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Game

UK police arrest alleged ‘GTA VI’ hacker

Police in the UK have arrested a 17-year-old suspected hacker. the arrest is connected to the Rockstar Games hack that led to a . The individual may have been involved with an intrusion on as well.

According to journalist Matthew Keys’ sources, the arrest is the result of an investigation involving the City of London Police, the UK’s National Cyber Crime Unit and the FBI. that the police and/or the FBI will reveal more details about the arrest later today. The City of London Police told Engadget it had “no further information to share at this stage.”

The GTA VI leak is unquestionably one of the biggest in video game history. Last weekend, the hacker shared a trove of footage from a test build of the game, which is one of the most hotly anticipated titles around. Rockstar, which tends to keep a tight lid on its development process, that the leak was legitimate. It said the incident won’t impact work on the game and that it will “properly introduce” fans to the next title in the blockbuster series once it’s ready.

Uber was also subject to a this month. The company that the hacker in question didn’t access user accounts but, as of Monday, it was still trying to determine the impact of the intrusion. Uber also noted reports suggesting that the same person or group might have been responsible for the Rockstar hack. In addition, it said the perpetrator may be connected to the Lapsus$ hacking group.

The 17-year-old was arrested in Oxfordshire, where one of the leaders of Lapsus$ is said to live. In March, reported that a 16-year-old from Oxford (who may have had a birthday since then) had been identified by researchers and hackers as having ties to the group. That same month, City of London Police with alleged ties to Lapsus$, but it wasn’t confirmed if the Oxford teen was among them. Lapsus$ has also targeted the likes of , Okta and .

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Game

GTA Online’s next big update features Dr. Dre and Franklin from ‘GTA V’

Rockstar Games will soon release another big update for , which includes a story mission featuring one of main characters. “The Contract” centers around Franklin Clinton and his friends, who aspire to be problem solvers for celebrities and “rich folk who got rich folk problems.”

One of those potential clients is Dr. Dre, who appears as himself in the story. A phone containing unreleased music from the rapper and producer has gone missing. As a potential partner for Franklin’s new enterprise, it’s your job to get it back.

You’ll be able to hear those Dre tracks and other fresh music when the update arrives on December 15th. Rockstar “an eclectic new radio station from some very special guest hosts” and big changes to current radio stations. Expect additional side missions, weapons (including an EMP launcher), vehicles, locations and more. Rockstar will reveal more details about “The Contract” in the coming days.

A few other well-known figures have appeared as themselves in the Grand Theft Auto series. Phil Collins was in GTA: Vice City Stories, while Katt Williams and Ricky Gervais performed stand-up sets in GTA IV.

Still, it’s notable that Dr. Dre is taking a bigger role in GTA Online — he popped up briefly during 2020’s Cayo Perico heist. Other major ongoing games like Fortnite include versions of and from other properties. Perhaps GTA Online is becoming a metaverse too.

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Game

GTA Trilogy returns to PC as Rockstar promises performance fixes

It’s been a pretty wild ride for owners of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on PC. Shortly after the game launched last week, Rockstar pulled both it and the Rockstar Games Launcher offline. While the Launcher came back a day later, the game was down for most of the weekend. The PC version is back now, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done on the game across all platforms.

GTA Trilogy and the story so far

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition launched on various platforms on November 11th. Unfortunately, later that day, Rockstar took both the PC version of the game and the Rockstar Games Launcher offline for maintenance, and the Launcher was offline for more than a day. This was particularly problematic because many of Rockstar’s modern PC games rely on the Launcher to function, even those that aren’t sold directly by Rockstar.

This means that Steam versions of GTA Online and Red Dead Redemption 2 were inaccessible while the Rockstar Games Launcher was offline. At the same time this was happening, Rockstar stopped selling the PC version of the GTA Trilogy, removing the listing for it from its website.

Initially, Rockstar didn’t explain why the GTA Trilogy had been removed from sale, but as the weekend was getting underway, the company’s support account published another tweet saying that it was working to “remove files unintentionally included in these versions.” This was revealed as the Rockstar Games Launcher came back online for PC users. Now the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is playable once more for those who already own it and available for purchase from Rockstar’s website for those who don’t.

Still a long way to go

If you were planning to buy the GTA Trilogy on PC, you might want to pump the brakes and hold off for now even though the game is up for sale again. Ever since launch, users across all platforms have reported various issues with the game, from remastered character models that are shockingly bad in some cases to performance problems.

