoided placing unreachable pieces of land in the distance to retain the city's "complete" feel.
Grand Theft Auto IV and its two episodes (The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony) use the same full rendition of the city. However, a small number of different locations are accessible in the different episodes. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars uses the entire city apart from Alderney, and is altered for the top-down perspective of the game.
Liberty City is divided into 65 individual and unique neighbourhoods which are spread across four boroughs within Liberty City and border the neighboring state of Alderney, including Alderney City. Whereas the 3D Universe version of Liberty City was partly located on the mainland, the GTA IV version is completely made up of islands.
History of Liberty City
Liberty City first began when the Dutch sent out English explorer Horatio Humboldt to find a new location for them to sell Marijuana in 1609, and he sailed to the Humboldt river. The Dutch became a colony and soon Europeans traveled to the city to find what freedom was truly like in the colony of New Rotterdam, which promised convenience stores and public hangings, as well as a slave trade craze that swept the colony ever since the very first ship-load of slaves. Eventually, the English set sail for the colony, which was based on the slender island named Algonquin after an old Indian word with the same pronunciation and the settlers signed a petition to be ruled by the British.
Soon the English expanded the colonies by eradicating natives and took over three new islands for the colony. The first consisted of both Broker, named after the king's bastard son who was conceived by a milk maid and the other Dukes, after the term Duky because the people smelled like excrement. Alderney was named after a man called Phillip D'Alderney, the only man who could bear living in the swampy industrial island. The smallest island was named Bohan for the Dutch word. The British and the Americans fought in what was to be known as the American Revolution for freedom from taxes, and after receiving a statue of a transvestite eating ice cream from the French, the Americans won and removed the Union Jack and melting the statue of King George into chains, toilet seats and gold teeth. Slavery was soon outlawed in Liberty City and women were forced to spend time under train tracks servicing men. The politicians of Liberty City moved to Washington DC when Liberty City's status as the capital of the nation was removed and given to DC. Frederick O' Fitzpatrick decided to head to the south and teach them a lesson after tensions risen and a civil war was on the horizon, but before doing so constructed Middle Park. Beyond the tranquility, people were tired of living in black and white and riots ensued, which didn't help with a civil war looming. (From History of Liberty City TV show GTA IV).
It is stated in two internet news articles in GTA V (right after the missions Franklin and Lamar and Three's Company) that Liberty City was devastated by a massive storm. This is an obvious reference to Hurricane Sandy which hit New York and New Jersey in 2012.
City InformationAs of 2008, the population of Liberty City is 8,363,710. The mayor is Julio Ochoa while the Deputy Mayor is Bryce Dawkins. Thomas Stubbs III is Liberty City's congressman. The time setting is approximately late summer-early fall 2008.
The area of the city is compressed in size (as seen with the Empire State Building's proximity to the Broker Bridge in the final shot), and the various landmarks are placed much closer to each other than in real life. The entire map is smaller than that of GTA San Andreas, but is immensely more detailed. This made Liberty City in GTA IV the most lifelike city to feature in any Grand Theft Auto game at the time of release. From the massive buildings and large mass of traffic on every block of Algonquin, to residential areas of Bohan, Rockstar has successfully compromised quantity for quality, although the lack of pedestrians in normally crowded places such as Star Junction has drawn criticism.
In GTA IV, the scaling of Liberty City as compared to New York City has a number of differences in the building heights, road distances, and landmark positions. Liberty City is also known as a shrunk version of New York City with almost everything cramped together.
Ground Zero (World Trade Center site) has been excluded from the GTA IV's Liberty City in a way that as though it does not even exist in the real life New York City while having the site replaced with the merger of buildings surrounding the Ground Zero. Liberty City is an incredibly diverse city and so are its neighbourhoods and residents. Such examples of diverse neighbourhoods include the large Russian, Italian-American and African-American populations found in various neighborhoods across the city. Liberty City's residents are known for their sarcastic attitude. The demonym of a Liberty City inhabitant is "Libertonian".
