Rockstar’s tremendous widespread Grand Theft Auto franchise is in a bizarre place in 2021. It’s a recreation sequence that is still big, regardless of going years with no huge, new launch. Its on-line iteration is extra widespread than ever, but if you happen to go searching Reddit and Twitter you’d assume it has no fans.
After which on prime of all that, Rockstar launched a considerably good trying however completely damaged assortment of remastered GTA classics and determined to combat modders all year long too.
And nonetheless, no GTA 6, even because it randomly tendencies on-line time and again. So yeah, it was a bizarre 12 months.
2021 began out nicely sufficient, with a enjoyable video of Gerald “Slink” Johnson and Shawn Fonteno reenacting their roles as Lamar and Franklin in a real-life recreation of the notorious roast scene from GTA V. GTA roleplaying additionally blew up once more on Twitch, starring some non-GTA characters, too. And in February, some artful and good modders reverse-engineered Vice Metropolis and GTA III’s supply code, opening up the potential to port these classics to extra platforms.
In the meantime, one other tech-savvy fan even went and stuck the terrible loading occasions on the PC model of GTA On-line and Rockstar paid them $10k for doing so.
Nonetheless, issues shortly went south and a string of dangerous information for GTA followers and gamers started.
First, Rockstar and Take-Two issued a DMCA takedown towards the oldsters behind the GTAIII and Vice Metropolis supply code undertaking. Among the devs stood their floor towards Take-Two and all of this led to a nonetheless ongoing lawsuit.
Then, Take-Two started utilizing authorized threats and DMCA takedowns to take away outdated GTA III, Vice Metropolis, and San Andreas mods from across the web. This angered modders, a few of whom discovered practically decade-old mods eliminated because of the authorized takedowns. Different creators shut down and eliminated outdated GTA mods out of concern of authorized retaliation by the writer. (Take-Two remains to be doing this, by the best way. Simply final month the writer reportedly eliminated GTA IV mods, together with a save file, from a preferred GTA neighborhood website.)
All of this fueled additional hypothesis that Rockstar was planning to launch remastered variations of the traditional GTA Trilogy. In August, Kotaku confirmed with sources that every one the rumors had been true and Rockstar was planning to launch remastered ports of GTA III, Vice Metropolis, and San Andreas throughout all main consoles embrace Swap.
Later within the 12 months, as hype constructed round these remasters, Rockstar and Take-Two as soon as once more angered the neighborhood by yanking the unique editions of the traditional trilogy from digital storefronts.
In the meantime, over within the land of jetbikes and lengthy loading occasions that’s GTA On-line, the sport acquired its first of two giant, free updates. The primary got here in July. This Summer season replace was totally targeted on road racing and used quick automobiles to commit varied crimes and road races. If that sounds loads like Quick and Livid, nicely… that’s as a result of the replace was principally Rockstar’s adaptation of these movies. (Properly, the early ones not less than.) It was a fantastic replace, broadly loved by the neighborhood, and felt like Rockstar truly listening to its playerbase who’ve longed wished extra automotive tradition content material in GTA On-line. Oh, additionally the replace added a nearly-unkillable Terminator knock-off. Like I mentioned earlier than, bizarre 12 months.
Round this identical time, Take-Two was making an attempt to persuade buyers that Rockstar Video games had a really numerous slate of video games that included GTA V…uh... GTA On-line, and…hmmm... GTA V, once more…OH! and Purple Lifeless Redemption II. The fact is that Rockstar Video games has spent practically the final decade ignoring most of its widespread franchises and failing to create new video games that don’t begin with Grand or Purple.
As September rolled round, it appeared like GTA 6 was randomly trending increasingly in 2021 than previously. This was due to some components, together with bogus rumors getting reported by websites and rising demand from GTA followers who wished to listen to one thing in regards to the subsequent entry within the sequence. Issues received so dangerous in 2021 that somebody crashed a reside TV present simply to yell about GTA 6. As I write this in the course of December, it appears extraordinarily unlikely that 2021 would be the 12 months Rockstar Video games lastly confirms and declares Grand Theft Auto 6. There’s all the time subsequent 12 months, proper?
