The death of the GTA clone

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R4gn4r0k

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#1  Edited By R4gn4r0k  Online
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With both Saints Row and Watch_dogs series being declared clinically dead in the past year one has to wonder what happened to the once so popular GTA clone type of game.

You know, you're usually a low-life criminal, you're in a big city and the gameplay usually involves driving cars and shooting up the place. The better GTA clone also offered something unique in its soundscape like believable radio stations.

Sleeping Dogs, True Crime, La Noire, Red Dead Redemption, The Simpsons Hit and Run, Scarface, Infamous ... all tried to be GTA at one point.

What is next? I don't want to wait 10 years for GTA VI just for it to disappoint.

I was looking forward to Yet Another Fantasy Title, in the same style as Rustler (grand theft horse) which just has a masterful intro video.

And finally we have another Mafia game supposedly coming up.

What am I missing here? Anyone else feeling mournful about this genre going t*ts up?

Share your best memories about this genre that once dominated late 6th gen and entirety of 7th gen consoles.

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Litchie

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#2 Litchie  Online
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I just want more top down GTA. Chinatown Wars was awesome.

I tried Retro City Rampage, but it wasn't that fun, so didn't bother with the sequel Shakedown Hawaii.

Mafia hasn't been good since the first game (Mafia 2 was ok I guess), so I don't have much faith in another one. I have no interest at all in GTA6.

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Mozelleple112

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#3  Edited By Mozelleple112
Member since 2011 • 11293 Posts

I honestly don't care about the genre at all.

I have never in my life finished a GTA clone.

Actually, scratch that lol... RDR2 is the only 'GTA-like' I have ever finished. But I do have dozens (or even hundreds) of hours in GTA VC, GTA SA, GTA V....

As for the non-R* ones? Barely even touched them. Watch Dogs is junk Mafia 3 was ok. played maybe 12-13 hours.

I added Mafia 1 remake to my Steam wishlist.

I am utterly beyond hyped for GTA VI though. I predict 96+ on metacritic and GOTY unless it releases same year as TLOU3 or DS2/Project OD/Physint or Bloodborne 2 / Sekiro 2 / Elden Ring 2.

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R4gn4r0k

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#4 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@Mozelleple112: Oh yeah I know you love Vice City. Driver tried something similar with a setting set in the past.

My favourites are GTA 2, Chinatown Wars, Vice City and GTA IV.

I think you're gonna really enjoy Mafia 1 remake and even the GTA SA remaster is quite nice. It looks quite good now along with a few mods like the ROSA mod:

Loading Video...

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R4gn4r0k

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#5 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@Litchie said:

I just want more top down GTA. Chinatown Wars was awesome.

I tried Retro City Rampage, but it wasn't that fun, so didn't bother with the sequel Shakedown Hawaii.

Mafia hasn't been good since the first game (Mafia 2 was ok I guess), so I don't have much faith in another one. I have no interest at all in GTA6.

Retro City rampage is overly simplistic, the fun fact though is that it started out as a demake of GTA 3.

And yeah you'll be pleased to know that Shakedown Hawaii is a lot better, a lot of its missions can feel the same after a while, but I had a blast playing this on my Vita when I was away on a trip.

If you like Chinatown Wars (I finished it twice on DS and twice on PSP, I love that game) check out this game:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/844260/Rustler_Grand_Theft_Horse/

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DaVillain

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#6 DaVillain  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 56654 Posts

I never looked at Watch Dogs being a GTA clone anyway, can't say there one in the same. Sorry but I don't give a damn about the GTA clone anymore and games like True Crime, Mafia, and even Sleeping Dogs to a degree were fun back in the days. I really like Watch Dogs and Mafia 3 was pretty damn good IMO.

I'm not all that excited for GTA6 to be honest, I would rather get another RDR game as I like Western stuff anyway. Also, Star Wars: Outlaws is gonna be a GTA in space, so that's something I'll admit that I'm excited for.

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Ghosts4ever

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#7 Ghosts4ever
Member since 2015 • 25272 Posts

Mafia 4 I hope is good like 1 and 2 and not like 3 and Remake.

