After many rumors, Rockstar has officially announced Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, a remaster of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas all in one package.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is slated for PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, with Android and iOS ports set to land land in the first half of 2022. This is all good news for GTA fans, but it's left me thinking where the heck is the Grand Theft Auto 4 remake or remaster? After all we know GTA 5 is getting a next-gen remaster, so I'd like to see its Liberty City predecessor get the same treatment.
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The Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition will include graphical improvements and "modern gameplay enhancements," which is welcome news as the games are clunky to control by todays standards. The improvements will still "maintain the classic look and feel of the originals," according to Rockstar.
Interestingly, Rockstar will begin removing existing ports of the original 3D titles from digital storefronts. This could be to prevent buyers from accidentally buying a previously ported version thinking it's a part of the new remastered trilogy.
And for those still playing GTA Online, Rockstar will start bringing in more loot to commemorate the original 3D titles.
Still, I can't help but wonder why GTA IV was not included in this remastered collection.
Why we need GTA IV remastered
For some reason, Rockstar has not given much porting love to 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV, and that's a real shame. Yes, the game isn't as wacky as earlier entries, or the immortal GTA 5, but GTA 4 brought with it a more serious and dramatic look at the immigrant experience.
In it, the main protagonist, Niko Bellic, an Eastern European former soldier, lands in America in pursuit of the American dream. His visions of America are quickly stunted when he realizes his cousin isn't the big shot he made himself out to be. What follows is a much more real portrayal of the immigrant struggle in America, and how cutthroat Liberty City, modeled after New York, can be.
Actually, GTA IV on PS3 was my first 3D grand theft auto experience. I was unaware of all the cheat codes and eclectic characters fans had grown accustomed to in the previous entries. And for that, I can understand why GTA 4 isn't the most beloved in the series.
Where GTA 5 is a satirical take on the vapid Instagram-fueled performance art of the Los Angeles elite, GTA 4 doesn't feel like satire at all. It's definitely exaggerated, but it seems that Rockstar took a lot of care on not denigrating the struggles of poor immigrants trying to make it in America. And as the child of immigrants who too were abused by employers or had guns pulled on them while working in convenience stores, I feel there was a definite relatability in Niko's struggle.
GTA 4 stands out from other Grand Theft Auto titles. It felt like Rockstar wasn't making a larger commentary about American society, but wanted to instead focus more on the systems that make moving up in this country so cutthroat. How the lack of certain safety nets and pure reverence for the dollar above all else can make people do things they normally would not.
And while GTA 4 may not feel as relevant today, with widening wage gaps and a shrinking middle class, it probably wouldn't be a bad time to revisit the pre-recession Liberty City of 2008.
As someone who related more to the story of Niko Bellic over GTA 5's Michael De Santa, a GTA 4 remaster, I feel, will be warmly received by fans. It could be a good primer before GTA VI, whenever that game comes out.