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Rockstar announces release date for Liberty City Stories on PS2

The PlayStation 2 version of PSP smash hit GTA: Liberty City Stories will be released in June, Rockstar has confirmed, following reports of a delay that impacted the company's stock over the Easter weekend.

Rockstar Games has announced that the PlayStation 2 edition of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories will be released in the US on June 6th and Europe on June 9th.

The game, which is a port of the critically acclaimed PlayStation Portable title, will retail at a budget price point of USD 29.99 or GBP 19.99.

Take-Two's stock rebounded slightly following the release date announcement, having taken a sharp dip over the Easter weekend - believed to be prompted by reports that GTA: LCS would not appear when retailers expected it in April.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories returns players to the home of the first 3D Grand Theft Auto title, GTA III, with a new cast of characters, new missions, and the first multiplayer modes since the franchise made the transition to three dimensions.

The game originally appeared exclusively on PlayStation Portable last September and reviewed strongly despite some critics' reservations about Rockstar's decision to reuse Liberty City - the first time the publisher had directly borrowed significant material from another 3D GTA title.

Liberty City Stories on PSP nevertheless became a top seller, prompting Rockstar to announce plans for a PlayStation 2 version in a recent financial notice.

That decision initially met with criticism as commentators pointed out that reusing content to bring the series to a new platform, PSP, was considerably different to reselling it on the PlayStation 2 - although those concerns seem to have subsided since Rockstar confirmed the budget price point.

It's also thought that Rockstar chose to pursue this path so that series creator Rockstar North would be free to spend this year concentrating on a next-generation vision of Grand Theft Auto without the pressure of having to deliver another PS2 SKU along the lines of GTA: San Andreas.

Speaking to investors in March, Take Two CEO Paul Eibeler declined to specify when a next-generation Grand Theft Auto might arrive, although he did appear to rule out this year. With Rockstar's fortunes tied so inexorably to those of its flagship franchise it would seem logical to expect a next-generation GTA title to follow in 2007.

However, Rockstar is also known to be working on a new PSP version of the game - erroneous reports have named it as Vice City Stories, but the company has yet to make any official announcements. So it's also possible, should Rockstar North require more time to deliver a next-gen title, that Rockstar may repeat the Liberty City Stories trick and cushion extended development with another PSP to PS2 transfer.

Mind you, as Eibeler himself said when asked about the PlayStation 3 launch date last month, "our crystal ball doesn't address that".

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Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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