Including to the rising frustration amongst GTA followers was the information that the discharge of the PS5 and Xbox Sequence X/S ports of GTA V and GTA On-line was delayed. Initially, these ports had been deliberate to return out in November. However throughout a giant PlayStation occasion hosted by Sony, Rockstar launched a brand new trailer that did not impress followers and introduced a four-month delay. It didn’t assist that within the run-up to the occasion, there have been rising (and baseless) rumors of GTA 6 being revealed or perhaps a trailer for the still-at-the-time gossiped remastered traditional trilogy.
None of this occurred and as a substitute, an almost decade-old recreation received delayed in 2021.
In October, GTA On-line acquired a smaller Halloween replace that added lethal automobiles and NPC slashers to the web metropolis of Los Santos. It additionally added some lethal clowns, too. And if you happen to regarded up into the skies through the spooky month of October, GTA On-line was infested with UFOs. Whereas not as cool because the Tuners replace, it was a enjoyable approach to rejoice the perfect vacation, Halloween.
Lastly, after a variety of leaks, Rockstar confirmed on October 22 that GTA Remasters had been actual and could be out on November 11. The brand new ports would function newly created textures and fashions and would additionally use GTA V-like controls. All of it sounded so good…
In fact, when you have visited Kotaku or some other online game web site in the previous couple of weeks, you know the way the remastered assortment turned out. Not nice.
Whereas it regarded alright among the time, it suffered from quite a few bugs, together with rain that was painful to have a look at and horrible trying fashions, and different undesirable visible tweaks. It was a whole trainwreck. Hell, people datamining the remakes even discovered leftover bits of the notorious Scorching Espresso content material in GTA San Andreas. Yikes!
The response to GTA The Trilogy: Definitive Version was so dangerous and so sustained that Rockstar finally issued a uncommon apology on November 19. Not solely that, the writer introduced plans to carry again the traditional variations of GTA III, Vice Metropolis, and San Andres to PC gamers through its Rockstar Video games retailer. And house owners of the remastered assortment would get the returning classics totally free.
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Because the launch of the remastered assortment, modders have tried to repair and enhance the video games. Nonetheless, many modders and GTA tinkerers have determined to sit down this one out, citing how Take-Two Interactive handled them all through 2021. *Insert the “It’s Ironic Palpatine” GIF right here.*
Rockstar and Grove Road Video games, the devs behind the remastered ports, have additionally launched just a few updates to the gathering because the disastrous launch. These updates have truly fastened quite a bit and made the video games extra playable. However the devs nonetheless have a variety of work forward of them in the event that they want to actually repair these remasters. It appears clear now that this stuff wanted extra time within the oven.
However Rockstar was capable of finish the 12 months on a optimistic observe with the discharge of GTA On-line’s newest replace. This new replace, The Contract, stars Dr. Dre and is ready a few decade after the occasions of GTA V. Not solely did this replace add some superior new tracks to the GTA On-line radiowaves, nevertheless it additionally included some missions that felt like they may have been ripped out of an unreleased singleplayer GTA recreation.
It’s a disgrace GTA On-line remains to be, all these years later, a type of damaged mess that takes without end to load. However when you’ll be able to play the brand new replace, it’s the most effective Rockstar has made. It even supplied lore nerds like myself with some new details about Michael De Santa’s post-GTA V standing. Neat! Plus, it now implies that Dr. Dre is an precise character within the GTA On-line universe.
Sadly on December 16, proper as GTA On-line on PS4, Xbox One, and PC was getting a model new replace, the unique variations of the sport on Xbox 360 and PS3 had been shut down by Rockstar Video games. The corporate had introduced its plans to shut the servers down on these growing old variations of the sport earlier within the 12 months, nevertheless it was nonetheless unhappy to look at the ultimate moments of the sport throughout Twitch that day. RIP.
And with that, the 12 months is nearly over. Certain, GTA 6 obsessed followers didn’t get what they wished and the remastered trilogy was a catastrophe that’s nonetheless not fastened. However just a few good GTA On-line updates helped guarantee 2021 wasn’t a very horrible 12 months for the GTA neighborhood.
Let’s hope 2022 brings higher information, higher video games, and fewer lawsuits.