Rockstar has apologised for the "unexpected" technical issues plaguing its widely lambasted Grand Theft Auto: Trilogy - Definitive Edition release, promising to put the classic versions of the games back on sale on PC and making them free to owners of the remaster.
Rockstar's Definitive Edition, developed by Grove Street Games, launched last week and immediately attracted ire for its myriad issues, including progression crashes, a widely documented procession of (admittedly sometimes hilarious) bugs, poor performance across all consoles, and a host of art concerns.
As Digital Foundry put it at the time, "The bottom line is that it's impossible to believe that this remaster was properly tested - and if it was, it seems that the bugs were not addressed by the developer. The end result is simply not good enough and this is such a shame. This is a landmark game and a genuinely important work."
Frustrating matters further, Rockstar had also made the decision to delist all classic releases of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, meaning its shoddy remaster was the only way to experience three of gaming's most celebrated titles for those that hadn't purchased copies prior to the originals' delisting.
Yet more complications beset PC players when Rockstar suddenly blocked them from either accessing their purchase or buying the game from its launcher (where the Definitive Edition is a PC exclusive), a situation that lasted for three days. The developer eventually admitted it had made the move in order to "remove files unintentionally included" in the Definitive Edition, later pledging to "improve and update overall performance as we move forward" when the game returned to its launcher.
And now, a week on, Rockstar has apologised for what it calls "unexpected technical issues that came to light as part of the launch". In a statement shared on its website, the developer wrote, "The Grand Theft Auto series - and the games that make up this iconic trilogy - are as special to us as we know they are to fans around the world. The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect."
Rockstar says it has "ongoing plans to address the technical issues and to improve each game" and that with each update "the games will reach the level of quality that they deserve to be". The first of these updates is due for all versions of the Definitive Edition "in the coming days".
Rockstar will also backtrack on its decision to remove the classic versions of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas from sale - but only for PC, and only on its own launcher. It says it will be adding a new bundle featuring the original PC versions of the games to its launcher "shortly" and that it will also be giving the classic bundle to owners of the Definitive Edition on PC at no extra cost until 30th June next year. It is yet to make a similar offer for consoles.
"Once again," Rockstar's statement concludes, "we'd like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we work through these updates to ensure these games meet everyone's justifiably high standards."