News: GTAIV: San Andreas Beta 3 is out now


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British broadcaster BBC has announced that it plans to create a 90-minute docudrama that follows the the creation and success of the Grand Theft Auto series - calling it "the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park." The docudrama is part of BBC's Make it Digital initiative to inspire a new generation of technology and development. Aside from the run-time and the fact it will air on BBC Two, no specific details have been released. Here is a snippet from the larger set of show announcements:

Grand Theft Auto (BBC Two)
This special 90-minute drama will tell the story of arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park - the triumph of the computer game Grand Theft Auto.

Unlike many coding success stories, Grant Theft Auto was not created in Silicon Valley - it was the brainchild of a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration - GTA:V - earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

GTA offered gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they could behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American gangland underworld.

But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding success led to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values it encourages; and above all from moral-campaigners, who have fought passionately to stop it.
Grand Theft Auto tells the story of how the game was conceived and created and the subsequent fallout as various groups objected to its violent gameplay.

It'll be interesting to see how much they cover as anyone who has read Jacked knows, there's quite a bit to tell. Hopefully, this won't end up like The Art and Science of Rockstar Games book collection. We'll keep you posted as soon as we hear more details.

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Some good news for those still enjoying GameSpy powered games, Rockstar has silently updated their support article with a new shutdown date of June 10th. It is unknown at this time if this date is for all GameSpy powered games or just ones from Rockstar, however as far as we can tell GS is still up for all games. Previously, the service was supposed to shutdown on May 31st.

We're assuming the delay is to give developers extra time to roll out any patches. Just yesterday four (non-Rockstar) games received updates to remove the service. Rockstar has yet to release any updates for the titles affected, as noted to be necessary by the support article.

As we noted in our previous article, yesterday was the last day for Microsoft to officially announce the discontinuation of Games for Windows Live if it is to (legally) make the shutdown date of July 1st. It's safe to say at this point it has been delayed, likely for similar reasons that caused the GS shutdown to be delayed  -- giving developers more time. Again, still no word from Rockstar on the situation.

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Just a reminder, GameSpy will be shutting down later today. This means that it is the last day to play Midnight Club LA for PS3, Midnight Club 3/DUB Edition and Midnight Club 2 online. The shutdown also spells the end for a plethora of Social Club features, cheats and mini-games for Beaterator, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Red Dead Redemption. All Social Club games before L.A. Noire will no longer have stat tracking and 100% completion lists. You can view a full list of games and services affected over at the Rockstar Support website.

It is unclear at what time today doomsday will hit. We suspect we won't know until everything goes dark.

EDIT: As of 6/1 at 7PM EST the service still seems to be online. We'll let you know when it goes down.

In more grim shutdown news, tomorrow is the last day Microsoft has to officially announce the shutdown of Games for Windows Live if they are to make the shutdown date of July 1st. They are legally required, as noted in the legal text of all GFWL games, to give 30 days notice before shutting down the service. They had previously noted in a support article for Age of Empires Online that the service would be shutting down on July 1st, 2014. They later retracted that statement, citing it was made in error. A few months later however, developers started to make a huge push to patch out the service. We and more prominent gaming publications have made repeated attempts to contact Rockstar regarding the issue as Grand Theft Auto IV/EFLC uses the service. In true Rockstar fashion, Rockstar hasn't replied to any attempts.

If we don't hear from Microsoft tomorrow, we can assume that the GFWL shutdown has been delayed.

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We've got some unfortunate news for those still playing past Rockstar titles. On May 31st GameSpy will be shutting down completely, taking with it the online services for a number of past Rockstar titles. We have a list at the end of the article detailing which games and services are getting the axe. Read on if you'd like a history of why this is happening.

Back in the late 90's, online gaming was starting to boom. The Quake community wated to create a community server browser so they could easily find matches to join. This led to the creation of GameSpy, one of the first companies to offer online and matchmaking middleware to video game developers. This made it easy for developers to include multiplayer in their titles without worring about having to manage their own infrastructure. In 2000 the company was purchased by IGN.  Fun fact, Rockstar actually experimented with GameSpy back in 2001 with Grand Theft Auto 3. GameSpy code, along with a number of references to multiplayer, can be found in the GTA3 code. Similarly, GameSpy code can be found in Vice City and San Andreas.

Back in 2008 when Rockstar launched Social Club, it made heavy use of GameSpy's services and at one point poritons of the website were even housed on GameSpy servers. At that time Sony didn't provide online services for developers to use other than online IDs, essentially leaving it up to developers to implement their own multiplayer/online services. Microsoft on the other hand provided a number of services such as matchmaking and leader-boards. This led to a number of developers, including Rockstar, to use GameSpy in their PlayStation 3 titles while using Xbox Live's services in titles for the Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto IV and Midnight Club LA were the first titles to use Social Club and include multiplayer. If you glance at the list of affected titles, you'll notice that the PS3 version of Midnight Club LA will be losing it's multiplayer ability while the 360 version retains it. Fortunately, it does seem Rockstar will be sparing multiplayer portions of the other two PlayStation 3 titles that use GameSpy - Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. This is likely due to some update to be released or Rockstar negotiating a deal with to take control of the servers.

