I know I know, you’re probably thinking “well we want GTA 6 now!”, and of course we do, but for that we need to keep practicing our patience for a little while longer yet. It’s in the slow cooker rather than the frying pan, and that has had me thinking about all the ‘loose ends’ that I’d like to see tied up before the dish eventually gets served.
Now by ‘loose ends’, I don’t mean a few trivial changes, I’m more so thinking of things that the community has been discussing for some time; significant updates that could really improve the landscape for Rockstar with features that players have been regularly asking for, often vehemently, with “when?” rather than “if”. As such, this wishlist contains some of the most hoped for or ideal announcements, and to me, it’s made up of the kind of things that you’d want to ‘get out of the way’ sooner rather than later; things that would truly close the chapter on two games that first arrived on older generations and will soon make way for what is likely to be one of the biggest launches ever with GTA VI.
Of course, we must always take a second to acknowledge the time and resources these kinds of updates can take. Anything we as players ask for is never going to be easy to just throw together and implement, nor are they decided on at a whim. Regardless, I’ve only included updates here that are as realistic or as logical as possible so it doesn’t sound like we’re asking for the world. To some, they might not be important, and to others they might be the bare minimum we should be expecting, but this article isn’t going to be the first or the last place you’ll read suggestions along this vein any time soon; they’re all pretty obvious, to be honest, but I just wanted to use my little corner of GTANet to truly solidify some hopes for the future and the reasons behind them.
**this article was drafted before the announcement of GTA+ or the Max Payne remakes from Remedy, so you’ll find no reference to anything related to them here as I didn’t have such things on my mind at the time!**
In random order:
Fidelity & Performance modes for RDR2
Something that the re-release of GTAV has brought to centre stage is the potential of “unlocking” RDR2 for new-generation consoles as well. An update that allows the game to take full advantage of the latest hardware and SSDs could be a gamechanger for an open world that already pushes older consoles to their limits. Preferably this would be in the form of a (free?) patch that allows players to download a new-gen-only version, much like Cyberpunk 2077 for example, with togglable menu settings that allow you to switch between high resolution graphics with native 4K or optimised performance for 60FPS.
Now it’s worth acknowledging that releasing enhanced versions of older games isn’t actually the norm for Rockstar, especially when it comes to the biggest names in their catalogue. We’ve had mobile ports yes, and a remaster of LA Noire in recent years, but beyond that resources seem reserved only for special occasions. The Trilogy remasters were in celebration of the 20 year anniversary but were still outsourced, and the GTAV re-release has arrived following the “unprecedented” longevity of GTA Online. GTA IV and Max Payne 3 not releasing beyond older generations and RDR1 never making it to PC are prime examples. RDR2 released a full 2 years before the current consoles arrived on the market, and the game itself turns 4 this year, so it’s quite possible that this kind of thing would never be on the table to begin with. Regardless, an update like this would be truly anticipated amongst the community and wider audience of RDR2 fans and I can only begin to imagine how beautiful the already-stunning open world could look with a natural facelift on current consoles.
The Rockstar Editor for RDR2
Something that continues to surprise is the absence of the Rockstar Editor in RDR2/RDO. A tool that has taken the machinima and virtual photography communities to new depths since it arrived with GTAV, and it is sorely missed out on the frontier. I would go as far as saying that the Rockstar Editor has probably inspired other companies in the industry to lay the foundations of more in-depth photo and video editing tools in their own games to allow the creatives in community to thrive in ways that were usually limited to the PC platform, so it’s omittance from RDR2 is still an odd one. Of course, RDR2 single-player does have its own photo mode which is treasured amongst enthusiasts; perhaps it’s possible it was developed with the intention to replace the Rockstar Editor, as the orbiting camera allows for free movement around the game area in order to take the ideal shot. The only issue is that there is no recording or clip editing capabilities, limiting players to get fancy with their own console record button, or by using mods on PC. Additionally, the photo mode isn’t available at all in Red Dead Online; the two types of purchasable cameras you can carry are only really fun for filters or basic shots as the camera movement is quite restricted around your character. The Rockstar Editor, or an expanded photo mode, would truly be an asset to both single and online play.
