The iPhone has so far seen both 2D (Car Jack Streets) and 2.5D (Payback) GTA-clones but, as yet, iPhone gamers have not had a fully 3D world in which to wreak the particular sort of inner-city mayhem that has made the genre so popular. Thanks to Gameloft, that's about to change.

gangstar screen

Yesterday Touch Arcade visited Gameloft's Manhattan studio to have a look at a preview build of their upcoming Grand Theft Auto-like iPhone title Gangstar: West Coast Hustle.

The studio's forthcoming Gangstar, which is an enhanced port of their 2006 mobile handset title, is a fully 3D take on the formula, set in an expansive world (Los Angeles) that strives to bring the modern, home console GTA experience to iPhone gamers.

gangstar2The story goes something like this: Our hero, Pedro, has recently been released from a Mexican prison and has crossed the border into the U.S., arriving in LA, where he meets up with his friend Juan's cousin who recruits Pedro to get revenge on the rival Los Matadors gang.  Missions to this end include collecting guns, killing people, even helping people -- but mostly killing people.  There are mini or side missions to keep things varied as well, such as heading across town to pick up a gun at a friend's house.

While unquestionably a GTA-inspired title, Gangstar departs somewhat from the formula of the original by not including any missions dealing with the drug trade or prostitution.  There is no money to be made in selling jacked cars to chop shops, either.  In Gangstar, it's killing people that gets you the cash.  Whether by close fist combat, machine gun, or just a good old fashion squish-and-run, murder is the currency of the game.  As such, Gameloft expects the game to receive a "16+" ESRB rating.

gangstar3The game is a free-roam sandbox affair, with LA being the sandbox.  And the game world is actually modeled after LA with some accuracy.  Hollywood, Santa Monica, South Central, and other well-known areas of the city are represented with many distinguishing characteristics in place.  Portions of the game are also played through sequences that are flashbacks to Pedro's time in the Mexican pen.

The game is rather cut-scene heavy, with most of the back-story and missions being laid out in on-screen text dialog during the in-engine scenes in question.  Happily, the frequent cut-scenes can be quickly tapped-through and are generally to-the-point, without lavish theatrics that might slow down gameplay.

Most any car in the game world can be jacked for transportation, and certain vehicles are presented during cut-scenes to be used to complete various missions.  Certain vehicles must be unlocked through play progress before they are accessible, however.

All that killing and jacking and general mayhem will, of course, get the attention of the police before long.  Cops in this game are pretty aggressive, but luckily there are ways to work through it.  When you're the target of an APB, various police badges appear around the city, shown on the on-screen map.  Each one you pick up reduces the cops' alert level.  But grab them fast.  And if that doesn't quite work out for you, it's possible to "corrupt" cops and bribe your way out of a sticky situation -- but it'll cost you.

gangstar4When on foot, an on-screen stick is used to control Pedro, with a set of contextual tap buttons to perform actions.  Vehicles are controlled through a choice of any of three different controls methods: stick (which is a left / right slider for steering), on-screen steering wheel, and tilt-based control.  When fighting (with fists or guns), a tap to the enemy of choice will lock onto him, directing all attacks directly at him.  I tried out all control methods save tilt and found them to work very well.

On the audio front, Gameloft definitely didn't skimp.  A total of four different radio stations can be accessed with each vehicle's radio: rock, latino, techno, and hip-hop.  Each station delivers all-original music as well as DJ commentary.  A very nice feature of the game that utilizes iPhone OS 3.0 is the ability for players to listen to their own music instead of the on-air radio (using OS 3.0 devices).

There is currently no online gameplay or scoreboard component, but Gameloft indicates that they are now in the process of planning upgrades that will be released over time, adding features to the title.

This hands-on video shows the game in action on a 2nd Gen iPod Touch. An earlier video was also shown when the game was first announced, but that was not shown running on an actual device.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Gangstar: West Coast Hustle looks like a very solid take on the GTA formula that, even in my short time with the game, impressed me with its large, sprawling game world.  This, coupled with the choose-your-mission nature of the title, should make for very significant playtime.  We'll take a much closer look when the game goes live in August but, from what I've seen so far, Gangstar might just provide iPhone gamers the most potent GTA fix in the App Store. 

  • pahncrd

    Actually looks pretty fun. Maybe this will push Rock* to actually put a proper 3d GTA on the iPhone. I don't mean rehash one of the "stories" PSP games either... Bleh.

