Sound Off: The Great GTA V Divide

The three of us were expecting a re-release of GTA V for the next generation of consoles for a while now, though a majority of the community thought Rockstar would just come out and announce the next Grand Theft Auto instead; probably one of the main reasons it was received so badly. Is Rush on PS5 justified? It looks to us like Rockstar had this year pretty much planned, and this whole set of unfortunate world events pushed and scrambled everything around.

Here, for the next rendition of “sound off”, we each put forth our opinions on some of the biggest questions that came out of the GTA V re-release news.

Why did Rockstar re-use footage?!

uNi: This is admittedly an odd one, it would have been perhaps better not to use any footage at all? I think they should’ve just announced the new release and state that would be different. There could other reasons behind the use of the old footage that we are not fully aware of, maybe it is a requirement from Sony for the event? Or maybe the announcement had to be pushed in?

Spider-Vice: I personally think this is something they planned recently, so they didn’t really have any footage ready to show – pre-production, and all that. Video is always a good product promoter, so despite the lack of footage from the remastered game, they decided to stitch together scenes from Story Mode and GTA Online to show what the game is all about. I suppose it would have been a lot less impactful PR-wise to just show some text saying GTA V is coming in the 2nd half of 2021 to PS5.

Kirsty: It seemed a little bit short-sighted, yeah. This re-release is clearly aimed at casual players who have been keeping it in the charts for so long, but IMO it would have been mostly hardcore fans watching the event, hence the backlash. It might have been that their hand was forced though – a requirement of the Sony deal to show *something*, but a recent decision like Spider says could’ve meant there’s not actually anything to show us yet. More positively, maybe in the future it’ll be used as a way to compare the graphical improvements.

Does GTAV on next-gen even make sense?!

uNi: A lot of people in the community is clearly not happy with this, but I think in terms of seeing the big picture is makes a lot of sense. Yeah it is true it does sound a bit forced if you are a fan of series and been playing this since you bought on the 360 or the PS3 but there is a couple of good reasons to go forward with this I can think of. The main one is real simple really, although V has sold a ton of copies across platforms, there is so many players that never even played GTA V yet, at all. Plus new generation, new console, a lot of existing players and new players will be moving to the, in this case the PS5, and for the most part don’t think will be switching consoles back and forth to play GTA and other games, it’s a lot more convenient to have a GTA there. It’s just not a re-release for the looks of it.

Spider-Vice: Given how complex Rockstar games are becoming – and you can see this just looking at a non-mainline title like RDR2 – it’s great filler while we wait for them to finish up GTA VI. It allows people on the new consoles to play an enhanced version of GTA V without being stuck with PS4 features and graphics, and continue having fun until VI is announced or released, which will bring me to something else when we talk about decoupling GTA Online from GTA V.
Obviously there was going to be backlash from hardcore fans, but I think it can be a refresher until GTA VI having something like this.

Kirsty: As a business move? Absolutely, the staggering numbers only speak for themselves, straight into the ears of Take-Two. To hardcore fans? evidently not, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story. A lot of people are quick to complain but will end up playing it on next-gen regardless, making any points they bring up about “milking” kinda moot. Personally of course I’m going to get it, most likely on PS5, but I’d be more likely to relish the experience of being able to play GTA IV and RDR1 on current-gen instead.

What’s “expanded and enhanced” supposed to mean?!

uNi: There’s a lot of room for improvement here without having to reinvent the wheel. The official article mentions technical improvements, visual upgrades, performance enhancements. Although it is hard to pin point exactly what is changing without any more info there’s definitely a lot of stuff can be done with the good old V in contrary to some people say. I think it was Kirsty that mention that, and quite right, people got really hyped and in love with the game again with the NVE mod. And it is pretty awesome, the game looks absolutely amazing with it, but the main issue is I cannot run it at 4K ultra 60fps with it enabled, and I have a good pc. It is easy to overlook the fact that the pc base is huge, and hardware configurations are vast, some players will be in the same situation as me, others won’t even be able to run the game at 4K with or without this mods. Then you have the console base that cannot mod the game at all with this kind of stuff. Having a native upgrade that run a enhanced version of GTA V maxed out running at 60fps on a new console will be very attractive to a lot of people. I kind of understand were people are coming from, but at the same time I think we should wait, and see what R* does with it. If they said, “Ok here is the same exact game on PS5 for full price.” then yeah I would understand the backlash but it is not the case. They said they would be changing the game quite significantly, so I am not saying that is amazing but waiting to see what they come up with first, no reason to make judgement just yet.
Imagine that decide and use RDR2’s version of RAGE for this version, imagine how good V would look specially with the weather/light system they have running on RDR2, not to say they haven’t or can’t make further adjustments on top of that since the game was finished. It can also mean better textures and models, it can mean a lot of good things, so we should at least give them time to show what they have in store for it.

Spider-Vice: uNi has nailed it I think. They’re going to take a year to remaster this, it’s not going to be a settings file edit to match PC max settings like many people think. Take-Two seems to be investing in significant remasters, like Mafia 1 being ported over to an enhanced Mafia 3 engine with ray tracing and everything, so it’s very very plausible that Rockstar might be porting GTA V and Online to RDR2’s version of RAGE, exceptionally improving visuals and maybe even gameplay until GTA VI where they will undoubtedly show us further enhancements to the experience.
I also wouldn’t worry about an engine upgrade detracting from GTA VI, because even if that happens, GTA V will still be using 2013-era models for example, so GTA VI has a lot more room to be much much more detailed.

