As promised, Rockstar Games finally confirmed a highly anticipated and of-requested feature was finally making its way to the Grand Theft Auto universe: online multiplayer. While multiplayer isn’t exactly something new for the franchise, how Rockstar plans to implement it in Grand Theft Auto 5 could be pretty revolutionary.

In fact, Grand Theft Auto Online is such a sought after feature that many wondered whether Rockstar could package the multiplayer as its own standalone experience and sell it. Save for a few other titles, like Elder Scrolls Online for example, gamers have been requesting something like Grand Theft Auto Online for more than a decade now, so much so that they would likely pay for that experience and forgo the single player story altogether.

As it stands now, however, Grand Theft Auto Online is a free “add-on” for GTA 5 set to hit two weeks after the proper game’s release on September 17th. And, unfortunately, it’s likely to stay a free add-on. In a statement to Polygon, Rockstar confirmed that there are no plans to sell Grand Theft Auto Online as a standalone release.

“We don’t have any plans to sell GTA Online separately. It will come free with every copy of GTA V and doesn’t require a code, online pass, or anything like that.”

And even if they did want to, it sounds like Grand Theft Auto Online is built directly into GTA 5‘s infrastructure. Gamers launch the experience straight from their GTA 5 campaign, and the multiplayer uses that game’s sprawling open world of Los Santos as its setting.

Grand Theft Auto Online - Competitive Mode

It might be strange to consider that some gamers aren’t looking forward to experiencing the story of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin but there are likely those people out there. Yes, a 16-player online experience isn’t exactly what we imagined when we thought GTA Online, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and worth checking out. For now, though, gamers that want to try GTA Online out will have to purchase Grand Theft Auto 5 for full price.

Grand Theft Auto Online will hit on October 1st, about two weeks after the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5. In case anyone forgets, though, a handy timer will appear in the fourth character slot will be there as a helpful reminder.

More importantly, the experience is entirely free and Rockstar promises to keep it well stocked with new content and features. And maybe if it’s a hit, the next GTA title we hear about will be a proper Grand Theft Auto Online, an MMO open world crime game.

Do you think Rockstar should sell Grand Theft Auto Online separately? Which are you more interested in: GTA Online or the GTA 5 story?

Grand Theft Auto 5 is out September 17, 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PS3. A PC version might be in the works, but it’s just rumors at this point.

Source: Polygon