Rockstar Games is no stranger to controversy. With each new Grand Theft Auto game it releases, the developer receives harsh criticism from groups and individuals about the content of its games. Most recently, Rockstar fielded constant backlash from the gaming community for its delay of GTA Online Heists, which finally released earlier this month - 18 months after it was originally promised.
With the Heists' launch out of the way and the PC launch looming, Rockstar was almost out of the clear in terms of controversy. Unfortunately for the developer, it looks like there's still a storm yet to weather. A Redditor, who goes by Farlo1, discovered that the recent 1.08 patch for Grand Theft Auto 5 downgraded the game's graphics on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
In the above video, the gamer compares the graphics from the Grand Theft Auto 5 1.00 patch and 1.08 patch. While the difference isn't massive, it's definitely noticeable when viewed side-by-side. After reviewing the video, it's clear the newest update has caused the graphics to look somewhat flatter and less defined than they were previously.
Rockstar has yet to provide a reason for the downgrade, which so far only seems to affect the single-player campaign. It's possible the downgrade came as a result of the Heists addition, though we would have expected that to affect multiplayer more than the campaign.
We admit that the downgrade may not be enough for most gamers to notice. The patch was released back in December 2014, but players are just now discovering the change in graphics. That could be due to the focus on the Heist release, but it could also be due to the small amount of noticeable change in the game's look. While there is most certainly a difference, it requires a good eye and a comparison video to see it. Even then, it's still difficult to notice for those who don't have aside-by-side comparison.
We're used to seeing a disparity in graphics from what's shown at industry events like E3 and what ships with the final product. However, it's a new experience to see a game take a hit to graphics after a game has been released. We could understand if it was downgraded slightly to help with load times or framerate issues, but that doesn't seem to be the case with here. Sadly, the game still experiences painfully long load times on current-gen consoles, especially when players attempt to join GTA Online.
Whatever the reason, hopefully it's something Rockstar will address and correct soon.
[UPDATE: Looks like the downgraded visuals were an accidental byproduct of the update. Rockstar has reponded saying, "We are aware of some graphical issues on the Xbox One and PS4 versions of GTAV after the most recent Title Update, and we are investigating a fix now. If you would like to receive an automatic email notification as soon as there is more information, please log into the Support Site and click Subscribe at the top of this page."]
What do you think about the graphical downgrade in Grand Theft Auto 5? Did you notice a difference?