The launch of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy was, for a studio with Rockstar North's reputation, something of a disaster. The remasters were handled by subsidiary Grove Street Games and arrived on PC and other platforms with various performance issues and visual bugs, alongside a goldmine of content that shouldn't have been in there, such as developer comments and unlicensed songs.
In response, Rockstar took the unprecedented step of removing the game from sale for a time (opens in new tab), which brought into sharp relief its decision to remove the original titles from sale when the Trilogy was released. The Trilogy would shortly return in an altered state, thoroughly patched (opens in new tab), while the original games were returned to sale (opens in new tab), and purchasers were offered an apologetic freebie (opens in new tab).
In short, this is not how some of the most important games in history should have been presented to a new generation of players. You can say many things about Rockstar North, but the polish, quality, and attention-to-detail in the studio's titles is why it has the reputation it does: This felt like presenting the crown jewels in an old takeaway box.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick recently spoke to CNBC about the publishing giant's acquisition of Zynga, as part of which the GTA Trilogy's problems came up. Zelnick seemed relatively unperturbed by them, and dismissed it all as a 'glitch'. CNBC's Jim Cramer asked about "some defects in the new Grand Theft Auto" in the light of Take-Two's position that it doesn't release products before they're ready.
"With regards to the GTA Trilogy, that was actually not a new title," says Zelnick. "That was a remaster of pre-existing titles. We did have a glitch in the beginning, that glitch was resolved. And the title of [sic] has done just great for the company. So we’re very excited. We have an amazing pipeline going forward."
The GTA Trilogy did not have a 'glitch', but dozens of them, alongside a raft of material that delights dataminers but Rockstar North would never have wanted out in the wild. Given Rockstar's history with controversies like Hot Coffee blowing up into federal investigations, the Trilogy releasing in the state it did feels like a much bigger issue than Zelnick will allow.