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GTA Trilogy Proves Brand is Bigger than Quality

The GTA Trilogy has sold about 10m copies. That’s about 10m more than you might have expected if you visited the internet around launch time.


Rockstar announced the total alongside some other eye-watering statistics. Grant Theft Auto V has sold 160m copies. Red Dead Redemption 2 disappoints at only 43m. I’m kidding, the fact it sold so well is one of the happier stories of the last few days.

Here’s a less happy one. The Resident Evil 3 remake shipped 5m copies since release. Okay, so it’s not bad news in and of itself. And, of course it had its own share of controversy at release.

But it goes to show that not all brands are created equally. Grand Theft Auto can repackage their mobile ports, poorly upscale a few textures, release a single patch and sell double the amount of a full remake.

And I’m not the only one to notice. I’m sure there’s executive at every publish who’ve noticed the same thing.

Remakes and Remasters

The attempts to cash in on nostalgia tend to come in drips and drabs. The Crash Bandicoot trilogy sold very well, followed by the Spyro Collection. Then the Medieval remake came and went with barely a notice.

It wasn’t helped by the fact the Medieval games were poor in the first place.

But that’s a different point. The fact is that these companies acknowledge their history only when it suits them. Rockstar had a gap in the schedule, so they released the remasters.

Same with Resident Evil 3. There was a gap between the 2 Remake and Resident Evil Village and so they used the assets they had to recreate another classic.

Perhaps they shouldn’t have bothered. They’d have sold as many with a half-assed upscale of the original.

So if people don’t want quality and they don’t seem overly fussed by reimaginings, what exactly is it they’re after?


GTA Trilogy: Brand over Brains

The sales on the GTA Trilogy goes to show that quality isn’t the biggest thing in a new release, and especially not in a re-release.

The GTA Trilogy is one of the most important set of games ever released. They deserve as many sales as people can throw at them.

And yet their importance meant that they deserved better than they got. The corporation who owns them could literally throw them on a disc and send them out in the world without a second thought.

The customers who bought the trilogy day one weren’t necessarily at fault. You might argue they should’ve waited for reviews, or held off on buying when it became clear that the release was poor.

But really it’s not their responsibility to police IP holders. The IP holders themselves should hold their products to a higher value. They should realise the place they hold in people’s minds and act respectfully of that.

And while some of the conversations around Resident Evil 3 were very valid, you can’t say that it hurt the brand. You might not have liked how short it was, or that it was third person, but you can’t say it hurt the brand.

Not like those shitty online modes they keep trying to shove down people’s throats, but still.

Preservation is so important in this industry. It’s time companies start taking that responsibility more seriously.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott