PlayStation Vita is the Proper Home of the GTA Trilogy

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Rockstar announced this week that they would capping of their celebration of the Grand Theft Auto (PlayStation 2) trilogy by bringing releasing a re-mastered Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on iOS and Android, leaving fans to question; why not Vita?  Rockstar may have outgrown its unique-relationship with Sony, but the (PlayStation 2) Grand Theft Auto Trilogy will always be associated with PlayStation.

Admittedly Grand Theft Auto has come a long way from its early top-down beginnings, going on to become one of the most popular franchise in the medium to date.  Most recently Grand Theft Auto V set records by making over $1 billion dollars in revenue during its first three days on the market, a feat that very few would have predicted during the franchise’s humble start. While the series started out as a guilty pleasure and niche hit, it truly hit its stride when Grand Theft Auto III graced the PlayStation 2 way back in 2001. The PS2 will go down in history as a console with one of the richest software libraries to date, but in nearly every collection at the time – a copy of Grand Theft Auto III could be found.

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GTA III challenged the limits of gaming, both in terms of scope and content. Perhaps the biggest change was the way people perceived the franchise and the platform of which it now took center stage.  No longer relegated to the PC, Grand Theft Auto became the phenomenon that we know today through its marriage with Sony; where it went on to debut two more titles on the PlayStation 2. Even when Sony created their first ever portable console – the PlayStation Portable – Grand Theft Auto was a marquee showcase for the hardware’s capabilities. Like many marriages there are often infidelities, and the overwhelming demand from fans led to Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas expanding to other platforms. The interesting thing though is that while the franchise expanded to alternative hardware, the terms Grand Theft Auto and PlayStation remained largely synonymous until the ushering in of the PlayStation 3.

In April of 2008 Rockstar put its PlayStation affiliation to bed with the multi-platform release of Grand Theft Auto IV. Launching on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 the game retained the open-world crime that the series was known for, it was clear that with GTA IV Rockstar was intent on moving the series in a much different direction in terms of tone and style. Where the trilogy felt like a family, Grand Theft Auto IV felt like a distant cousin; and it essentially marked the end of the Sony’s privileged relationship with the series.

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In 2011 Rockstar decided to honour the ten year anniversary of the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto III by releasing a re-mastered edition on both iOS and Android devices. At the time of its release, mobile was a burgeoning force and the addition seemed to be fitting given the poor state of portable gaming at the time; in fact it was so successful that Rockstar would repeat the process by similarly celebrating the anniversary of Vice City in December of 2012. Now only a year later San Andreas is set to join the club – but unlike when this campaign began, mobile is no longer the promising platform that it once appeared to be.

Where at one time mobile was seen as a direct competitor to the portable-handheld market, the two are viewed in different lights today. As the industry has taken on a much more creator-friendly stance in recent times, we have seen developers shy away of mobile in favour of other options. Handhelds seem to be back in full swing and we are seeing Triple-A games on mobile becoming a dying breed as the powerful PlayStation Vita and popular Nintendo 3DS have become both viable and successful platforms. There are likely many reasons why Rockstar have chosen to continue to support mobile with these acclaimed, but given the capabilities of the Vita there are quickly becoming less reasons for them not to bring it back to PlayStation.

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Not porting these re-mastered classics to PlayStation Vita is not only disappointing to wishful fans, it’s a missed opportunity for Rockstar to honour the relationship that helped make them classics to start with. Celebrate these titles in the manner that they deserve, away from touch controls and casual audiences. While the mobile ports surely bring Rockstar some dough, bringing the already re-mastered trilogy to the PlayStation Vita has the potential to be a monumental hit for Rockstar; and could possibly serve as a test-flight for a new entry in the series. No one can blame Rockstar for striking the iron while it was hot and choosing a promising platform to distribute its 10-year  jubilee; but it’s time that they recognize that that the promise has dissipated and the iron has cooled. If they are indeed intent on remaining mobile, there is no mistaking the fact that PlayStation Vita is the proper home of the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy.

Ultimately the choice is up to Rockstar, but by voicing our opinions on the subject we can make that decision much easier. There is a Twitter campaign currently active that urges like-minded fans to let Rockstar Games know that we want the re-mastered (PlayStation 2) Grand Theft Auto Trilogy on Vita. Inform Rockstar that there is an audience, and that it’s on PlayStation Vita – where the game deserves to be.

  • Jeff Masser

    Yes, it’s definitely a no-brainer, but at the same time, Vita has yet to hit it’s stride with the mainstream, the people who are going to put this title above a million sales. It’s a sad but true state of affairs. I hope it happens, but at the same time I’m not holding my breath….. hell, what I’d really like to see is a GTA title built from the ground-up for the Vita!

    • Brian Sharon

      Chicken or Egg Jeff. Great hardware deserves great software, and that’s the only way to breed a wider audience.

  • Safeer Humayoon

    The original GTA trilogy was 5.9 GB on the PC,they would have to compress it,I don’t know why Rockstar is not doing this for the Vita,and I don’t know why Sony isn’t trying anything to get a GTA for Vita.It would sell loads even if it was an hd remaster.

    • Brian Sharon

      They port each title individually – as they did on mobile. When I say the trilogy – I don’t necessarily mean exclusively in a package.

  • Marquez NoFeelins’StayDancing

    I really wish they build a gta from the ground up on the vita. If they can support the psp why not vita. That would definitely sell vita units

  • Undrey

    In 2011 Rockstar decided to honour the ten year anniversary of the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto II
    by releasing.

    Typo.

    • Brian Sharon

      Good eye – corrected fine sir.

      • Undrey

        Great article, and I agree.

