The Grand Theft Auto series has a surprisingly long history in the world of mobile gaming. Of course before there was a proper GTA on mobile there were plenty of copycats. Front and center would be Gameloft’s Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, which launched in the summer of 2009 and has been followed with numerous sequels. Then there were some more old-school-influenced GTA-alikes: Remember Payback or Car Jack Streets? Oh those early App Store days were good times, let me tell ya. Anyway it wouldn’t take too long for Rockstar to bring their landmark series to mobile devices in an official capacity, and for years now we’ve been able to play the original PlayStation 2-era 3D trilogy on the go thanks to their rather excellent mobile ports.
However, a new report from Kotaku states that Rockstar is currently developing a remaster of that 3D trilogy–which includes GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas–and is planning on releasing them on all current and last-gen consoles including the Switch, PC, and mobile devices. Rumors of old GTA games being remastered have run rampant for years now, and the only confirmation we have this time around is Kotaku saying it comes from a source they trust, but the whole idea isn’t really that far-fetched. Bringing them up to speed to run on more modern hardware and, more importantly, be able to be more easily maintained into the future makes a lot of sense given the historical importance of that particular GTA trilogy. Plus those games are still loads of fun.
Kotaku says that Rockstar’s Scottish in-house developer Rockstar Dundee is handling this project, and that the games are being remastered in Unreal Engine. That would make sense if they’re looking to offer these games on a number of platforms but just manage one code base. Don’t expect a full overhaul of these games though, as Kotaku’s source also states that the remasters are using a mixture of “new and old graphics" and are trying to stay as true to the PS2-era games as possible while still offering some updated features like a revamped UI. They liken the remasters to some of the more robust fan mods that are currently available for the games on PC. I mean have you seen how awesome San Andreas can look when you’re running 57 different mods!?
The remastered GTA trilogy is said to be shooting for a late October or early November launch on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC, Google Stadia, and mobile devices. However, their focus seems to be on the console versions and so it’s possible the PC and mobile versions could slip into next year. Whatever the case, I sure hope these rumors are finally true as I’ve really enjoyed the current crop of GTA mobile ports over the years and there’s really nothing quite like being able to carry a game as robust and content-rich as something like San Andreas around in your dang pocket. A remastered or otherwise improved version of that, especially if there is cross-platform progress syncing, would be a real treat indeed.