Rockstar Games (2021-present)

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Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games Logo.svg
"Once a busta, you always a busta."
— Ryder, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Type: Subsidiary
Predecessor: BMG Interactive
Founded: December, 1998
Founder: Sam Houser
Terry Donovan
Jamie King
Headquarters: New York City, United States
Key people: Sam Houser (President)
Parent: Take-Two Interactive
Rockstar Dundee
Rockstar India
Rockstar International
Rockstar Leeds
Rockstar Lincoln
Rockstar London
Rockstar New England
Rockstar North
Rockstar San Diego
Rockstar Toronto

Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City, United States. The company was established in December 1998 as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, using the assets Take-Two had previously acquired from Bertelsmann's BMG Interactive. They're best known for publishing the Grand Theft Auto, Midnight Club, Red Dead and Max Payne franchises. While they used to be a good company in the 2000s and 2010s, they went severely downhill in 2021 as they released the awful GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition remaster and several other bad decisions.

Why They've Now Wasted Their Consumers' Trust

NOTE: Many of these reasons and actions can be attributed to excessive executive meddling by Take-Two.

  1. Just like other greedy companies (such as EA, Konami, etc.), they went extremely greedy, although not as much.
  2. Nowadays, they only care about and milk the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead Redemption series to death and ignore their other franchises like the Manhunt, Midnight Club, Smuggler's Run and Bully franchises. They even canceled Bully 2 because of this.
  3. The infamous "Shark Cards" in GTA Online which you have to pay to gain money easily. Grinding in GTA Online is an extremely sluggish process, even completing the biggest heist available, the Diamond Casino heist, will only yield you around 1 million dollars, and some of the best vehicles and assets in the game cost around 3 million, which makes Shark Cards almost mandatory.
    • This has been partially remedied with the Cayo Perico heist, though even that doesn't help when it comes to dealing with inhumanly accurate enemies, and their pistols doing more damage to you than any other weapons. Worse, you can't carry more loot unless more players are available to collect it as well.
    • Rockstar launched their premium subscription service for GTA Online, called "GTA+", with exclusive perks and Shark Card offers for GTA+ players.
  4. They don't treat their voice actors very well. For example, after Michael Hollick (voice and physical actor of Niko Bellic) argued with Rockstar over him not being paid enough after his work for Grand Theft Auto IV; he received $100,000 in total for his work while the game grossed $600 million in total. As a result, Hollick refused to do voice acting again in Episodes from Liberty City.
  5. They treat their older games very poorly:
    • Their PC ports for their older games are poorly optimized or programmed for example: while GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas run somewhat fine at 30FPS (25FPS without mods), they can be glitchy if you uncap the framerate without using mods, the built-in Widescreen options are also poorly implemented and have lots of issues such as misaligned crosshairs, and running on newer versions of Windows (after XP) causing the mouse to not work properly unless pause and unpausing multiple times or using mods to fix the issues. Manhunt and Max Payne also suffer from not being able to run properly on modern systems. GTA IV runs poorly even on powerful GPUs without any tweaks and mods, as well as lacking anti-aliasing support. In Bully, at times the textures won't even load and crash on modern PCs, luckily all of these problems can be fixed using mods.
      • Even their recent game, Red Dead Redemption 2 suffers from stuttering, texture pop and frequent crashes. To make matters worse, Rockstar didn’t even bother fixing these issues (though RDR2 was eventually updated after all to fix these issues and now the port is improved).
    • Neither of the games ever got a new game in the series, such as:
      • Max Payne (although this might be justified as the third game is supposed to be the final chapter of the series)
      • Bully (since its sequel was canceled)
      • Manhunt (possibly due to concerns of new controversies since the console/handheld versions of Manhunt 2 nearly got banned/canceled over an initial Adults Only rating)
      • LA Noire (although this might be justified because of the ending)
      • Midnight Club (the most infamous example).
    • The Steam version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is outright broken and unplayable on Steam unless the SA Downgrader mod is used.
    • Either one of the games doesn't get a remaster or others do get a remaster, but it's very lazy and awful. The most infamous examples are Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (except the mobile version), mobile port (depending on which phone you use) and the PS3 and Xbox 360 ports of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
