|Spoiler Warning: Plot and/or ending details are in the text which follows.|
In The Ballad of Gay Tony, the second DLC pack for Grand Theft Auto IV, the friendship system returns, although it is significantly simplified than its two GTA IV Era predecessors. In the game, Luis Fernando Lopez, the game's protagonist, has two friends, which are Armando Torres and Henrique Bardas.
The player may engage in specific activities with a characters, including bowling, going to a strip club, and going for a drink at a bar; these activities are activated by either having the player call their friends for a specific activity on their mobile phone, or wait for their friends to call instead (to which point their friends will pick a specific activity to do instead).
After setting an appointment, the player will have to head to their waiting friend, which will spawn in one of several possible points of the city; if the player does not pick their friend up for several hours, the friend will eventually become "bored" and cancel the meeting. After picking up their friend, the player's is primarily instructed to head to the activity as agreed upon during the phone call, but can in fact make several stopovers on the way for other activities. Once the player complete the primary activity, the friend will ask the player to drop them off a specific location, at that point, the friendship session ends.
The friendship feature is derided by certain commentators as a tedious and annoying aspect of TBOGT, as friends will consistently call the player on offers to go on outings, and there is no clear way of avoiding the activity without sacrificing their player's friendships. Even if the player chooses not to go on any outings, friends will still call the player regardless, even if the player sets their phone into silent mode (which is intended to block incoming calls). However, there is a simple method of avoiding going on outings without penalty; this is achieved by initially accepting a friend's offer to go out, and selecting the "Cancel Plans" option after the call.
In The Ballad of Gay Tony, there is a total of two available friends to go out with. Both of them are childhood friends of Luis Lopez.
There are a total of ten activities that can be performed in an outing, including
- Going bowling in the alleys at Purgatory (Algonquin) or Firefly Island (Broker).
- Playing Air Hockey at any of the two bowling alleys in Liberty City.
- Playing Pool at the Homebrew Cafe at Schottler (Broker).
- Eating. This can be done at any Burger Shot, Cluckin' Bell and Pizza This branch throughout Liberty City, and also other diners, cafes and restaurants that become available while you're out with a friend.
- Drinking at the bars in Hove Beach (Broker), Steinway (Dukes), Purgatory (Algonquin), or Hatton Gardens (Algonquin). Being seen driving drunk will attract Wanted stars; it's best to take a taxi. It may take more than one try to hail a cab whilst drunk, as the taxi driver may not respond to your calls.
- Throwing some darts at the Irish/German Pub in Steinway (Dukes) or in Purgatory (Algonquin).
- Visiting a strip club. There are The Triangle Club in Northern Gardens (Bohan), and Honkers Gentlemen's Club in Tudor (Alderney). Lapdances are available in strip clubs.
- Visiting the Cabaret Club in Hove Beach (Broker) or the Comedy Club, Split Sides, in Star Junction (Algonquin) to catch a show.
- Occasionally you will be called to give someone a lift; this usually happens when a friend is injured.
Like girlfriends in GTA San Andreas, Girlfriends in GTA IV, Friendships in GTA IV and Friendships in The Lost and Damned, Luis's friends provide special benefits to the player. Unlike Friendships in GTA IV, the player has all their special abilities from the beginning of the game.
Note: Sometimes a friend's benefit will not be available, due to excessive use or being blocked during certain missions.
- Armando Torres: Drives to, or close by, a secluded location near the player; his car's trunk is full of guns to purchase at a discount (60% off). Luis can do this during a mission. Armando is available at all times for activities.
- Henrique Bardas: He will deliver cars to Luis, who is able to call him via his cellphone whenever he needs a car. Henrique is available at all times for activities.
- Unlike GTA IV, if the player calls any of his friends to hang out with, both of them will come.
- The player can use nearly any mode of transport during an outing. In addition to regular road vehicles, the player can also take a taxi or ride the subway. If the player chooses to pick a friend up using a motorbike or a helicopter, the friend will utter unique comments on the player's choice of vehicle.
- After picking up a friend for an outing, he will usually engage the player character in a conversation about their personal life.
|Spoilers end here|