Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (GTA TT) – Bugs with guarantee! But no wonder

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition has managed to shine only 5 days after release as the most hated GTA game of all time. Bugs, ugly grubs, and proof that the recipe -> Strong Brand + Recycling + BudgetLow is a complete success purely from an economic point of view. Unfortunately, GTA TT <- 😀 is just the latest tip of the iceberg of a (if not THE most user-hostile) practice that has been consistently pulled off by Rockstar and TakeTwo for more than 10 years.

Caution:

  • This article contains unpleasant truths.
  • I have not played or owned the trilogy myself. After all the bug reports, I’m also glad I did, because an unpleasant hunch on my part has unfortunately been confirmed. This article is accordingly based on research and user reports from the community and not my own experience. However, there is a large community out there spread across several platforms, most of which all report the same thing. So this will not be a niche article.
  • By the way: Those who are already well informed about the topic might not be able to take out much new information here. Or maybe they will, because the game surprises daily with new “unexpected circumstances.”
  • This article is about understanding why GTA TT can scare and disappoint its buyers… but why you shouldn’t be surprised about it in the end.

Bugs, glitches and changes

First, a trivia question in between: How did that texture get there and what character is that?

Somehow the face reminds me of Victor Vance, the protagonist of GTA: Vice City Stories. Maybe the artificial intelligence just didn’t know where else to put it? Yes! That’s it – almost. Especially in Vice City and San Andreas the wrong textures for streets, grass or as in this case for a concrete wall are simply loaded during the running game. Now, this can be overlooked here, but the error also occurs very often in more conspicuous places – like in the middle of the country road or the highway of San Firerro. Why the reloading of the textures leads to this grasp in the loo on the part of the game is not quite clear to me now.

But one thing is clear: playing these three games without bugs or glitches … in the current state it is simply impossible according to a large part of the community. The three games are a disaster right now, and they have a few implemented and unimplemented changes that aren’t surprising, but they do make you think.

San Andreas ist eine Stadt

But before that: In this trilogy, almost every department that was involved, sometimes more, sometimes less, really shit in it – even the marketing. I realize that from the highest point and without fog San Andreas looks very small. But still, San Andreas is a state with three big cities … and not a single city.

Thus, the very first sentence in the product description in the online store is complete garbage.

What the …

AOn the product page for GTA: San Andreas this sentence would be perfectly correct, but not here. And I’d rather distance myself from the rest of the description. But on the one hand that’s marketing and on the other hand it’s only a small mistake.

Missing Music

I’m not surprised that music was thrown out of the soundtrack of all three games – even if it wouldn’t have been very difficult to renew the licenses in order to keep the definitive experience. But no, even after the songs accidentally ended up in the release version, they don’t take this as an incentive to reconsider, but lock the whole game (thanks to great launcher and online compulsion) from being played. Meanwhile, the game is unlocked again, but the songs are gone. Well, deal with it! – Then you just let the matching YouTube playlist or your favorite radio station run in a continuous loop as an MP3 download. This way, you can find user-generated but also official playlists and albums for the games or their radio stations on YouTube, Amazon Music, or Spotify. So you can get the complete radio broadcasts via detours, and now you just have to play them. With consoles, you need a second device for this. With the PC version it’s a bit easier. But also here then only over external programs. The MP3 function (from GTA3 for the PC, for example) didn’t make it into the trilogy, according to my research. So, it’s challenging, but not impossible. The best thing would be if there had been no changes, but copyright is getting in the way. In the end, something is missing and that makes you sad, I understand that.

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Bodies and faces messed up

There’s a German saying, I think it’s, “Time has left its scars.” But I didn’t know that was also true for reissues or remastered. But that seems to be the case:

CJ, meanwhile, can’t get his mouth to open. Entering his childhood home after a long absence, here he is – quite … underwhelmed. Who knows the story, knows that this facial expression is not at all appropriate for this situation. But the AI doesn’t know that. Has no one checked or noticed that?

And that’s something that runs through all the games. Claude, for example, looks fine in the GTA 3 remaster, but in his cameo appearance in San Andreas he looks like a puppyface. While Amanda, who also talks seductively in the new remaster, but now looks moronic while doing so. But I think it’s clear.

