After months of rumors that Rockstar was cooking up revamped versions of the original Grand Theft Auto 3 trilogy for modern hardware, the publisher confirmed Friday its plans to do just that—and if you’re interested in playing your own custom-tailored version of these classics on PC by installing mods, you have three days to buy the collection on Steam.
As has become standard practice for many publishers when updating older games for newer platforms, Rockstar is removing all previous versions and bundles of Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, and San Andreas from every console and PC storefront effective “the week of October 11, 2021,” the publisher said on its support page. While each entry received Windows ports in the early 2000s, PC players are currently limited to buying the games via Rockstar’s game launcher or through Steam, and only the latter platform supports mods.
Modded no more
Steam is also noticeably absent from the new trilogy’s list of confirmed platforms, which include the PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox platforms, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Rockstar’s game launcher, with iOS and Android ports coming next year. As of press time, all three games and the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy bundle are still available on Steam. Current owners will also be able to download and access the games on their purchased platforms, Rockstar confirmed.
Though getting modernized versions of the GTA 3 trilogy sounds like great news for anyone who wants to revisit the games with a contemporary lick of paint, there are number of mods for the current PC versions that do a pretty good job of “remastering” these PS2-era titles to make them more playable by today’s standards.
Aside from the expected HD textures, widescreen support, and UI overhauls, there are even more extravagant mods to add (unnecessarily) realistic effects like dynamic weather and ray traced reflections and shadows, all of which really stand out against the low-poly vehicle and character models. The mods for these retro entries are certainly lacking compared to Grand Theft Auto V’s, but there are still enough available to make a noticeable difference.
For now, Rockstar has not revealed many details of the awkwardly named Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, including whether fans should expect extremely souped-up ports built on the bones of the GTA 3 engine or, maybe more likely, actual ground-up remakes that recreate the experiences. (There’s also no word yet on whether any of the many songs removed from San Andreas’ licensed soundtrack over the years may be restored in its redux.)
Either way, the publisher says that the games will have “across-the-board upgrades including graphical improvements and modern gameplay enhancements for all three titles, while still maintaining the classic look and feel of the originals.” This statement appears to track with a rumor that surfaced in August, when sources claimed to Kotaku that new versions of the trilogy were being developed using Unreal Engine with a “mix of new and old graphics.” The same month, Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive shut down several GTA V mods that used the new game’s engine to recreate older games like Vice City.
Rockstar hasn’t announced a release date for the trilogy, but it did note that it was removing the older games from storefronts “to prepare for launch.” But hey, if you miss out on picking up the trilogy on Steam this weekend, at least Grand Mafia Crime – Auto Theft will still be up for grabs on PC. It even works on the Hololens.