Throughout the single-player mode, players control Max Payne, a former detective who has become a vigilante after the murder of his wife and daughter. Nine years after the events of the second game, Max becomes employed as a private security contractor in Brazil, but quickly becomes entangled in a quest filled with death and betrayal.
Grand Theft Auto IV follows the story of Niko Bellic, a veteran of an unnamed war in Eastern Europe, who is haunted by the betrayal of his 15 man army unit. Ten years later, after a smuggling run goes bad due to a betrayal from a partner, Niko leaves Eastern Europe to escape the anger of his employer, Ray Bulgarin. After six months in the merchant navy (serving aboard the cargo ship the Platypus), and believing the stories of his cousin Roman, Niko comes to Liberty City to pursue the American Dream as well as searching for the traitor of his unit. After his arrival, however, Niko quickly learns that Roman’s tales of riches and luxury were lies concealing struggles with gambling debts and loansharks, and that Roman lives in a dirty apartment rather than a mansion.
During a severe lightning storm, the security systems at the Dixmor Asylum for the Criminally Insane go offline, allowing inmates Daniel Lamb and Leo Kasper to escape. Daniel is disoriented and amnesiac, unable to remember anything about himself. Under Leo’s guidance, he makes his way back to the ruins of his old home, which is located nearby. Inside, Daniel recovers drugs which help to clear his head, and discovers hints about the details of his former life. He and Leo follow a series of clues to unravel the secrets of Daniel’s past, killing anyone who interferes; along the way, they are pursued by bounty hunters and agents of a mysterious organization called “the Project”.