GTA V Story Expansions Not “Possible or Necessary,” But Future Rockstar Games May Get Them

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Oct 23, 2017
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A lot has changed since Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online launched a little over four years ago. At first, GTA V was the headliner, but over the years GTA Online has become Rockstar’s main focus, receiving dozens of updates while the single-player GTA V experience has been left out in the cold. Why hasn’t GTA V received any story expansions? Is Grand Theft Auto primarily a multiplayer franchise now?

Game Informer recently discussed the success of GTA Online at length with Rockstar director of design Imran Sarwar, but, perhaps most interestingly, the interview also touched on GTA V and its lack of DLC. According to Sarwar, a single-player expansion simply isn’t necessary, but Rockstar isn’t ruling out the concept for future games.

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“As a company we love single-player more than anything, and believe in it absolutely – for storytelling and a sense of immersion in a world, multiplayer games don’t rival single-player games. With GTA V, the single-player game was absolutely massive and very, very complete. It was three games in one. The next-gen versions took a year of everyone’s time to get right, then GTA Online had a lot of potential, but to come close to realizing that potential also sucked up a lot of resources. Then there are other games, in particular Red Dead Redemption II. The combination of these three factors means for this game, we did not feel single-player expansions were either possible or necessary, but we may well do them for future projects.

At Rockstar, we will always have bandwidth issues because we are perfectionists and to make huge complex games takes a lot of time and resources. Not everything is always possible, but we still love single-player open-world games more than anything. I don’t think you could make a game like GTA V if you did not like single-player games and trying to expand their possibilities!”

Later in the interview, Sarwar touched on another reason Rockstar may have avoided doing paid expansions for GTA V…

“With GTA Online, we decided to give our players access to all updates for free, because it kept our players together and allows to make their own choices about what they want from each update and in what order. Everyone has access to everything and no one is forced to pay a lump sum for items they may not want or need. With both GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, we sold DLC and unfortunately both times, it fractured the audience and helped to kill the games much faster than they deserved.”

From a cost-benefit perspective, elaborate story-driven expansions probably aren’t the best use of Rockstar’s resources, so I understand them not doing any for GTA V. That said, I really hope we haven’t seen the last of them – expansions like Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare or GTA IV’s The Ballad of Gay Tony are some of the best things Rockstar has ever done.

What do you think? Do you want future Rockstar games like Red Dead Redemption 2 to have traditional story-driven expansions, or do you prefer the “numerous smaller free updates” GTA Online approach?

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