These issues seem to exist in the GTA Trilogy regardless of the platform, and it’s led to abysmally low user review scores on Metacritic. Every version of the GTA Trilogy has a user score below 1.0 on Metacritic at the time of this writing, with the Xbox One version sporting the lowest at 0.4.

That, as you might imagine, is not great, but in the tweet announcing the PC version’s return, Rockstar also says that it is “working to improve and update overall performance as we move forward.” There are no concrete details on when Rockstar plans to deliver an update to the GTA Trilogy, but judging by some of the replies to that tweet, there’s a lot to fix. We’ll update you when Rockstar shares more, but for now, it might be a good idea to put the GTA Trilogy down and spend time with other games as we wait on the company to start pushing out fixes.

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Game

Rockstar apologizes for broken GTA remasters and pledges to fix bugs

Rockstar Games has apologized for the shoddy quality of . It plans to fix “the unexpected technical issues” and improve the three games in the collection.

“We want to sincerely apologize to everyone who has encountered issues playing these games,” . “The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect.” The first update is scheduled to arrive in the coming days and it will “address a number of issues.”

It didn’t take long for players to start sharing clips of bugs and glitches on social media after the remastered collection of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas arrived last week. took a deep dive into GTA III and found there were “issues that are so blatant and jarring and ridiculous, it’s hard to understand how the game made its way through quality control.”

What’s more, Rockstar of the bundle soon after launch to “remove some data files that were unintentionally included in the new versions of these games” (those are believed to include files related to the infamous ). The collection was available to buy again . Rockstar Launcher services were unavailable for over a day too, making the collection and the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online unplayable during that time.

Soon after Rockstar for the trilogy in October, it removed the original versions the games from digital storefronts. Now, the classic versions of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas are returning to PC as a bundle on the Rockstar Store. Players who buy the remastered trilogy on PC by June 30th will receive the originals at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, Rockstar has asked everyone to refrain from attacking developers on social media. “We would kindly ask our community to please maintain a respectful and civil discourse around this release as we work through these issues,” it said. Grove Street Games, which is behind ports of several other Rockstar titles, worked on these remasters.

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Game

The remastered GTA trilogy is available to buy on PC again

Three days after it pulled from sale on PC, Rockstar Games says players can once again buy the bundle on that platform. The publisher the remastered collection from the Rockstar Games Launcher’s store “to remove some data files that were unintentionally included in the new versions of these games.”

The publisher apologized for the inconvenience and said it would “improve and update overall performance as we move forward.” Many players have criticized the latest versions of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas, and some have of various glitches and bugs. They’ve also voiced their displeasure on Metacritic, where they’ve been — the aggregate user score is currently below one out of 10 on every platform.

Soon after the trilogy was released last week, the Rockstar Games Launcher was taken offline for what the publisher says was maintenance reasons. That meant those who did buy the collection were unable to play its three games for over a day, while Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online were also out of commission until Rockstar restored service on Friday evening.

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Game

Rockstar offline: What’s wrong with the GTA Trilogy on PC?

It’s been a weird 24 hours for those who purchased Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on PC. The game launched yesterday on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch, but it wasn’t long before Rockstar pulled the game from sale on PC and disabled the Rockstar Games Launcher on the platform. With long periods of silence from Rockstar, it’s been difficult to figure out just what is happening – or when the trilogy will return.

The case of the vanishing GTA games

If you head over to the Rockstar website at the moment, you’ll see that the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is no longer up for sale. It was removed entirely from Rockstar’s store shortly after it launched yesterday, and it’s been unobtainable since then. Rockstar so far has given no reason for pulling the PC version from sale, and we have no idea when it might be available again.

The Rockstar Games Launcher has been down for much of the last day as well. The Rockstar Games Launcher is the only way to play Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on PC, so those who managed to purchase the PC version before it was removed from sale can’t even play it.

The Rockstar Support Twitter account first notified users that it was taking the Rockstar Games Launcher offline for “maintenance” around 20 hours ago. In the time since then, it has only posted one update thanking fans for their patience as Rockstar works to restore service. For now, we have no idea when the Rockstar Games Launcher and the PC titles that need it will be functional again.

A far-reaching problem

More titles beyond Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition are impacted by the Rockstar Games Launcher being taken offline. Obviously, players can’t access any PC games they purchased directly through Rockstar while the Launcher is offline, but it gets even worse than that. As Kotaku points out, certain Rockstar games available through Steam require the Launcher as well – notably Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA Online – meaning those have been inaccessible all this time, too.

