GTA 5 PC release: all the evidence so far

One Last Job

Back in July , Rockstar Leeds advertised for a new Graphic Programmer. The job description should be of particular interest:

"Rockstar Leeds are currently looking for a talented graphics programmer to help bring our latest titles to the PC platform. Working together with the other Rockstar studios, you will be responsible for maintaining the studio's uncompromising quality bar, delivering the highest quality PC experience possible."

The phrase "help bring our latest titles to the PC platform" sounds pretty unambiguous. While there's an outside chance it refers to new games from existing series, Rockstar Leeds have form in taking on porting duties on older games. Their last project was was the PC version of LA Noire.

GTA 4, incidentally, was ported by Rockstar Toronto, who also collaborated with Rockstar Vancouver on Max Payne 3 before the two studios were merged. If this new plus-sized Toronto has shifted towards development of new games, Leeds would be the natural choice for heading up the company's PC porting duties. What "latest title" will they be working on? GTA 5 seems the only sensible choice.

Strength in Numbers

While we're making assumptions about Rockstar's internal workings, let's talk about its history. One of the strongest indicators of a post-console PC version is that the GTA series keeps doing them. As T.J. methodically charted , the gap between the launch console and PC release has stayed relatively stable, hovering at just over the 6 month mark. The gap between announcements is less consistent: in fact, it's growing. GTA is trending towards keeping PC - and potentially next-gen console owners - in the dark for longer. It's almost as if delaying the reveal of a more powerful version is a good way of maximising profits across multiple platforms... is what a cynic might say.

There's a chance you spent the entirety of that last paragraph shouting "RED DEAD REDEMPTION" at the screen. Fair enough, the outstanding recreation of the last days of the wild west is unusual among Rockstar titles of similar scope and scale in that it never came to PC. It is, however, the exception rather than the rule. Both LA Noire and Max Payne 3 found their way to us, proving that despite RDR's absence, there's no institutional shift away from the platform within Rockstar.

During a 2011 community Q&A post on Rockstar's Newswire, they hinted at why that particular game didn't cross over, and also used their subsequent PC ports as evidence that "we can finally put to rest any misconceptions that we've 'abandoned the PC platform'." The post went on to state:

"We do know that, yes, there is just one title absent from our PC release plans – that game of course being Red Dead Redemption, and of course we're well aware that some fans have been asking for it. All we can say is that whenever it is viable (technically, developmentally and business-wise) for us to release a game for PC (or any other particular platform) – we will and we usually do; unfortunately, that is just not the case 100% of the time for all platforms."

Layers of corporate obfuscation aside, it suggests that RDR was held back because of a specific issue with the Rockstar San Diego game. Whether it was technical, developmental, or business-wise-al, none of those factors are likely to apply to the publisher's most successful series from their flagship development team.

Lasting Infamy

While I'm quoting Rockstar, let's take a look at an understated line from CVG's giant interview with Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies on the subject of GTA Online. When asked if there was a definitive end to the game's online portion, he said, "probably not. Because we want it to last forever."

"We'll stop when we've simulated life - and then that will be the end! No, people have to keep going. There should never be an, "Oh, I've reached the end." We've got to have goals, and we've got to have stepping stones, but there should never really be an end."

GTA Online is a persistent, updating, 16-player version of GTA 5. Given that, and Rockstar's stated commitment to make it a lasting experience, why would you restrict it to the tail-end of a console's life-cycle? It seems natural that Rockstar are going to want it to live on in a more stable, long-term environment. Yes, that could apply to next-gen consoles, too. But it's a description that fits the PC like a glove.

Later on in the interview, Benzies states, "we'll get the current gen version out first and see what happens in the future." Which, if nothing else, proves that you don't get to be the president of a major developer without being able to coyly dodge questions about an unannounced release.

There's the evidence, all that remains is how you interpret it. What do you think of GTA 5's PC release chances?

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.