Twitter, Reddit, just everywhere the game takes a beating for its glitches and poor implementation.

Graphic: Think about the balance!

I read comments that the graphics effects are partly better than in GTA 5. Maybe, but GTA 5 is more than 5 years old and the Unreal Engine 4 came out in 2014, one year after GTA 5, which was in development years before. So yes, in terms of graphics and scenery, the three games look better in parts. And no, even the NextGen versions of GTA 5 can’t really keep up. But that’s not because of the developers’ know-how, but mostly because of the Unreal Engine. But Unreal Engine or not, if the game programmed on it is terribly flawed, then even the Unreal Engine can’t change that – it can at most make it look nice.

Here, you have to weigh it up. The beautiful scenery against … everything else.

And even further is not always better. For example, it’s great that you can now see further into the distance.  

However, you immediately notice that the original game world is not designed for this and that the rendering routine simply does not expect such a wide view. Sure, it can be done properly, but you have to want it. The proof can be found in every good search engine: If you develop with the Unreal Engine, it can be a feast for the eyes graphically. The 3D artist Liam Tart, proves this to us here very impressively. He has recreated the Shire from The Lord of the Rings in Unreal Engine 4. The Shire [UE4] – YouTube If that’s not enough proof, take a look at the numerous games that run on this engine. Combine good graphic artists and this engine, and you definitely won’t make a mistake.

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But this is supposed to be the bridges in Upper Los Santos. Reminds me of a lovelessly built city for a model railroad. But for the definitive experience, I would have preferred to shit on the foresight and keep the fog. San Andreas was already at the time of the release graphically no masterpiece, but is still considered by many as the best GTA of all time. Nevertheless and rightly so.  Graphical updates are always welcome, but then also sensibly implemented or just left alone.

Is there anything good?

Yes, fortunately. So there we have – apart from the texture errors an actually quite nice scenic graphical environment. Animated grass that reacts to the player. Each game has GPS, a minimap and for missions a retry function with checkpoints. Apart from the sometimes misshapen characters, most textures are quite nice and modern. For example, from roads, to town signs, buildings, for the most part everything Okay. In buildings there are now partly rooms instead of a picture of a room. Then there is the weapon wheel as a new element, an improved aiming mechanic and in Vice City and GTA3 the pause times between islands have disappeared. There are also a few other minor improvements, but that’s about it. Especially because some positive innovations are more of a curse than a blessing due to their poor implementation. For example, the waiting boards are gone, but they would have been better left in. If you drive across the Callaghan Bridge at high speed, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get stuck in the middle of an invisible barrier because the game can’t keep up. And I won’t mention that bugs from the original PC version of e.g. San Andreas have also made it into the remaster.

