In a surprising display of speed unbecoming of most video game developers, especially Rockstar Games who are known for taking their sweet time with everything, that official version of the fan made loading time fix for Grand Theft Auto Online that was announced yesterday rolled out earlier today! Reports are already spilling in of huge improvements.
Not too long ago, an enterprising GitHub user with some time on their hands decided to try and tackle the long-standing loading screen issues of GTA Online. Practically ever since the game launched on PC, it took an inordinate amount of time to load into the multiplayer mode, and there was seemingly no fix in sight.
Known in-game as t0st and elsewhere as tostercx, this fan delved into the game code with just a free disassembler and surprisingly not only succeeded in discovering the reason for the shamefully long loading times, but actually fixed it - easily - and pushed down the time by 70%.
Considering the immense popularity of GTA Online, news of this spread like wildfire after tostercx posted on their blog about the discovery and uploaded the fix itself to GitHub, making it freely available to all, though with a disclaimer that it's just a proof of concept and not intended for casual use.
Luckily all the discussion about this fix got the attention of the fine folks at Rockstar Games. Yesterday the developers announced that after an investigation, they concluded that the solution is legit, and are collaborating with t0st on implementing it in an official capacity. This announcement said that the now-official fix will be added to the game in an "upcoming title update", making it sound like we'd have to wait a bit for it to actually roll out.
Lo and behold, the patch went live today, delivering huge improvements to loading times across various configurations. Since loading times already depend on the hardware and connection speed of the given user, there was variance before the patch and inevitably after it too.
While some lucky players already only had to deal with loading times of 3 minutes and such only saw minor improvements, with loading times pushed down to 2 minutes, we saw reports of much more significant improvements. The dedicated GTA Online Subreddit, r/gtaonline has a main discussion thread with all sorts of reports, including the most drastic change we've seen - previous loading times ranging from 5-8 minutes cut down to just 35 seconds.
Keep in mind that GTA Online has been out on PC for years, so the minimum system requirements might seem archaic by modern standards - people scraping by with the absolute minimum of hardware and internet specs had to deal with loading times of 15 minutes or more, and they're the ones seeing the most benefits from this patch.
Considering the magnitude of the improvement - despite the variance it is clear that this fix improved the game experience universally - it's only fitting that tostercx got some recognition more tangible than a verbal thank you. It has been revealed that they recieved $10,000 in Bug Bounty money, even though this is usually reserved for fixes related to privacy and security concerns - Rockstar Games made an exception in this case.
Unfortunately there is a - uh, what's the opposite of a silver lining? Caveat, let's say - while the patch is basically deliverance for PC players, it has caused some unforeseen issues on Xbox, with players struggling to connect to GTA Online on the platform. We'll see how Rockstar tackles this unfortunate wrinkle in what is otherwise a triumph for the game's accessibility.