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‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ Returning to Steam Soon

  • GTA IV pulled from Steam in mid-January 2020.
  • Latest casualty from the fallout of Games For Windows Live.
  • Rockstar has released an update which can be found in full here.

 

Last month there was a surprising absence from Steam as without warning, Grand Theft Auto IV was suddenly pulled from sale. Despite Games For Windows Live being gone for quite some time, it was only recently that GTA IV fell victim to the fallout of its absence. Rockstar Games said they would share more information as soon as they could after looking at other options of digital distribution and then they went silent.

That all changed with a sudden update on the Steam page for GTA IV which reads as follows:

IMPORTANT UPDATES TO GRAND THEFT AUTO IV AND EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY

We are making a number of changes to make sure players who own Grand Theft Auto IV and GTA: Episodes from Liberty City can continue to enjoy these games.

New Players

Starting 03/19/2020, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will replace both Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City wherever it is currently digitally available. Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will as also be available via the Rockstar Games Launcher.

Current game save files will be compatible with Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition.

As a result of this update the following services will no longer be available in Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition:

  • Games for Windows Live
  • Multiplayer mode
  • Leaderboards

The following Radio Stations will be temporarily unavailable in Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

  • RamJam FM, Self-Actualization FM, and Vice City FM (previously available in Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City)

Note: Because Japanese is a supported language for Grand Theft Auto IV, but is not supported for Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, players will continue to be able to play Grand Theft Auto IV with Japanese sub-titles but will need to select another language in order to play Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.

Current Players

Players who have previously installed and played Grand Theft Auto IV or Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City will be able to update their copy to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition through the following means:

Steam Users

Depending on the game, players on Steam will need to install or update their current game:

  • Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City will be removed and replaced with GTAIV: Complete Edition in the launcher library. Update file size is expected to be approximately 22GB
  • Grand Theft Auto IV owners will download content from Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City and their game will update to GTAIV: Complete Edition. Update file size is expected to be approximately 6GB 

Physical Media

  • Games not previously activated using Games for Windows Live will be able to use the Key on the back of the game manual to activate and update to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

Games for Windows Live Digital Store Purchases

  • Games previously activated using Games for Windows Live will require players to create and/or link their Social Club accounts in replacement of Games for Windows Live to update to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

Note: New activations from players trying to install current copies of Grand Theft Auto IV may be disrupted until Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition is available. All users will need to be connected to the internet and authenticate their copy of the game.

Usually for an announcement this big I just point out the important excerpts, but in the case of this the entire thing is important. Despite all players being upgraded to the Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition, you’ll note several features missing at relisting or removed entirely. It just doesn’t seem all that complete to me when everything from music to multiplayer is now gone.

On the plus side, if you didn’t already own Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City which included the full-length expansions The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony which was the only time we saw Rockstar Games dive into one of their worlds to present the same environment and some of the story beats from three different perspectives. Overall it’s a good thing to see Grand Theft Auto IV coming back to Steam, it’s just a shame to see some content missing. But they’ll win me over if they’ve also taken the time to hopefully, not accidentally rebreak the game that already took a long time to fix on its first Steam outing.

I’m actually incredibly surprised by this move overall, I was becoming pretty certain that they were just going to take Grand Theft Auto IV exclusively to the Rockstar Game Launcher that Rockstar Games has been pushing since its inception late last year. Rockstar isn’t being nearly as aggressive with their launcher as many first worried they would, myself included. Other than having to wait on Red Dead Redemption 2 to come to Steam until December, they haven’t really done anything too out-there with it. Lack of faith or lack of focus, Rockstar clearly doesn’t intend to leave other digital distribution platforms any time soon.