Rockstar Has A Huge Miscommunication Problem

For the past couple of years, it's been shown that Rockstar has a miscommunication problem with its fanbase. Making dicey developing choices, prioritizing Grand Theft Auto: Online over their most recent titles, ignoring multiple anticipated IPs that they hold. So what is going on?

Rockstar Has A Huge Miscommunication Problem

Throughout the past decades, Rockstar Games has proved itself to be the epitome of video game developers. They have revolutionized the industry multiple times with the Grand Theft Auto series, that naturally became the standard for any future open world sandbox game. So proper respect for Rockstar Games is due since they finally announced that Grand Theft Auto 6 development is “well underway.” But the issue with Rockstar exceeds the remarkably silenced environment around Grand Theft Auto 6. Or the unknown fate of multiple IPs that Rockstar owns.

They’re on a hot streak with developing two successful AAA games. One of them, Grand Theft Auto V, sell-mongers the market by topping the charts of the most selling games each month since its initial release back in 2013. The second, Red Dead Redemption 2, is regarded by many as an outstanding achievement for Rockstar, an ever-growing delight for the community that waited for Rockstar to piece together an engaging narrative while keeping a vibrant and dynamic open world. Up until now, I’m just talking about the story modes; and this is one of the primary problems that I will discuss in the forthcoming bits of this article.

You see, Rockstar Games is indeed a big corporation. Corporations usually thirst for any profitable material in order for them to cling to it, and it seems that Rockstar has found that material. Grand Theft Auto V sells to this day mainly because of two to three factors, first off, the thriving role-playing community. Second, the somewhat enjoyable online, I know, it’s a fact that some people still enjoy the online to this day, and frankly, we have to respect that. Finally, it’s the enthusiastic modding community. I bet your sweet bippy that many people still buy the older versions of Grand Theft Auto to tune in a couple of mods they like and have an irrefutable pleasant time. I’ve done it. You probably have done it sometime in your life.

Cover art from Rockstar's website — Rockstar Has A Huge Miscommunication Problem

Cover art from Rockstar’s Website.

And it seems like Rockstar is unready to let off that beneficial money-generating source. It is understandable [to some extent] until parts of your games start destroying your own reputation that you built throughout the years. It is apparent that Rockstar has a miscommunication problem. Looking at the past couple of years, the flagship of video game developers indeed lacks basic communication skills with the community. From handing tremendous remastering projects of iconic IPs to small mobile developing studios, ditching an entire online community for a recently released game that is not even that bad, and more… This article will explore the recurring themes of poor communication and repeated mistakes of Rockstar that they seem to ignore, at least for the time being.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy  The Ridiculously Troubled Edition

I seriously have a hard time knowing where to begin with this. Rockstar legitimately handed a mobile developer a full-on remaster of the most iconic titles of the Grand Theft Auto series. Is it Grove Street Games’ entire fault? Absolutely not. The studio is relatively inexperienced when it comes to PC/Console games, and it shows since they worked on the 10th anniversary remasters. The 10th anniversary versions were somewhat okay for mobile systems but horrendous for the PC and Console ports, with uncountable bugs and glitches.

Grove Street Games seem to have had an inflexible deadline to finish remastering every asset while moving the games’ engines from RenderWare to Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. The studio apparently found a way around reducing the effort of remastering models and textures by programming an AI that remodels and upscales every asset in the game based on the original material. In theory, this would’ve worked perfectly with a little help from quality assurance testing. Of course, they had to manually remodel some primary stuff like the main protagonists of each game in the trilogy, which were somewhat fine compared to some characters like Denise, CJ’s girlfriend from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy 1 — Rockstar Has A Misommunication Problem

Grand Theft Auto 3 Teaser Art, The Definitive Edition.

The backlash, oh boy, the backlash… It was a hot mess. Although the trailers were moderately promising, everyone expected the least from the remasters, yet they somehow were totally disappointed when the game was released. I think the concern came from Rockstar not showing actual gameplay footage but instead cutscenes and directed footage of driving vehicles around. While it succeeded at flexing the visual upgrades and the better lighting system, it failed at earning people’s trust and faith in the overall project. Rockstar figured they would rather take the blame rather than put it on Grove Street Games and then stated an official apology on their Twitter account.

To make the “Definitive Edition” seem original, Take-Two Interactive officially filed a lawsuit against a popular reverse-engineering fan project that aimed to remaster Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. That would’ve been a poetic love letter to the long-living series. But, unfortunately, this project that everyone thinks, including myself, would’ve turned out way better than we got was taken down for the ridiculously troubled edition to occur. I have no doubt Grove Street Games would have done better in the remasters if they had enough time, a bigger budget, and more help from Rockstar Games’ different departments (especially quality assurance testing, which appears to have been absent the entire time.)

The “Definitive Edition” thirsts for more gameplay overhauls. Reintroducing and bringing back vital gameplay mechanics from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas could’ve been a major improvement and a primary key in gaining the community’s interest. This would be a challenging quest; due to the trilogy’s gameplay nature which is heavily tied to the narrative. But it is 100% something Rockstar Games is capable of since they had their own role in developing, crediting themselves first on the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition page on their store.

Grand Theft Auto: Online – The Game Where Actual Criminals Exist

This matter has been talked about nearly a thousand times, and honestly, it is something that needs to be talked about until a change takes place. Mod menus pose a tremendous threat to Rockstar’s gains; solely because they might grant a player more authority than the people who actually run the game. If you think Grand Theft Auto: Online is safe, oh Habibi, do I have something to tell you… Grand Theft Auto: Online is riddled with hackers that will do and spawn everything they can just for you to have an inadequate time and later uninstall the entire game.