  • pahncrd

    Actually looks pretty fun. Maybe this will push Rock* to actually put a proper 3d GTA on the iPhone. I don't mean rehash one of the "stories" PSP games either... Bleh.

  • dannys95

    Looks pretty good. On what device was that?

    BTW, I'll give it 15 minutes before someone posts a comment saying this is racist.

  • dannys95

    Looks pretty good. On what device was that?

    BTW, I'll give it 15 minutes before someone posts a comment saying this is racist.

  • xslay

    looks awesome can't wait but there should be motocycles.

  • xslay

    looks awesome can't wait but there should be motocycles.

  • la di da

    racist.

  • Michael

    Why do they call it "west coast hustle" and why are there so many mexican music stations/names? (danny95 :D) I live in San Francisco and have been all over the west coast. I don't exactly think that the game is racist, but it is a little strong, since the "gang$sters" are mostly mexican, according to the video.

    • pahncrd

      I wasn't aware that the bulk of gangsters were wasps. :D

    • Rozz

      So do you want realism or not? Because most L.A. gangs are Latino (outside of South Central that is, and even there to an increasing degree) and gangs are almost always divided along racial lines. That's not to say all Latinos are gang members- which would be a racist thing to say.

      (San Francisco's not at all like L.A., by the way, they're entirely different worlds.)

      They could make a lovely game where all races get together to form gangs to rob and murder but that wouldn't be much like reality, would it?

      • pahncrd

        If only we could all get along and rape, rob and murder together as human being without regard to ethnicity or social background. Sigh...

  • la di da

    racist.

  • Michael

    Why do they call it "west coast hustle" and why are there so many mexican music stations/names? (danny95 :D) I live in San Francisco and have been all over the west coast. I don't exactly think that the game is racist, but it is a little strong, since the "gang$sters" are mostly mexican, according to the video.

    • pahncrd

      I wasn't aware that the bulk of gangsters were wasps. :D

    • Rozz

      So do you want realism or not? Because most L.A. gangs are Latino (outside of South Central that is, and even there to an increasing degree) and gangs are almost always divided along racial lines. That's not to say all Latinos are gang members- which would be a racist thing to say.

      (San Francisco's not at all like L.A., by the way, they're entirely different worlds.)

      They could make a lovely game where all races get together to form gangs to rob and murder but that wouldn't be much like reality, would it?

      • pahncrd

        If only we could all get along and rape, rob and murder together as human being without regard to ethnicity or social background. Sigh...

  • CraigD

    Looks good. Definatley going to give this a go when it's released :)

  • CraigD

    Looks good. Definatley going to give this a go when it's released :)

  • Rev

    err, this is iPod Touch 2g?

    • arn

      video shot on a 2nd Gen iPod Touch

      • spiffyone

        Any chance of seeing a vid run on a 1st gen touch?

      • arn

        we don't actually have a copy with us. the video was shot at Gameloft's offices.

        arn

      • nobody

        What will be tha size of the game? (aprox.)

  • Rev

    err, this is iPod Touch 2g?

    • arn

      video shot on a 2nd Gen iPod Touch

      • spiffyone

        Any chance of seeing a vid run on a 1st gen touch?

      • arn

        we don't actually have a copy with us. the video was shot at Gameloft's offices.

        arn

      • nobody

        What will be tha size of the game? (aprox.)

  • http://iphone4ever.eu tobiCOM

    look great! want it NOW :)

  • http://iphone4ever.eu tobiCOM

    look great! want it NOW :)

  • http://app.belesciyiz.com cüneyd

    When removed ?

  • http://app.belesciyiz.com cüneyd

    When removed ?

  • Wabaam

    Awesome!!! This looks even better than Payback, and Payback is my favorite iPod game of all time.

  • Wabaam

    Awesome!!! This looks even better than Payback, and Payback is my favorite iPod game of all time.

  • andrew

    can the vehicles be tilt controlled ?

    • nobody

      Yes :-)

  • andrew

    can the vehicles be tilt controlled ?

    • nobody

      Yes :-)

  • usa3803

    Will you able to go into the downtown area pictured in the background or would that be pushing it for the ipod touch/iphone?

    • nobody

      Yes you will be able to go to the downtown area. ;-)

  • usa3803

    Will you able to go into the downtown area pictured in the background or would that be pushing it for the ipod touch/iphone?

    • nobody

      Yes you will be able to go to the downtown area. ;-)

  • nobody

    Now can someone tell me what will be the size of this game?

