All the buzz in GTA news lately is around the recent announcement by Take-Two Interactive that Rockstar Games is working on “new, exciting projects”. Of course, the bulk of the speculation is directed at what their next major game might turn out to be, however the word “projects” suggests that the developer is spinning multiple plates at the same time.
Of course, the main guesses are GTA 6 and a third Red Dead game (everyone seems to forget that Red Dead Revolver was a thing), however some fans are still holding out hope for another Manhunt, or possibly a follow-up to L.A. Noire. The chances of another Midnight Club or Max Payne game are thin, but the possibility is there.
However, looking at AAA game release trends nowadays, a seldom mentioned option has also been added to the mix – GTA remasters. With the exclusion of V and maybe IV (debatable), all Grand Theft Auto games are pretty dated in terms of visuals.
It was V that really defined the franchise as a kind of visual benchmark, as none of the older games were particularly extraordinary in terms of graphics when they launched. GTA IV especially was often criticized for its graphics when it first launched.
However, the fact that there is still a sizable market for the 3D era masterpieces of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas on mobile platforms and even the current-gen consoles proves that these games are still sought after.
While the mobile versions already have marginally improved visuals, they’re still nowhere near the quality of AAA console games, even older ones. Here’s the thing though – the fact that the fairly recent mobile versions exist proves that Rockstar still has every single asset from those games on hand, making a remaster relatively simple.
Clearly, if they wanted to turn GTA III into something that resembles V from a visual standpoint, they would need to re-build the graphical assets from the ground up in many cases, but having the originals as a starting point is a great help. If they would keep everything else – gameplay, missions, soundtrack, story, mechanics – the same, only updating the graphics and keeping the price relatively low, it would sell extremely well.
While jumping into new projects is risky, this is the kind of thing that would turn a guaranteed profit with little investment required. It would give newer fans who just can’t get over the blocky graphics a chance to experience the past of the franchise. Older fans would be able to experience these classics “like they remember them” once more.
While GTA IV is more recent, it too could use a face-lift. It being a newer release would make a remaster even easier, since the models and textures are already pretty high quality and would only need some polish and re-touching (while they’re at it, Rockstar might add some color to the game too) to be on-par with V at max settings on PC, for example.
The remaster/remake trend has been on the rise for the past few years, with “Definitive Editions” also becoming popular as low-effort versions. Fondly remembered classics and even popular games only a few years old are frequently getting visual upgrades thanks to the lack of backwards-compatibility (on launch, at least) on the current-gen consoles.
Examples of this trend include Halo: The Masterchief Collection, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, God of War III Remastered and most recently, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered (which, unfortunately, won’t be available as standalone…).
Would you buy remastered versions of 3D era GTA games and IV, or would you stick to the good old original versions?