San Andreas coming clean August 22?
A Hot Coffee-free and M-rated version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may be in stores before the end of the month.
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After the public outcry regarding the "Hot Coffee" issue in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, publisher Take-Two Interactive had two choices: leave the game as it was (and see it pulled from the country's biggest retailers because of its new Adults-Only rating) or rework the game to get it back on the shelves of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and others as an M-rated game.
The decision was an easy one for the publisher, which expected a new version to be in stores "in the next six to eight weeks," as of July 22.
It appears as though when $50 million is on the line, things get done quickly. A listing on GameStop's online site shows a product page for an Xbox version of San Andreas with a release date of August 22 and price of $49.99. Under GameStop's policy, the retailer does not carry AO-rated games, meaning this version of San Andreas must be a non-AO-rated game.
After the game was rerated, listings for all versions of San Andreas were pulled from the Web site. Currently, there are no listings for a PC or PlayStation 2 version.
One GameStop employee told GameSpot that the retailer is already taking preorders for the Xbox product. "The SKU [GameStop's internal product code] that it's under suggests it's indeed the game, not a strategy guide or anything else. All Xbox game SKUs start with a certain number. It's how we look them up. It's also under the same SKU as it used to be when it was sold, and up until now has been listed as a recalled product." Games at the retailer generally don't get a specific ship date listed with a reservation SKU unless officials are "confident enough in the date to allow us to share the info with customers."
Retailers often attain their information from game publishers, just as media outlets do. However, there has been no official announcement from Rockstar, and attempts to contact the company went unanswered.
If the information on GameStop's site is true, it doesn't mean that San Andreas will once again be readily available. According to The New York Times, several retailers have considered not reshelving the product even if a "clean" version of the game is released.
Rockstar recently released the "No More Hot Coffee" patch for the PC version, a file that blocks any attempts to unlock the sexual content hidden in the game's code.
Before it was the center of controversy, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the Xbox was the top-selling game in the country.