Soapbox: Hey Rockstar, How About Some Truly Old-School GTA Remasters

Last week's GTA V: Expanded and Enhanced trailer might have gone down like a dog's dinner at the most recent PlayStation Showcase, but one of the really exciting bits of GTA news we're still waiting for is the Remastered Trilogy, which is reportedly set to include improved versions of GTA 3, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.

It hasn't officially been announced yet, but it seems very likely it's the real deal, and we can't wait to get our hands on those classics when they eventually return to Xbox for the first time in many years. But personally, I'd also really like to see Rockstar dip into their archive and bring back some truly old-school GTA classics as well.

Of course, I'm talking about the series' origins in GTA 1, GTA: London 1969 and GTA 2. For the uninitiated, those games were released back in the late 90s, and took a totally different approach to the modern-day 3D Grand Theft Auto titles, adopting a top-down visual style and serving as the foundation for what the franchise would become. Anyone who was part of the gaming scene during that time period will almost certainly have played them at some point.

Amazingly, despite how historic those games truly are, we've never seen any rendition of them on an Xbox console in the past 20 years. GTA 2 did make its way to the Dreamcast (alongside the PS1) back in 2000, but by the time the Xbox came around in November 2001, the old top-down style was already being forgotten about in favour of GTA 3's revolutionary new 3D engine (even so, Grand Theft Auto 3 wouldn't arrive on Xbox until May of 2002).

And there are good reasons why I want to see those games on Xbox again. For one thing, I'm nostalgic for them. The early GTA days were tons of fun, and I have a particular fondness for GTA: London 1969, which remains the only entry in the series to have ever graced the country I live in, doing a fantastic (and hilarious) job of it. More importantly though, none of them have ever been treated to an HD touch-up, which seems crazy to me.

You can still play those games on PC and retro consoles today, but admittedly they feel dated. The controls in particular could really do with some modern tinkering, while improved visuals along with support for widescreen displays would really make a big difference. I'm not talking about a radical overhaul, just an update worthy of 2021's standards.

You could argue whether there's any point. I can understand the lack of interest in a top-down version of GTA in today's world, but then again, 2009's GTA: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS (and later PSP, Android and iOS) is still considered one of the greatest games to ever have graced those platforms, and it too adopted a top-down perspective.

You know what? Why not remaster Chinatown Wars too while we're at it, and maybe even throw Digital Eclipse's Grand Theft Auto Advance in there. Let's have a retro GTA collection, complete with behind-the-scenes footage of the making of these games, the original trailers for them and maybe even the addition of online play where possible. It's a pipe dream, sure, but I would be knocking down the door to give Take-Two my money if it were ever to happen.

Being realistic, I can't see this happening anytime soon, and the fact that the GTA Trilogy is reportedly getting a remaster is more than I would have expected anyway. Then again, if the collection does sell well and Take-Two sees an opportunity to make more money, I highly recommend they dip even further into Rockstar's back catalogue.

Would you like to see some old-school GTA titles remastered for Xbox? Let us know in the comments below.