The Never Ending Story of GTA – The Trilogy – The Bugnote Edition

The amount of bugs and glitches is so overwhelming that I have to switch to a listing at this point instead of describing everything in detail. Otherwise, this article would be way too long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rd2huQTNh0&t=14s
  • Vehicles get bigger when you wiggle them while driving
  • Vehicles often spawn twice. For example, when you spwan at the hospital after a death. Sometimes ambulances stand on top of ambulances.
  • Helicopters like to go diving and fly under the ground, while their rotor blades bug through the ground and chop off civilians’ legs.
  • AI chases escalate quite quickly. For example, criminal NPCs flee from a police patrol at Mach 9000 and the patrol naturally follows at the same speed. The same happens when an NPC steals a car. Unfortunately, very often the companions in missions get hurt and the mission fails.
  • In Vice City, the third-person rear view on motorcycles is far too close to the character, and it’s hard to see past Tommy.
  • In San Andreas, the rear view is … way, way, way too close to the character. It’s already harassment.
  • In San Andreas, the in-game camera likes to pull back into CJ’s head during buy menus. This can then be very unpleasant to watch.
  • Gravity has major problems in all three games. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if an NPC or your own vehicle reacts unusually to turns or collisions. The result is unusually amusing stunts and vehicles that start spinning at the speed of a helicopter blade. You can trigger this in the original games, but you need cheats or mods for that. Otherwise, it happens very rarely there.
  • In all three games, unfortunately, there are a lot of sinkholes, places where you just fall through the floor into a void. What was rather rare in the original games, you can sometimes find in the remaster in the middle of a country road.
  • In SanAndreas, there is a wooden bridge on San Fierro Island in the woods that you can only see from a certain angle, otherwise it is invisible. There were similar display errors in the PS2 version of the game, but this was fixed fairly quickly.
  • In all three games, the vehicles are still visually the same. But no matter what you’re driving through the cities, the car might just explode out of the blue – preferably within missions.
  • If the terrible character models aren’t enough for you, you can hope that the game has problems with their representation. Then Claude, Tommy or CJ like to turn into RGB people and flash across the screen in all colors, or they are suddenly transparent.
  • Garages no longer repair vehicles compulsorily. Now and then they just spray it around.
  • NPCs try to drive their vehicles straight down to hell in rare cases.
  • Audio bugs sometimes cause cut-scenes where you wish you hadn’t turned off the subtitles.
  • In GTA3, they didn’t bother to replace the fake helicopters with real ones or inplementing motorcycles. In Vice City, however, they weren’t above reusing weapons from the GTA 3 version.
  • Rain is your mortal enemy. It consists of gray-white lines that look more like image defects. Driving on a rainy night is very challenging. The rain can be easily taken out of the flow by planes like the Hydra, this had been exactly the case in San Andreas if I remember back then, but there the rain was better. By the way, it only rains when you stand inside the rain, if you stand somewhere under it, it suddenly stops raining. It wasn’t like that in the original games, but then it rained only outside and not in BigSmoke’s garage. You might think that when it rains, it only rains around the character.
  • Many objects in the games and their textures are not in the pure. Either the hitbox is offset or not there at all. But it also works the other way around. In the mountains of San Fierro, for example, you’ll occasionally find invisible magical stone chunks.
  • On the subject of completely renewed graphics: The interior in the vehicles still seems as high-resolution as it did back then.
  • Converting the textures for the remaster has resulted in many typos in store windows and signs. The Air-Guitar became the AR-Guitar and on the advertising poster for Shaft-HotDogs “The taste of a real Mans meat” became “The taste of a real Mans heat” and thus an advertising slogan for HotDogs, became an advertising slogan for a gay porn.
  • In some mirrors, the character is suddenly no longer visible.
  • The animation of the nitro shot in the exhaust pipes is a loop animation that no longer ends voluntarily – even when the vehicle is stationary.
  • And many other small problems.

I could go on like this now and even then this list would certainly not be complete, but I think it is clear enough.

The question is: Why? Why?!

Well, we have to go back in time a bit, to 2011. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of GTA 3, Rockstar gives us the Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition for Android, FireOS and iOS, i.e. for cell phones and tablets. The reviews are quite good, but the game pushes the mobile devices to their limits back then. There are small frame drops and crashes, but apart from that, the performance is … okay. To note, 2011 could be getting its own 10 Year Anniversary Edition by now, it’s been that long. Many technical revolutions and standards we know today didn’t exist back then. Playing games on mobile devices was not so popular back then – at least not on such devices. You had your consoles or your Windows computer. To be able to play GTA3 on a cell phone with Android (version 2.4 at the most) or an iPhone at all was a revolution, so most people overlooked such errors. Today, we have different demands, as we are moving towards a situation where every smartphone has enough power to connect it to a TV – the software is more of a challenge than the hardware. In theory, the contents of most pockets out there probably have the capability to connect to a big TV and play 3D open-world games. The Nintendo Switch shows that this is possible and that such hybrid solutions are basically possible. But back to 2010, the Anniversary Edition is the first GTA game Rockstar Games released for mobile devices, not to be confused with mobile devices like the PS Vita or PSP. At the time, it was also the first GTA game that didn’t come from Rockstar, but from War Drum Studios.

„War Drum Studios“ alias „Grove Street Games“

Founded in 2007 in Gainesville (Florida), the studio worked on the first games, or rather ports of games to other platforms from 2009. The first was the Ghostbusters video game published by Atari, which was to be ported to the PS2. However, a different version was used here than the one published so far. According to my research, the company was working with Red Fly Studio from Austin Texas on a “stylized version” of the game, which was based less on the movies. While the guys from Autsin took care of the Wii and NintendoDS version, War Drum Studios in turn ported the Wii version to the PS2. But unfortunately … “The PS2 version of the game seems to freeze very easily during gameplay. Also, dead batteries sometimes get stuck on walls and between objects, leaving the player with no option but to quit the game and restart the area,” they write in the Ghostbusters Wiki. Ghosts that will accompany us.