Housing, Architecture and Geography
Liberty City has a unique geography. Firstly, it is an island city that is surrounded by water. Consisting of four different boroughs (Broker, Dukes, Bohan and Algonquin) that are all separated by water and connected by bridge; with the exception of Broker and Dukes, which are connected by land. Smaller islands also exist around the main boroughs; including Happiness Island, Colony Island and Charge Island. Liberty City's housing architecture and style is a direct amalgam off of the style used in New York City. Brownstone rowhouses, terraced townhouses, low-rise apartments and urban tenements are commonplace; especially in the boroughs of Broker and Dukes. Some of the more affluent neighborhoods; particularly in Dukes, have a higher concentration of larger single-family homes of Tudor Revival, Irish or Victorian style. The borough of Algonquin hosts many modern landmarks and skyscrapers, in fact, Liberty City boasts some of the tallest Skyscrapers in the United States, with the most impressive being the Rotterdam Tower. Various points of natural parkland can also be found throughout Liberty City, the largest of which being Middle Park in Algonquin.
Due to the size and population demand of Liberty City, housing projects, towers and urban complexes are also commonplace throughout the various boroughs. They are, however, often stereotyped as being low-income while breeding high-crime rates, despite some housing projects in Liberty City being more affluent and having a lower crime-rate. Housing projects in Liberty City include:
- Firefly Projects - Broker
- Steinway Projects - Steinway, Dukes
- South Bohan Projects - South Bohan, Bohan
- Northern Garderns Projects - Northern Gardens, Bohan
- Governor Greg Johnson Projects - Northwood, Algonquin
- Westminster Towers - North Holland, Algonquin
- Governor Greg R. Smith Houses - Presidents City, Algonquin
- East Holland Projects - East Holland, Algonquin
Parks of Liberty City include:
- Middle Park - Algonquin
- Outlook Park - Outlook, Broker
- Welham Parkway - Boulevard, Bohan
- Steinway Park - Steinway, Dukes
- Gantry Park - Steinway, Dukes
- Meadows Park - Dukes
- Castle Gardens - Algonquin
It's no secret that various areas in Liberty City suffer from high crime rates; most likely brought about by the large number of gangs and criminal organizations in Liberty as well as a large underground black market in various areas - in particular the drugs trade, each fighting for control of the city and will use any means possible. The Commission is an Italian-American Mafia association made up of the Five Families, which are the Ancelotti Family, the Pavano Family, Gambetti Family, the Messina Family and the Lupisella Family. Another mafia family called the Pegorino Family also exist but are not part of the Commission and primarily operate in the state of Alderney as opposed to Liberty City. Aside from the Italian mafia families, there are other major crime organizations such as the McReary Crime Family/Irish Mob, Russian Mafia, Korean Mob and the Triads.
Aside from these major big-time criminal organisations, there are, of course, many small-time local ethnic street gangs in Liberty City as well, such as the Albanian Mob, Jamaican Hillside Posse, motorcycle gangs (The Lost and the Angels of Death) and various pockets of African American gangs (such as the North Holland Hustlers) as well as various Hispanic gangs such as the Northwood Dominican Drug Dealers and the Spanish Lords.
Many of the gangs fight over the drugs trade and other businesses in Liberty City for money and power. However, after word gets out about smuggled diamonds; some of the major criminal organizations battle for possession of the diamonds too; including the Pegorino Crime Family and The Lost Motorcycle Club.
Aside from the gang violence and drug trafficking, other crimes and social problems such as prostitution, car crime (e.g., carjackings), arms trafficking, economic deprivation/poverty and a little history of corruption in the LCPD also plague certain districts and neighborhoods. During 2008, Liberty City mayor Julio Ochoa took a tough stance against gun crime by introducing gun control laws; limiting the availability of firearms. He did so primarily by shutting down Ammu-Nation stores across Liberty City. However, this campaign has proved to be generally ineffective as the sale of firearms in Liberty City appears to be booming as an underground black market; with criminal organisations, drug lords and gangs typically being heavily armed.
