Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Crashes Onto PSP

By Spencer . June 22, 2009 . 6:02am

imageGrand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars won’t be a Nintendo DS exclusive much longer. Rockstar is developing a PSP version with upscaled widescreen graphics, enhanced lighting, and brand new story missions.


Take Two Interactive claims “this version of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars will take full advantage of the power of the PSP system.” Details about how the PSP release will handle touch screen controlled items like the hot wiring mini-game were not announced.


Rockstar will release Chinatown Wars as a retail game and a downloadable game on the PlayStation Store this fall.

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  • Akimitsu

    Interesting, but a kick to the face for the DS owners thinking they had an exclusive GTA game. I heard the game was pretty good, although the sales didn’t reflect that too much.

    • Bubba

      Pretty good? It’s the highest rated DS game on both Metacritic and Gamerankings. :p

  • “This version of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars will take full advantage of the power of the PSP system.”

    Yea, right. XD Port of a DS game takes “FULL ADVANTAGE” of system roughly equivalent in power to the PS2. Sigh, PR.

    • daizyujin

      Agreed, no port of an N64 level game is going to hit PS2 power without severe investment from Take Two, something I doubt they are going to want to do considering they are probably still reeling from how bad the game has sold on the DS. This is most likely something they just decided to do to recoup some of their losses from the DS version.

      • jarrodand

        Given current day PSP software sales and the general economic climate, it’s a pretty risky plan. The two PSP games didn’t sell all that much better upfront either, both were also considered underperformers initially and only eventually climbed to decent sales in bargin bins. VCS sold only 250k it’s first 3 months in the US, and that was during a holiday season (by comparison CTW sold 160k US it’s first 2 months in the spring) … honestly, I think it’s likely this port will sell even worse than the original on DS.

        Reminds me a little of the six-month-later PS2 ports of LCS/VCS actually.

  • Malek86

    So, we can now safely say the DS version sold below expectations?

    Anyway, it’s kinda strange to see a DS game going to PSP. Doesn’t happen too often.

    • This is just speculation but this sounds like a last-minute decision meant to boost PSP Go sales later this year. I find it very odd that we didn’t hear about this game at E3. It’s possible that Sony arranged for it after the event.

      • Malek86

        If it were true, it would mean Sony is really doing lot in order to support the PSP.

        Now if only they did the same for the PS3.

      • daizyujin

        Fully agree. The game has sold very poorly but that is their own fault, they should have known this type of game is not really suited to roughly 80% of the DS market. No parent in their right mind is going to buy this for their kid, and that is where a large majority of those million + evergreen sellers from Nintendo have come from. I don’t know a kid with a DS that doesn’t own New Super Mario Bros and Mario Kart DS. The game has name recognition for sure but in this case, that might have actually worked against it.

        This looks like an act of desperation on Take Two’s part to recoup lost investment. Most likely Sony came to a deal to bolster PSP sales.

        In the end though it is good news for everybody but Take Two, since that means even more people can play it. I do have to say though, it is very nice to see Sony doing so much to bring a large and quality library to the PSP, since they have neglected it the past year and a half.

        • kylehyde

          The true problem with Chinatown wars was the R4, many people loved the game, but unfortunately, most of this people pirated the game. I hope the psp owners have a better attitude than those R4 owners and buy the game and for those who pirated the game I say:
          Are you happy now? maybe we will never see a Rockstar game on the DS all because your stupidity

          • Strike_Man

            PSP owners buying a game instead of pirating it?

            Heh, I wouldn’t place a whole lot of chips on that…

          • daizyujin

            Brian Crecente tried to make this point on Kotaku and I will tell you the same thing I said to him. There is little to no evidence to support this claim. Even if the game has a high piracy rate, that still gives no evidence that said pirates would have bought the game anyways. Until you can completely separate these two groups, any usage of piracy as reason for the under performance of Chinatown wars is just a scapegoat based on extrapolation.

            The industry loves this excuse though since it lends credit to their crusade against piracy, even though that crusade is backed up with numbers that are highly dubious, completely padded and use numbers from countries such as China, Brazil, and India where piracy is a concern not because of people’s unwillingness to support legit products but because they can’t afford legit products.

            Do a little research before you jump on the bandwagon. After all the same people that like to make these claims about the dangers of piracy are the same ones that still cling to the fact that piracy was what killed the Dreamcast, even though Peter Moore has said completely the opposite.

            Piracy is a problem for developers and publishers for sure, but much like in the music and movie/video industry, it is one that exagerated beyond belief.

    • My World, My Way (The World Revolves Around Me) is headed to the PSP. :D

      I’m not sure if its that it sold below expectations as much as Rockstar likes to do ports of portable games to guarantee the most attention and coverage. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t every PSP “exclusive” Grand Theft Auto been ported to the PS2?

      • Agreed, they have. But porting a PSP game to PS2 is simpler than porting something built ground up for a significantly weaker system that has a touchscreen and two screens built in. :)

        I don’t believe for a minute that it was Rockstar’s intention to eventually port the game to PSP when they were developing it. It has to be a recent thing. Look at the way it’s worded: “enhanced-lighting.”

