GTA 5 on PC - why the evidence is too strong to ignore

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GTA 5 is coming to PC. Well, that's what an increasing amount of evidence (and no small dose of common sense) is pointing to. Despite this, Rockstar is yet to officially announce the game for PC. It's something I've been talking about for months on CVG's GTAVoclock, and similarly, the latest and most intriguing information comes from a leaked developer document that has been in the public domain since September last year. The 150-page bug log details every major change made to Rockstar’s open-world epic from April 2009 to August 2013--with reference to a ‘PC version’ from June 2012.

The bug log’s highlights include:

– Mention of DX11 support, which is Microsoft’s DirectX software used to create ‘eye-popping 3D visuals and immersive sound effects’ in modern PC games. DX11 is fully supported by Xbox One.

– Reference to X64, shorthand for the 64-bit version of the x86 instruction set created by PC processor firm AMD. PlayStation 4 uses an eight core custom AMD x86-64 CPU.

– A ‘last-gen’ toggle used during development, with reference to ‘fixes for lastgen ped/veh population issues’ and ‘lastgen max mode code’.

– A ‘smog’ weather setting in relation to DX11. ‘Blooms too much on smog weather setting’. GTA 5’s iFruit companion app contains files that list a ‘Blizzard’ weather setting, which doesn’t appear in the current version of GTA 5.

– Introduction of new Michael and Franklin character models in June 2011.

The bug log confirms the date of every major control system overhaul, with internal deadlines leading up to press unveilings e.g. in the run up to the Game Informer exclusive unveiling. The bug log was leaked via an XML file on 23 September 2013 but, amazingly, avoided scrutiny from any of the major gaming outlets--although it’s been an open secret on the GTA Forums and other fan communities. Oddly, a public Google Drive link to the bug log, which was live last week, now leads to a ‘404’.

It isn’t the only item relating to a PC version of GTA 5 to disappear. Earlier this month, an impressive (but fake) ‘GTAV on PC’ video was ‘leaked’ on YouTube channel warrockteam1, but removed for copyright infringement. Weirder yet, the source video used in the leak (itself from leaked footage of the 360 game, published before GTA 5 released) was taken down for a violation of YouTube’s ‘spams, scams and commercially deceptive’ content rules. Until that point, it had been live for over four months.

On 13th Jan 2014, Thiago Diniz, an executive from Brazilian digital retailer Nuveem, claimed GTAV would launch on PC on 12 March 2014. “I see no problem talking. I think until now been confirmed. Is scheduled for March on PC, if I’m not mistaken, for the 12th”. Diniz added that he expects an enhanced version of the game to appear on PC. An Amazon representative suggested the same March 12th date during a customer conversation printed on a German website. While the customer service chat would be easy to fake, it’s peculiar that it should state the same release day--unless one was created to corroborate the other. It's possible.

These fresh clues, plus a series of historical precedents, make a PC version of GTAV a near-certainty, as long predicted by GTAVoclock.

AMD’s 13.30 beta drivers, released on 15th Jan, contain further evidence--with a reference to ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ profile, found by a Guru3D forum member. Perhaps more compelling, in September 2013, Cinemablend (via CB reader @leonhle) uncovered files relating to a PC version of GTA 5 in the directory of Rockstar’s iFruit companion app. It’s interesting to note the discovery of a ‘blizzard’ weather pattern, not found in the PS3 or 360 game.

Code expert @leonhle goes further, suggesting PC was GTA 5’s lead platform, based on memory allocation tables pointing to different pools and values for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. “The file folder structure resembles the typical GTA folder setup--anyone who mods on PC will recognize the “common” folder where the shared values or settings between multiple platforms are stationed,” adds Cinemablend.

It’s only a theory, but GTA 5 leading on PC makes some sense, perhaps explaining the crispness of earlier trailers that weren’t always matched by screenshots. It might also explain the ‘last-gen mode’ references in the bug list. However, games often look better during cut-scenes despite being generated from the same in-game assets. The bug list mentions ‘PS3’ in May 2011, but first lists ‘PC’ in June 2012. It’s possible that lead development was switched to PC at this date--perhaps in anticipation of next-gen consoles and their PC-style architectures--but that’s pure speculation on my part.

Let us know what you’d want from PC and next-gen versions of GTA 5 below. The evidence is strong. At some point GTA 5 has been running on a PC, and has been debugged on a PC. It's not definitive proof, but it's not a huge leap to assume it's all leading to a PC release either. I'm convinced that the ever-patient PC crowd won't have long to wait until they're rampaging around a superior San Andreas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GamesRadar+'s Global Editor-in-Chief. Loves spreadsheets, percentages and, to a greater extent, The Walking Dead, Metal Gear Solid and 33% of the game modes in Star Wars: Battlefront.
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