While plenty of exciting announcements and trailers came out of Sony’s PlayStation Showcase last week, there seems to be a fairly unanimous consensus that Rockstar is contributing – that it is sorely lacking. The Rockstar trailer released for Grand Theft Auto 5 Expanded and improved has amassed a surprising amount of dislikes, through various channels. On social media like Twitter and Reddit, fans of the series have expressed their disappointment.
A mixed reaction to another remaster of Grand Theft Auto 5 This isn’t entirely surprising, as the game is already available on PS4, as well as Xbox One. Comments below the trailer for the PS5 version of the game frequently question the need for a new version. While there was coverage at the developer’s operating workplace, Rockstar continued its mainstream success by producing Red Dead Redemption 2, which has been very successful despite the above-mentioned working conditions. However, considering both industry practice and product quality currently under criticism, Rockstar GTA 5 an error could indicate a greater downward perception of the business.
The problems with the new trailer for GTA 5
It’s not hard to find the source of fans’ dismay with the new Grand Theft Auto 5 trailer, because the comments and social media posts made them self-explanatory. The bigger problem is that the trailer has very few noticeable in-game changes, with a secondary underlying disappointment that Rockstar is focusing on a remake of old content rather than working on something new.
Rockstar’s realities of how they are leading development in this regard are discussed below, but from a fan perspective, the past two years have been tough for Rockstar Games fans. Players are, in general, hungry for new content; This is exacerbated by the release of the latest generation of consoles, the PS5 and the Xbox Series X / S. Fans want content made specifically for the console they’ve paid hundreds of dollars for.
As is Grand Theft Auto 5 extended and improved the trailer didn’t show any major graphics or gameplay improvements, and instead cites vague platitudes such as “improved gameplay”, “seamless character change” and “much more”. The graphics look remarkably similar to the PS4 / Xbox One version and look way below the capabilities of the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S. Rockstar always seems to push Grand Theft Auto Online, an online multiplayer version of the game which has been successful since 2013. Certainly, GTA Online generates significant revenue for Rockstar through microtransactions, so it makes sense to focus.
Behind the Scenes at Rockstar Games
To understand the declining trend in public perception of Rockstar Games, there are some developments at Rockstar that have to be borne in mind since the initial release of Rockstar Games. Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013. Most notable is the departure of Leslie Benzies from Rockstar North, the studio that developed GTA 5, and the resulting lawsuit between Benzies and Rockstar. During this litigation, which was ultimately settled privately, a number of accusations were made of a lack of strong management at Rockstar Games and a more insidiously toxic work environment.
This, coupled with the letter from the wives of Rockstar employees released during the development of Red Dead Redemption, exposes major issues with the way Rockstar does business. Many fans have expressed serious doubts about how long the company will survive with a culture of crisis, with employees working exorbitantly overtime during a period of “crisis” before a game’s release.
Last year, one of Rockstar’s founding members, Dan Houser, left the company. His brother, Sam Houser, remains with the company. While the split appears amicable, it potentially indicates a level of fatigue at Rockstar’s highest level in this context. The constant pressure to create extremely immersive games has certainly driven Rockstar to sort of breaking point for many years. Receipt of Grand Theft Auto 5 the PlayStation Showcase trailer certainly doesn’t help.
Rockstar and the gaming industry
The negative response to the Grand Theft Auto 5 remake reveals the pressure that Rockstar, and the rest of the gaming industry more broadly, is under. The pandemic has resulted in inevitable labor shortages and production slowdowns across the industry, and Rockstar has had production issues before it even started. Rockstar isn’t the only developer experiencing similar issues, as the well-reported response to the CD Projekt Red bug Cyberpunk 2077 highlighted.
The problem is twofold, as the profit-driven industry continually tries to increase profits while reducing labor costs, as fans continue to drive sales of new and immersive content. Rockstar’s decision to push again Grand Theft Auto Online is one indication of that, as Rockstar is making money, but fans are demanding a new game.
However, the majority of players are aware of these issues after the extensive media coverage. The consensus is that good, well-developed games take longer to make and can generate more success than profit. Rockstar clinched gold with Grand Theft Auto 5 in terms of profits and cheers, but the developer cannot ignore the reality that there is a strong desire for new and inventive content, and it costs money and time to create.
Even without the surrounding context, the answer to GTA 5 a lackluster trailer is very clear evidence of a disconnect between the developer and the fans. Maybe Rockstar will be lucky with another Red Dead Redemption 2 level of success in the future, and this developer misstep will be forgotten. That being said, the overall controversy the developer has struggled with is troubling for the longevity of the business, unless Rockstar is willing to make some serious changes.
Grand Theft Auto 5 extended and improved will be released in March 2022 for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S.
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