Rockstar updates Grand Theft Auto IV, makes it playable on modern hardware


Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV was a ridiculously ambitious title technically. It tried to introduce the first completely simulated city replete with a “living” population. It had a great physics system that also had early dynamic fluid simulations, and it made great use of new lighting and antialiasing techniques. The game also proved tough to run on many systems, and prompted a long-running investigation by Tom’s Hardware into what it took to run the game (among others), with their conclusion that it was the first game that arguably required a quad-core CPU by default. Six years later, it has received a sizeable update patch that allows it to run on modern systems. Hit the jump for more.

The patch notes announced by Rockstar are quite concise, but they’re all very much needed. When GTA IV was developed, Windows Vista was rolling around and Windows 7 was just on the horizon. Prior to this patch, the game would not launch on Windows 8 or 10 installations, and the RAGE engine would spit out errors if your graphics card had more than 2GB of VRAM. Rather hilariously, there were also bugs which prevent some missions from being completed if you’re running the game faster than 60fps. GTA V suffers none of these issues, because Rockstar was taking notes and learning from the mistakes they made while developing GTA IV, though it is much less mod-friendly than its predecessor.

Grand Theft Auto IV Patch 8 notes:

  • Added error code “WTV270” to indicate a problem with connecting to Windows Live Sign in Assistant / Games for Windows Live Servers.
  • Added Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 to compatible OS check.
  • Added Display Controller image in Controller Configuration.
  • Fixed a bug which made completing “Out of Commission” mission impossible when frame rate exceeds 60fps.
  • Fixed a bug with the “Resource Usage” indicator on graphics cards with more than 2GB of VRAM.
  • Fixed a bug that restricted settings changes when using modern video cards.
  • Fixed a bug with the map crosshair on certain resolutions.
  • Fixed a bug with text scrolling in “Brief” Menu.
  • Fixed “drawlist overflow” crash.
  • Minor performance optimizations.

As you can see, “Out of Commission” can now be completed without running a framerate limiter, which surely will make the /r/pcmasterrace users very happy. Being able to run the game on Windows 10 is also welcome, especially because it was on sale for R76 during the recent Steam Autumn sale (it’ll go on sale again in the Winter/Summer sale taking place soon). The last time the game was patched was back in March 2011.

There are still some caveats to this, though. Because there’s still a reliance on Games for Windows Live, you either need to install XLiveLess, or use a Microsoft account on Windows 8.1 or 10 (there was/is a GFWL client replacement shim that is part of the Xbox app). It’s unclear why Rockstar didn’t just remove it, but perhaps they didn’t want to dedicate servers to running a replacement for the matchmaking service. GFWL still works technically for some games, but I recommend that no-one uses it, ever.

Also, the game still doesn’t run well on some modern systems. The DirectX 9 VRAM bug affects it because it only has a few DirectX 10-only features, which means that you’re better off playing it on Windows 7 rather than Windows 10.

If you currently own GTA IV and haven’t touched it because of these or other issues, give it another go this weekend. Maybe even download some mods while you’re at it. It’s a fantastic game. Perhaps this update is a sign of an upcoming remaster?

Source: Rockstar Support