The Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the most popular titles in not only video games but in all of fictional media. Developed by Rockstar, the crime drama series has set multiple sales records and their most recent title, Grand Theft Auto V, is the most profitable piece of media ever. Of course, none of this could have happened without the success of what many fans have dubbed the “PlayStation 2 trilogy.”
Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas all released on the PlayStation 2 to massive success and it’s those three games that pushed the series into mainstream culture. The games made headlines for not only being brash and violent but also for the sandbox gameplay that is now a regular feature in so many other games. It’s hard to think about now, but before GTA took off the idea of being able to do whatever we wanted in an open world wasn’t the readily available feature it is today. Video games are a copycat industry and everyone wanted to copy what GTA was doing, but nobody has gotten close to emulating the same level of success.
While Rockstar isn’t known for remakes and remasters, rumors have been persisting for some time that remakes of the PS2 trilogy are in the works. On Thursday, Kotaku released a report that gave us our most conclusive evidence yet that these games are indeed in development. Kotaku reports that only do they plan to remaster these games, but they would like to port them across multiple platforms such as the Nintendo Switch. Yes, a Nintendo console might be receiving a Grand Theft Auto game. Something we haven’t seen since Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS.
After months of rumors and speculation, Kotaku has learned from sources that Rockstar Games may be remastering three classic Grand Theft Auto games. Currently, it appears these games will be released later this fall for a multitude of platforms, including the portable Nintendo Switch.
According to these sources, Rockstar is actively developing remastered versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. All three of these games are being remastered using Unreal Engine and will be a mix of “new and old graphics.” One source who claims to have seen a snippet of the games in action said that the visuals reminded them of a heavily-modded version of a classic GTA title. The UI for the games are being updated too, but will retain the same classic style. No details were shared about gameplay, but Kotaku has been told these remakes are trying to stay true to the PS2-era GTA games as much as possible.
It’s interesting to see Rockstar might be remastering these games, because there technically isn’t a need to do that. Usually, when a company decides to remaster an older game it’s because they want to make an older game available again on new hardware. However, most of these original GTA titles have been ported numerous times and are readily available on modern consoles. Another reason a company might remaster an older game is because they want to reignite interest in a franchise that has long been dormant. However, GTA is still thriving and many fans have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a Grand Theft Auto 6. The big reason would be money, not that Rockstar is short on cash, but no company is ever going to pass up on the opportunity to make an easy profit on something as huge as Grand Theft Auto.
Maybe all of this is just so Rockstar can get three extremely popular titles on a console like the Switch. Nintendo’s handheld home console has sold over 28 million devices , and it’s one of the few brands that doesn’t readily have GTA games on it. Whatever the reasoning, it will be fun to see what a modern take on some of those old games will look like. They say they want it to be as faithful to the original games as possible, but a small upgrade to some of the mechanics certainly wouldn’t hurt the series.