  • Lester Paredes

    Great article. I totally agree. Put this game on a system that has actual, precise input capabilities, not just swippetty-swiping and tapping. I’d buy it, and I’m not even the biggest GTA fan. It would sell like hotcakes. Not that I’ve ever sold hotcakes, but that’s just how the saying goes.

  • ramzacom

    don’t you think Vita deserves its own GTA ? Rockstar did it for DS with Chinatown wars after all. Personnaly, i’m fed up with “Classics”, even if they’re remastered. I think i played too much to them on their former realease time.

    • Submissus

      Chinatown wars was actually released for the PSP, as well!

  • chava

    I wouldn’t hold my breath we yet to see the ifruit app release for the vita and they haven’t said a word about it since it was first announced

  • Satu Patel

    If whomever brought 2 versions of angry birds for a whopping 39.99 a piece, then rock star should consider that too can easily port over that collection. That in my opinion is more of a console/ handheld seller especially in the states here than anything else. Though I don’t play those games, many and many do.

  • Owen McNamara

    I never saw the appeal in playing games like this on Android devices, since (with the exception of the XPeria Play, a colossally missed opportunity in its own right) they all require purchasing or kitbashing a controller for an optimal experience. Vita is a natural fit for PS2 games, and it’s bad enough that Sony wasn’t able to emulate the PS2 on the system at all, leaving us dreaming for HD updated ports.

  • Zale

    If you’re going to go as far as starting a campaign to get GTA on Vita, why in the world would you encourage fans to ask for a port/remaster instead of a new and original Vita experience?

    • Brian Sharon

      Well I didn’t assemble the campaign, but to answer your question simply; it’s to prove that there is a market. To bring the GTA trilogy to Vita would be a simple feat for Rockstar as it has already been remastered and merely needs to be ported. This means minimal resource loss, and ultimately a lack of risk in the project. If the GTA trilogy sells it could be a financial hit and become the start of bigger, and better things. If not, cut your (small) losses and move on.

      While I understand your frustration, asking for the moon doesn’t mean that you are going to get it.

  • Z_

    Considering what they were able to pull off with GTA V on 7 year old consoles, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that they can pull off a GTA IV-level game( both in terms of graphics and scope) on the Vita if they made one from the ground up.

    If you look at the differences between the two games, it’s sorta obvious that GTA IV was the test bed into the new generation of consoles( at that time) for what was to become the more polished and more optimized GTA V. So if they can optimize a game for the Vita more so than they did with GTA IV on the more powerful consoles, a GTA IV-level game is doable.

  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    They just don’t want to bet on the Vita. R* have always been about big sellings with their games. Big numbers. Big money. Let’s do the math, Ubisoft got 600k with their Liberation product on the Vita; Rockstar did a million+ with their ‘port’ onto android/ios. So if we consider the fact that developing a game or even porting it to android devices -these devices are powered by Snapdragon processor made by Qualcomm, the same company that powers the PSVita- how hard would it be to ‘port’ it to the Vita as well? Different architecture? Give me a break R*. It’s always about the money, in this case, profit. I just don’t get why not sell it for a reasonable price for the Vita instead of doing so (costing much less) for smartphones. It’s too bad R* is not onboard to give Vita gamers something the Vita hardware can handle, and yet we gotta get happy because a company with its pocket full of money could finally give us a game. A*retro* game.

  • geo

    GTA Trilogy must be on the Ps Vita !!!

  • Mauricio Quintero

    I guess Rockstar do not like money so much.

    • Rodolfo Ferreira

      We all know they do. That’s not the question. I’d rather take the conspiracy theory road and assume they are not making anything for the Vita because they’re already getting paid. Months have been gone since GTA V released and they are still top charting, selling like hot cakes…so what’s next for the greedy R* North? A PC port, that makes sense because the big audience is there so is the big cash. Those of you who complain arguing that’s not fair because GTA got global recognition because of PS2 don’t get anything, just a middle finger from them. I guess Vita will never, ever get a GTA.

      • Mauricio Quintero

        I am not asking Rockstar north to do the game, just to Rockstar Leeds, I mean they did the awesome job with the PSP games.

  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    Come on, Vita Lovers it’s time to step up and make your opinion be heard! Open the link https://www.change.org/petitions/rockstar-games-port-grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-to-the-playstation-vita sign it and let R* Games know that only SCEA is dead, not Vita Gamers! WE NEED GTA on the Playstation Vita! It won’t take much of your time AND you can share it with your friends. DO IT!

  • Xaxal_Ravenguard

    Hopefully, it won’t be too long. Both Vita and Mobile Platforms run mostly on ARM basis and just a bit of nudging by Sony could help bring those games over.

    Heck, would be pretty interesting if Sony moneyhatted Rockstart to make GTA VI Vita exclusive.

  • Jesse Johnson

    When playstation now becomes a reality on the vita one could assume these games would be available?

  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    DS exclusive Chinatown edition, GTA San Andreas, GTA III Anniversary Edition and GTA Vice City for android, iOS and now windows phone. Do you feel like a PSVita release is coming up next? Sign this petition and let them know what you think: https://www.change.org/petitions/rockstar-games-port-grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-to-the-playstation-vita

  • Submissus

    At this point in time, I think the gaming audience has become too narrow minded – even if a GTA was released for the Vita, people would claim that it “isn’t a system seller”, and would avoid the game like the plague.

  • jon

    Only 39 sings more and the petition will be ready.It seems it works the fact of publishing this petition in other forum.Great!It’s nice to know people is interesting in a game like this.

  • Coffee

    Since I see no sign of a port for vita just buy a moga pro controller for your android device and play the trilogy that way, or get used to the touch controls like I did ( they aren’t that bad, just takes practice, I’m sure all of you struggled aiming a gun with Vita’s tiny analog sticks at first)