After a delay lasting around 72 hours, Rockstar Games finally made Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition playable and purchasable again on PC.
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and are working to improve and update overall performance as we move forward,” Rockstar said in a tweet.
The Trilogy, which includes remastered versions of GTA III, GTA Vice City, and GTA San Andreas, was only accessible on PC during a brief window on its botched November 11th launch date. The Rockstar Games Launcher went down that same day, preventing anyone from playing the GTA bundle on PC (or any other Rockstar games, for that matter). Rockstar brought the Launcher back online on November 12th but noted that GTA: The Trilogy was unavailable to buy or play because Rockstar had to delete files that were “unintentionally included in these versions.”
Regarding which files were removed, it might’ve had something to do with unlicensed music files and the “Hot Coffee” minigame. Video Games Chronicle (VGC) reports that data miners uncovered code in the remastered edition for the notorious Hot Coffee sex minigame that players could only access via a mod in the original version of GTA San Andreas.
Despite this, the Federal Trade Commission charged Rockstar and Take-Two at the time for allegedly deceiving the ESRB — GTA San Andreas was originally rated Mature, but the explicit Hot Coffee minigame would raise that rating to Adults Only. Rockstar released an M-rated version of San Andreas without the minigame but ended up losing $24 million after stores took the AO version off their shelves.
Additionally, a separate report from VGC highlights data miners who claim they found the “holy grail” of developer notes in the remastered games, along with a trove of unlicensed music that developers left disabled. Any of this content could’ve been the files Rockstar rushed to remove.
Now that The Trilogy is back on PC, Rockstar will have to address growing complaints about its performance and graphical issues. Some players were so disappointed in the bundle’s quality that they refunded it before it could even become playable again. And as you can see from the tweet above, Rockstar is annoyingly emailing some players who previously asked for refunds just to confirm that they really don’t want the games.
Even the entire r/grandtheftauto subreddit has gone dark to protest the muddy release of The Trilogy, as well as Rockstar’s removal of the original GTA trilogy from game stores like Steam. If you try to visit the subreddit, you’ll be met with this message:
Going dark to protest Rockstar/Take-Two taking down modders, pulling Trilogy PC version from paying customers, pulling ALL PC TITLES from paying customers for 30 hours, removing the original GTAs from sale (including 1/2/1969), letting Sony deny Trilogy refunds, No official statements. Please don’t blame modders for looking at files. Thank you to Grove Street Games for doing the best that you could. PC: https://help.xsolla.com/i-made-a-payment-and-need-a-refund
The problems players are experiencing with the games aren’t isolated to the PC version either — glitches and bugs are plaguing the remastered games across all platforms. Players are shocked at the appearance of some of the “remastered” characters and other graphical issues, such as one that causes blinding rainstorms. Rockstar says it’s working towards improving the game’s “overall performance” in the future, but it may already be too late.