From open-world crime operas to open-range spaghetti westerns, from substance abusing detectives to detectives who draw a self-righteous line at adultery, Rockstar Games’s reputation precedes it. Where most game companies would be content with one triple-A franchise, Rockstar has cultivated several over its 14-year history – Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne, and L.A. Noire among the present, and Agent waiting patiently for the call.

So perhaps that’s the reason, as Grand Theft Auto V, secretly but steadily, hurdles towards its release, the company has gone into retrospect mode, announcing the first installment in a series of Rockstar Games compilations.

Offering four games in one box on what has to several discs, Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1 has been announced for the cost of $59.99 – the orthodox price point for one game. Bundled into the package is L.A. Noire (2010); Red Dead Redemption (2009); Midnight Club: Los AngelesComplete Edition (the tricked-out version of 2008’s MC:LA); and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City (GTA IV’s DLC compilation of The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony).

This is where we start wondering if we’ll need new living room shelving, but we’d take that value/quality combination any day of the week.

Rockstar Games Collection Edition 1

As sterling as the contents of the collection may be, however (we’re already anxious to see Edition 2), there’s no confusing Rockstar’s real focus for the rest of 2012 and into 2013: Grand Theft Auto V. As one retailer listed the Rockstar Collection, another, GameStop, saw fit to list its release date as March 1, 2013.

Surprisingly, the date only lasted long enough to grab headlines, as its original listing on the Gamestop UK storefront has now been supplanted with a TBC (To Be Confirmed). March 1 is a safe bet, though, considering the game’s unbreaking silence heading into this Fall. Sure, low-key seems to be Rockstar’s traditional modus operandi; but a smattering of GTA V screenshots this August following an announcement trailer last November doesn’t quite fit the billing for “Holiday 2012.”

Grand Theft Auto 5 March Release Date

Aside from BioShock Infinite, we know Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive is looking for major revenue booster in 2013, and with Game Informer teasing Grand Theft Auto V as their December cover just hours ago, it might not be long before a return to Los Santos finds its way onto corporate and consumer calendars alike.

Ranters, what are your thoughts on Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1? Will it make for a great segue into Grand Theft Auto V – whenever it might turn up?

Grand Theft Auto V is currently forecasted as a release in early 2013 on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Sources: Take-Two Interactive, GameStop [via OXM], Game Informer