Rockstar and NaturalMotion announced a partnership on February 27, 2007. While the announcement itself was predictably vague, GTA fans immediately caught on, and found several revealing clues. The announcement itself, reads as follows (shortened and emphasized at GTANet's discretion):
"Oxford, UK -- Feb. 27, 2007 -- NaturalMotion, the award-winning developer of 3D animation technology based on Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS), today announced a partnership with Rockstar Games, Inc., [...] to integrate NaturalMotion's revolutionary euphoria engine into upcoming next-generation Rockstar Games titles. Rockstar's integration of euphoria is well advanced, with today's announcement following several months of close collaboration between the two companies.
"[...] euphoria uses the processing power of [the PlayStation 3] and [Xbox 360] to simulate the human body and nervous system, thus creating fully interactive game characters that act differently every time. [...] Games move away from canned animation, towards a [...] life-like experience that is unique to the player.
"Further announcements regarding specific titles will follow at a later date."
Source: NaturalMotion Press Release.
As the press release makes no mention of Grand Theft Auto IV, and to that matter no mention of Rockstar North (the development studio where Grand Theft Auto IV is being produced), this announcement in itself had no connection to GTA IV. Nevertheless, the story was covered by virtually all of the online GTA community, and several gaming media websites put a GTA twist on the story. Suffice to say, the announcement stirred up a lot of hype.
Over the past week, we have learned that NaturalMotion is not only working in collaboration with Rockstar Games, the publishing label, but more specifically, with Rockstar North, the development studio in charge of making Grand Theft Auto IV. Rockstar has several developers' studios, including London (Manhunt 2), Vancouver (Bully), and San Diego (Midnight Club). Rockstar North, however, has been in charge of developing the last 3 big GTA games (GTA 3, GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas), and has been reportedly working on the next-generation GTA since 2005.
In this light, the inclusion of euphoria in GTA seems quite definite, therefore we would like to take the opportunity to clarify what it is that NaturalMotion and its euphoria engine can do, and how its functions can (and will) be used for the next Grand Theft Auto. More information on the euphoria engine and its uses for GTA IV on the GTA IV features page.