Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s life cycle has witnessed a couple or more exclusive partnerships between third party publishers/developers and platform holders. Among these, you will surely remember the one that led to a long period of temporary exclusive regarding Grand Theft Auto IV’s paid single-player expansions, The Lost And Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Both of them were amazing, although I preferred the latter, and luckily enough they eventually arrived on PlayStation 3 and PC at the end of the deal between Take-Two and Microsoft, too. The point is, they existed, at least. Now that GTA V is on the market, seems like Rockstar Games has completely given up on single-player premium expansions like those. Is this really happening? If yes, why?
Let’s take a look at the latest statements coming from the New York based developer, first, since they basically reverted previous official comments on the matter.
“Right now our focus is on GTA Online which has exceeded our expectations. We currently have all key members of the team that launched Grand Theft Auto V focused on supporting GTA Online in every capacity. The community we’ve been able to foster is massive, growing each day and we have so many ideas that have yet to make it into the game. The evolution of GTA Online on these newer platforms is also an exciting prospect as the power of those systems is going to allow us to achieve even more.”
This is what Rockstar Games said, in synthesis, in an interview with IGN, detailing the studio’s vision about paid single-player expansions for Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar sincerely admitted that they’re focusing on GTA Online as it is more remunerative and working on something like single-player, story-based add-ons requires a bigger staff than they currently have.
So the answer the our first question looks to be “yes”: the developer is giving up, at least now, on a DLC expanding the story of Trevor, Michael and Franklin, or introducing some new characters and locations into the single-player mode. We also dealt with the reasons why they’re doing something like that: GTA Online is a great platform to make money and they want to focus on what suits best this need of having something profitable until it is profitable.
I understand that. I also understand that people asking for single-player, story-based expansions are just a little percentage of those currently playing GTA V, as many other gamers and friends of mine see GTA Online as something that doesn’t even require the main title to work. They just want new contents to invest on and play, since those feel like fresh experience that make the game different every day.
Gamers discussing their opinions on the Internet are just a minority, that has a say when it comes to blaming people on social networks… but sales are a completely different matter, they tell an absolutely alternative reality to that. This is basically the reason why seeing u-turns like Microsoft’s with Xbox One always-online DRM is so rare and surprising: companies have their decisions, make their mistakes, but they do that on their own, based on their data, which also includes fan feedback in a smaller measure – usually after an open beta testing.
Anyway, getting back to the point and if we don’t want to believe the American software house’s working on a paid expansion, we have two scenarios possibly happening. I think in the future we will have GTA Online as a standalone platform, which won’t depend on the main game cyclically released by Rockstar Games and Take-Two. The way the developer is working on it, completely “forgetting” about all the rest, and the way community is dealing with it really suggest that option and probably that would be the best for everyone.
Single-player users wouldn’t have to care about a multiplayer component that “steals” Rockstar’s resources in terms of money and staff, and also betrays their original vision for the franchise. Multiplayer lovers wouldn’t have to pay 70 bucks to have a satisfying online experience, as the platform would be free-to-play; so you download the game and pay just for what you want.
The second scenario, which isn’t opposite at all to the first, is Rockstar Games developing at least one single-player story-based expansion for GTA V and releasing it in the second half of 2016. That would suit properly Rockstar’s view when it comes to years passing from one main release to another, and would help the studio having a more consistent presence on the market without harming the brand with too many iterations. They could even release a second expansion in 2017, now that they have a current-gen game out there with the Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions, and announce GTA VI/6 in 2018.
That would work, in my opinion. What’s your thought about it? Is Rockstar Games developing or even scheduling one or multiple single-player story-based expansion for Grand Theft Auto V? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.