Yesterday, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition disappeared from sale on PC less than 24 hours after launch. At the same time, the Rockstar Games launcher also fell offline - the only place the PC version was available.
Now, the launcher is back, but the Definitive Edition remains unavaiable to buy or play while Rockstar "remove files unintentionally included in these versions."
It was tempting to wonder, when the remasters disappeared, whether it was due to them being a glitchy, ugly mess. That's not the reason Rockstar gave via Twitter:
The Rockstar Games Launcher is now online, but GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is unavailable to play or purchase as we remove files unintentionally included in these versions. We're sorry for the disruption and hope to have correct ones up soon. https://t.co/NiMNXUKCVh— Rockstar Support (@RockstarSupport) November 13, 2021
"The Rockstar Games Launcher is now online, but GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is unavailable to play or purchase as we remove files unintentionally included in these versions," says the message. "We're sorry for the disruption and hope to have correct ones up soon."
Shortly after release, a dataminer discovered that the PC release shipped with songs cut from the game due to licensing issues. The game does not play these songs, but they remain among the files. Another player also discovered uncompiled code in among the files, letting people see, for example, comments left by the original game's programmers.
This isn't the first time Rockstar have had problems with "cut content" being still present in shipped versions of Grand Theft Auto. In 2005, the Hot Coffee" mod for GTA: San Andreas re-enabled a sex minigame that had been cut but which was still present within the game's files, prompting enormous media controversy, its re-rating in the United States, and its removal from sale in some countries. It's worth noting that in this instance the Definitive Edition was not produced internally by Rockstar, but farmed out to Grove Street Studios.
I look forward to the games returning to the store so I can buy it and look at the crappy character models myself, but it feels particularly egregious that the game is also currently unavailable to play for those who already bought it. What a mess - and the complete opposite of what people expect from a supposed "Definitive Edition".