So how did GameSpy go from powering over 1,000 games to shutting down? Back in 2010 IGN sold the technologies division of GameSpy to mobile developer Glu. Shortly thereafter, Glu started shutting down a number of games. Glu claimed that they had not received payment from the publishers to keep the servers online. Publishers fired back, accusing Glu of jacking up prices. After this point, GameSpy stopped accepting new titles and went silent. It was around this time Rockstar seems to have started a push to rid themselves of GameSpy's services. They started development of their own online services, apty named "Rockstar Online Services" or ROS for short. L.A. Noire was the first Rockstar title to include ROS in-place of GameSpy and Max Payne 3 was the first title to use ROS for multiplayer. (Update: We have discovered the PC version of Max Payne 3 does in-fact use GameSpy for multiplayer sessions while using ROS to handle the rest of the online features. Unfortunately there was some DRM packing on the executable that threw us off. That still doesn't properly explain why only the OSX version is affected as it literally uses the same files as the Windows version thanks to it using TransGaming's Cider. We suspect that Rockstar will be pushing some update to the Windows version of Max Payne 3 to replace GameSpy and TransGaming doesn't want to go through the trouble of repacking the game again on OSX. Again, just speculation but that's the best explanation we have based on the evidence.)

Earlier this month, Glu announced that it will be shutting down GameSpy for good on May 31st. Over its long history, GameSpy was behind a number of important titles such as Battlefield, Crysis, Halo, Call of Duty and Arma. For some of these titles, publishers have announced they will be patching affected games and in some cases even negotiating control of the GameSpy servers for these games. However for many more titles the end of GameSpy spells their doom.

The doom train doesn't stop here. While Grand Theft Auto IV/Episodes from Liberty City on PC may be safe from the GameSpy shutdown, Games for Windows Live will similarly be shut down come July 2014. A number of developers have already patched titles to replace G4WL with Steamworks or their own solutions. Last year, we ran an article about this issue and reached out to Rockstar with no response. A few game news websites also ran stories on the situation and reportedly contacted Rockstar about the issue with no response. As of this writing, there's no public indication of Rockstar working on a solution for this. There was a community developed project to implement third-party multiplayer in GTAIV called IV:Multiplayer, however, this modification seems to have died off a few years ago. Recently, modding superstar NTAuthority announced he was creating his own IV multiplayer titled CitizenIV but suspects its still a long ways off from being finished.

Here's the list of affected Rockstar games and what to expect come May 31st:

Grand Theft Auto V

  • No changes will be made

Max Payne 3

  • Online multiplayer gameplay: Removed for the Mac version only
  • Social Club website stat tracking and leaderboards: Unaffected
  • In-game multiplayer leaderboards: Unaffected

Red Dead Redemption / RDR Game of the Year Edition / RDR Undead Nightmare

  • Online multiplayer gameplay: Unaffected
  • Social Club website stat tracking and leaderboards: Removed
  • In-game Social Club services: Removed
  • In-game multiplayer leaderboards: Removed for PlayStation®3 version only

Grand Theft Auto IV / GTAIV Complete / GTA Episodes from Liberty City

  • Online multiplayer gameplay: Unaffected
  • Social Club website stat tracking and leaderboards: Removed
  • In-game multiplayer leaderboards: Removed for PlayStation®3 version only

Midnight Club Los Angeles / MCLA Complete Edition

  • Online multiplayer gameplay: Removed for the PlayStation®3 version only
  • All Social Club website features and account linking: Removed
  • In-game multiplayer leaderboards: Removed for PlayStation®3 version only
  • In-game Rate My Ride and Driving Test unlocks: Removed

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (Nintendo DS and PlayStation®Portable Only)

  • Social Club website minigames and features: Removed
  • In-game Social Club content unlocks: Removed
  • Social Club website stat tracking: Removed

Beaterator

  • All Social Club website features: Removed
  • In-game Track Upload/Download feature: Removed

Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition / MC3: Dub Edition Remix

  • Online multiplayer gameplay: Removed
  • In-game multiplayer leaderboards: Removed

The list doesn't include Midnight Club 2, which from what we can tell does use GameSpy for multiplayer. We're assuming multiplayer for it will be discontinued come May 31st.

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Over a decade ago, the concept of playing Grand Theft Auto on a mobile phone was unimaginable. Today, the advancement of technology has made taking GTA with you on the go possible regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. With the wait for GTA V just under two months away, Rockstar Games is offering a summer sale until Tuesday, July 30th on the App Store and Google Play for GTA III, GTA Vice City, GTA Chinatown Wars, and Max Payne. The GTA titles are priced at $2.99 each, and you can get Max Payne for $1.99.

With the northern half of the world now officially in the throes of "beach weather" and the wait for GTAV clocking in at just under two months, what better time to experience (or re-experience) some classic Rockstar action while you're sitting poolside with your iOS or Android device. With that in mind, from now until next Tuesday July 30th, you can grab the mobile versions of Vice City, GTAIIIChinatown Wars for the special price of just $2.99* each and get Max Payne for $1.99*.
 
