After nearly a year of promises, delays, and misinformation, Rockstar Games finally confirmed that the Grand Theft Auto Online heist missions were on the way, and there was much rejoicing among the GTA fan base. Heists have been all most Grand Theft Auto players could think about over the past few months, with many wondering why the missions were taking so long.
However, amidst thoughts of Grand Theft Auto Online heist missions and the release of Grand Theft Auto 5's current-gen ports, an important part of the GTA ecosystem seems to have been forgotten in the process. We want to know what happened to Grand Theft Auto 5’s story DLC?
While Rockstar Games never promised any type of post-release story DLC at launch, most assumed there was more campaign content on the way. There were even some small teases made by Rockstar’s PR team and by voice actors, but again nothing was made official.
At the same time, though, Rockstar was out there touting heists as a major part of the Grand Theft Auto Online experience, promising that these missions would take the creativity shown in the single player heists and expand them to the multiplayer space. In a lot of ways, heists represented the singular vision gamers had when they thought of Grand Theft Auto cooperative multiplayer.
But something got in the way. Before Rockstar Games could make good on their promise to deliver heists, they had more important work: Grand Theft Auto 5 ports for current-gen. Announced in May of last year, these ports were simply a formality, an expectation really, but required tons of development man hours nonetheless.
As a result, the heists were put on the back burner until Rockstar Games could get at least the console ports ready for release, and in November of 2014, PS4 and Xbox One versions of Grand Theft Auto 5 hit. Curiously, though, where many HD remakes or remasters feature a game’s previously released DLC, Grand Theft Auto 5 had nothing additional to offer content wise, only a first person view. However, because most players were still focused on the missing heists, few failed to realize the lack of news about story DLC.
Thankfully, in late December, Rockstar finally revealed that story DLC, or at least what sounds like story DLC, was in development. But even then, that doesn't overshadow the long gap between release and story DLC.
So what happened? Why did it take so long for Rockstar to support the single player portion of Grand Theft Auto 5, arguably the main reason millions of people bought the game? While we may never get an official answer from Rockstar, it seems likely that work on what were deemed more pressing matters got in the way. First there were heists, which would keep players invested (and hopefully paying into) the GTA Online experience. Then came the current-gen ports, which likely put heists on the back burner. And now we’re back waiting for heists again.
But what’s strange about all this is that these decisions were made knowing that Grand Theft Auto DLC releases have been very successful in the past. The Ballad of Gay Tony for GTA 4, for example, was a critically acclaimed piece of bonus story content that arguably told a better story than the main game.
Story is arguably Rockstar’s greatest strength, and a facet of the experience few doubt going in. They know that, if nothing else, each Grand Theft Auto title will try to tell a compelling story filled with colorful characters. Heists, on the other hand, are an unknown quantity for a multiplayer component that many found flawed from the get-go, and yet Rockstar is willing to bank on them before story DLC? It seems strange.
The other main question surrounding story DLC is whether gamers will still be interested whenever it launches. Granted, Rockstar typically takes a year to develop their post-release content, but by the time these pieces launch it could be closer to two years. Coming off of Grand Theft Auto 5 in September 2013, we’d bet that plenty of gamers were excited for more adventures with Trevor, Franklin, and Michael, but are they now?
Thankfully, Rockstar has earned enough clout to play by their own rules and release content at their own pace; it’s just something fans must accept. Still, it seems strange to think that in the time since Grand Theft Auto 5’s launch the focus has been on everything but story DLC.
Do you think we will ever see any Grand Theft Auto 5 story DLC? What do you think Rockstar Games’ priorities were?