What would you expect from the definitive edition of a classic video game, a game that had supposedly been lovingly remastered and re-rendered for the 4k generation?
Would you expect bug-eyed, spaghettified characters zipping through black holes in the in-game world? Or that a 20-year old game would somehow stutter on today's top-end gaming consoles? Or how about not being able to play the game at all just a day after you purchased it?
Such has been the experience of those plunked down $60 for 'Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy-the Definitive Edition' from Nov. 11 onward.
Developed on behalf of Rockstar, by Grove Street Games, 'The Trilogy' includes remasters of three beloved games: 'GTA 3',' GTA Vice City', and 'GTA San Andreas'. 'The Trilogy's' PC version currently boasts a 0.5 user score on Metacritic, one of the lowest ratings on the site.
Across all platforms, players complain of heinous visuals and glitchy performance. Beyond that, Rockstar rendered the PC version unplayable for at least 48 hours after the game's launch, with little to no explanation.
Jefferies analyst Andrew Uerkwitiz told MarketWatch that the launch will likely cause investors to "continue to question TTWO's ability to expand their portfolio while maintaining quality."
Rockstar later disclosed that they pulled the title from PC's because the release included developer notes, unlicensed music, and even the code for the infamous "Hot Coffee," sex mini-game that had supposedly been scrubbed from the game back in 2008.
Overall the 'Trilogy's' wonky upscaling, numerous glitches, and plasticine aesthetic hardly indicate the love many players had hoped these classic titles would be handled with, especially in the visual department.
"Original style and aesthetics are completely lost," reads a top-rated Metacritic review by user hall261, "now all of the games look equally bad, like a mix of Roblox
The running theory online is that Grove Street Games used AI-powered software to re-render the games' original graphics and didn't do much else. As promised by the trailer, game world's indeed look sharper, but at the same time the AI managed to render characters like that look like this:
There's also games heinous rain effect that has all the subtlety of a Windows 95
And as one would expect, there are bugs, bugs leftover from decades ago, and even some new ones thrown in. Video's online show holes in apparating into the in-game world and cars that spawn out of nowhere, relentlessly chasing players across the map, like something out of a Stephen King novel.
Meanwhile, players have complained about shoddy performance across all platforms, with some noting they can play the latest 'Grand Theft Auto'; installment better on their PS3
For some, the launch recalls the disastrous launch of CD Projekt Red's
Many developers, including Rockstar with the 'Trilogy', have taken a cue from the 'CP2077' launch and pushed back release dates of certain titles, supposedly to ensure quality.
But, as Twitter user @AsbjornSynfan put it, "CDPR shot for the moon and fell short, while R* tried to shoot the ground and somehow missed."
"The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect," Rockstar said on Friday.
In a seeming concession to its players, the publisher reversed its decision to remove the original versions of the game from digital storefronts. It plans to re-release the original PC versions of the games as a bundle, which will be given to current owners of the 'Trilogy' "at no additional cost."