Stilinski speaks!

But before it goes on now, a small suitable excursion in things in proverbs. If you know Sheriff Noah Stilinski from the series Teen Wolf, you will certainly know one of his most famous statements: (Zitate aus Serie!? | Fandom)

„Once is an accident. Twice is a concidence. Three Times is a pattern.“,

Zitate aus Serie!? | Fandom .:. Sheriff Noah Stilinski (Teen Wolf)

What does this have to do with GTA now? Wait and see, and keep this sentence in mind. It is important for the further course of the article!

The „Porter” from Gainesville“

After the Ghostbusters Game, things moved on. As of today, War Drum Studios (renamed Grove Street Games last August … last year? huh …) worked on 17 projects, of which at least 11 were ports of games to other platforms. There are familiar names in the list, like

  • Ark: Survival Evolved for Android and iOS
  • Monster Madness for Android
  • The Conduit HD for Android

but also just Rockstar Games like

  • Max Payne Mobile for Android and iOS
  • the 10 Year Anniversary Editions for GTA 3 and GTA Vice City
  • GTA Chinatown Wars, each for Android, FireOS and iOS

But they’ve also been responsible for ports of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Android, FireOS, iOS, PS3, Windows Phone, and Xbox 360. And now it gets interesting.

Poor San Andreas players – the remasters already messed up at that time

Yes! What we’re experiencing now with the trilogy already happened back then. With GTA: San Andreas. So we have accident, coincidence, and pattern! I’ll get into that now, but before that: Just to clarify: I’m not saying now that every game and port War Drum Studios or Grove Street Games has ever released is an accident. Rockstar itself has also released terrible versions of its own game. GTA: San Andreas, for example, got a terrible Steam version  Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas bei Steam (steampowered.com) back in the day.

The Steam version for the PC

Version 3.0 of the game was based on version 1.0 and thus did not include the bug fixes from version 2.0 of the game.

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Details about this are shown to us by YouTuber SpooferJahk on the channel Vadim

It’s the law: if you have a CD version of GTA: San Andreas for the PC, you have (especially if you own the updated 2.0 version) the best PC version of the game ever on sale. And those who bought the Steam version, and the new Definitive Edition of San Andreas, now have a choice between the crappy Rockstar version and the even crappier Grove Street Games version – a choice between crap and crappy.

But as crappy as it is, the Rockstar version can be adapted to the quality of the CD version with a little love and research

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GTA SA – How to Downgrade the old Steam Version [Tutorial] – Feat. SpooferJahk – YouTube

 If you then throw mods on top of it – if you can still find them somewhere – it is the better result. No matter if the tools and instructions linked here still work, or not and you have to stay with the release version. It doesn’t change anything: If you have the Steam version of Rockstar’s GTA San Andreas, you’re lucky again. It sucks, but it’s still currently better than the Trilogy Definitive Edition version – and I hope you don’t get that version taken away from you at some point. #PraySteam

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions

GTA: San Andreas is basically (like the entire trilogy) a PlayStation2 game. Bringing San Andreas, which has a cult following, to the new consoles, such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, was therefore not a bad idea. So Rockstar commissioned War Drum Studios to start the porting. I can’t say anything about the other platforms right now. As for the Xbox 360 and PS3 version, there is a good video series that explains all the problems.

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GTA SA – Why Remaster is Garbage? [Part 1] – Feat. BadgerGoodger – YouTube

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GTA SA – Why Remaster is Garbage? [Part 2] – Feat. BadgerGoodger – YouTube

Basically, both versions have not been worth their purchase price, as they have made the game uglier than it was on the old PS2 and they have also kind of patched out the stability. Check out the videos, it’s unplayable. They also made improvements, some of which were well intentioned, but either weren’t properly checked through, or couldn’t be enjoyed at all because of the other problems. And now you can’t see this in the text, but I just scrolled up to make sure I was repeating myself in content right now! And I do! It’s basically the same problems, a similar condition!

The Definitive Edition is just as much garbage in terms of quality as the San Andreas reissues. So as far as Stilinski’s saying goes, we’ve been at the pattern for a long time! And that is so sad.