  • nobody

    Now can someone tell me what will be the size of this game?

  • http://powso.com Totalsam

    Not many people walking around...

    Still, this is impressive. I hope Gameloft takes their time to get the gameplay right before release.

    I'd also like an idea on the size (both in MBs and gameplay time). Any Gameloft devs here?

  • http://powso.com Totalsam

    Not many people walking around...

    Still, this is impressive. I hope Gameloft takes their time to get the gameplay right before release.

    I'd also like an idea on the size (both in MBs and gameplay time). Any Gameloft devs here?

  • uuuuhhh

    wow, this looks better than expected. what price? $$$$$ :D

  • uuuuhhh

    wow, this looks better than expected. what price? $$$$$ :D

  • http://www.zero.klanweb.cz JooJoo

    Will also apply to iPod Touch first generation ... ?? ... And when he added to app store ? ... Thanks ! JooJoo

  • http://www.zero.klanweb.cz JooJoo

    Will also apply to iPod Touch first generation ... ?? ... And when he added to app store ? ... Thanks ! JooJoo

  • P-Thug

    About the racist comment: this game is not about saying all gangsters in LA/WestCoast are mexicans. It's just a look at the mexican-american gangster world, which is present, amongst other things, in the west coast.
    And btw, i'd like to note that the Los Matadores are in fact the good gang which P is helping, not the rival one, just so you know.
    And Juan is P"s long-time friend, and cellmate, not his cousin. It's all like a big family but there is no cousins.

  • P-Thug

    About the racist comment: this game is not about saying all gangsters in LA/WestCoast are mexicans. It's just a look at the mexican-american gangster world, which is present, amongst other things, in the west coast.
    And btw, i'd like to note that the Los Matadores are in fact the good gang which P is helping, not the rival one, just so you know.
    And Juan is P"s long-time friend, and cellmate, not his cousin. It's all like a big family but there is no cousins.

  • http://www.melagioco.com Giochi iPhone

    Impressive, but it's too much similar to GTA... Also, I think the price will not be low... 3,99$ minimum...

    • iPhone3G

      Lol the introduction price will be like $9.99 at least and it might lower down to $0.99 a few months after. Lol.

      • sf49lu

        Uh no i think you are completely wrong. First off, 10 bucks is a very fair, if not bargain, price to pay for a game of this quality. Secondly, Assassin's creed released at 9.99 and this looks TONS better than that, and Assassin's Creed is not has dropped only to 4.99, no .99c

      • athom

        "Lol the introduction price will be like $9.99 at least and it might lower down to $0.99 a few months after. Lol."

        YES, like all their titles, which can be quite frustrating now and then -.-

    • LBG

      Too similar to GTA? Wha is wrong with that? The closer to GTA, the better. And please don't whine about the price. I am pretty sure this game will cost $10, in other words, $hit cheap. I would happily pay twice the price for the game.

    • P-Thug

      4$, not low? lol people paid 60$ for vice city for ps2 years ago, now paying 4$ for the equivalent (from screenshot and videos, looks quite similar) would be too much?
      If it's anything close to what it seems, I'd easily pay 30$ for it without further esitation!

  • http://www.melagioco.com Giochi iPhone

    Impressive, but it's too much similar to GTA... Also, I think the price will not be low... 3,99$ minimum...

    • iPhone3G

      Lol the introduction price will be like $9.99 at least and it might lower down to $0.99 a few months after. Lol.

      • sf49lu

        Uh no i think you are completely wrong. First off, 10 bucks is a very fair, if not bargain, price to pay for a game of this quality. Secondly, Assassin's creed released at 9.99 and this looks TONS better than that, and Assassin's Creed is not has dropped only to 4.99, no .99c

      • athom

        "Lol the introduction price will be like $9.99 at least and it might lower down to $0.99 a few months after. Lol."

        YES, like all their titles, which can be quite frustrating now and then -.-

    • LBG

      Too similar to GTA? Wha is wrong with that? The closer to GTA, the better. And please don't whine about the price. I am pretty sure this game will cost $10, in other words, $hit cheap. I would happily pay twice the price for the game.

    • P-Thug

      4$, not low? lol people paid 60$ for vice city for ps2 years ago, now paying 4$ for the equivalent (from screenshot and videos, looks quite similar) would be too much?
      If it's anything close to what it seems, I'd easily pay 30$ for it without further esitation!

