Rockstar's GTA Retro Games Was Completely Broken And Support Was Ghosting Everyone

from the more-like-grand-theft-notto-amirite? dept

You may recall that a couple of months ago we discussed Rockstar and Take2, the game studio and publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto series, taking down a fan-made GTA4 mod that aimed to put all of the cities from previous games in one massive map. While this was a labor of love by dedicated fans of the GTA series, it escaped nobody’s attention that this action was taken on a mod started in 2014 just as Rockstar was about to release GTA Trilogy, consisting of remastered versions of GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas. The very cities the mod looked to input into GTA4. In other words, the fan project was only shut down when the game companies decided to try to make money off this retro love themselves.

So how’s it going? Well, not too fucking great on the PC side considering that the PC version was pulled down basically everywhere.

Something has gone very, very wrong since yesterday’s launch of GTA Trilogy on PC. As of last night, all mention of a PC version has been removed from Rockstar’s own site, and the Rockstar Games Launcher app has gone completely offline. Anyone who bought the remastered collection before it vanished is currently unable to play.

It has been at least 18 hours since the sudden disappearance of the PC’s GTA Trilogy, and Kotaku can confirm that the Launcher is not working. Which means all Rockstar PC games, including Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA Online, are currently impossible to play.

You read that right. The PC Rockstar Launcher, responsible for letting gamers play the games they bought, was borked. On Twitter, Rockstar’s support had only been so transparent as to say that the launcher is down due to “maintenance”. Unscheduled or unannounced maintenance, as it turns out. And maintenance that lasted several days. Now, you could get the launcher to work in offline mode… for those who know how to do that. But paying customers were left to figure it out for themselves because Rockstar’s support only sent two tweets out during that downtime with barely any details.

As of Monday, Rockstar finally got its launcher working again and the GTA Trilogy back to being available for purchase and play. But as to what caused all of this, Rockstar is as opaque as ever. Whether something related to the GTA Trilogy title is somehow related to all of this isn’t entirely known…

…but it is the case that people recently bought those titles and couldn’t play them. Bad communication from the company to the public is compounding, at least in this writer’s head, with the effort it put into shutting down a fan-made work and labor of love that would have given GTA fans some retro thrills.

And to make matters a bit stranger, Rockstar had previously delisted its PC version from all 3rd party marketplaces.

For whatever reasons, Rockstar chose to remove all versions of GTAs III, Vice City, and San Andreas from alternative PC stores—including Steam—ahead of this launch, meaning its bespoke software is now the only way to buy and play the games. Or indeed, the only way to not play it.

And so Rockstar customers were left to the tender mercies of a company that doesn’t seem to feel like telling them what’s going on. All while trying to prevent fan-made game mods from being a thing. Not a great look.

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Companies: rockstar games

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Comments on “Rockstar's GTA Retro Games Was Completely Broken And Support Was Ghosting Everyone”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The games as originally released had audio tracks for which Rockstar no longer had a valid license as well as the files for the Hot Coffee ‘minigame’, the inclusion of which would have made the ESRB rating invalid. During the downtime, those files were removed.

They should have just pulled the games due to embarrassment, according to all the information and reviews I’ve seen. This was a completely lazy money-grab offering no value to new players, and negative value to returning players.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That wasn’t all. Those tracks were disabled, and it isn’t completely trivial to find and enable them, but other reasons include the fact that the PC release included non-compiled main.scm (complete with code comments which should be a hoot when they show up somewhere), and the script compiler. If you want to kill the modding world, this was an own goal.

So yeah, when you over-tax a small porting studio…

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Oh, they sent out more than two tweets in that time period.

They sent out a LOT of tweets from @rockstarSupport in response to the many many thousands of tweets saying "I want a refund" with some variation of "Please open a ticket and we would be happy to help you personally: *BK"

I did not want to be their social media team (which looks to be BK and SR)

Anonymous Coward says:

I didn’t buy it, but from what I’ve seen on Youtube the PC blackout was just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s horribly buggy and what little visual improvements there were are so badly done even the originals look better in many places (and the fan mods blow it out of the water). The rain effect in particular is so bad it makes the game almost unplayable.

I’m happy to have the originals on disk, they are clearly better than this pathetic cashgrab.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I was going to make a joke about who cares about being treated like trash look at the shiny new graphics but given one of the sticking point for this ‘remaster’ is how horrible the graphics are in places… yeah, some people seem quite eager to not just pay but defend companies that see and treat them horribly because… reasons(I really don’t get people like that).

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I was actually trying to play GTA5 when it happened. I got it last year when Epic had it for free, and never had much time to try it, so i wanted to finish the story off while i had some time.

when loading, it’d give me three escalation popups to launch ‘rockstar social’ and then it’d quit itself, because rockstar social was offline.

Flynn Arrowstarr says:

They F**ked It Up!

Picked it up on the PS5 and hoo-boy am I glad I still have the originals on CD/DVD (PS2 and PC). Inconsistent framerates, weird upscaling glitches (I hate when the bearbox goes out in my car), uncanny valley character models in San Andreas, and the weird brain effects are just the beginning. The Digital Foundry video on GTA 3 is great and I’m looking forward to their takes on Vice City and San Andreas.

The upscaled PS2 games on the PS4 work better and it stinks that R* pulled them from sale, along with all the other digital versions. Hard pass on the PC version until things get cleaned up (if they’ll even bother). Not going to bother getting the refund for the PS5 since I’m having a bit of fun finding the flaws in it – like CJ’s face disappearing during the opening cutscene in San Andres, heh.


Candescence (profile) says:

You should've mentioned how poorly the remasters have reviewed.

It’s not just the shitshow with the PC version, every version is seeing <60 metacritic scores. The entire project was farmed out to a mobile developer without the care or dedication of Rockstar themselves, and it shows. The games are buggy as hell, character models are terrible, there’s missing music tracks (because somehow Take-Two and Rockstar can’t get the licenses for certain music tracks despite having basically all the money) and the rain effects are dreadful.

And despite all the shit T2 has done to screw over the modding community, they’re still fixing some of the aforementioned problems.

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