Grand Theft Auto IV returns to Steam and PC in March

When Rockstar Games removed Grand Theft Auto IV from Steam in early January – due to the Games For Windows Live backend that was still powering its online functionality – the publisher promised that they were “looking at other options for distributing” the game on PC. As of last week it appears they found a solution in the form of Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition which will launch on Steam and the Rockstar Games Launcher on March 19th. 

“We are making a number of changes to make sure players who own Grand Theft Auto IV and GTA: Episodes from Liberty City can continue to enjoy these games,” begins Rockstar’s extensive explanation of what this new release means for the GTAIV experience on PC. The full announcement follows:

New Players
Starting 03/19/2020, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will replace both Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City wherever it is currently digitally available. Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will as also be available via the Rockstar Games Launcher. Current game save files will be compatible with Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition.

As a result of this update the following services will no longer be available in Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition:

  • Games for Windows Live
  • Multiplayer mode
  • Leaderboards

The following Radio Stations will be temporarily unavailable in Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

  • RamJam FM, Self-Actualization FM, and Vice City FM (previously available in Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City)

Note: Because Japanese is a supported language for Grand Theft Auto IV, but is not supported for Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, players will continue to be able to play Grand Theft Auto IV with Japanese sub-titles but will need to select another language in order to play Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.

Current Players
Players who have previously installed and played Grand Theft Auto IV or Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City will be able to update their copy to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition through the following means:

Steam Users
Depending on the game, players on Steam will need to install or update their current game:

  • Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City will be removed and replaced with GTAIV: Complete Edition in the launcher library. Update file size is expected to be approximately 22GB
  • Grand Theft Auto IV owners will download content from Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City and their game will update to GTAIV: Complete Edition. Update file size is expected to be approximately 6GB 

Physical Media

  • Games not previously activated using Games for Windows Live will be able to use the Key on the back of the game manual to activate and update to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

Games for Windows Live Digital Store Purchases

  • Games previously activated using Games for Windows Live will require players to create and/or link their Social Club accounts in replacement of Games for Windows Live to update to Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition

Note: New activations from players trying to install current copies of Grand Theft Auto IV may be disrupted until Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition is available. All users will need to be connected to the internet and authenticate their copy of the game.

It’s good to see the game coming back in a comprehensive package that’s directly under Rockstar’s control but the loss of multiplayer seems like a pretty major loss. This also means that the original Steam versions of GTAIV and Episodes from Liberty City are gone for good unless you purposefully keep the titles from taking the new updates.