It’s hard to get a handle on what’s going on here simply because Rockstar has been so quiet. Even if the Rockstar Games Launcher requires a full day of maintenance – which is strange but not unheard of – why was the PC version of the GTA Trilogy delisted from Rockstar’s website? Is the game going to be relisted once this maintenance with the Rockstar Games Launcher is over?

So far, it seems the fan reactions to the GTA trilogy have been mixed at best. The compilation offers remasters of three PS2-era Grand Theft Auto titles: GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas, though some fans have taken to social media to express their frustration with the apparent quality of the remasters. Perhaps the PC version was delisted in response to those criticisms? We’ll have to wait for Rockstar to provide an update and clarify the matter. Assuming it does so, we’ll let you know what the company says.



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Game

Rockstar pulls the remastered GTA trilogy on PC

The PC version of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition seems to have some serious issues at the minute. The bundle — a remastered collection of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas — arrived on Thursday. However, at the time of writing, the Rockstar Games website says “this title is currently unavailable in your country or region.” Console players can still buy it on the Xbox, PlayStation and Switch digital stores.

A screenshot of the Rockstar Games website indicating that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition is

Rockstar Games

According to Kotaku, those who bought the title on PC before it disappeared are unable to play it at the minute. Rockstar removed the older versions of the three games from PC storefronts before the collection arrived.

Adding to the publisher’s woes, the Rockstar Launcher has been out of commission for around 24 hours “for maintenance” — not a great look when Rockstar just released a new collection of some of its most notable games. That means Rockstar’s PC games like Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online are unavailable. The store, cloud services, downloads and authentication systems are also down.

“We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on restoring services for the Rockstar Games Launcher and supported titles,” Rockstar wrote on Twitter early Friday morning. Engadget has contacted Rockstar Games for comment.

Some fans have expressed disappointment at the quality of remasters, with screenshots of glitches and videos of bugs popping up. One player posted a video of a rainstorm in San Andreas that made it difficult to see anything around CJ. 

Update 11/12/21 10PM ET: Rockstar told Engadget in a statement:

“The Rockstar Games Launcher is now back online. However, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition will remain unavailable to play or purchase as we work to remove some data files that were unintentionally included in the new versions of these games. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and we hope to have the correct versions of the games up and running for everyone as soon as possible.”

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Game

Oculus announces GTA: San Andreas VR, teases big Beat Saber news

We were expecting some news about VR gaming today at Facebook Connect 2021, and that’s precisely what we got. Facebook made several announcements regarding games that are heading to Oculus VR, and while we may not expect a ton from a segment that often still feels like it’s just getting going, there were certainly surprises. If you’re a GTA or Beat Saber fan, then you’ll want to pay attention to today’s announcements.

That’s because leading Facebook’s announcements was the reveal of a VR version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any gameplay footage or even any screenshots; Facebook merely says that this game is in development at Rockstar for the Quest 2, and that the project is “many years in the making.” We’re going to have to wait for anything more substantial than that, though.

Beat Saber was also on the docket today, though unfortunately, specifics are slim there too. After looking back on 2021, Beat Games teased that it has “an amazing lineup of artists for 2022.” The company also said that it has one more announcement coming before the end of the year and teased that announcement with the trailer you see above. All we see in the trailer is a unique-looking saber with the words “Level Up!” so if you’re a Beat Saber player, take that as you will.

Facebook also shared a collection of updates on other games and developers, revealing that it’s partnering with Vertigo Games for five new titles. We don’t know what those games are, but one of them will be set in a “fan-favorite” game world from Deep Silver. In addition, the company announced that Blade & Sorcery: Nomad, which will be heading to Quest 2 later this year.

Blade & Sorcery: Nomad doesn’t seem to be a sequel to the original game – which launched for Oculus Rift in 2019 – but rather a standalone release for the Quest specifically. However, the idea will still be to provide a sandbox for players to experiment with various sorts of first-person combat, whether that’s melee with weapons like swords and axes, ranged with bows, or sorcery with magic. There’s been no specific release date announced yet, but Blade & Sorcery: Nomad should be here by the time we close the book on 2021.

Facebook – or, we should say, Meta – also announced a fitness accessory kit for Oculus Quest today. The fitness kit is straightforward and simple, as it includes grips for the controllers to keep them from flying across the room (not entirely unlike the strap on a Wii remote or Switch Joy-Con, though not exactly the same) and a face pad that’s easy to wipe down after a workout. We’ll see that launch later sometime next year.