  • Sebastian

    This may be a bad question but:
    Isn't it illegal to copy games like that? I mean, that freakin looks nearly the same as GTA. They should give Rockstar 90% of the win :P

    • beetle

      If rockstar wouldn't make a decent iphone let someone else, who can, do it

    • Silverfist

      What, you mean like TapTap "copied" Guitar Hero (or Rock Band "copied" Guitar Hero, if you want to compare console-specific titles)?

      Similar looks isn't illegal, nor is similar gameplay. It might be considered a ripoff (idea-wise, not theft of intellectual property), or an homage, or at the very least inspred by GTA, but it's not an illegal copy.

      Now, if they had parts of Rock* code, that would be a different story...

      .

      • Sebastian

        Ok it may be legal..but If someone would copy my Idea/nearly-full-game on another device/system and earn a lot of money with it I wouldnt like that ^_^

        "Hey guys let's make a GTA for iPhones and just change a little bit so that they can't sue us!" That must be a genious.

    • Broad

      there's been Saint Rows, Mafia, Payback, True Crime, Car Jack Street and many other games dealing with crime and open worlds. The best known of them all is GTA, it's well done and sold tons. It can be looked as reference, sure, but saying that every crime-sim game is a blatant copy of it is like saying every FPS is a Doom-clone, come on! it's a genre!

  • Sebastian

    This may be a bad question but:
    Isn't it illegal to copy games like that? I mean, that freakin looks nearly the same as GTA. They should give Rockstar 90% of the win :P

    • beetle

      If rockstar wouldn't make a decent iphone let someone else, who can, do it

    • Silverfist

      What, you mean like TapTap "copied" Guitar Hero (or Rock Band "copied" Guitar Hero, if you want to compare console-specific titles)?

      Similar looks isn't illegal, nor is similar gameplay. It might be considered a ripoff (idea-wise, not theft of intellectual property), or an homage, or at the very least inspred by GTA, but it's not an illegal copy.

      Now, if they had parts of Rock* code, that would be a different story...

      .

      • Sebastian

        Ok it may be legal..but If someone would copy my Idea/nearly-full-game on another device/system and earn a lot of money with it I wouldnt like that ^_^

        "Hey guys let's make a GTA for iPhones and just change a little bit so that they can't sue us!" That must be a genious.

    • Broad

      there's been Saint Rows, Mafia, Payback, True Crime, Car Jack Street and many other games dealing with crime and open worlds. The best known of them all is GTA, it's well done and sold tons. It can be looked as reference, sure, but saying that every crime-sim game is a blatant copy of it is like saying every FPS is a Doom-clone, come on! it's a genre!

  • Q

    Im not sure but wasn't multi player gangs simulation announced?
    Its looks like a empty solo game for now...

    • beetle

      ign previewed this game. they say it's not empty at all. there are lots of walking people and cars.

  • Q

    Im not sure but wasn't multi player gangs simulation announced?
    Its looks like a empty solo game for now...

    • beetle

      ign previewed this game. they say it's not empty at all. there are lots of walking people and cars.

  • SalsaMD

    "Gameloft indicates that they are now in the process of planning upgrades that will be released over time, adding features to the title."

    That is a radical departure from their current approach to game releases.

    • SalsaMD

      Ah, but now they can charge via DLC in 3.0...

  • SalsaMD

    "Gameloft indicates that they are now in the process of planning upgrades that will be released over time, adding features to the title."

    That is a radical departure from their current approach to game releases.

    • SalsaMD

      Ah, but now they can charge via DLC in 3.0...

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    The real legal test would be when R*'s lawyers show some game play in court then show some other game play in court and ask the judge to tell which is which.

    • Kam

      didnt happen for saints row. didnt happen for mafia, didnt happen for true crime. get over it. its not illegal. how many FPS are there dealing with world war 2?? ITS NOT ILLEGAL TO MAKE A GAME THE SAME GENRE AND STYLE OF ANOTHER.

      get over it

      only if they were using the same code would it be an issue.

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    The real legal test would be when R*'s lawyers show some game play in court then show some other game play in court and ask the judge to tell which is which.

    • Kam

      didnt happen for saints row. didnt happen for mafia, didnt happen for true crime. get over it. its not illegal. how many FPS are there dealing with world war 2?? ITS NOT ILLEGAL TO MAKE A GAME THE SAME GENRE AND STYLE OF ANOTHER.

      get over it

      only if they were using the same code would it be an issue.

