Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Rockstar shelves GTA4 and RED DEAD REDEMPTION remakes

Various insiders have confirmed that Rockstar Games has shelved all plans for additional remasters of their games following the poor reception to the infamously disastrous Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy Definitive Edition.

Rockstar made their name with the mega-selling Grand Theft Auto franchise, which has now shifted over a quarter of a billion copies globally. The last game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, was released in 2013 (with several remasters for newer hardware since then). Rockstar's last full game was Red Dead Redemption 2, release in 2018. The company have confirmed they are working on Grand Theft Auto VI, but the game still appears to be a couple of years off at best.

To ensure goodwill and deliver some product in the meantime, the company out remastered versions of Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) last year. However, the remaster was heavily criticised on release due to a vast number of bugs and poor to non-existent quality control. Some of these problems have since been fixed through updates, but many have not. Rockstar were accused of throwing out a quickie remaster to make money rather than taking their time and showing more respect for their fans.

Rumours have been swirling that Rockstar were also planning remasters of Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) and Red Dead Redemption (2010). Both of these games were built on early versions of Rockstar's RAGE Engine (more recently used for GTA5 and RDR2) and also used much more "modern" control schemes, so remastering them would likely be much easier. Indeed, the PC version of GTA4 has plenty of quality-of-life and graphics/lighting mods available that make it look like a dramatically better game. Remastering them should be far easier than the older games, which had to be ported into a new engine to be even viable.

In addition, Red Dead Redemption was never ported to PC, reportedly due to its source code being in a very poor state and Rockstar considering a port not worth the cost. Remastering the game would allow Rockstar to finally port the game to PC and modern consoles.

Indeed, it's long been speculated that Rockstar had more ambitious plans for the original Red Dead Redemption. Otherwise inexplicably, the entire Red Dead Redemption map can be found in RDR2 (even the bit in Mexico, although you need to use bugs and exploits to cross a river to get there), although there's no quests or mission set down there but there are complete towns and farms, and working trains. It looked like Rockstar were doing groundwork to allow them to make a full RDR1 remake in the RDR2 engine, maybe even as an expansion or DLC for RDR2 (RDR2 is also prequel to RDR1, and has a 10-hour epilogue acting as a bridge into the opening of RDR1's story). For whatever reason - certainly not low sales since RDR2 has sold over 44 million copies to date - they decided not to proceed with such a plan.

Rockstar are reportedly now fully fixed on bringing out Grand Theft Auto VI in the foreseeable future.

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