GTA: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition has arrived, but amidst all the jubilation – and the annoyance over problems and bugs – we should also remember the price paid by the gaming community, especially the makers of unofficial add-ons and mods.
After months of rumours, speculations, leaks and teasers, Rockstar yesterday finally released the revamped GTA: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition collection. It made a big splash right away: the Launcher crashed and was removed from the line-up for a while; meanwhile, players were hit with a myriad of visual bugs, gameplay glitches and strange changes to models and textures. This is particularly disappointing when you consider the price tag of 60 dollars. However, the situation seems to be even worse. Due to the dubious quality of the remastered versions, Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive have removed a lot of classic GTA mods and the original versions of GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas.
Back in the summer, when the first rumours of the remastered version first surfaced, developers and the publisher began systematically targeting and removing mods for classic PS2 games, including popular titles such as Vice Cry, which ported Vice City to the GTA V engine. The companies have also sued the developers behind the project to release compiled source code for Vice City and GTA III, which would have allowed people to port and refine these older games more easily. It wasn’t hard to figure out that Rockstar and Take-Two were embarking on a clean-up for their own remaster release…
It took only a few lawsuits and warnings from the companies: many, fearing legal threats and attacks from Take-Two, started removing old content or stopping mods themselves. In September, the developers behind GTA Underground shut down the mod after six years, citing “hostility towards the modder community” and “imminent threats to our mental and financial well-being”.
It is a particular pain for the modders that after 20 years of helping to keep ancient games like GTA III playable and popular, Rockstar has not approached them for help or support for remasters but instead ‘favoured’ them with lawyers and legal notices. This affected many people badly.
To top it all off, Rockstar has decided to compound the trouble by removing the original GTA games from console and PC store shelves, without any indication or assurance that these classics will ever return. So fans and the GTA community are left with only the remastered versions, which is not much, especially given the deplorable state of these remasters. Some are now hoping that modders will once again save the day with their free work and passion. However, after the legal cases of the past year and the mods that have been taken down and blocked, there is unfortunately little reason to be optimistic.
Several online community content creators have spoken out on the matter. For example, famous GTA modder Silent, who is known for his great patches that fix and improve classic GTA games, said he doesn’t “care much” about the remakes but was happy to see the online backlash. “I think it’s a good thing that it seems like Rockstar may finally be reaching the point where *a lot* of people are fed up with their actions”.
Another popular GTA modder, Ash_735, has also expressed his frustration with the whole situation. He said most modders would have liked Rockstar to act more like Valve or Bethesda and support modders and their creations. If that had been the case, Ash thinks this whole situation would have been different and resulted in a lot more happy fans and players. But unfortunately, as we can see, Rockstar didn’t take that approach.
According to Ash_375, if Rockstar and Take-Two force mod makers into illegality instead of support, everyone – including the companies – will lose because this will ultimately only lead to an increase in the number of hacked games and “illicitly” swapped mods and accessories. In addition, the modders who are most affected by the current situation are likely to switch to modding other titles or, fed up with the situation, leave the whole business:
“People generally have better things to do than do unpaid work for others that won’t be acknowledged nor appreciated,” Silent tweeted.
And one-time players continue to share videos and screenshots of horrible-looking weather effects, missing fog, annoying bugs, broken textures and more. So it seems there’s still room for improvement on the remasters, but as Rockstar and Take-Two continue to fight modders and fan developers, unlike in the past, the community is unlikely to rush to the aid of frustrated, annoyed users anytime soon…
…them, effort they would definitely ignore either way. People generally have better things to do than do unpaid work for others that won't be acknowledged nor appreciated. (4/4)
— Silent (@__silent_) November 10, 2021