    • They refuse to fix certain bugs or patch certain discontinued unlockables, such as the Goal Attacks no longer registering or the Audi R8 4.2 FSI Quattro (Type 42)'s availability in Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Furthermore, they didn't bother patching the Xbox One/Xbox Series X/S versions to include these fixes.
    • Since September 1, 2023, it was revealed that Rockstar released their three older games: Manhunt, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and Midnight Club 2 on Steam with piracy measures that were supposed to be triggered for people who got the Razor1911 versions.
  6. Since August 17, 2023, they have re-released Red Dead Redemption on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and it's very infamous for having little to no improvements at $50 and not getting a PC port, which forces PC owners to emulate the game. It doesn't help that emulating it is a chore.
  7. Crunch culture is running rampant. Sam Houser himself is a workaholic and expects his employees to do the same. During Red Dead Redemption 2's development, they forced their employees to work 100 hours per week.
  8. Similarly to Bethesda constantly re-releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, they have re-released Grand Theft Auto V too many times. Considering that the game was released in 2013 and is available for three different console generations, this can be seen as them trying to milk the game as much as they can before they release a new Grand Theft Auto game.
    • Their obsession with GTA Online since 2016 got so bad that they had to confirm that GTA VI would have single-player in an interview, except shorter.
    • On the subject of Grand Theft Auto, they haven't released the last game in the 3D Universe (or III) era, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for mobile devices, despite all the previous 3D era games and even Chinatown Wars being released on mobile.
  9. Speaking of mobile, Rockstar always outsources the porting job to the infamous Grove Street Games, previously known as War Drum Studios LLC (excluding Liberty City Stories which was ported by Lucid Games). Said ports (excluding GTA III and Vice City) always end up being unplayable due to frequent crashing and having tons of bugs and glitches. Ironically, Rockstar had decided to hire them again to remaster the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy (despite them ruining the mobile) and the Xbox 360/PS3 ports of San Andreas. It seems like they haven't learned anything and this could have been solved if it was outsourced to better porting companies such as Aspyr Media, Nightdive Studios, Panic Button, and Bluepoint Games.
  10. They have been releasing all the Saints Row-esque stuff to GTA Online such as jet bikes and flying DeLorean DMC 12s. Thinking about this through, they ended up (unironically) ripping off several gameplay mechanics, from an ex-GTA clone, who used to try to rip off the original pre–2008 GTA games.
  11. Despite that, they still have fanboys and white knights who always defend them and the abysmal features they add in GTA Online.
    • They are also toxic towards companies who make games like GTA, and even bash them out for making the game. While most clones are good enough depending on their content, these fans completely ignore that and insult the said clones.
  12. People have been kicked out of the GTA Online lobbies for no reason. It's rather easy to tell how bad the admins are.
  13. Rockstar hasn't made any changes to the chaotic PC port of GTA Online to alleviate hackers and modders plagued into the official servers.
  14. They included the Rockstar Social Club Launcher (now known as Rockstar Games Launcher, or RGL for short) on PC to their games, which uses an online authentication process similar to the infamous SecuROM DRM. No internet connection means the game will give you an activation error message and you won't be able to play their games on PC, further hampered by their pathetic launcher.
  15. They released the same game (yep, you guessed it, Grand Theft Auto V again) when they first revealed their trailer for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X, calling it "Expanded & Enhanced". Both the PlayStation trailer and Rockstar Games trailer have way more dislikes than likes, which shows how completely out of touch they've become. Take-Two Interactive may be bad, but now Rockstar Games have shown how little they truly care about their community and fans, if at all. Heck, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk mocked them for that on Twitter!
    • Furthermore, they decided to charge extra for the 9th gen versions of GTA V as if it was a separate game, instead of making it a free upgrade for existing owners of the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
    • Plus, this version of the game is almost the same as the enhanced edition, which makes it more worthless compared to said version which was a massive upgrade from the PS3/X360 version.
    • They didn't even bother to patch these little improvements this Expanded & Enhanced edition has on PC.
  16. Their customer support is utterly useless. You can't file a ticket at all since there's no option to do so (and when there is, they often use their bots to make automated responses for them), and their phone number is worthless. And when you do get their email address, responses are almost always met with silence. Worse, their Twitter account is next to useless because no matter how damning the evidence you provide to them, they will basically never respond whatsoever and will outright ignore them, or they'll use their generic responses with equally-generic solutions that never work, further evidencing their lack of care towards their fans.