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Litchie

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#8 Litchie  Online
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@R4gn4r0k said:

Retro City rampage is overly simplistic, the fun fact though is that it started out as a demake of GTA 3.

And yeah you'll be pleased to know that Shakedown Hawaii is a lot better, a lot of its missions can feel the same after a while, but I had a blast playing this on my Vita when I was away on a trip.

Maybe shouldn't write it off then.

@R4gn4r0k said:

If you like Chinatown Wars (I finished it twice on DS and twice on PSP, I love that game) check out this game:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/844260/Rustler_Grand_Theft_Horse/

lol wtf

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R4gn4r0k

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#9 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@Litchie: The intro video of Rustler is basically a homage to the intro video of GTA 2. I want to play this game on my Steam Deck, but haven't really spent that much time lately on my Deck.

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#10  Edited By R4gn4r0k  Online
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@davillain said:

I never looked at Watch Dogs being a GTA clone anyway, can't say there one in the same. Sorry but I don't give a damn about the GTA clone anymore and games like True Crime, Mafia, and even Sleeping Dogs to a degree were fun back in the days. I really like Watch Dogs and Mafia 3 was pretty damn good IMO.

I'm not all that excited for GTA6 to be honest, I would rather get another RDR game as I like Western stuff anyway. Also, Star Wars: Outlaws is gonna be a GTA in space, so that's something I'll admit that I'm excited for.

Outlaws has that bounty system from RDR mixed with a police system from GTA. But I don't know about the rest of the gameplay, I'll surely play the game sometime late in 2024 when the price has come down to more reasonable levels :)

@ghosts4ever said:

Mafia 4 I hope is good like 1 and 2 and not like 3 and Remake.

Remake added motorcycles though.

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Last_Lap

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#11 Last_Lap
Member since 2023 • 7265 Posts

GTA games are always missing the most important feature in any video game, and that feature is fun. I had way more fun playing the Saints games, Sleeping Dogs etc.

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R4gn4r0k

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#12 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@last_lap said:

GTA games are always missing the most important feature in any video game, and that feature is fun. I had way more fun playing the Saints games, Sleeping Dogs etc.

Races for Brucie are some of the best ever in GTA IV, you're missing out.

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KathaarianCode

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#13 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

The thing is, Rockstar raised the bar so high that no one can even get near, much less clone it.

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#14  Edited By uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 59610 Posts

I liked Saints Row, obvious of obvious statement, it felt like the old GTA games. Everything about it was trying to be as fun as possible. The opposite of Assassins' Creed.

Didn't bother with the reboot though and probably won't. They more or less did it themselves.

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#15  Edited By R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

The thing is, Rockstar raised the bar so high that no one can even get near, much less clone it.

Exactly, Rockstar raised the bar a few times in a row:

  • GTA 3 layed the groundworks and is still overall fun to play today
  • Vice City was made in an insanely short amount of time and still never gave up on quality
  • GTA SA set the standards again for a lot of clones
  • GTA IV raised the bar on visual quality and city density and their tech here is still being used today (RAGE engine)
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#16 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@uninspiredcup said:

I liked Saints Row, obvious of obvious statement, it felt like the old GTA games. Everything about it was trying to be as fun as possible.

The opposite of Assassins' Creed.

It's such a shame that Volition spent so many years rebooting Saints Row only to end up with a game that feels frankly exactly the same as Saints Row 3 did.

It prompted their closure because really being wrong, but making yourself believe that you are so right is not a good show.

To me the worst part of it all is that Saints Row 1&2 could've really used a remaster or rerelease but this will never happen now.

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KathaarianCode

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#17 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

@R4gn4r0k: And V. It's a fucking 360 game, still going strong 2 gens after, still unmatched.

BTW I'm not saying these are great, or bad games, but when it comes to shear ambition. No one gets close.

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#18 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

@R4gn4r0k: And V. It's a fucking 360 game, still going strong 2 gens after, still unmatched.

BTW I'm not saying these are great, or bad games, but when it comes to shear ambition. No one gets close.

It really is a perfect chain of events along with some really talented people. Everyone just knew what to do and knew how to do it well.