Kirsty: uNi and Spider pretty much covered all bases here. A majority of the complaints boil down to “omg, they’re releasing the same game again!”, but without any other information, how do we know how far they’re going to go? Knowing how beautiful RDR2 looks and performs on up to date RAGE, I think things can only get better on next-gen. There were obvious graphical improvements between old-gen and current-gen, and graphical mods like Natural Vision Evolved brought so many people back to the game because people simply love to enjoy beautiful scenery, so why not let console players get the same treatment? The “expanded” part of this story might relate more to the GTA Online standalone release, but we’ll get to that later.

So GTA Online is going MMO?!

uNi: I do not follow GTAO that closely but still interested to see what they do with this standalone thing. Is it going separately on all platforms going forward? How does that work installation wise? Do I still need to have both? Definitely it’s no near being dead and they at least plan to maintain and expand on it.

Spider-Vice: I honestly think this makes all kinds of sense and I’m slightly surprised this decision took so long to make. Decoupling GTA Online from the core GTA V experience means they won’t need to make a “GTA Online 2” or whatever, and can update it as if it were a different game – think World of Warcraft after all these years but even better. GTA Online could be updated with engine upgrades and GTA VI teaser content as they went, and culminate in a full release with the GTA VI cities and features, alongside the GTA V content. Maybe you could even choose between, who knows. GTA Online becoming standalone will definitely add some flexibility, and could mean that people who just want a core single player experience would not have to download GTA Online on both GTA V and GTA VI.
Kirsty’s tidbit below also has something I’m curious about – could they potentially dedicate a team to fully supporting GTA Online and writing for it, whilst making the original GTA teams dedicate themselves to a full release and story?

Kirsty: I think this is a great idea, to be honest. I posted about this on Twitter suggesting that GTA Online being standalone could actually leave Rockstar with more time to dedicate to developing singleplayer stories again. I can’t imagine how they would tackle trying to make a GTA Online in GTA 6 worthy of what the current GTA Online has become. It’s a beast of it’s own now, and having a team dedicated to maintaining it and updating it away from singleplayer could mean we get more exciting things in the future, in the same way other MMOs do, while not taking time away from the singleplayer stories we all know and love. This might not sound “appealing” to some, and to be honest I’m not a huge GTA Online player myself as I currently prefer Red Dead Online, but the possibilities are endless if done right.

But no GTA 6 news until after 2021?!

uNi: I know people like to speculate about this stuff, but honestly I don’t see the point. Yeah it was a bit predictable a couple years ago but it’s a whole different “game” now. Just because this version is getting released sometime next year doesn’t mean they can’t announce anything else until there, the thing is R* is at such a point that can do whatever they want with announcements, more than ever. The community would to hate on them for still not announcing the next game, whatever that is, but the thing is obviously they are working on the next big thing, but there’s no need for them to announce it yet to start the hype, the community has been doing that on its own for months now. There’s talks about GTA6 everywhere without it ever being mentioned at all.

Spider-Vice: I don’t think this is an issue at all. Rockstar can still announce a different game while this is in the pipeline. It might stop more detailed info like further screenshots and trailers, but I don’t think it’ll stop a new GTA game announcement and new trailer. Imagine if they did something like – announce GTA VI, then promote GTA V and Online for the next-gen consoles with some free money and exclusive GTA VI teaser content. Perfect!

Kirsty: I personally think we’re still going to get some development news about other projects before we see this next-gen release of GTA V. Rockstar seem to be ever-evolving their approaches to marketing and communication, much to the chagrin of some of us, but there will come a point where announcing a new game will be imperative to the company, and in no way will it take away from any release they would be currently promoting. I think we could even see some in-game cross-promotion like Spider says, kinda like how we did with RDR2, and that would be awesome.

Does this mean GTA 6 is delayed?!

uNi: Don’t think it changes anything to be honest. If anything, maybe they want/need more time to finish the next big project? If RDR2 is anything to go by, they should take another 4 years if needed! Most people tend to overlook how long these things take to create and piece together.

Spider-Vice: Rockstar Games has much more than a thousand people. Not all are developers but most are, and you can’t honestly believe all of those thousands of people are allocated to a remaster project. To me this means absolutely nothing to other projects – they will still have other teams and studios leading different projects, including different IP’s if they so wished. The reason games are credited to Rockstar Studios is because the global development effort is made worldwide, but it always starts somewhere – for instance, GTA at Rockstar North, Max Payne at Rockstar Toronto, RDR1 at San Diego, RDR2 at North, etc. This won’t impede absolutely anything. Maybe those devs would rather be allocated to help on GTA VI, but I don’t think it’s a team of 100 people that will affect other titles’ development.

Kirsty: Development-mishaps and current pandemic aside, not at all. It’s normal nowadays for deeply detailed games to simply take a long time. There’s no chance that they’ve “only” just decided about what to do with GTA 6, even if this GTA V news is recent itself, and thus I’m pretty sure they’ve got a tentative plan for how the next few years will pan out. While it’s fun to joke about how much we’ve aged since the last GTA, we can’t just expect the kind of games that Rockstar are capable of to release every 1-2 years. RDR2 set a very high bar in gaming and took an immense amount of people-power, but it only came out less than 2 years ago, and even though it’s not part of the same franchise, they’re lead by the same studios. I’d really love some confirmatory news about GTA 6 or even new IPs, so hopefully that’ll come soon and we can put some of these topics to bed.

As far as GTAV/GTAO on next-gen is concerned, the GTANet team is highly curious to see what Rockstar Games has in store for the future. We want to read all the new info tidbits and zoom in on all the new screens to spot the differences while we wait, to finally get our hands on it and play once again!

Related topics on GTAForums: Enhanced GTA V coming to PS5 in 2021 , Standalone GTA Online Launching on PS5 in 2021

Snaps taken by uNi