Statistically, parts of Broker and especially Bohan are notorious for their higher crime rates, gang violence and drug trafficking market in the city. Most of the crime occurs in the deprived and run-down neighbourhoods as well as the large projects/housing complexes around Liberty City. Bohan deserves a special mention as they often outperform the other boroughs in terms of crime rate with Broker often coming in second. The many projects and housing complexes around northern Algonquin also appear to be plagued by a high crime rate. Dukes appears to be the safest borough in Liberty City due to its heavy middle/upper-class influence but still contains a minority of areas with a higher crime rate.
Crime-for-crime, some of the most dangerous and/or deprived areas with the highest crime rate in Liberty City include:
- Broker: Hove Beach, Firefly Projects, Schottler, Beechwood City and East Hook.
- Dukes: The Steinway Projects and somes areas/streets in East Island City, Willis and Cerveza Heights.
- Bohan: South Bohan, Chase Point, Fortside, Industrial and Little Bay.
- Algonquin: Chinatown, Little Italy, Parts of Presidents City, North Holland, East Holland and Northwood.
Food & Drink
Much of Liberty City's catering scene comprises fast-food chains and food stands/ vendors. Two of the most dominant fast-food chains within the city are the Burger Shot and Cluckin' Bell franchises. Their restaurants can be found in several locations across the city. Hot Dog vendors can also be found in many locations, as well as a few hamburger vendors and mixed nuts vendors around Liberty City, particularly around Middle Park.
Liberty City, being one of the largest cities in GTA's America, is home to many major league sports franchises. The Liberty Swingers (based on the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Brooklyn Dodgers) are the baseball team. There are three American football teams, the Liberty City Wrath (based on the New York Giants and the New York Jets) , the Liberty City Cocks and the Liberty City Beavers. There are two basketball teams, the Liberty City Penetrators (based on the New York Knicks), and the Liberty City Warriors (who share a name with the Golden State Warriors), as well as a women's basketball team, the Liberty City Salamanders. The hockey team is the Liberty City Rampage (who have a logo that's similar to an older Washington Capitals logo, albeit recolored). There is also a soccer/football team called Red Mist FC (based on the New York Red Bulls).
The main form of transport throughout Liberty City is by road, there's a fleet of taxis throughout the city, making it easier to transport through the city fast. There is a prominent freeway in each borough, with two in Algonquin and another stretching from Broker to Dukes. A bridge connects each island to Algonquin, with two from Algonquin to Broker and another from Dukes to Bohan.
There is also an extensive subway system, connecting the many areas of Broker, Dukes, Algonquin, and Bohan with two main routes. One serves inner Algonquin and Bohan, the other serves outer Algonquin and Broker/Dukes. The subway] in reaches everywhere in Liberty City except for Alderney, as it is not a part of Liberty State.
Every street in the new Liberty City has a name, increasing the realism (in past games, only a few rare street names were used for locations such as Grove Street in GTA: San Andreas. The 3D Universe version of Liberty City had some street names as evidenced on the GTA III website, but none are directly referenced in any game). All the streets on each island have a meaning, for example, most streets in Broker are named after famous cowboys; streets in Dukes are named after patriotic events, and streets in Algonquin are named after U.S. State Capitals.
Helicopters can be flown either by the player or by an NPC pilot when participating in Helitours or by using Brucie's special ability. Liberty City has an airport in Dukes named Francis International that receives planes from around the world. The aircraft cannot be used by the player in the game. Boats can also be used to travel between the islands.
- Liberty City Transport Authority
- Liberty Sanitation Department
- Liberty City Police Department
- City of Liberty Paramedicine
- Liberty City Fire Department
Choice of City
When asked why Rockstar Games decided to re-use Liberty City, Dan Houser, Vice President of the company said: "New York City is an environment we felt had never been done to the level we were envisioning it in a video game. From looking at all of the locations, this was the one that really stood out to us, and really had that impact. It has."
