Update: Rockstar has apologized for GTA remasters mess — but just how much is fixable?
This time a year ago, gamers were stewing over the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 had been delayed yet again. It would eventually emerge on December 10 in such a sorry state that Sony ended up pulling it from the PlayStation store.
While the state the game launched in was inexcusable, there were at least mitigating circumstances due to the limitations of last-gen consoles and the sheer scope of the game.
The same can’t be said for the remastered GTA Trilogy released last week, which has been released with so many problems that dealing with refund requests has become the Rockstar Support Twitter account’s main duty (opens in new tab) in the last few days.
So what’s the problem? If only there were one…
GTA Trilogy: Now with weird new character models
While some of the new lighting effects are genuinely impressive, the character models are just bizarre in places, with a look not a million miles away from Nintendo’s Miis. Look at how these two have changed, for example:
Mafia city-looking ass pic.twitter.com/y9fhsAeQuJNovember 10, 2021
Or what’s happened to Denise:
So parts of the GTA trilogy remaster are STELLAROthers are... pic.twitter.com/8sRBZHzLdwNovember 11, 2021
And the less said about what happens when characters ride a bicycle the better.
Arm rickets are a major issue in Grove Street pic.twitter.com/J0kbdhA7onNovember 10, 2021
And these are just the tip of the iceberg:
It was inevitable. pic.twitter.com/WGYJyLywsrNovember 11, 2021
Suffice it to say, it compares extremely unfavorably to the ground-up remake of Mafia (opens in new tab) put out by 2K Games, which is odd considering how much more popular GTA is as a franchise.
Graphical glitches abound in GTA Trilogy
Weird art aside, the graphical upgrades seem to have introduced some additional bugs along the way. Things like… invisible bridges:
The bridge over the Whetstone is transparent😩 #GTATrilogy #GTASanAndreas pic.twitter.com/xJwbJEoxdqNovember 12, 2021
...and weird looking rain which mysteriously stops as soon as you reach any body of water.
My Eyes Hurt Pt.1 #GrandTheftAutoSanAndreasTheDefinitiveEdition #GTA #XboxShare pic.twitter.com/7GSRX24G7ONovember 11, 2021
Strangest of all are the spelling mistakes that seem to have entered the in-game art. This suggests that the texture upscaling has been automated, rather than done by hand — or even sense checked by a human before publication. Anyone for enchilaoas?
You'll find plenty of general spelling errors. I think they used an automated program to resize and clean up textures. The app seems to mistake "D" for "O" a lot.Bad News: Mexican market is out of Enchiladas! 😟Good News: They've got hot fresh 'Enchilaoas'! 😆 pic.twitter.com/CeRQBf0sLJNovember 11, 2021
GTA Trilogy's super-shoddy Switch port
The Nintendo Switch version of GTA Trilogy is especially bad, featuring all of the problems seen elsewhere alongside weaker graphics and performance issues. At the time of writing, the Switch version has a user score of 0.6/10 on Metacritic thanks to a frame rate that dip into the low 20fps range when in areas of heavy traffic.
When docked, dynamic resolution scaling makes it look a blurry mess, possibly dipping as low as 480p at times, and cars have a habit of appearing from nowhere due to the weak draw distance.
On the surface of things, that seems mad. After all, all three GTA games appeared on the PS2, and the Switch has easily managed to cope with titles from that era in the past, from Resident Evil 4 to Devil May Cry 3. Arguably the move to the Unreal engine and the advanced lighting are too much for the hardware, but given it can just about run The Witcher 3, it does feel like optimization steps just weren’t taken ahead of launch.
That’s a real shame, as the ability to play in handheld and docked mode would theoretically make the Switch the best way to enjoy the remaster, especially with the addition of gyroscopic aiming and touch controls. But not right now, clearly.
GTA Trilogy: Can it be fixed?
All of this wouldn’t have been so bad if Rockstar hadn’t pulled the original versions of the games from the various digital stores and shut down fan remake projects ahead of launch. As it stands, the troubled remaster is the only way of getting the games now, without trying to track down original disks and hardware.
It took CD Projekt Red a good six months to bring Cyberpunk 2077 up to something approaching the state it should have been at launch, and hopefully Rockstar will make a similar commitment to bringing the GTA Trilogy up to standard.
But that’s by no means guaranteed given the big difference between the titles: CD Projekt needed Cyberpunk to sell well, in order to justify the years of investment. Rockstar, meanwhile, has already made billions from the original GTA trilogy.
With that in mind, joining the queue of people demanding a refund may be the best way of reminding the decision makers at Rockstar that reputational damage matters.
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