The remastered Grand Theft Auto: Trilogy appears to be leaving the Confederate flag behind based on its recent trailer. Revealed last week, the footage offers a brief glimpse of arms dealer Phil Cassidy, but this time without the symbol of Southern slavery on his shirt.
Cassidy, a recurring GTA character, is only visible for a split second in the new trailer, but at 0:34 you can clearly see him sporting a black t-shirt with a skull across the front instead of his usual Confederate flag. It’s unclear if this means that all depictions of the Confederate flag have been removed from the remasters, though it seems unlikely that Rockstar Games would make that alteration only for the trailer.
The studio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A gun freak and drunk, Cassidy appears in GTA III, Vice City, Liberty City Stories, and Vice City Stories. Vice City is where he’s featured the most prominently, however, and it’s the only game in which he’s wearing the Confederate flag on his clothes. Over the course of the games, Cassidy loses one of his arms when one of his moonshine bombs accidentally explodes, and is generally an arsehole fuckup, so it’s not exactly an endorsement of the symbol.
The Confederate flag, long a symbol of Southern states igniting a bloody Civil War in defence of slavery, has recently come under renewed scrutiny as more and more white people realise how racist it is. Apple removed games that featured it from the App Store back in 2015. Just last year, Twitch banned the Confederate flag from appearing anywhere on its streaming platform.
It’s also become increasingly common for studios to cut other offensive content from games before re-releasing them. Just this month, Capcom removed suggestive comments and upskirting from its new VR version of Resident Evil 4, though the original version of the game is still available on Steam. In Rockstar’s case, GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas were removed from sale prior to the Trilogy’s arrival on November 11.