Is Rockstar the new EA?

Just looking at the remasters Rockstar keeps giving us, combined with the mysterious disappearance of the original versions from store shelves and combined with the paragraph pitbulls Take Two sends out before release to make sure there are no more alternatives to these remasterds… yeah, Rockstar is on a good path. Flattening modder communities so that players buy their own remaster version isn’t awesome, but it’s not quite EA-Like either.

 EA-Like would be rather either obvious or to introduce Pay2Win in GTA Online through the backdoor. Let’s see … no, you can’t say Rockstar is doing that.

What else is EA-Like? To exploit brands commercially and drive people up the wall with half-baked games, their bugs and launcher and online coercion (with which they can even control access to the purchased game) … Oh. Now we have a match. As far as that goes, they’ve taken no prisoners. The problem is, I know a game from EA that was also relaunched, and the brand didn’t fare so well.

Brand damaged, status lost

The 2015 remake of SimCity had online compulsion with server downtime, was expensive, had product placements, and while beautiful for its time. But then Cities: Skylines came along and it hailed user reviews and articles like this one:  Cities: Skylines in the test – Much better than Sim City – PC Magazin [German] (pc-magazin.de)

SimCity lost its iconic status after that, sales for SimCity 4 (the predecessor) were briefly pushed by the sequel, and even if it still exists, community favorite it is no longer. As for Rockstar, the Definitive Edition is their SimCity from 2015, only they were smart enough to take all the predecessor versions off sale. Like when the original Xbox and PS2 versions of GTA: San-Andreas were pulled from circulation and replaced with the Disaster remaster. I can only hope that someone wakes up to this and works out a rethink. Because now I have a new premonition: The indie market is coming and sooner or later there will be a Cities: Skylines for GTA, then Rockstar has to decide what they want to represent in the future. Currently, they’re putting out good new games, but at the same time, they’re strangling the modding community, squeezing nostalgics, collectors, and fans’ balls, cashing in on their dough, and spitting in their faces. And that’s been going on since at least GTA: San Andreas. I think the huge financial success of GTA: Online has only strengthened the adherence to this principle. A real shame.

Rockstar makes it worse and worse

The whole earthquake has now also reached Rockstar. Oh wonder! Now they are releasing huge bug fixes and patches for the … unexpected technical problems. The fact that the technical problems are unexpected can only be a huge understatement or an outright lie. All these problems would have been noticed in a good test. That means either there were no tests, or very poor tests, or they knew about the problems or suspected something – and threw it on the market anyway. That in addition to the much-needed bug fixes, they are now making the original games available for purchase again and adding them to the library for free for current Trilogy owners is a nice gesture. But all of this is done just to appease tempers a bit. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for this outcry. So originally they really had no knowledge of the state of the game, or (and unfortunately this is the more likely explanation) this was all intended and now they realize what a bad idea it was.

And now?

My recommendation: don’t buy this remaster, best don’t buy any GTA remaster at all! Being an early-adopter with Rockstar products is very unfortunate in this case. And it will most likely become very unpopular in the future as well. So wait and see. And no matter how big the hype is, wait and see! Let others put these products under the microscope first. Stop trusting Rockstar. They don’t deserve this trust anymore. And as for the trilogy: wait until they’ve fixed this pile of brown code properly, and then think again about buying it.  By then, maybe even the “cheap” price will have come down a bit.  But even better: buy the originals, and get proper mods before it’s too late!

Below are a few more links, so you can at least make fun of this. Otherwise I close with two quotes from the same author, in intended order:

“The inability to recognize and combat mediocrity is nothing other than the harbinger of decline.”

“Large companies are more likely to tolerate mediocrity than small ones. If large companies are also successful, the danger of “mediocrity tolerance” increases.”

Hermann Simon (*1947), German business economist and university lecturer, Mainz; Managing Director Simon & Partner, Bonn

Related links:

This collection of links documents that debacle very well:

— Patrick Schneider, 21.11.2021 (V-EN-1.1)
Last Update at: 21.11.2021 15:42 (V-EN-1.1)
Changes: (newer to older)
21.11.2021 12:23 (V-EN-1.1); 21.11.2021 12:23 (V-EN-1.0);

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