Rockstar apologizes for botched GTA trilogy and makes old versions available

A monitor on fire displaying game artwork for Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
(Image credit: Rockstar / Duda Vasilii)

Rockstar Games has officially apologized for the sorry state of its Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition and made older versions of the game available again.

The company posted a statement on its site on November 19 to "provide an update regarding the unexpected technical issues that came to light as part of the launch of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition."

"Firstly, we want to sincerely apologize to everyone who has encountered issues playing these games," the statement read.

"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."

As a result, Rockstar will be returning the classic PC versions of the three games to the Rockstar Store in the near future.

"We will be adding the classic PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas back to the Rockstar Store shortly as a bundle," the company stated. "Additionally, everyone who has purchased Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition for PC from the Rockstar Store through June 30, 2022, will receive these classic versions in their Rockstar Games Launcher library at no additional cost. We will update everyone as soon as these are back in the Rockstar Store."

"Once again, we'd like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we work through these updates to ensure these games meet everyone's justifiably high standards."

The company also called on fans to stop harassing the developers of the GTA Trilogy remaster online: "it pains us to mention that we are hearing reports of members of the development teams being harassed on social media. We would kindly ask our community to please maintain a respectful and civil discourse around this release as we work through these issues."

Analysis: can Rockstar clean up this mess in time?

One of the biggest problems for Rockstar about the remastered GTA Trilogy is that it generally doesn't have these kinds of problems.

There are a lot of criticisms that can be launched at Rockstar Games, like its notoriously rough Crunch culture, but putting out sub-standard products isn't one of them.

For better or worse, Rockstar products like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 land with a level of polish usually reserved for Marvel Movies, and while every game has bugs, you don't get game-wrecking bugs or the kind of quality issues we got in the GTA Trilogy remasters.

And as Rockstar Games itself notes, these are the games that really made the company into the powerhouse it is, so to have these treated so shabbily could threaten to become a real stain on the company with its fanbase.

Bundling the original PC games as a replacement is a start, we guess. These aren't remasters though, and the fact that even Rockstar Games admits the GTA Trilogy remasters aren't up to Rockstar's own quality standards means that Rockstar and Grove Street Studios need to fix the actual remasters if they hope to mollify fans' disappoint and keep this release from being a drag on the company's reputation in the long term.

  • Check out the best PC games while you wait for the rerelease of the classic GTA titles
John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).