Since it came out in 2004, GTA San Andreas has been a game that has seemingly risen in popularity with each passing year. The title seems to attract newer audiences by the droves with every new viral meme template, mod, or viral content on streams and YouTube.
It is safe to say that GTA San Andreas ranks amongst the most popular games of all-time, and no better evidence exists to support that claim than its PS2 sales. GTA San Andreas remains, to this date, the best-selling game on this console.
This is saying something for a console that had games like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Shadow of Colossus, Final Fantasy X, and Resident Evil 4. Hence, it only makes sense for Rockstar Games to capitalize on this seemingly endless hype with a Remaster?
GTA San Andreas and a Definitive Edition remaster in 2021: How much sense does it make?
A Remaster differs from a Remake in that the latter implies that the game has been worked on from the ground up. Examples of remakes include the recent Mafia: The Definitive Edition and the Resident Evil remakes of the original trilogy.
A Remake is usually reserved for older titles from back in the day that have outdated technology and can do with a fresh remake. By comparison, GTA San Andreas is a relatively newer game to experience than titles that have been remade, such as Resident Evil from 1996.
However, other factors come into play when deciding whether GTA San Andreas truly needs a remaster and not whether it deserves one. On the question of whether it deserves a remaster, the answer is a pretty straightforward "yes."
However, on the question of whether GTA San Andreas needs a Remaster? The answer is a lot more complicated and is dependent on other factors, such as:
#1 - Age
GTA San Andreas, in 2021, is approximately a little close to seven years old and is not exactly considered archaic. The technology, animations, visuals, and controls, although dated, have aged relatively well compared to games from that generation.
The clunkiness of controls, the muddy visuals, and textures almost sort of add to GTA San Andreas' charm rather than take away from it or get in the way. Hence, when playing the game even today, the game can feel every bit as fun as it did back in 2004.
This is not the case for many games from that era. On top of that, through extremely well-crafted mods, fans have been able to add a tonne of visual flair to GTA San Andreas and keep it looking every bit as modern as it possibly can.
#2 - Logistics of game development
As it stands, Rockstar's primary efforts currently seem to be on bringing GTA 5 to next-gen consoles alongside providing support to GTA and Red Dead Online with quality content.
Thus, introducing a project the scale and size of remastering quite a big is added pressure on the development teams and an unnecessary burden to pick up. While Rockstar has a tonne of studios under its umbrella, diverting their focus away from their primary money-makers seems to be a less-than-smart option.
Instead, their efforts would be much better justified in supporting their Online multiplayer games with quite a large player base.
All in all, GTA San Andreas, despite its age, is still a fun game to play, and as long as that statement holds true, the game doesn't need a Remaster. A giant leap in technology, however, could justify the need for a complete revamp.
Perhaps if Rockstar decides to give San Andreas the VR treatment like it did with LA Noire, the choice seems more viable. A VR game where players can explore Los Santos' streets does sound like an infinitely more enjoyable and appealing prospect than slightly better-looking textures in a 2004 game.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal opinions.