Friendships in GTA IV are a type of game mechanic in Grand Theft Auto IV. The player befriends several acquaintances over the course of the game's storyline, primarily after performing an adequate number of missions for these contacts.
The player's friendship with a character is determined by a "[Character name] like" attribute found in game stats; the higher a friend's "like", the better their relationship with the player. Hanging out with friends is the primary method to improve on the player's relationships with their friends, eventually allowing the player to unlock special benefits; the player can also increase his friendships (as well as their "respect") through certain storyline missions. However, rejecting offers by friends to go out or ignoring friends for too long will eventually result in a friend's "like" towards the player dropping; players will be notified of the latter via a text message.
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).
Except Roman, a friend may be sleeping and will tell Niko to call back at the time they request when he calls them at a late time. If Niko performs this, the friendship of that friend may drop.
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.
The player has a time limit of around one in-game hour to pick up their friend. If the player arrives late, the friend's "like" towards the player receives a hit (typically -5 points), and failure to retrieve them for several hours will result in the friend becoming "bored" and cancelling the meeting with a larger penalty to their "like" rating. They can also call their friend to cancel the activity.
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, they will usually engage the player in a conversation about their personal life.
Activities with friends
After picking up their friend, the player 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 to boost the increase of the friend's "like" upon completion of the outing. Once the player complete the primary activity, the friend will ask the player to drop them off a specific location, at which point the friend's "like" will increase.
Activities will cost money, with some (such as going to eat with Roman) being particularly expensive for players early in the game. The gap between the completion of the mission and the point which a friendship is established may last several days. Also, three of five friends are required for 100% completion.
There is a total of five available friends in GTA IV, two of which may be killed over the course of GTA IV's storyline:
|Roman Bellic||Little Jacob||Brucie Kibbutz||Dwayne Forge||Patrick McReary|
|Unlocked by||Bleed Out||Shadow||No. 1||The Holland Play||Three Leaf Clover|
|Available time||Anytime||1:00pm - 4:00am||7:00am - 1:00am||12:00pm - 1:00am||4:00pm - 6:00am|
Calls for lift
Calls for lift
Calls for lift
Calls for lift
Calls for lift
|Favorite eating place||Burger Shot||Cluckin' Bell||Superstar Café||Cluckin' Bell||N/A|
|Notes||If the player chooses the "Deal" ending he is no longer available for friendship activities. Roman is not required for 100%.||Only a friend if the player chooses to kill Playboy X instead,
and positively answers his email. Dwayne is not required for 100%.
There are a total of ten activities that can be performed in an outing. Only certain activities are available to each friend, and even then so friend may express preferences towards a certain type of establishment to go to.
- 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 the player is 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.
- Go bowling in the alleys at Purgatory (Algonquin) or Firefly Island (Broker).
- Play pool in Schottler (Broker) or at Playboy X's loft (if available; see spoilers below).
- Throw some darts at the Irish/German Pub in Steinway (Dukes) or in Purgatory (Algonquin).
- Visit 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.
- It is not necessary to have a lapdance. So, the player may do this activity without losing money.
- It is not necessary to leave with the friend either. They can left behind in the club and their like status will still raise either way. They will also send the player a positive text message once the player abandons them.
- Visit the Cabaret Club in Hove Beach (Broker) or the Comedy Club, Split Sides, in Star Junction (Algonquin) to catch a show.
- The player can go with Brucie Kibbutz and two of his lady friends on helicopter and boat trips throughout Liberty City.
- Occasionally the player will be called to give someone a lift; this usually happens when a friend is injured.
Like girlfriends in GTA San Andreas, friends provide special benefits if their "like" percentage reaches 75% (they will call Niko to offer their particular ability). The player can lose these benefits if their "like" percentage fall below 75%; if the player raises the level again, they will get a text message. This will also have effect on the voicemail their friend leaves when he is absent.
Note: Sometimes a friend's benefit will not be available, due to excessive use or being blocked during certain missions.
Roman Bellic: Car Service
Roman will send the player one of his cabs to pick them up and take them to destinations around the city.
- Sends a cab to pick Niko up and take him anywhere for free (albeit at the driver's annoyance). Unlike the other taxis in game, it can be used even if Niko has a wanted level, which can be used to easily get out of range of the police.
- Following Roman's Sorrow, this benefit will be unavailable for several missions (as his depot has been burned down). The car service will be available after completion of the mission Blow Your Cover, when Roman's insurance money pays off. After the mission Hostile Negotiation, Roman will buy a new fleet of cabs.
- After Mallorie calls to report Roman missing, Niko cannot hang out with him or call for a taxi until he rescues Roman in "Hostile Negotiation".
- However, if the player chose the Deal Ending, Roman will be killed, and Niko will be unable to hang out with him anymore. This also means Niko will not be able to use his car service anymore.
Little Jacob: Guns
He will arrive at a location close-by the player and sell them guns and equipment at discounted prices.
