GTA IV is making a comeback on Steam, but don’t get excited just yet

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Rockstar has had a rocky few months, what with the exit of Dan Houser – whose brainchildren include Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA V – and Grand Theft Auto IV being pulled from sale in January. Luckily, the NYC-based publisher is getting back on track.

According to The Verge, GTA IV is finally returning on Steam on March 19, following its weeks-long hiatus. 

Last month, Rockstar was forced to pull the game from sale after running out of serial keys and support, which Microsoft was providing up until the demise of its Games for Windows Live platform (may it rest in peace). The good news is that the fictionalized New York City-set game will be available for download once again on Steam.

Except there’s a catch

Don’t plan that LAN/WAN party with your friends just yet. GTA IV may be coming back, but not without some big changes as well as a couple of missing key pieces, including that multiplayer mode that made the game so popular.

According to Rockstar’s announcement on Steam, GTA IV is making its big return as Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition, which will effectively be replacing both Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.

As a result of this massive update, GTA IV will no longer feature its groundbreaking multiplayer mode. Sorry folks, no more Fast and Furious digital reenactments for you and your friends.

That’s not all. GTA IV is also losing its leaderboards, as well as some of its radio stations including RamJam FB, Self-Actualization FM, and Episodes from Liberty City’s Vice City FM. Though this isn’t the first time that GTA IV has lost audio before, and Rockstar did specifically say that those stations will only be temporarily unavailable.

What happens to your GTA IV or Episodes from Liberty City copy

On a more positive note, you won’t have to purchase GTA IV: Complete Editing if you already own either GTA IV or GTA: Episodes from Liberty City. 

Rockstar says that those who have either titles downloaded from Steam will be able to update their copy to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition, while players with physical copies not previously activated should be able to use the key on the back of the game manual to update to GTA IV: Complete Edition.

On the other hand, those who purchased from Windows Live Digital Store and activated either game via Games for Windows Live will need to “create and/or link their Social Club accounts in replacement of Games for Windows Live in order update to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition.”

In addition, any current game save files will be compatible with GTA IV: Complete Edition. So, you should be able to continue with that current game you’re playing on the new version of the game.

Not a Steam user? GTA IV: Complete Edition will also be available via the Rockstar Games Launcher.

Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is the former Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.