Believe it or not, Grand Theft Auto V came out almost exactly two years ago. Unlike its 2008 predecessor though, it’s not seen any story-focused DLC packs released. And f you’re still waiting for a current gen answer to GTA IV’s The Lost and the Damned or The Ballad of Gay Tony, brace yourself — they may never materialise, and Grand Theft Auto Online is to blame.
The multiplayer component of Rockstar Games‘ gangster hit launched shortly after the core game, going live for PS3 and Xbox 360 in October 2013. With the main game transitioning to PS4 and Xbox One last November, and PC in April this year, its online offshoot has become so popular that all resources are now being focused on the mode.
Rockstar’s design director Imran Sarwar told IGN that “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,” Sarwar added.
Rockstar had previously promised single-player GTA V expansions would arrive in 2014. In a December 2013 blog post, Rockstar teased that “for those ready to jump back into the story of Grand Theft Auto V, we have big plans for substantial additions in 2014 continuing Michael, Franklin and Trevor’s action, mayhem and unexpected adventures in Southern San Andreas.” To divert all talent away from those plans is a strong indicator of how immensely popular the online side has become.
Although GTA Online focus may put a (hopefully temporary) end to single player expansions, for those who are invested in the mode there’s good news. Next week sees the launch of Freemode Events. Every 12 minutes, a new event will spawn in the open world, ranging from “King of the Hill” territory shootouts to the more bizarre likes of werewolf-hunting “Hunt the Beast”. Participation is entirely optional, but there will be no lobby period or load times — simply jump into an active Freemode and compete for in-game cash and experience.