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Opinion: Why publishers need to follow Grand Theft Auto 5's re-release example

Rockstar has been putting some serious effort into the upcoming re-release of Grand Theft Auto 5 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as the company is certainly doing their best to get customers who purchased the last-gen version to pony up $60 bucks again for the new-gen and PC versions. This past October, Rockstar detailed what exclusive content those returning to Grand Theft Auto 5 could expect, said the PC version will be capable of offering 4K visuals, as well as announcing a first-person mode, which just so happens to be a first for the series. Considering all Rockstar is putting into Grand Theft Auto 5’s re-release, this had me wondering if the company just upped the game for other developers for their re-releases as well.

A publisher releasing a shiny, new version of a previously released piece of software is nothing new. The games industry has been rehashing previously released games onto newer video game consoles or PC for decades now, allowing fans of the original to enjoy that very game on their new toy. We’ve seen it happen with classic arcade titles, like Frogger or Tetris, for decades, and just recently, AAA games like Square Enix’s Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs have been re-released onto new-gen consoles and PC.

One thing that has rarely happened is seeing a publisher like Rockstar deliver the kind of re-release that makes fans of Grand Theft Auto actually want to play GTA 5 all over again. Most publishers throw in some enhanced graphics along with all of the previously released downloadable content for their game and call it a day by branding it a “complete edition”, which in all fairness allows them to re-release their game much faster than the year it’s taking Rockstar to release the new-gen and PC versions of GTA 5. But if more publishers treated their re-releases similar to how Rockstar is treating theirs, not only will those who are experiencing the game for the first time be able to enjoy it within a nice, neat package, but fans of the original release will actually want to purchase the new version in order to experience something as cool as GTA 5’s first-person mode or some kind of exclusive content for returning players.

One publisher that is doing this very thing is Microsoft with their upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection which brings Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 together in one title. Players will be able to enjoy any and every mission from any of these included Halo titles, as well as 100 multiplayer maps, co-op play, Spartan Ops missions, and experience the collection in new ways with the addition of playlists. If I’m going to spend money on a compilation or a re-release, I want it to be with this kind of effort as my gaming time can be limited most days, so playing through games that I already completed just doesn’t sit well since I could just play a brand-new title instead. But with The Master Chief Collection, I’m getting an experience that pales in comparison to most re-releases, although to be fair, there aren’t a lot of compilations like it that have as much content thrown into it.

If I learned anything from publishers like Microsoft and Rockstar, it’s that we should be demanding more from publishers if they plan on re-releasing previously released games onto newer game systems. I know updating graphics and making the game work on a newer console may already be quite the daunting task, but the extra effort will definitely go a long way to get me to play your game all over again. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing when Grand Theft Auto 5 is released again.

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