As reported previously by our sister site in the UK, Rockstar is removing a number of songs in Grand Theft Auto IV due to licensing issues. A sizable patch for the game went live today cutting lots of songs across all the radio stations, including some classics, while only adding a few back by way of some lesser known Russian tracks, mostly by Seryoga.
A Rockstar rep previously told Kotaku that the Vladivostok FM station would be particularly hard hit, and that turns out to have been the case. All but one Seryoga song were switched out, and while the new tracks in their place are decent enough, anyone longing for the days of tearing down Liberty City’s streets thumping along to Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” will be out of luck. More importantly, “Schweine” by the Russian pop singer Glukoza, a song everyone sings along to, is also gone. (For old time’s sake: Eins zwei drei Schicke-Schicke Schweine oh-oh). The station is still hosted by Ruslana Lyzhychko who will be all too happy to tell you about the need for the U.S. to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy but has definitely lost some of its more iconic tracks. I listened to a half hour of Vladivostok FM from before the patch, and after, and it’s just not the same.
Several GTA Forum posters, including Sniper296, shared full lists of the changes based on the american.txt files they were able to dig through and there are a number of other casualties as well. While Vladivostok FM got additional tracks like “Gulyaj, Slavyane!!” and a bunch more songs by Seryoga to fill in the gaps, other stations like Liberty Rock Radio now have holes that simply can’t be replaced. Most notably among the casualties are The Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” and David Bowie’s irreplaceable “Fascination.” Fat Joe’s “Crackhouse” featuring Lil Wayne is also gone, although all three Kanye West tracks have slipped through into the next decade of the game’s life unscathed. Rockstar did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Kotaku confirming all of the changes.
Unfortunately there’s no real way to escape the update. On PC some people have suggested keeping Steam in offline mode until backup files of the game can be created. Kotaku hasn’t tested this method but a few posters on GTA Forum say they’ve been successful with this method, provided they overwrite the new files later.
If you’ve got hard disk copies on PS3 or Xbox 360 you’ll want to keep those disconnected from the internet as well. Of course, you can always just blast your favorite tunes over Spotify or the old boombox instead rather than the in-game radio stations if you’re so inclined.