The "expanded and enhanced" version of Grand Theft Auto V isn't scheduled to arrive on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC until March 2022. But it's already doing the impossible: it's turning people against one of the greatest video games of all time.
Make no mistake, GTA V is absolutely one of the best video games ever made. It's a perfectly scripted, beautifully made single-player adventure with an unforgettable story and open world that remains unmatched, even eight years later.
Rich with detail and expansive without ever feeling needlessly big, Los Santos is an incredible virtual playground that feels like a living, breathing world. From the cinemas, gun ranges, and shops to the radio stations blasting out adverts for fictional products and TV shows, every inch of GTA V feels meticulously planned. It's a perfect parody of American culture wrapped up in an expertly delivered video game that hits on every conceivable level. It absolutely deserves its place as one of the greats.
GTA V's legacy should be ensured. Of that there's no question. That's why it's so hard to watch the game's upcoming and much maligned re-release slowly chip away at that legacy.
It's not at all hard to see why fans are annoyed at the idea of GTA V on new-gen consoles. It's been eight years since the game launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In that time, it's already been ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This "expanded and enhanced" version, then, will mark the game's second re-release in less than a decade.
The growing unrest with the fact that GTA V will soon exist on three generations of console while GTA VI remains an elusive mystery is clear. You only need to look at the growing number of fans going to extreme lengths to ask where the new GTA is. Meanwhile, the like/dislike ratio on all YouTube trailers for the upcoming new-gen port tell their own story. At the time of writing, the Rockstar Games upload for the latest trailer sits at 248k dislikes to 43k likes.
It certainly doesn't help matters that what we've seen of the upgraded version of GTA V doesn't really look all that expanded or enhanced. Fans have complained of minimal graphical improvements, and the touting of basic features that do little to justify a re-release - much less a full-priced one.
"I am convinced that the people at Rockstar are genuinely f*cking with us," wrote one user. "Like seriously, there is no way that they genuinely sat down and thought that this garbage is what the community wants."
"I still can't believe one of their selling points was 'Seamless Character Switching'", added another. "What a joke."
That people can react so negatively to a re-release of one of the most popular and well loved video games ever made sends a clear message: the fans are officially sick of Rockstar milking GTA V, and that reaction is absolutely tarnishing the game's reputation.
I'm sure that a decade or so from now when GTA VI is finally out and we've all moved on that we'll have forgotten the constant repackaging of GTA V, and we'll instead remember the game for the bold and striking open-world crime epic that it deserves to be remembered as.
When we think about GTA V, we should think about its technical achievements, its well-crafted open-world, and it's incredible cast of characters. But right now? It's hard to mention the game to anyone without them immediately being reminded of a company that's starting to take the piss, and that's a real shame.
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