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The GTA Trilogy Remaster is Just Wrong – And I Want It

Re-releasing Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City and San Andreas with only a handful of improvements is ridiculous. It’s lazy. It’s outrageous. But the GTA Trilogy Remaster is something I’m totally down for.


Here’s the problem: these three games are incredibly good. More than that, they ooze nostalgia. To play them with improved controls and graphics will restore them back to the level I thought they were back in the early noughties.

Believe me, I know that releasing the GTA Trilogy in this way is everything wrong with gaming. It’s convincing publishers that they can re-release old titles with minor upgrades for basically full price. But I’m going to buy it anyway, and in that way I suppose what’s really wrong with gaming is me.

Back on the (Damn) Nostalgia Train

Because Rockstar are only doing this because they know there’s great demand for it. They know people want to play these games all over again. Why do you think they’ve gotten rid of the old versions on digital stores? Because if buyers can choose to sack off the improvements and save £40, that’s exactly what they’ll do. They don’t want all that marketing to be in vain.


“What marketing?” I hear you cry. And you’d be right. Rockstar are being suspiciously quiet about this GTA Trilogy set. We will have them in our hands in a little over a week, and we’ve seen very little video. We’ve heard nothing about changes to radio stations. We’ve got a kind of optimistic announcement of upgrades to make it feel more like Grand Theft Auto V, but we’ve had zero hands-on coverage of that fact.

At this point buying the GTA Trilogy is something of a dice roll. I can’t tell you that it’s going to pay off. The graphics could be a complete mess (although the higher resolution is going to be welcome). The music could be butchered. Like Shenmue, the old audio could be depressingly compressed. The cars could feel completely different. There are so many pitfalls here.

I mean, luckily if you’ve got an Xbox, you can just download San Andreas on Game Pass. PlayStation users will have to wait for GTA 3 to hit PlayStation Now.

But, in a nutshell, preordering is a bad idea. Let’s face it, preordering is always a bad idea. But here, more than most.

So then why am I going to buy it day one? Why are millions just like me?

Buying Into the GTA Dream

The truth is that Rockstar have earned our trust. They’ve been milking it for a decade, and if you play GTA Online you’ll probably feel differently. Personally, I’ve never been disappointed by a Rockstar game. Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games ever made, certainly in the last generation, and you’ll find the GTA games at the top of every “best of” generation list.

Rockstar haven’t yet started to let us down on single player games, and that’s exactly what these are. If they’re clever, they won’t risk damaging that reputation with a lazy remaster. It needs to be substantial, even if it’s not a full remake.

Of course, this is a one-time offer. I can count the amount of games I buy day one on one hand, and it’s because I’m only let down once.


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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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