After months of rumors, speculation, leaks, and teasers, Rockstar finally released the remastered Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition collection yesterday. It landed with a thud as players encountered and documented countless visual bugs, gameplay glitches, and odd changes to models and textures. Even viewed in a vacuum, this state of affairs is disappointing, especially considering the $60 price tag attached to the collection. But looking at the bigger picture, it gets even worse. These busted remasters seemingly led to the removal of a ton of classic GTA mods, and the original versions of GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas. With that context added, it becomes a much more frustrating situation, and one which likely doesn’t have a happy ending.
Before Rockstar officially announced the GTA remasters, fans speculated about them for months due to random leakers and insiders on various forums hinting about their possible existence. Around this same time in the summer of 2021, Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive began targeting and removing mods that were related to the classic PS2 games, including popular mods like Vice Cry, which ported Vice City to the GTA V engine. The companies also sued the devs behind a project aiming to release the reverse-engineered source code for Vice City and GTA III, which would have allowed folks to more easily port and tweak these older games.
And because fans had already been speculating that GTA remasters were in the works, and all of these mods were related to those games—often improving them or making them easier to play—many connected the dots and concluded that Take-Two Interactive was clearing the runway ahead of its own official remakes. However, Take-Two and Rockstar have yet to confirm why any of the mods or fan projects were sent DMCA takedowns or lawsuits.