GTA Trilogy The Definitive Edition: All Major Changes and Differences

The remastered GTA Trilogy is bringing a number of welcome improvements.

by Smangaliso Simelane


Rockstar, to the surprise of many, is remastering the GTA Trilogy, and adding a host of changes and differences that may inspire you to revisit these old classics. Although the GTA Trilogy is relatively dated at this point, the games remain relevant due to the historic impact they had on gaming. Whether it is GTA III’s popularization of the open-world genre or GTA: San Andreas’ presentation of a narrative that proved that video games can tell stories as compelling as film, everyone has their favorite entry in the GTA Trilogy. The remastered rerelease of the trilogy arrives on the 11th of November 2021, and each of the titles has been polished to ensure they fit into the modern gaming landscape while still maintaining their original essence.

All The Changes and Differences in GTA Trilogy Remastered

While the upcoming remaster will retain all the action-packed fun of the original GTA Trilogy, there are several changes and differences that are sure to make the games much more playable for modern gamers. This is far more than a minor touch-up, and Unreal Engine has been used to develop these remasters. The main upgrades that the GTA Trilogy will benefit from include graphical improvements such as resolution upgrades and improved visual fidelity. Some of these visual upgrades are on show in the trailer where Claude from GTA III finally has detached fingers instead of a Lego-like claw.

The improvements do not stop there, however. You can also expect a rebuilt lighting system, upgraded vehicle and character models, improved shadows, weather, and reflections, and higher resolutions used for environmental objects such as buildings, roads, and more. Smoother surfaces and greater draw distance also assist in making these games look far more modern than they really are.

The games will also feature modern, GTA V style control schemes. Hence, you will not have to learn any archaic controller layouts to jump into these titles. For Nintendo Switch players, platform-specific controls will be available including gyro aiming as well as touchscreen camera zooms, menu selection, and panning.

If you are playing on PC, you will have the benefit of NVIDIA DLSS support and new Accomplishments via the Rockstar Games Social Club. Regardless of which title you jump into first, they each have something unique and extraordinary to offer. Here is what is available in the GTA Trilogy.


Although it is not the first title in the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA III certainly marks many firsts. While its predecessors were also open-world games that let you unleash criminal amounts of chaos on an unsuspecting city, GTA III was the first to do this using a 3D perspective that was mind-blowingly advanced for its time.


The game centers on a mute protagonist named Claude who is on a quest for revenge that leads him deep into a crime world filled with unforgettable characters. Although Claude is not a man of many words, he is not afraid to pull the trigger of any gun he acquires, and he is a demon on the streets whether his car is purchased or stolen.

All the elements that have come to characterize Grand Theft Auto can be found here, including fast cars, eccentric crimelords, immersive radio stations, and aggressive law enforcement. For anyone who wants to see where it all began, GTA III is not to be missed.

GTA: Vice City

Originally released in 2002, GTA: Vice City is a game that wears its many influences on its sleeves. From the neon pink lights that illuminate the streets to the Hawaiian shirts that pepper sidewalks, it is not hard to tell that this is a game born out of a deep adoration of 80s Miami along with the accompanying crime and mob movies that depict that era.


Unlike GTA III, GTA: Vice City features a protagonist that has plenty to say. Tommy Vercetti, fresh out of prison, wants to be king of the city and get even with his enemies. To do that, he is going to have to navigate Vice City’s seedy underworld, carefully establish his empire, and ensure there are not any snakes in his inner circle who could betray him.

Featuring an expertly curated 80s soundtrack and impeccable dialogue, GTA: Vice City never fails to make you feel like you have been plopped onto the set of Scarface or into an episode of Miami Vice. While, in many departments, it would be overshadowed by its successor, GTA: Vice City packs enough of an attitude to avoid fading into obscurity.

GTA: San Andreas

The most beloved and most revered entry in the GTA Trilogy is, arguably, GTA: San Andreas. It holds the prestigious record of being the bestselling PS2 game of all time, and it holds a special place not just in gaming but in pop culture as a whole. GTA: San Andreas takes everything from previous titles and somehow makes it bigger and better. The result is an unforgettable game that still enchants imaginations and demands replays to this day.


Released in 2004, GTA: San Andreas tells the story of Carl Johnson, better known as CJ. He returns to his childhood neighborhood to find his gang in tatters. As he works to restore the honor of the Grove Street Families, CJ soon finds himself embroiled in gang wars, police corruption, and sabotage schemes. Although the plot is not afraid to take crazy turns, it somehow manages to tell a compelling rags-to-riches story while making some of the most unexpected characters sympathetic.

The remastered GTA Trilogy, along with all the changes and differences it will bring, is sure to make GTA: San Andreas worth revisiting. Returning to Grove Street with improved visuals, character models, and modern controls should only serve to enhance an already legendary story.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition launches digitally on the 11th of November. It will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. A physical version of the bundle will release for the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 on the 7th of December. There has been no word on if or when a physical PS5 version will be released in the future.

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