        Throwing a few lights into a scene is no big deal at all, believe me. If I understand correctly, we’re talking strictly post-processing work here. I certainly hope that isn’t what Rockstar is doing though. I wonder about these additional missions, too. Will they re-use assets or are new assets being built from the ground up for these missions?

        • Very true.

          Perhaps its an effort to provide PSP Go support.

          If all they’re doing is adding “enhanced lighting”, I’d have to guess that assets would be reused.

      • daizyujin

        Like Ishaan said, this is a whole different ball game. The PSP and PS2 are pretty similar in power level and most importantly you are going from a system that has a smaller install base to one that has a larger one with a PSP to PS2 port. It looks more like they are just trying to milk it.

        Here you are going from a system with a larger base, the DS, to one with a smaller one, the PSP. That looks more like desperation to me personally.

        Besides, controls are not a large an issue in PSP to PS2. The PS2 can do everything the PSP can and more. This however is going to take some clever changes since the PSP has no touch screen.

  • shion16

    the best news that ive heard today
    kids ds gamers couldnt apreciate gta games as psp teen gamers

    • MadMirko

      That was kinda sweet. XD

      I WAS wondering who the hell plays GTA, and now I know.

  • jarrodand

    Kinda surprised. Not that’s it’s being ported, I expected that… but I figured we’d see it on iPhone or XBLA/PSN rather than PSP. Too bad, now it’s just going to bomb twice.

    • daizyujin

      Don’t be too quick to judge, the other two GTA games did well on the PSP. If they do enough work to it to bring it up to snuff for the PSP then it might do decent. Of course not sure they are wanting to put too much money into it.

      • jarrodand

        No, they really didn’t and the idea they did is largely revisionist history. Both underperformed upfront, VCS barely sold better than CTW has, and both got similarly quick PS2 ports. They eventually sold millions, but that was years down the line after they’d been slashed to $20. That scenario is probably what’s in store for CTW too.

        CTW PSP is almost assured to sell less than it did on DS imo. The only real hope it really has is via download sales, and I think that depends how much Go stimulates the platform considering 85% of PSPs out there now are cracked/crackable.

        • Let’s also keep in mind that one of the reasons Chinatown Wars didn’t sell all that well on DS (at least upfront) could be that people didn’t want to go back to the classic top-down GTA style. If this is a straight-up port, those exact same concerns are going to be directed at the PSP version, too.

          That said, any chances Chinatown Wars had of having legs have probably gone *poof* with this announcement.

          • jarrodand

            I think it’s sales issues were more due to the economy slowing down sales across the board and core gamers just generally pirating the hell out of DS. Then again, these are issues which hit PSP just as hard, if not harder.

            GTA as a franchise seems to be declining some though as well, GTAIV had a great debut but it’s legs haven’t compared to the previous installments at all and it’s probably not going to sell near as much as San Andreas in the end.

  • lostinblue

    This is no different than when Rockstar decided to port PSP GTA’s to the PS2, they say window to make extra money with it and they did. It’s not that PSP was selling badly, and it’s not that DS is selling badly, but they’re sure to turn a bigger profit out of it.

    Don’t read too much into it guys.

    • Pichi

      Indeed, they just want more money and this is why the move has been made. I shouldn’t be surprised, really, but it still shocks me. Haven’t bought it yet, now I’ll have to see which one I’ll go for.

  • asa

    they might as well port it i have it for ds its a goood game , but for some reaon ds owners didnt pay the game , they nned to sell 1 million copies to make a profit and there at like 120,000 right now.

    • jj984jj

      Actually it’s probably at 250k by now. Like jarrod said it sold 160k in the US alone in its first 2 months, and it also sold 34k in the UK alone during April. That’s almost 200k using public numbers from NPD and GfK Chart-Track via Famitsu and leaves out the rest of Europe as well as smaller countries. Not to mention March/May for the UK and May for the US are also unaccounted for, it’s too bad that they’ve announced the PSP port only 3 months after the DS version came out, I thought it would’ve at least waited a year before announcing a port giving the game at least 1 holiday season to stand on its own. I guess with Sony pushing third parties for PSP support lately and the first 2 PSP games not doing as well and TT/R* hoped either this was the easiest solution.

  • SteveJ

    One of the reasons I didn’t buy it for the DS is that it was expensive (for a DS game) at $35. If I knew I was going to like it I might be willing to pay that much, but I’ve never played a GTA game before.

    I plan to get it eventually, but only once I can find it for a reasonable price. I can’t imagine that it’s selling all *that* badly because the price hasn’t come down significantly. It’s $33.99 at amazon. If this game had really tanked, wouldn’t it be $19.99 by now? Maybe the game just had a slow start but is having sustained sales like Boom Blox did for the Wii?

    • mot

      actually i got it for 19.99 from best they had that price for a while dont know if still do it’s an absolutly amazing ds game over 30 hours invested!

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