"The texture of the Algonquin streets, which are filled with crater-like potholes and occasional glimpses of the brick used in a world gone by, are greatly varied in design and something you can't tear your eye from. The visual makeup of the city was something we could capture real well and really understand the minute aspects of its personality. Trying to put that into a videogame is something that we think is unique to the video game medium. It was a way that we could capture some aspects of the experience of living there that you couldn't put into a film, you couldn't put into a TV show, and you couldn't put into a book."
"A big part of New York life is walking around the streets and meeting lunatics. That's something that we definitely tried to put into the game. We are trying to give it that life and difference between the neighborhoods and the difference between the kinds of people. We are trying to capture that Capital of the World aspect of New York."
"It's not the full city, it's an approximation thereof. We make a city that feels like the real thing, but is perfectly tuned for gameplay in the broadest sense. The world is not designed to be a video game. We are trying to make a video game that feels like the world, but still plays like a video game. The design of the city and the missions that unfold within it are designed hand-in-hand and complement each other perfectly. Everything in this world is here for a reason, where it is directly tied to gameplay or simply there to create atmosphere."
The depiction of Liberty City in the official website of GTA IV has been retouched to picture the entire city, or at least its landmass, as being larger than it is in-game. Broker is seen extended further to the right, or east, and lights that stretch to the horizon are visible in this extended area, as well as behind Dukes and Algonquin. The same modification can be seen to a more limited extent to the left or west of Alderney.
Liberty City in GTA IV was originally going to be called Liberty State and it would feature other landmasses such as mountains and countryside around the currently featured islands, but time limitations caused Rockstar to instead resort to just focusing on the city.
Alderney is supposed to symbolize New Jersey. Like New Jersey, Alderney is a full state, although many mistake it to be a part of Liberty State as Alderney is included in most maps of Liberty City. Although, the Autoeroticar website states in that it is located in "Alderney City, Liberty City." Whether or not it is just a typographical error or it is intentional is unknown.
GTA Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars has a few differences to the Liberty City in the main console versions. This is mainly due to its top-down view, which is as a result of its design for the Nintendo DS portable platform.
- The game features only the 'real' Liberty City, meaning that Alderney was removed.
- There are no major height differences. Though changes in elevation are present, these are generally minor, and are ultimately barely more than Unique Stunt Jumps. This has led to the removal of all freeway overpasses, which are replaced with double-lane roads.
- The street pattern, though roughly following that of Grand Theft Auto IV, is more grid-based, with smooth turns not being accommodated for.
- Most skyscrapers only have their base rendered, as the top could not be viewed with the top-down perspective provided by GTA Chinatown Wars.
- The train system is not usable, as stations cannot be entered. However stations, tracks, and trains are still present.
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- Liberty City, as frequently claimed on the radio, supposedly holds many "illegal aliens." This is the legal term for illegal immigrant. Niko's first girlfriend Michelle humorously references dating "guys from another planet".
- In GTA IV's rendering of Liberty City, Middle Park's lake takes the shape of an alien.
- Bryce Dawkins, the deputy mayor of Liberty City strangely lives in Alderney.
- Water area in Liberty City goes for infinity so you can fly from town as long as you want but there are risks of death:
- On rare occasions a glitch may occur after flying or swimming for around 30 minutes to 1 hour all vehicles (spawned, used, and other) will become invisible including Niko and his guns. Only lights and bullets remain visible, which means that the death zone starts. After everything has became invisible the player will start to lose a bit of health each second. (Single player only)
- After flying or swimming for 2 to 10 minutes (depends on the vehicles speed) the message will appear "You are too far away from action, turn back or suffer the consequences." After the message goes down the vehicle will explode and kill the player (Single player and multiplayer).
- Not only Liberty City and Alderney exists in GTA IV. There are 2 TEST maps of the game called "CJ Test" and "Animviewer". "CJ Test" was possibly made to test car damage physics, and game physics, interiors, and peds (interestingly, the Las Venturas Poker Challenge and The Men's Room interiors are located here), and Animviewer possibly made to test the environment animations (i.e. lights). The 2 maps are located very high, above Liberty City and game's limits. The only way to go there is the use of a trainer/hack.