GTA I got DDOSED and threatened

(Video via The Professional on Youtube)

If you didn’t know, apparently, Rockstar Games owns enough money to buy entire countries, but they couldn’t afford to have dedicated servers for each online game they run. Grand Theft Auto: Online runs with a Peer-to-Peer protocol. It’s definitely more cost-efficient, but it is less secure. You know? The funny thing is, games like Phasmophobia and Among Us actually have dedicated servers for their games, and those aren’t triple-A video games that cost 200 million dollars to make. How Peer-to-Peer runs is that the system chooses the player in each session that has the best connection, and the system assigns him as the host of the entire session.

The thing is that the Peer-to-Peer system doesn’t really have an encrypted method of communicating between each device. On Consoles, it’s pretty much okay since the console users have no definite popular way of buying and downloading a third-party software that can intrude the back-end communication that happens while the session is on. Guess who really has that luxury? It’s the PC owners. Averaging from 20-40 bucks, you can buy and run a mod menu that collects the IPs of the other players in your session, which is enough info for you to fiddle with their hardware and attack it, if you will, even if you’re not the host. Not only that, the mod menu can literally pinpoint the geolocation of the internet provider’s server of the target, which can be used to swat, stalk, and harass people. This is basically committing a fourth-degree felony in some countries. This is a literal crime!

Take-Two Interactive, the mother company of Rockstar Games, did file lawsuits against the mod menu creators. They forced them to take some of their mod menus down. But this is not sufficient. Taking a couple of mod menus is not the proper move; Take one down. 20 more will show up with probably more affordable prices while providing the same services. Having dedicated servers is not that big of a deal for a corporation like Rockstar Games. Programming or even hiring programmers to piece together an actually working anti-cheat system is not that big of a deal either. Even if Rockstar decides to use a third-party anti-cheat software like Easy Anti-Cheat would work to some degree, rather than what we already have.

GTA Online – Rockstar Has A Miscommunication Problem

Grand Theft Auto: Online

The sad thing is that many people were harmed merely by tuning in to a game that they spent money on, a game that they enjoy. A cheater then comes and totally griefs your day because they felt that they lost. Content creators like The Professional, an experienced Grand Theft Auto: Online player who posts tutorials for the game on his Youtube Channel, got DDoSed and threatened by a hacker that felt defeated and outsmarted. I’ve spent all this time talking about the security issues and flaws that Grand Theft Auto: Online has. I never got to mention the infamous paywalls that literally block you from progressing into the game unless you waste more hours and effort in a day than you put in your actual job. I feel like dedicating a single 4000-word article to the problems that only exist in Grand Theft Auto: Online, I would still miss a lot. Saying the online is terribly troubled is definitely an understatement.

Red Dead Online – The Online That Rockstar Needs To Save

Red Dead Redemption 2 is unquestionably my all-time favorite. I personally consider it to be a masterpiece, the golden apple that Rockstar San Diego and every other studio that contributed to it had sprouted. The online, on the other hand, is a big mess. It’s roughly like Grand Theft Auto: Online‘s launch; not much content, but the game is undoubtedly there for you to play. The problem is that Rockstar Games released a bare online aspect of a very successful game, then totally shifted all focus to Grand Theft Auto: Online, which to remind you, is nearly an eight-year-old game.

For the past months, hashtags went popular all over social media demanding to Save Red Dead Online. The community of Red Dead went berserk on Rockstar, criticizing the corporation’s cupidity and their infamous quest for effortless money, fueled by their desire for more. Rockstar Games willingly dismissed Red Dead Online when it didn’t bring the same revenue that Grand Theft Auto: Online, which reportedly earns the publisher average of a billion dollars each year.

Rockstar Games Has Abandoned Red Dead Online...

(Video via SomeOrdinaryGamers on Youtube)

The thing that worries me the most is that there were no actual upgrades in the online aspect of Red Dead Online. Basically, the paywall and the grind required to go around it are approximately the same, if not with extra layers of bricks. They still are using the Peer-to-Peer method of building the online, and the anti-cheat system is still of poor effectiveness, which naturally allows the same cheaters with the same 20 to 30 bucks to collect information about the players in each session. This is more than outrageous, considering that a game like Red Dead Online is an excellent material for having a different experience from Grand Theft Auto: Online. Rockstar really intended to make Red Dead Online a clone of its Grand Theft Auto counterpart.

A primary part of the problem is that Rockstar Games also cloned the same problems from Grand Theft Auto: Online; it’s pretty much apparent that we’re stuck on a loop. Rockstar intentionally stopped learning from the mistakes that the community keeps pointing out. Rather than serving the fanbase an enjoyable experience, they intend to toss the community a second job that requires more hours than you sleep in order for you to probably get whatever you want so you can have some form of “fun.”

Where To Rockstar?

To end this, once and for all. I adore every project Rockstar has ever worked on. I fantasize about canceled and “to be announced” projects every day like AgentBully 2Manhunt 3, a new Midnight Club, and even a new Table Tennis game. Rockstar Games is definitely one of those developers and publishers that the history of the industry will forever remember. But the death of such a big name shouldn’t be this exceptionally early, and certainly not because of laziness or money-hunting. I’m pretty sure that Grand Theft Auto 6 will be their most successful title ever. I also have no doubts that the game might top the list of the most sold games in history to even surpass Grand Theft Auto 5 and Minecraft.

But I frankly don’t want a new game with the same old mistakes. Peer-to-Peer is outdated and not safe for your consumers. Releasing poor quality remasters and absolutely dropping the reputation of one of the most iconic trilogies in the history of recreation to a pool of mud is unacceptable. Abandoning adored and loved online games only because they don’t generate that much revenue while you have the fortune to run this game for the next 9 decades is unreasonable. Dear Rockstar Games, communication is key. And you seem to have lost your key.

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