The Complete Edition is anything but.
Grand Theft Auto IV

Around the middle of January 2020, it was noticed that Grand Theft Auto IV was pulled from being sold on Steam. Nobody knew why and nobody from Rockstar was saying much. Naturally this caused a whole lot of speculation to fly around from anybody and everybody with an opinion.

People had assumed that maybe it was going to become a Rockstar Games Launcher exclusive. Or it would be an Epic Games Store exclusive. Or maybe it would just be updated to remove some licensed tracks as has happened in the past with other Grand Theft Auto titles. A common idea was that the game would finally get an update to remove the Games for Windows Live requirement. Well, this kind of ended up being the closest guess yet.

Rockstar had eventually come out to say that because Grand Theft Auto IV made use of Games for Windows Live keys, it had to be pulled from being sold on Steam. That makes sense seeing as how Games for Windows Live died a horrible death ages ago and new keys were no longer able to be generated. Fast-forward to now and an updated version of the game was announced.

Great news, right? The game would be back without Games for Windows Live and multiplayer would be handled by either Rockstar's own backend like with GTA Online or even through Steamworks and everyone would be happy!


According to Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto IV will return to being sold through Steam on March 19, 2020. It will release without Games for Windows Live, which is obviously a good thing. It will also now combine both the base game of Grand Theft Auto IV as well as Episodes from Liberty City, the game's two massive expansions. Rockstar is calling this combined release Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition.

However, there is a big catch here. It will return not only without Games for Windows Live but also without multiplayer and leaderboards. In addition, the studio says that a whopping three radio stations are being removed "temporarily." These stations are RamJam FM, Self-Actualization FM, and Vice City FM (this one was from Episodes from Liberty City). There is no ETA on how long they will be "temporarily" removed from the game.

Licensed music has been pulled from other Grand Theft Auto releases in the past that were never added back in. This was the case with both San Andreas and Vice City. Grand Theft Auto IV has also already had a significant number of tracks pulled back in April 2018. You can thank the temporary nature of music licensing for all of this.

In the end, the return of Grand Theft Auto IV is a bit of a mixed bag. You lose multiplayer and another big batch of music. In return, you essentially get a free copy of Episodes from Liberty City if you didn't already own it. Plus it sounds as though the game will now have Steam Achievements added when the Complete Edition is released. Unfortunately, there was no word shared about cloud saves, only that current saves are compatible with the upcoming re-release. There is also no word about any other potential fixes for the game.

Despite the nice changes offered, the significant cuts to the content amount to a release that isn't exactly deserving of being called a "complete edition" by most definitions.