Grand Theft Auto: Non-Definitive Edition

If you have any interest in videogames, then it is highly unlikely that you haven’t been touched by the scorching winds of the firestorm raging around the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. At the very least, you will have noticed the plumes of acrid smoke on the horizon as customers swamp Rockstar with refund demands via social media, for a product that has disappointed and shocked the GTA fanbase with it’s shoddiness. Now, I’m not here to tell you that videogame drama is actually something important in life, but this is a pretty big deal within the hobby.

Grand Theft Auto III, for example, was a landmark, ground-breaking title that wrote the blueprint for the modern sandbox/playground style of game – a blueprint that has been photocopied to absolute death and continues to spend a lot of time on said metaphorical copier. It was a game that defined a generation and could genuinely be considered ‘important’ for the evolution of the medium. The follow-up, Vice City, was more of the same but remains more popular due to it being a love-letter to the 1980s. The final game to be cursed treated to a 2021 remaster was San Andreas – perhaps not as nostalgic as III and Vice City for many but still wildly popular for it’s staggering scope, memorable characters, and the way the Playstation 2 literally struggled to handle Rockstar’s ambition at times. The point is that, regardless of your favourite, these were all huge, triple-A titles that transcended into cultural icons and, as such, there has always been a powerful affection for these games and the experiences that our younger selves had when pouring hours into these virtual worlds.

You would, therefore, expect these games to be handled with the utmost care and reverence when polishing them up for the year 2021. They have a status to respect, and millions of fans worldwide who WILL pick up on the most minute of inconsistencies and problems. So I guess that’s why Rockstar outsourced the remasters to somebody else (Grove Street Games), said, “fuck it” to quality control, and punted out this absolutely sloppy effort. Obviously, they knew that gamers would pre-order and pre-load this release regardless of the lack of info because, let’s face it, you could obtain a steaming, freshly-birthed dog turd from your nearest alleyway, carve the GTA logo into it, and sell it to pretty much anybody. The whole thing is so cynical and so representative of the lazy, cash-grabbing, prideless attitudes infesting Western videogame development and publishing that it genuinely puts me off gaming as a whole.

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