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AI

Intel is using machine learning to make GTA V look incredibly realistic

One of the more impressive aspects of Grand Theft Auto V is how closely the game’s San Andreas approximates real-life Los Angeles and Southern California, but a new machine learning project from Intel Labs called “Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement” might push it toward photorealism (via Gizmodo).

Putting the game through the processes researchers Stephan R. Richter, Hassan Abu Alhaija, and Vladlen Kolten created produces a surprising result: a visual look that has unmistakable similarities to the kinds of photos you might casually take through the smudged front window of your car. You have to see it in motion to really appreciate it, but the combination of slightly washed-out lighting, smoother pavement, and believably reflective cars just sells the fact you’re looking out at the real street from a real dashboard, even if it’s all virtual.

The Intel researchers suggest some of that photorealism comes from the datasets they fed their neural network. The group offers a more in-depth and thorough explanation for how image enhancement actually works in their paper (PDF), but as I understand it, the Cityscapes Dataset that was used — built largely from photographs of German streets — filled in a lot of the detail. It’s dimmer and from a different angle, but it almost captures what I imagine a smoother, more interactive version of scrolling through Google Maps’ Street View could be like. It doesn’t entirely behave like it’s real, but it looks very much like it’s built from real things.

The researchers say their enhancements go beyond what other photorealistic conversion processes are capable of by also integrating geometric information from GTA V itself. Those “G-buffers,” as the researchers call them, can include data like the distance between objects in the game and the camera, and the quality of textures, like the glossiness of cars.

While you might not see an official “photorealism update” roll out to GTA V tomorrow, you may have already played a game or watched a video that’s benefited from another kind of machine learning — AI upscaling. The process of using machine learning smarts to blow up graphics to higher resolutions doesn’t show up everywhere, but has been featured in Nvidia’s Shield TV and in several different mod projects focused on upgrading the graphics of older games. In those cases a neural network is making predictions to fill in missing pixels of detail from a lower resolution game, movie, or TV show to reach those higher resolutions.

Photorealism probably shouldn’t be the only graphical goal for video games to have (artistry aside, it looks kind of creepy), but this Intel Labs project does show there’s probably as much room to grow on the software side of things as there is in the raw GPU power of new consoles and gaming PCs.

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Game

GTA Remastered Trilogy tipped to breathe new life into PS2-era classics

For quite some time, multiple rumors have claimed that Rockstar is looking to remaster classic Grand Theft Auto titles and re-release them on modern platforms. Thus far, those rumors haven’t materialized into any confirmation from Rockstar, but according to a new report today, that confirmation may not be very far off. If you were a fan of GTA games like Grand Theft Auto 3, GTA: Vice City, or GTA: San Andreas back in the day, then it might not be long before you’re able to play them with a fresh coat of paint.

This rumor comes from Kotaku, which spoke to sources familiar with Rockstar’s plans who claim that the company is approaching the finish line with these long-rumored remasters. In all, Kotaku said that it spoke with three different sources, all with corroborating details on the development of these games, noting that all of them have “reliable track records” when it comes to leaks related to GTA and Red Dead Redemption.

Those sources say that Rockstar is currently working on remasters of all the PS2-era games we listed above and that they’ll come with refreshed graphics and updated UIs. The goal, it seems, is to update these games for modern platforms while at the same time keeping the overall classic feel of them intact.

Kotaku’s sources also note that Rockstar Dundee is working on these remasters while at the same time helping Rockstar bring GTA V to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Originally, it seems Rockstar planned to offer these as a bonus for those who buy that upgraded version of GTA V, but now the plan seems to be to offer the GTA Remastered Trilogy as a standalone product this fall – we’re told to expect them to launch around the end of October or the beginning of November.

One interesting thing revealed by this report is that Rockstar plans to release the GTA Remastered Collection on pretty much every platform under the sun: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC, Stadia, and even mobile devices. However, it’s important to point out that Nintendo consoles have historically missed out on the GTA franchise’s biggest games. While the first two GTA games were ported to the Game Boy Color and there were a pair of spin-offs developed for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, Nintendo’s home consoles have never received a proper GTA release.

So, if Kotaku’s report is correct, this would be a big release for the Switch. These sources also claim that Rockstar could remaster the original Red Dead Redemption as well, but that isn’t necessarily in the cards just yet as the company works to finish the GTA remasters first. All in all, it’s a very fascinating report, and if everything pans out, it may not be long before we have official confirmation of the GTA Remastered Trilogy.

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