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Narrative. GTA IV – The Players. Niko Bellic – the player-character. Niko’s cousin: Roman. Roman’s love-interest: Mallorie. Vlad – the man who comes between them. Niko’s love-interest: Kate. A Nation of Immigrants. 1492/3: Columbus ‘discovers’ the continent of America

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gta iv the players
GTA IV – The Players

NikoBellic – the player-character

Niko’s cousin: Roman

Roman’s love-interest: Mallorie

Vlad – the man who comes between them

Niko’s love-interest: Kate

a nation of immigrants
A Nation of Immigrants
  • 1492/3: Columbus ‘discovers’ the continent of America
  • 1607: English Colonists found the State of Virginia
  • 1776: American Colonies declare Independence from Britain
  • 1875-1924: largest period of European immigration to US to date…
  • …many went seeking what later became defined as ‘The American Dream’.
the american dream
The American Dream
  • “Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth…”
    • James Truslow Adams: 1931
the american reality
The American Reality
  • Watch Niko’s entry into the country – which elements of TAD are present?
    • Try to talk about visual signifiers as well as dialogue:
    • 00:00-02:45
  • Now watch him meeting his cousin – which of the promised elements are present & which are missing?
    • 02:45-end
the american nightmare
The American Nightmare
  • Listen to part of the Talk Radio ‘Richard Bastion Show’ 00:00-04:05
  • This is a satirical take on America
  • A satire is: “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, or stupidity.”

How is the American Dream being satirised here?

the american nightmare1
The American Nightmare
  • Niko is not a criminal, but a tortured veteran of the Serbian War
  • Drawn into the underworld in defence of his cousin
  • Watch these three scenes
    • Vlad & Mallorie -> 02:03
    • Vlad
    •–> 04:17
  • In your own words, explain the progression of Niko from ‘caring cousin’ to ‘hardened criminal’…
new characters
New Characters

Mikhail Faustin

His ‘brother for life’ DimitriRascalov

Mikhail & Dimitri served in the Russian Army together and did time in a prison in Siberia.

They later emigrated to the USA to set up a Russian mafia family: FaustinBratva

  • Rewatch these three scenes:
    • Vlad & Mallorie -> 02:03
    • Vlad
    •–> 04:17
  • With reference to spcific detailed examples, how is the theme of family explored here? (compare & contrast with GoW3)
retribution revenge
Retribution & Revenge
  • Theme of revenge established early on:
    • Niko carries with him the desire for revenge on a traitor from the Serbian War
    • Cousin Roman & friend Bernie Crane both try to talk him out of seeking it
    • Killing Vlad leads Niko to Mikhail & Dimitri; Mikhail demands recompense for Vlad being killed
    • Dimitri orders Niko to kill Mikhail (who is “out of control”)
    • Dimitri double-crosses Niko & tries to kill him after the execution of Mikhail
retribution revenge1
Retribution & Revenge
  • Retribution & Revenge continued:
    • Niko falls in with other crime families to keep him safe from the Russian mafia
      • The McReary’s
      • Jimmy Pegorino
    • Towards the end of the game, Niko’s past catches up with him
retribution revenge2
Retribution & Revenge
  • He is given a choice:
    • Take revenge on Dimitri
      •[00:00-01:06; 15:46-17:42]
    • Make a deal with Dimitri and take the money
      •[00:00-02:00; 14:50-15:45]
  • The choice is as simple as ‘Revenge’ or ‘Money’
old world vs new world
Old World vs New World
  • Mikhail & Dimitri(
    • “Mikhail, cocaine using, dangerous, unpredictable, inefficient, is a classic tyrant, [Old World] with a belief in blood loyalties and feuds that ultimately leads to his own destruction. Dimitri, inveterate barbiturate addict and constant “voice of reason,” [New World] sees organized crime as a game. “We pick the game, but we cannot change the rules,” he states, and in the very same conversation he enlists Niko to kill Mikhail, who has become too violent, too erratic, he must be dealt with. He’s broken “the rules” and Dimitri points to this as sufficient reason to betray his blood brother.” - Philip A Lobo
old world vs new world1
Old World vs New World
  • Revenge [Old World] or Money [New World]
  • Choosing Revenge:
    • [04:30-end]
    • Remaining loyal to the Old World means Niko sacrifices his chance of New World happiness (Kate dies)
  • Choosing Money:
    • [01:00-end]
    • Turning his back on the Old World means severing all ties of family with it (Roman dies)
old world vs new world2
Old World vs New World
  • In the final analysis there is only revenge:
    • Either revenge against Jimmy P for killing Kate
    • Or revenge against Dimitri for killing Roman
the end
The ‘End’
  • Victory is hollow – there is death either way – Contrast 2 endings
  • [16:24-end]
  • [13:14-end]
  • Niko’s words: ““So this is what the dream is like. This is the victory we longed for.”
  • How does ‘The American Dream’ end?

Final shot of GTA IV – Roman Dies

Final shot of GTA IV – Kate Dies

the end1
The ‘End’
  • After the credits, the player is forced to play on
  • Hint at the idea that there is no real ending… the dream never comes true
place holder
  • – Family Guy GTA