Acknowledge Red Dead Online
“Saving” Red Dead Online has been a hot topic of conversation for quite a while, and it’s an endeavour that would require a whole list of its own for a game that has been without a content update since last July. Though we’ve named a performance upgrade and a Rockstar Editor addition separately in this list, there’s all sorts of missions, heists, roles, properties, and quality of life changes desperately needed in Red Dead Online, so there’s not really one individual feature that could “save” it for some. Long-standing players have campaigned and protested, and some have even abandoned the game in regret due to the lack of new content, but beyond speculation, we’re still without official word from Rockstar about the status of Red Dead Online right now and if there are any plans at all for the future. It makes sense that things were put on hold in the lead up to launching GTAV on new-generation consoles, but GTA Online doesn’t appear to be slowing down and development on the next GTA is full steam ahead, so where does this leave Red Dead Online?
As a company, “saving” it might be difficult for them to prioritise when the next major project is upon us; if your entire workforce is primarily focused on a new mainline title in the final years of development, then resources are going to be pretty limited in spite of their size and wealth, but acknowledging Red Dead Online and its community would be priceless to fans. I’m sure they have seen the outcry for communication, but even if they don’t have anything to reveal right now because things are truly in limbo regarding the direction of the game, it doesn’t mean no one is listening, it doesn’t mean no one would be grateful to hear that Rockstar has valued fans’ patience and dedication to the game in its short life. It was quite a kick in the teeth when Red Dead Online was omitted from their annual “thank you to the community” New Year update a few months back, and whether intentional or not, the message was loud and clear that their focus is entirely elsewhere at the moment. Of course, I wouldn’t expect recognition of the hashtag campaigns or anything of the sort, that just isn’t their style and ultimately will never be something they will back down on in my view, but I know they’re capable of acknowledging fans and the future in their own way – they just have to choose to do it.
Continued Fixes & Quality of Life improvements for the GTA Trilogy Definitive Editions
Love or hate them, the Definitive Editions of the classic GTA Trilogy are here to stay, and that means they should continue to receive the attention they deserve. According to the figures, they sold well and have probably been enjoyed by a number of new and returning players to the series, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the road to get there has been successful – there’s still many bugs and glaring art issues and in-continuities that remain unsolved, so it’s anyone’s guess how many patches it could take fix them all. There’s also some small quality of life improvements that would be useful; for example the ability to hide the HUD for screenshots.
It’s not known how long Rockstar plans to continue support for the games, or even if they have taken over in any capacity since the “apology” post-launch. Either way, if we assume that Grove Street Games are still leading the project, they only have a small team of around 20-30 employees so in respect of their work-life balance they do need to be afforded whatever time they require, and the mobile versions that are still unreleased are likely being developed concurrently to any fixes for the other platforms as well. It’s therefore likely going to take a number of months yet to chip away at all the problems, which brings to question why the games were released when they were, but these are issues we’ve discussed at length before elsewhere. For the time being, it seems reasonable to expect additional patches will be confirmed once news about the mobile versions is announced/released, and I can only hope these continue until the games reach their optimum condition.
New-generation GTAV on PC
Last but not least, we have a PC community that would very much like an enhanced version of GTAV of their own. At the very first announcement two years ago, Rockstar did indicate that the new-gen exclusive content would also be arriving on PC. Since then however, the platform has been routinely omitted in every other announcement, so we’re none the wiser regarding specifics. The speculation surrounding this is that a PC version was likely always due to arrive a little later than its console counterparts as it usually takes longer to test and optimise, especially as employees are working from home. The hope is now that an update will arrive in the form of a patch early in the summer, possibly with a new GTA Online update and the patch that is currently in the works to address invite spam.
You might be wondering “but new-gen GTAV already looks like PC!” – well yes, that’s fair in general, but there *are* a few small changes and improvements that are actually performing better on console right now, as shown by Digital Foundry. There’s also other updates PC players should be able to advantage of, such as the UI and lobby access menu changes, the content such as Hao’s Special Works, and any opportunities for increased anti-cheat protections as well.
Until next time, folks…