‘GTA Trilogy Remaster Definitive Edition’ release date, Xbox Game Pass, PS Now and more

Rockstar has announced that new versions of San Andreas, Vice City and GTA III, known as GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition, will launch in 2021.

There has been speculation about a rumoured GTA Trilogy – a collection that contains the classic PS2 trilogy of GTA titles including Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – since Take-Two hinted at three new “remasters” or “remakes” back in its Q1 2022 earnings call. Now, the games are official – and we know that an overhauled, revamped trilogy of the PS2 classics is set to launch on consoles and PC latert this year.

Back then during the Q1 2022 earnings call, the mega-publisher and owner of Rockstar Games noted that the studio is working on three unannounced “iterations of previously released titles” – though it had been coy about saying exactly what they are. The company may have shown its hand early (before all the leaks and information that you’re going to see listed in detail below) by targeting a fan project that was reverse-engineering Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown earlier this year. That move got the rumour mill started up nice and early, sparking speculation that remakes of the three classic games could potentially be in the works.

Since then, much more information has come to light about the supposed trilogy thanks to a variety of sources: whether it’s the Korean ratings board, or Rockstar’s very own launcher, these remasters became one of gaming’s-worst kept secrets. Read on below to learn more about Rockstar’s unannounced trilogy that’s supposedly coming to modern hardware soon.

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GTA Trilogy – Definitive Edition release date, platforms and price

The very first suggestion we heard about the re-release of the games was that the three classic GTA games was from Kotaku, who noted that the games would appear across Google Stadia, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices – making good use of how platform agnostic Unreal Engine is, then.

Then, in early October 2021, Rockstar finally announced Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and the Rockstar Games Launcher on PC (no word yet on whether it’ll come to Steam or Epic Games Store).

The Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition collection will launch digitally on November 11 and will retail at £54.99 on all platforms.

The digital release will be followed by a physical release on December 7. The compilation will also come to iOS and Android in the first half of 2022.

The Switch version of the games supports gyro aiming, and players you will be able to use the console’s touchscreen for camera controls and to make selections from the menu.

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GTA Trilogy – Xbox Game Pass and PS Now

As per GameSpot, Rockstar intends to split the package up a little and offer the goods out to both Xbox and PlayStation platforms, showing off the newly-remastered games to subscribers of Xbox Game Pass and PS Now.

A standalone version of GTA: San Andreas The Definitive Edition is reportedly hitting Xbox Game Pass on November 11, and GTA III The Definitive Edition lands on PlayStation Now on December 7.

This means PlayStation fans will have to wait to see a version of the game arrive on their streaming platform, but Xbox players will get to try out the shiny new version of San Andreas on the collection’s launch day.

You can read more at Rockstar’s official game page here.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - The Definitive Edition
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Definitive Edition. Image credit: Rockstar Games

GTA Trilogy – Achievements

Part of the big data dump that was found by Rockstar Intel’s @videotech_ uncovered a raft of achievements for the unannounced games that seem to disclose quite a lot of changes to the three games.

If you’re interested, we know how many new trophies/achievements each game has received individually. They are:

GTA III – 15 new additions
GTA Vice City – 9 new additions
GTA San Andreas – 15 new additions

The Vice City icons suggest that bicycles will be added to the remaster of the 2002 game (they were added in 2004’s San Andreas, for what it’s worth). There’s also reference to Bigfoot in the San Andreas icons, too, perhaps insinuating that the lumbering cryptid will actually make it into this game after his absence was the subject of much speculation when the game originally came out.

GTA Trilogy – Unreal Engine and development

The decoded text uncovered via Rockstar Launcher also contains multiple references to “Unreal”, which suggests that all three games have been remastered with Unreal Engine. Originally, the PS2-era GTA games were developed with a middleware engine called Renderware, while later instalments from GTA 4 onwards have used Rockstar’s proprietary RAGE engine.

Graphics and controls

Some of the investigators over at GTA Forums managed to glean some more information from the Rockstar website that hasn’t yet been included in the official correspondence from the developer. It hints that we may get something of a graphical overhaul on the game, and that we’ll also see controls inspired by GTA V – so it’ll be seamless switching from the newer titles to the legacy remasters.

“Three iconic cities, three epic stories,” reads the unreleased blurb. “Play the genre-defining classics of the original Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas updated for a new generation, now with across-the-board enhancements including brilliant new lighting and environmental upgrades, high-resolution textures, increased draw distances, Grand Theft Auto 5-style controls and targeting, and much more, bringing these beloved worlds to life with all new levels of detail.”

Development

If the remasters are indeed in development by Rockstar Dundee (formerly known as Ruffian Games), it would stand to reason that Take-Two would use an external engine when it comes to ease and speed of development. Given Ruffian has credits on making Halo: The Master Chief Collection all shiny and worthwhile on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, it stands to reason they (may) have been tapped up to work on the GTA Trilogy. However, following the official announcement of the release, information has come to light that the Definitive Edition was developed by a studio called Grove Street Games – who worked on other GTA ports – and has been developed using the Unreal Engine.

On PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, the games will run at 4K/60FPS, Rockstar has mentioned in a press release.

Rockstar says it used Unreal Engine and a “completely rebuilt” lighting system, and graphical improvements extend to pretty much every part of the games, including (but not limited to) improved shadows, weather, and reflections, and upgraded character and vehicle models. There are increased draw distances, smoother surfaces, and “higher resolution textures across buildings, weapons, roads, interiors, and more.”

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