More Grand Theft Auto Remakes Are Coming
Very few video game developers have mastered the art of making money like Rockstar Games has with the Grand Theft Auto series. No game in history has made more money than Grand Theft Auto V, which is still the most recent version of the game despite closing in on turning nine years old. As hard as this might be to believe, the game has now made more money than every movie, television show and book in history combined - and the money keeps coming. That’s why there will be a remastered version of the game for the PS5 released either late this year or close to the beginning of the end of 2022.
While Grand Theft Auto 5 is undeniably great, many fans are becoming impatient for Grand Theft Auto 6. The gap between the current version of the game and the next one is already longer than any previous gap in the history of the series. Many players hoped that when the remastered version of GTA V eventually lands, Rockstar might finally turn its attention towards working on GTA VI. We've known for a while that the game is "in development," but we've never seen a screenshot, and we've never been given even a tiny scrap of information about what to expect from the game. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it looks like those fans are going to have to wait even longer. There are even more GTA remakes on the way. In fact, there are a whole three of them in the pipeline.
This information comes from a dubious source. A group of "dataminers" who monitor Rockstar's operations have identified changes to the Rockstar Launcher, and they're positive that those changes indicate a reboot of a much loved Grand Theft Auto trilogy from the past. We won't pretend to know how dataminers go about their work, but for the purposes of this article, we'll take their claims at face value. Apparently, the coding of the launcher now contains references to "gta3unreal," "gtasaunreal," and "gtavcunreal." These have been taken as references to Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. However, the catch is that none of these games was made using the Unreal Engine. If the launcher is being geared up to handle versions of those games made using that engine, it points to the existence or future existence of new versions of those games. In other words, it points to remasters.
Fans are likely to be torn about this news. On the one hand, it's way past time we had genuinely new content to look forward to in the shape of GTA VI. On the other hand, all three of those games are bonafide classics. We've seen from the success of remastered Resident Evil and Final Fantasy games that there's a strong market for new versions of old classics, and so long as the remasters were handled well, there would also be a strong market for this trilogy. However, if the production of these remasters extends the amount of time we're going to be waiting for the new version of Grand Theft Auto VI, there will be voices of dissent among the gaming community.
Making new versions of old games could be interpreted as fan service, but it could also be interpreted as a cash grab by Rockstar. It's easier to put a new coat of paint on something old than it is to make something new. As we said at the start of this article, nobody does monetization better than Rockstar. Almost everything they've done to make money out of the current and previous versions of Grand Theft Auto has worked, with the sole exception of the attempt to introduce a casino into GTA V in 2019. That fell foul of laws that govern online slots and internet casinos in several territories. Even though nothing in the Diamond Casino and Resort closely resembles an online casino with real money site, several authorities didn't like the fact that chips in the casino could be bought with real money. That constituted real gambling to them whether players could then take real money back out of the game or not. As a rule of thumb, if online slots are banned in your country or region, you can't enter the casino. That forced Rockstar to make changes and is a rare example of them making a financial misstep.
If there’s a silver lining to be found here, it’s that the dataminers think that the remasters have already been finished and will be launched imminently. It’s even been suggested that they might become available as soon as November, which is only one month away. Rockstar has been known to surprise players in the past, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see them spring this news on us ahead of the launch of the GTA V remaster. They might also be intending to launch all of the remasters at once as a package deal to attract as many purchases as possible. There are many players who wouldn’t feel motivated to buy a remaster of GTA V when the last-gen version is so good, but the chance to play updated versions of the older games might be a stronger draw.
So, where does this leave us with the timeline for GTA VI? The truth is that nobody knows, but it won't come any time soon. As recently as eighteen months ago, there were hopes that GTA VI would land close to the launch of the PlayStation 5, just as GTA V arrived close to the launch of the PlayStation 4. Those hopes were in vain, and the news only got worse from there. A potential release date of 2023 was floated by some industry insiders, but then the pandemic hit. It's generally understood that the pandemic caused multiple production issues for Rockstar, and so the game might slip to 2024 or even 2025. By that time, the new generation of hardware will have started to get old.
If we really are still looking at multiple years before the release of GTA VI, it's to be hoped that these potential remasters of the original 3D trilogy are excellent. Rediscovering them and playing our way through them might make up for at least some of the disappointment. Not all, but some!