As of November 5, Rockstar Games have only released a single trailer for The Definitive Edition of the GTA Trilogy. The title is set to launch digitally on consoles less than a week from now, and with no actual gameplay footage revealed, we have to wonder if we should be wary of the state of the games.
In the interest of being totally fair, the reveal trailer for the trilogy was shot in-engine and did give a true glimpse into how the games look. However, looks are only a third of the battle, and the first trailer gave no indication as to how the remastered classics will really feel when players get their hands on them.
Divided Reaction To New Graphics
Upon release of the trailer and the first screenshots, the Rockstar community seemed more divided than ever: while the updated and up-rezzed graphics were mostly appreciated, a majority of the fans were put off by the overly cartoonish graphics shown for the character models.
From the brief - and I mean brief - 60-second reveal trailer (which was uploaded 2 weeks ago) many fans were quick to point out that GTA San Andreas looks like it has received the most love during the remasters development time. Now whether or not this is a plain case of bias (San Andreas does have a certain standing in the community as the best of the 3D era) remains to be seen, however, from a business standpoint this would make sense as San Andreas sold the most units of the 3 games being remastered (21.5 million).
Now I think it would take a person of little interest in these games to completely write them off just for having cartoon-style graphics, but there is nothing that can be said to make them stay if they don't like the look of the game. With those people out the door, the real skeptics can come to the forefront and ask: Why have we not seen any gameplay?
The Flawed San Andreas Port for Xbox 360
The studio behind these remasters (Grove Street Games) were also the ones behind the mobile ports of the trilogy and San Andreas for Xbox 360, but these ports did not launch to high praise, in fact, quite the opposite.
The developers had done a great job in porting the PS2 classics to IOS/Android - but then simply altered the San Andreas mobile port slightly for its 360 release, with major flaws that came with that. Some key issues were never addressed, and so a foul taste has been left in the community's mouth.
Perhaps it would be overly pessimistic to jump to the conclusion that the Definitive Trilogy games are also of shoddy design and are going to be hot fixed post-launch to weed out errors and bugs.
They say not to judge a book by its cover, so can we really judge a games studio by its past releases? Who knows.
Should we be worried about the Lack of Gameplay?
Any allegation concerning the current state of the definitive trilogy would be pure guesswork on my or any author's behalf - as detailed in the opening sentences we have yet to see real gameplay and so can't see for ourselves.
Now I understand that most people who grew up with the PS2 era games will have pre-ordered - and a lot more little brothers who clawed at the controller for a shot of San Andreas will have too - but currently, the information laid out does not bode well for the release of these games.
Rockstar has never been the best at communicating (ahem I would go as far as to say the only speak shark card) with the community, however, I'd say not showing gameplay until the final days before release only indicates they are not confident in the remasters and are relying on nostalgia to drive the sales of the trilogy.
The main argument against my puddle-deep analysis of the situation would be that the GTA remasters are just that - remasters. Why would Rockstar bother to show gameplay of games we've already played through a million times before?
Personally, I encourage anyone with an Xbox to make use of Gamepass to play San Andreas on launch and get a feel for how the remasters play - and the same goes for PlayStation users, with a little longer to wait until GTA 3 hits PS Now in December.
If all of the above speculations don't have you on the edge of your seat, then maybe think about this: With Dan Houser (Writer) and Leslie Benzies (Producer) having left a massive hole in Rockstar's creative team, should the community gear up for an onslaught of remasters of classic Rockstar titles?