NoClip has a great, really great documentary about the beginnings of this series. It's by Danny o'dwyer who used to work for this site.

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KathaarianCode

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#19 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

@R4gn4r0k: I've seen it, it's great.

I follow Danny's work even before GameSpot. His youtube was Escape from Mount stupid, if I remember correctly.

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#20  Edited By BassMan  Online
Member since 2002 • 18003 Posts

It's not just the clones. Rockstar barely makes GTA games themselves. They just milk the cash cow that is GTA V. GTA VI is finally coming after 11 years.

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#21 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

@R4gn4r0k: I've seen it, it's great.

I follow Danny's work even before GameSpot. His youtube was Escape from Mount stupid, if I remember correctly.

What did he do on that channel? I just saw a bunch of commercials appear for Noclip so I started following that.

Gotta say, Arkane and DMA design are some of my favourite developers ever, and seeing how their games got created was a godsend.

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#22 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@BassMan said:

It's not just the clones. Rockstar barely makes GTA games themselves. They just milk the cash cow that is GTA V. GTA VI is finally coming after 11 years.

Every AAA publisher is moving in that direction, in fact I feel publisher isn't the right moniker as they no longer publish any games (from third party developement teams). They just make their one series that makes them money

Activision: COD

Konami: ePES

Capcom: Resident evil

EA: no longer makes both MOH and Battlefield, no longer makes both Burnout and NFS...

And yeah Rockstar will not be making a RDR 3 that's for sure. They just want to make one live service game.

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#23 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

@R4gn4r0k: I still think is worth to watch the mount stupid videos. Video game history and similar stuff. Gifted guy.

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#24 Last_Lap
Member since 2023 • 7265 Posts

@R4gn4r0k: I've played 4, it's garbage. I missed out on nothing.

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#25 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

@R4gn4r0k: I still think is worth to watch the mount stupid videos. Video game history and similar stuff. Gifted guy.

Thanks for the recommend, I like filling my evenings with gaming related youtube stuff :p

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#26 robert_sparkes
Member since 2018 • 7340 Posts

Saints row 2 and sleeping dogs are my gta clone favourites still nothing better.

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#27 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@robert_sparkes said:

Saints row 2 and sleeping dogs are my gta clone favourites still nothing better.

Yeah Saints Row 2 is just the GOAT, I love throwing people in front of oncoming traffic.

Sleeping Dogs is also a game I have fond memories of, I remember it being a really pretty game at the time.

In fact I was gonna replay it recently with Auto HDR but haven't found the right time yet.

Superb game

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#28 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

Could never get into Saints. But Sleeping Dogs is fantastic.

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my_user_name

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#29 my_user_name
Member since 2019 • 1299 Posts

Like most issues with this industry I think it largely comes down to money.

Making a modern gta style game is going to cost alot and nobody with the money to do it, is willing to take risks.

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R4gn4r0k

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#30 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

Could never get into Saints. But Sleeping Dogs is fantastic.

Have you played Mafia: Definitive edition?

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#31 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@my_user_name said:

Like most issues with this industry I think it largely comes down to money.

Making a modern gta style game is going to cost alot and nobody with the money to do it, is willing to take risks.

I wouldn't even mind more top down GTA games like Litchie mentioned.

I had some hopes that Glitchpunk would come out, but oh well.

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#32 KathaarianCode
Member since 2022 • 3560 Posts

@R4gn4r0k: Never. Sometimes I think about buying it but end up never doing it.

BTW apparently EFMS was already on GameSpot. Apparently I was remember it wrong.

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#33 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@kathaariancode said:

@R4gn4r0k: Never. Sometimes I think about buying it but end up never doing it.

BTW apparently EFMS was already on GameSpot. Apparently I was remember it wrong.

The only thing I really watched on this site is that Big Rigs review, that's some good stuff.

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#34 SecretPolice
Member since 2007 • 44418 Posts

So, no hope for a Crackdown 4? :(

lolol :P

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#35 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@SecretPolice said:

So, no hope for a Crackdown 4? :(

lolol :P

I still need to try Crackdown 1 at 4K on the ol' one X. Thanks for the tip!

