GTA IV is a really old game at this point, possibly worthy of the title of ‘retro’. However, that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t interesting facts about it that you can discover today. In a recent video, YouTuber Badger Goodger explores the unused ferry terminal that exists in the game, and how ferries might have worked in the final release too.
If you watch the video you’ll see that in an early version of the game, ferries were very much in the city and functioning. In the final version of the game however, they don’t exist. The ferry terminal looks almost abandoned, and is full of scaffolding and building equipment, in an effort to make it look like it’s currently under construction. In a weird way, this is true to the real life inspiration for the terminal, though that terminal still works, so why not this one?
It’s speculated that terminals and ferries just couldn’t work in the final release of GTA IV, so they were scrapped mid-development. This is backed up by the existence of a building elsewhere on the game’s main island. The building has an interior, two floors, and collision on everything, including the floor. This is important, because the interiors of all buildings that aren’t used in the game have no collision, meaning that you fall through the floor or clip out of the walls.
Badger Goodger seems to have found the area where ferries would have gone to after they left the main terminal. The journey would make sense within the game’s world, but there are no ferries to go with the terminals. This again backs up the assumption that at some point in the middle of development, it was decided that ferries should be scrapped. There are helicopter tours in the game, so there’s no need for tours of the city, and busses can take the player, and NPCs, anywhere they need to go. The only place that ferries would have been useful is Happiness Island, which is pretty much inaccessible otherwise.
I can definitely see the vision for GTA IV in the early days. Ferries would have been far from essential, or necessary from a gameplay perspective. But GTA IV had a lot of realism, much more compared to previous releases in the series. I think that Rockstar Games wanted ferries in the game in order to make it feel like even more of a living world. As it stands, the game is already super impressive, and ferries would just have been the icing on the cake.
Let us know what you think about the ferry theory in the comments.