  • Yagami_Light

    Wow. I wouldn't mind paying $20 for that one. The controls look like they will take a bit of getting used to, especially in the car, but I hope this does well enough to encourage more games of this caliber.

  • Yagami_Light

    Wow. I wouldn't mind paying $20 for that one. The controls look like they will take a bit of getting used to, especially in the car, but I hope this does well enough to encourage more games of this caliber.

  • menom

    Payback still looks the best

    top down is more fun (as the actress said to Tim Langdell)

  • menom

    Payback still looks the best

    top down is more fun (as the actress said to Tim Langdell)

  • CaseyLay

    I think it'll be awesome. Perhaps even better than PayBack. And a game that Gameloft plans to update?? Now I know it will be awesome. But I wonder how the 3.0 "Listen to your own music" thing works. Am I supposed to compile a play list? In case that needs to be done, I already did it.

    • wateracid

      of cos beter then payback.

  • CaseyLay

    I think it'll be awesome. Perhaps even better than PayBack. And a game that Gameloft plans to update?? Now I know it will be awesome. But I wonder how the 3.0 "Listen to your own music" thing works. Am I supposed to compile a play list? In case that needs to be done, I already did it.

    • wateracid

      of cos beter then payback.

  • Dylan

    The street are very empty I dislike that
    Also, I still think the iphone atleast 3GS is capable of runing LCS so this is bad but still a good try

  • Dylan

    The street are very empty I dislike that
    Also, I still think the iphone atleast 3GS is capable of runing LCS so this is bad but still a good try

  • http://www.andy-wyatt.com Andy

    Great another, 'Let's smack the frack out of everyone!', game the world could do without. Great engine though but rubbish concept for our already corrupt youth.

    • Paulio

      Which is why all real gang members are hardcore gamers. No they are not. If you want a reason why the "corrupt youth" is corrupt, how about you watch some of the news or look into what the media is feeding EVERYONES minds with.

    • kam

      spoken like a true old fart who forgot what it was like when he was younger.

      i pray i dont become as numb, stupid and clueless as you when i reach my third decade.

      go read a book and eat an apple....

      OH WAIT....

      THERE WAS A TIME THEY BLAMED BOOKS FOR THE CORRUPT YOUTH!!!

      no lie...do see a pattern here you ignorant twat?

      • rickyy

        let me guess, kam, you are an Obama fan?

  • http://www.andy-wyatt.com Andy

    Great another, 'Let's smack the frack out of everyone!', game the world could do without. Great engine though but rubbish concept for our already corrupt youth.

    • Paulio

      Which is why all real gang members are hardcore gamers. No they are not. If you want a reason why the "corrupt youth" is corrupt, how about you watch some of the news or look into what the media is feeding EVERYONES minds with.

    • kam

      spoken like a true old fart who forgot what it was like when he was younger.

      i pray i dont become as numb, stupid and clueless as you when i reach my third decade.

      go read a book and eat an apple....

      OH WAIT....

      THERE WAS A TIME THEY BLAMED BOOKS FOR THE CORRUPT YOUTH!!!

      no lie...do see a pattern here you ignorant twat?

      • rickyy

        let me guess, kam, you are an Obama fan?

  • http://hawks12thman.webs.com/ hawks12thman

    This game looks amazing! I've had a lot of fun with both Payback and Car Jack Streets, I can't imagine how much fun I'll have this one. Can't wait!

  • http://hawks12thman.webs.com/ hawks12thman

    This game looks amazing! I've had a lot of fun with both Payback and Car Jack Streets, I can't imagine how much fun I'll have this one. Can't wait!

  • Connor Wilson

    I like cocks!!!!!

  • Connor Wilson

    I like cocks!!!!!

  • wqrwqrwq

    4$, not low? lol people paid 60$ for vice city for ps2 years ago, now paying 4$ for the equivalent (from screenshot and videos, looks quite similar) would be too much?
    If it's anything close to what it seems, I'd easily pay 30$ for it without further esitation!

  • http://wawtqwt wqrwqrwq

    4$, not low? lol people paid 60$ for vice city for ps2 years ago, now paying 4$ for the equivalent (from screenshot and videos, looks quite similar) would be too much?
    If it's anything close to what it seems, I'd easily pay 30$ for it without further esitation!

  • Benjamin

    racist is a bit strong i think people need a sense of humor their gangsters of every natinality in this case he is mexican so let it be

  • Benjamin

    racist is a bit strong i think people need a sense of humor their gangsters of every natinality in this case he is mexican so let it be

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