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Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition Release Date, Platforms, And Gameplay - What We Know So Far

The worst-kept secret in secret in gaming is officially out, and Rockstar has formally announced that three classic "Grand Theft Auto" games are being re-released in the "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition."

As confirmed on the Rockstar Newswire, the collection will include remastered editions of "Grand Theft Auto 3," "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," and "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." Those three games, all released between 2001 and 2004, helped transform the "Grand Theft Auto" series from a little-known top-down shooter into the open-world cultural phenomenon that the franchise is today. Rockstar Newswire noted that the announcement of the remaster comes just a few weeks before the 20 year anniversary of the release of "Grand Theft Auto 3," October 22, 2001.

While the announcement was anything but a shock, considering that Rockstar essentially confirmed what fans had long suspected when three updated logos appeared in the Grand Theft Auto Launcher, the reveal did communicate some vital information. Here is everything fans need to know about the release date, platforms, and gameplay of the "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition."

When is the release date for Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition?

While the announcement of the "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition" finally gave fans answers to many of the questions that had been lingering regarding the long-rumored remaster, there were still some important details omitted, in true Rockstar fashion. Namely, the developers have yet to reveal the actual release date for the upcoming trilogy, though they did give fans some clues.

In the Rockstar Newswire announcement, the studio said all three titles would arrive "later this year" but did not list a date that fans could expect to start enjoying the remasters. However, considering that Rockstar mentioned the upcoming 20 year anniversary of "Grand Theft Auto 3," which occurs on October 22, but did not tie a release to that date, fans can likely expect the games to arrive either in November or December.

There are two other factors to take into account for the upcoming trilogy. First off, Rockstar did note in their announcement that a mobile version of the remasters would be arriving for iOS and Android in the first half of 2022, so Rockstar is at least prepared for an extended release window for those versions. Second, the next-gen upgrade for "Grand Theft Auto 5" has been delayed into 2022, so it will be interesting to see if that affects the planned PlayStation 5 and Series X|S versions of the remaster. However, the announcement did not indicate it would.

What platforms will the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition be available on?

One of the best parts of the "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition" reveal was that the remastered titles will be coming to more platforms than ever before. When the upcoming trilogy is released, gamers will be able to experience all three games on every major platform, including one that has never seen a significant "Grand Theft Auto" release – the Nintendo Switch.

The only game in the franchise that has seen a release on a Nintendo console was "Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars," a portable game playable on the Nintendo DS. Making these games available on the Nintendo Switch could bring the classic "Grand Theft Auto" titles to a whole new audience, just as the improved graphics and gameplay promises to make the games more accessible to gamers who have never played them.

The complete list of platforms that the upcoming trilogy will be available on also includes Xbox One, Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and the PC. It should be noted, however, that the current versions of "Grand Theft Auto," "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" will be delisted as soon as next week, so anyone who wants to play the classic version of those titles should do so now.

What is the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition?

In the reveal for "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition," Rockstar didn't mention specific improvements or share any screenshots from the new remasters but did give some broad outlines for what fans could expect. The Rockstar Newswire wrote that the upcoming trilogy would include "across-the-board upgrades including graphical improvements and modern gameplay enhancements for all three titles" while preserving the feel of the classic games.

While those improvements are expected from most remasters, there is one clue about the new visuals. When fans shared images of the new logos found in the Grand Theft Auto Launcher on Twitter, they noted they were associated with filenames such as "icon_gtasaunreal" and "icon_gta3unreal," indicating the games were rebuilt using the Unreal engine. That software is far more powerful than the PlayStation 2 technology that the games were initially designed for, so fans can likely expect significant graphical improvements.

Hopefully, the boosted visuals and streamlined gameplay will be enough to encourage fans of modern "Grand Theft Auto" games to give these classic titles a spin. While all three games share the same open-world gameplay structures, each has a unique setting and theme that helps them stand out. "Grand Theft Auto 3" takes place in Liberty City and follows a largely silent hero on his ascent to power through organized crime. "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" occurred in a neon 1980s setting, while "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" is set in the 1990s and introduced some light character-building elements.