If you haven’t had time to pop in your fresh copy of GTA IV and don’t want a single blood-spattered moment ruined for you, don’t read further. Though this article won’t go deep into the plot or contain any major spoilers, I will be talking almost exclusively about a character encountered a good two hours into the game. You’ve been warned.
At first, I had trouble connecting with GTA IV’s narrative. A few months ago, I saw Ken Levine speak about Bioshock, and he stated that designers must consider that the majority of buyers are meatheads who want to fire first and get story later. He may be right, because I couldn’t help it, but feel that the guns and guts weren’t coming soon enough. After a half-hour, I Googled “GTA IV cheats” to find the weapons, health, and spawn codes.
Then, for another half an hour or so, I went on a massacre across greater Liberty City—helicopter duels at the statue of liberty, grenade tosses on the highway, and, a new favorite, rocket-jumps off the Empire State Building.
With that out of my system, I returned to the campaign’s narrative, and have since been able to enjoy the game at a leisurely pace, even undertaking the wide variety of side-missions with my dealer, Little Jacob, my cousin, Roman, and my girlfriend, Michelle. Yeah, we’re so dating.
When I drunkenly drove Michelle to her house after drinks at Steinway Beer Garden, she announced we were an item. She then flew out the passenger window as the vehicle careened into the tale of an ice cream truck.
A similar event happened, again out of the blue, when I met a peculiar, wealthy man roaming the streets. I walked up to him, and the game entered a cinematic where he criticized my European heritage, then flattered himself by forking over a fresh one hundred dollar bill. Strapped on cash and in desperate need of health, I gladly took it. Then, as a symbol of true good fortune, I spotted a hotdog stand across the street—two steps forward and a garbage truck blindsided me.
What I’m getting at is GTA IV’s narratives, intentional or unintentional, are dark and brutal.
That’s why Brucie Kibbutz is both a breath of fresh air, and, for me, the cherry-on-top of a carefully crafted story sundae. Brucie’s a steroid-popping, car-thieving maniac. As a cliché, a stock version of the same character would play a lot like Biff. Instead, he’s highly likable and surprisingly wise, all because of one well chosen character trait: Brucie’s impenetrable confidence both in his existence and his role in Liberty City. He’s a dude. He’s a ‘roider. He’s a racer. And he’s definitely “alpha.”
But best of all, those labels are never a problem for Brucie, because he’s always the first to identify himself. He’s resolute and so is his image.
How Brucie Kibbutz pulls back the curtain of GTA IV’s mechanical world after the jump…