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#36 robert_sparkes
Member since 2018 • 7340 Posts

Mafia definitive edition also deserves a mention the story is better than any other clone.

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#37 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@robert_sparkes said:

Mafia definitive edition also deserves a mention the story is better than any other clone.

I specifically left out Mafia for most of the thread as neither Mafia 1 or 2 could be called GTA clones. They also involve crime and they also are set in a city. But really the only game that can be considered a GTA clone is Mafia 3

Loading Video...

Also how impressive does still look? Wow

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uninspiredcup

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#38 uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 59610 Posts

100%. Mafia 1/2 are most def not GTA clones.

Closer to something like Uncharted. Highly linear, scripted, the city is almost entirely window dressing.

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#39 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@uninspiredcup said:

100%. Mafia 1/2 are most def not GTA clones.

Closer to something like Uncharted. Highly linear, scripted, the city is almost entirely window dressing.

Chances are big that Mafia 4 could turn out to be another Mafia 3/GTA, because the original developer stopped existing.

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#40 shellcase86
Member since 2012 • 6859 Posts

I actually like the RDR series more than the GTA series. I just started my first playthrough of GTA 5, and it's pretty good. But as big the environment is, it does feel kind of dead.

I actually liked Watch Dogs 2. It was different enough that the story was half decent.

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#41  Edited By Miquella
Member since 2022 • 798 Posts

Sleeping Dogs is an underrated masterpiece that deserves more recognition

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#42 judaspete
Member since 2005 • 7413 Posts

@my_user_name said:

Like most issues with this industry I think it largely comes down to money.

Making a modern gta style game is going to cost alot and nobody with the money to do it, is willing to take risks.

*He's right you know* meme

Games have gotten so expensive, even ripping off a successful formula is now too big a risk.

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#43 dimebag667
Member since 2003 • 3186 Posts

I've never been a huge GTA fan, but I did enjoy Sleeping Dogs.

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#44 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@miquella: if nothing else if this thread has made 2 people interested in replaying Sleeping Dogs I will consider it a success.

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#45  Edited By R4gn4r0k  Online
Member since 2004 • 46849 Posts

@judaspete: also true. We completely stopped getting GTA and COD clones.

In fact the only avenue that most publishers are willing to lay their eggs in seems to be live service games.

Loading Video...

*Shivers

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#46 Willy105
Member since 2005 • 26130 Posts

Just Cause series are still the best GTA clones IMO, because they are actually fun.

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#47 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@Willy105 said:

Just Cause series are still the best GTA clones IMO, because they are actually fun.

Wanted to mention those as well, nice catch!

I loved JC2 but I still have to play more of 3 and 4.

I also wonder if Avalanche will ever return for a fifth game or not.

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#48 DaVillain  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 56654 Posts

@R4gn4r0k said:

Outlaws has that bounty system from RDR mixed with a police system from GTA. But I don't know about the rest of the gameplay, I'll surely play the game sometime late in 2024 when the price has come down to more reasonable levels :)

I'm just gonna sub to Ubisoft+ and if it turns out to be good, I'll buy it whenever it hits the sale.

By the way, Driv3r was a pretty good GTA clone that I think the Driver series needs to come back.

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#49 AcidTango
Member since 2013 • 3334 Posts

@R4gn4r0k:

Saints Row 2 is my top favorite open world crime game next to the classic PS2 GTA games.

What sucks is that there was going to be an update for the PC version of Saints Row 2 to make it more playable and have all the dlcs since only the console versions had them. But the person who was in charge of that update sadly passed away and the project got canceled after that.

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#50 R4gn4r0k  Online
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@AcidTango said:

@R4gn4r0k:

Saints Row 2 is my top favorite open world crime game next to the classic PS2 GTA games.

What sucks is that there was going to be an update for the PC version of Saints Row 2 to make it more playable and have all the dlcs since only the console versions had them. But the person who was in charge of that update sadly passed away and the project got canceled after that.

It goes even deeper and even sadder than that:

Loading Video...

Me too, I was looking forward to that patch because SR2 really is a game that puts a smile on your face from the start, and it never disappears. Apart from how broken and how ugly that game is, it's just a straight 10/10