    • What's more, they rarely handle any form of criticism nowadays, regardless if it's constructive or not.
  17. Despite claiming that they have no interest in appealing to the far-left audiences and complaining about how political agenda and cancel culture make it harder to develop satirical games without offending people, they contradicted that statement by changing Phil Cassidy's shirt design in GTA Vice City from a confederate flag (which is commonly associated with racism and slavery during the Civil War) to a skull in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, making them look like hypocrites. However, in GTA V, there are still some Confederate flags, which might be removed in future versions due to them succumbing to left-wing politics. The Confederate flag image was also censored in The Definitive Edition remaster of San Andreas in the Home Invasion mission where it's replaced with the American flag.
    • There were rumors that they're going to cut the controversial content from the original trilogy, which, the confederate flag aside, turned out to be false. Sure, the Confederate flag is a symbol of the horrible villains of the Civil War, but keep in mind that GTA is a satire of the real world, and there are still many Confederate supporters in the real world.
    • After a Polygon article claimed that a transgendered NPC in Grand Theft Auto V was a "transphobic" representation, Rockstar responded by removing the trans-NPC (as well as other transphobic content) from the Expanded & Enhanced release of GTA V which goes against the satirical tone of the game.
    • Because of this, fans fear that Grand Theft Auto IV and its episodes (which have tons of LGBT satire, especially The Ballad of Gay Tony) will be fully changed.
  18. They have announced that Grand Theft Auto VI will tone down the satirical elements. That isn't to say that a GTA game can't be done without satire, but the problem is that satire is one of the things that gave the GTA franchise its own identity in addition to its well-written plots and engaging gameplay.
  19. Most features that they announced in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition can be easily added using mods.
    • To make matters worse, the original Trilogy is delisted on Steam, the PS Store, and the Xbox Store meaning that players who don't like the Definitive Edition or because of their legacy mods (which require the original Trilogy) are incompatible with the Definitive Edition, or because their PC can't run the new Definitive Edition, they would either have to buy an old console (PS2, original Xbox, etc...) and a copy of the Trilogy for these consoles or pirating, or find rare legal PC copies of the original Trilogy instead on their PC.
    • And even worse, the Trilogy on mobile is now delisted on Google Play in some Eastern European countries, while Vice City is delisted in the UK.
    • Speaking of the Definitive Edition, its release was a launch disaster, with players complaining about obvious bugs and terrible graphics.
    • A day after the game launched, the Rockstar Games Launcher servers went down, making the PC version unplayable. When the launcher came back online, PC players found out that Rockstar decided to temporarily delist the Definitive Edition due to numerous bugs and containing "unintentionally included" files, but in doing so, they also revoked ownership of the compilation from those that purchased it without offering a refund, which is illegal in certain countries.
  20. This era overall ruined the reputation of Rockstar Games, although this can be mostly blamed on Take-Two Interactive.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2 still was a success, despite the crunch.
    • But of course, much like Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games deliberately abandoned Red Dead Redemption 2 by making all content to be exclusive for Red Dead Online. To further add insult to injury, Rockstar Games deliberately (and ironically) abandoned Red Dead Online in favor of GTA Online, even though the former, and the base game, is still quite young.
  2. Unlike their sister company, 2K, they didn't focus on loot boxes. However, it still doesn't excuse them from forcefully shoving in Shark Cards and deliberately making vehicles in GTA Online be horrendously expensive.
  3. After Take-Two Interactive attempted to discontinue OpenIV, heavy fan backlash occurred and Rockstar re-released it along with an apology (though of course, this is Rockstar Games being pragmatic about it and not because they care about OpenIV).
  4. They have taken a lawsuit against the Luna mod menu.
  5. They used to be a good company back then.
    • And just like modern Ubisoft compared to the other greedy companies, they're still more tolerable.
  6. Despite their parent company (Take-Two) supporting NFTs, Rockstar, on the other hand, mocked NFTs in GTA Online's Contract DLC, where Lamar Davis called them "non-f_ckable tokens", proving that they are indeed against NFTs.
  7. After long years of waiting, they announced and confirmed the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto VI.



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