Grand Theft Auto Vice City: 10th Anniversary Edition: iOS | Android
Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition: iOS | Android
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: iPhone/iPod touch | iPad
Max Payne: iOS | Android

Source: Rockstar Newswire

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A few years back, Rockstar Leeds made a huge push for hiring PC developers to bring a title to the platform. It was later revealed that L.A. Noire was that title. Since LAN for PC's release, all job openings at Leeds have specifically called for mobile developers, with no mention of PC. Fast forward to this week, Leeds is once again posting openings specifically for PC graphics developers to "help bring [Rockstar's] latest titles to the PC platform." Interestingly enough, the latest posting specifically mentions next-generation games.

Rockstar Leeds isn't the only studio with some interesting job developments. The folks over at Playstation Lifestyle came across a recent job opening at Rockstar Toronto that calls for developers working on a "large scale game". While not particularly revealing, it motivated PSL to do some more digging. They then came across an LinkedIn profile of a former developer who details a number of components he worked on, two of which deal with large populations and behaviors. The profile also specifically states that it is an "unannounced title", so it's likely not Agent or Grand Theft Auto V.

Could it be a Rockstar Toronto original game? If so, it would be the first original title the studio has worked on since The Warriors in 2004. Toronto did briefly work on a title "Mods vs. Rockers", however that was canceled before being announced. Since that time, the studio has been mainly working on ports, namely Manhunt 2 for the Wii and Grand Theft Auto IV for PC. An original title coming now would make sense as the studio recently merged with fellow Canadian studio Rockstar Vancouver (of Bully and Max Payne 3 fame) late last year and since then has expanded significantly. As for what the title could be, that is still up for question. However, Dan Houser went on record last year wanting to do a Bully sequel and explaining that the only thing holding it back was a "lack of development bandwidth."

Source: Rockstar Games | Playstation Lifestyle

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Hot off the heels of the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on PSN, Rockstar has released even more PlayStation 2 games from it's archives on the PlayStation Network. Bully, Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition and the classic Red Dead Revolver are now available for purchase on the PlayStation 3 for $9.99 a piece.

Rockstar has confirmed that Vice City will also be making the jump on PSN soon along with a "few other classics". The ESRB has been kind enough to shed some light on those "few other classics" by listing Midnight Club 1 and 2 along with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories as coming to the PlayStation 3. We think it's safe to assume that Liberty City Stories will be right behind them. Some have asked if The Warriors will see a PSN release, which is an interesting question as Rockstar would most likely need to clear it with Paramount first.

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Last night we posted an article about a leaked Rockstar Games Collection that was coming this November. Today Rockstar has formally announced the pack, confirming the game lineup and retail price of $59.99.

One thing to note that the leaker did get the date wrong, the pack is actually coming November 6th to North America and not the 15th. Also, Rockstar has confimed that the pack will only be available in North America for now and there are no plans for a European release.

In case you missed the lineup or the box art, head on over to our article from last night or hit the quote below for the formal press release.

Rockstar Games Announces Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1
 
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 11, 2012-- Rockstar Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), is proud to announce that the premium four-game Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1 box set will launch in North America on November 6, 2012 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft at a suggested retail price of $59.99. 
 
“The Rockstar Games Collection includes four amazing and wildly diverse experiences,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. “From the vast plains of the dying West to the chaos of Liberty City; and from a dark crime thriller to street racing in real-world Los Angeles, this collection contains some of our best work so far.”
 
The Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1 includes four of the most critically acclaimed titles ever made for the Xbox 360 and PS3™, representing four different aspects of the incredible storytelling, immersive experiences and addictive gameplay for which Rockstar Games is renowned:
 
Red Dead Redemption® – Winner of over 170 Game of the Year awards, Red Dead Redemption brings the dying West to life with a vibrant open-world, powerful story, and intense single- and multiplayer action.
Grand Theft Auto®: Episodes from Liberty City – The explosive conclusion to the highest-rated game of all time*, Grand Theft Auto IV, featuring two complete games on one disc: The Lost and Damned & The Ballad of Gay Tony.
L.A. Noire® – The revolutionary crime thriller featuring MotionScan, a breakthrough technology that captures every nuance of a real actor’s facial performance, providing a level of realism, detail and emotion never before seen in a video game. Featuring brand new gameplay and a dark, hard-boiled detective story, L.A. Noire became the first ever video game to be recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival.
Midnight Club®: Los Angeles Complete Edition – One of the highest-reviewed racing titles of this generation, featuring deeply customizable real world cars, non-stop open world street racing and intense multiplayer action. The Complete Edition also includes every downloadable real world vehicle and city section released since launch.
All four games will be available together in time for the holidays as the Rockstar Games Collection at a suggested retail price of $59.99.
 
The Rockstar Games Collection contains games rated Teen to Mature by the ESRB and will be available at retail stores in North America beginning November 6, 2012.
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