- Drives to a secluded location near the player; his car's trunk is full of guns to purchase at a discount (60% off). Niko can do this during a mission.
- After Elizabeta calls Niko to get to her place, Niko cannot hang out with Jacob or buy guns from him until the mission The Snow Storm is completed.
Brucie Kibbutz: Chopper
He will pick the player up in a helicopter and take them to destinations around the city.
- Picks Niko up with his helicopter, and transports him to designated landing zones around the city (Niko will have to meet him at these points).
|Destinations of Brucie Chopper|
|01||Star Junction||Kunzite St||Algonquin|
|02||East Holland||San Juan Rd||Algonquin|
|04||The Exchange||Albany Ave||Algonquin|
|05||Castle Garden City||Castle Drive||Algonquin|
|06||Chinatown||Wong Way and Cavity Lane||Algonquin|
|07||North Holland||Wardite St||Algonquin|
|08||Middle Park||Nickel St||Algonquin|
|09||Northern Gardens||Leavenworth Ave||Bohan|
|12||Meadows Park||Middleton Lane||Dukes|
|13||Firefly Island||Wappinger Ave||Broker|
|14||East Island City||Harrison St and Hooper St||Dukes|
|15||South Slopes||Earp St||Broker|
|16||Francis International Airport||Tudor St||Dukes|
|17||Port Tudor||Roebuck Rd||Alderney|
|18||Acter||Vitullo Ave and Berners Rd||Alderney|
|19||Alderney City||Jonestown Ave and Boyden Ave||Alderney|
|21||Acter Industrial Park||Toggle Ave||Alderney|
|23||Happiness Island||Union Drive West||Algonquin|
|25||Charge Island||East Borough Bridge|
Dwayne Forge: Backup
He will send a couple of his goons to help the player out.
- Sends a car with two armed men who will follow and help Niko in combat.
- In order to unlock his friendship, the player must allow him to live in The Holland Play, and later respond positively to an e-mail he will send (some time after this he will invite Niko out). Sparing Dwayne also allows use of Playboy X's loft apartment, including its pool table.
Patrick McReary: Bomb
He will place a phone bomb nearby. Collect the phone bomb and plant it on a car.
- Supplies Niko with a car bomb which can be placed under any car and detonated using Niko's phone.
- After a brother's funeral and Gerry ordering Niko to kidnap Gracie, Niko cannot hang out with Packie or call him for bombs until the mission Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend is completed.
The friendship feature is derided by certain commentators as a tedious and annoying aspect of GTA IV, 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 (thereby making it difficult to leisurely explore the city or seek out Flying Rats and side missions). 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.
The friendship feature was downgraded in importance following GTA IV. The feature was brought over to The Lost and Damned, (see Friendships in The Lost and Damned), but is no longer mandatory to the player to do. In The Ballad of Gay Tony, (see Friendships in The Ballad of Gay Tony), the friendship feature is the same as in TLAD; it is not mandatory to do as there is only two friends available for the player.
The friendship system was heavily criticized by GTA fans, because friends may constantly call Niko and ask him to hang out, and it is hard to explore Liberty City without any interruptions. Because of this, the feature was significantly toned down in Grand Theft Auto V. However, the amount of friends was balanced (the player can now hang out with another protagonist), and they will never call the player; they can now only be called by the player, and there is no penalty for not calling them.
- It is possible to arrange more than one appointment with multiple friends, but the player can only select one friend to pick up, to which point other appointments are automatically canceled. There is no penalty in friendship under this condition.
- After the player finishes the mission That Special Someone, Niko cannot hang out with any of his friends, (including Packie and Dwayne) until the final mission is completed. Due to that, friends will not consistently call the player to go on outings, and if they call them to hangout, it will go straight to their voicemail.
- Roman and Dwayne are the only friends whose special benefits and doing all activities do not count towards 100% completion, because they can be killed during the game.
- Dwayne is the only friend that doesn't have an achievement related to unlocking his special ability, most possibly since Niko has to decide his fate.
- All friends except for Roman have a file in the LCPD Criminal Database.
- If a friend gets abandoned by the player during another friend activity, it will cause a loss of 10 points to the 'Like' status and of 5 points to the 'Respect' status.
- If a friend gets abandoned by the player at a strip club, it will raise their 'Like' status, the player will also receive a message from the friend, commenting that he enjoyed staying in the club.
- The only activities that all the friends have in common are drinking and going to the strip club.
- Packie is the only friend that can't be taken out on an Eating activity.
- Roman, Packie and Dwayne are the only friends with "determinant" status (Roman can be killed if Niko chooses the "Deal" ending, Dwayne can be optionally killed in The Holland Play, and Packie can be optionally killed in Packie's random encounter in Grand Theft Auto V).
- Friends may rarely contact the player for conversations unrelated to outings. Dwayne, for example, would call asking Niko if he called him earlier (when Niko has not).