A Grand Theft Auto IV Remaster May Be in the Works, [UPDATE: Rockstar Pulls the Plug]

Grand Theft Auto IV 9 photos
Photo: Rockstar Entertainment
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshotGrand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshotGrand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshotGrand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshotGrand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshotGTA IV Mod PackGTA IV Mod PackGTA IV Gameplay
The release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition was an unmitigated disaster in the strongest possible terms. With ground-clipping, graphical artifacts, and glitch gremlins galore, what success Rockstar Entertainment felt with initial sales was dashed by scathing and near-unanimous scorn.
But no more than a handful of months after this frankly embarrassing PR debacle, for which Rockstar issued an apology, no less, rumors released by are swirling that the R-rated video game giant is prepping to remaster yet another timeless classic.

The fourth installment of the main storyline Grand Theft Auto series is an undisputed, universally adored halo game for the seventh-generation game consoles. A masterpiece of Hollywood-grade storytelling, addicting gameplay, and enough replay value to last a lifetime.

Remastering such a beloved IP would no doubt be a minefield, especially after the disaster that was the last attempt at such a project. But there are some advantages a newer game like GTA IV has over older games in the series don't have. Firstly, whether you believe it or not, both GTA IV and GTA V share the same game engine. The Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, or RAGE for short, has proven remarkably resilient and adaptable.

With its last release coming as recently as 2018 with Red Dead Redemption 2, there's no question GTA IV has room to grow with graphical techniques and new effects developed in the 14 years since the game's first release. But if these rumors are indeed true, there are a few key points where Rockstar can not mess up. Suppose any one of these criteria isn't met. In that case, there's no reason why a Remastered Grand Theft Auto IV couldn't be an even bigger disaster than the last time they tried something similar.

Firstly: Minimal Graphical Artifacts/ Bad Lighting at Launch

GTA IV Mod Pack
Photo: Flickr
This first gripe is rooted in everything so wrong with the video game industry in 2022. Games being released before they're complete and looking like graphical messes at launch have plagued the Xbox 360 and Playstation Three with their readily accessible online updates. Though it's arguably only been in recent times that this practice has become especially egregious. Just look at Battlefield 2042 if you don't believe us.

We won't bash game developers. Their job is far beyond the scope of our knowledge. But we can all agree that a perfectly polished, stunningly aesthetical complete video game that takes five years to make is better than one that looks like a mess of polygons done in three.

The latter in this dynamic was one primordial sin of GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition. Oh, and it would be nice if the faces on the main characters and NPCs didn't look like horror shows once remastered like last time would be another bonus. Let's face it, enough graphical snafus these days, and lots of people will simply play something else.

Second: It Better Be Stable, No More Random Crashes

Grand Theft Auto\: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition screenshot
Photo: Rockstar Games
Another unacceptable quirk of the last GTA Remaster attempt was its inexplicable instability. Of course, the original port of GTA San Andreas was known to stress mid-2000s computer hardware to the point of crashing. With a stable platform like the GTA IVs single-player, and over 20 years later, there's no excuse for constant crashes, unanticipated freezing, or stuttering frame rates on competent hardware anymore.

Even the Playstation 5 version of the remastered original GTA Trilogy's reviewers noted the game would become a stuttering, frame-dropping mess. If this happens again, you can forget about a positive review. No amount of bribing game journalists would be able to stop that from happening in this case. Also, it would be nice if Rockstar fixed GTA IVs bricked PC multiplayer. You know, since the failure that was Games for Windows-Live shutting down left it non-functioning. People still aren't over that. Sadly, reports seem to say this will not be included.

Last, But Not Least: It Needs to Look Better Than Mods That Already Exist.

GTA IV Mod Pack
Photo: YouTube User: INTER
An awesome third-party graphical update is one of the hallmarks of an all-time great video game mod. In the cases of GTA San Andreas, IV, and V, independent modders have found ways to turn the base game into something profoundly better looking than it was at the start. Ample YouTube videos show what's possible with the Grand Theft Auto series and modern Nvidia graphics card with RTX Ray Tracing capabilities.

Safe to say, it all looks fantastic. So then, the greatest challenge facing Rockstar Games in the event rumors about a remastered GTA IV is true might be attempting to make a finished product that looks nicer and has smoother gameplay than their uber-talented fanbase has already come up with. Good luck, Rockstar. You'll need it!

Well, it'd seem all this fuss is for nothing, as Rockstar recently announced any attempt at a GTA IV reboot would be scrapped in favor of focusing entirely on GTA 6's development. Rest assured, Rockstar would never recover if GTA 6 turned out to be bad. That said, something tells us, scrapping GTA IV Remastered is probably for the best.
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