It would appear that after two years of speculation from fans and teases from Rockstar Games, the storied developer has finally confirmed that their critically acclaimed open world action adventure Grand Theft Auto V will not be getting any single player downloadable content.
The news comes from an interview with Rockstar North’s director of design Imran Sarwar, conducted by IGN. When questioned about the possibility of a story expansion, Sarwar responded: “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.”
Only several month’s after the game’s initial release Rockstar confirmed story based downloadable content in a post on their website which read “GTAV Story Mode Updates: 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.” But 2014 came and went without another word from Rockstar about the expansion, save for a brief mention in another blog post and an interview with Shawn Fonteno, Franklin’s voice actor, who reiterated it’s existence and described it as “big”.
I suppose the further we got away from Grand Theft Auto V‘s original release date, the more unlikely such a release became, but red flags should have been raised after a Take-Two Interactive (of which Rockstar Games is a subsidiary) earnings call in May of this year, during which an analyst asked Take-Two Interactive’s CEO Strauss Zelnick the following question: “When you originally launched GTA V, I believe that you had said that there was going to be some story-based DLC content shipping eventually. And obviously we’re [now] over a year past the game’s launch. Is that still something that you have planned? I’m sure you’re not going to talk about timing, but is that something that’s still in the pipeline for you guys?” Zelnick responded: “No, we haven’t discussed any story-based downloadable content. We did talk about the Heists and they’ve been released.” Analyst: “But I am correct in remembering that you had talked about that around the launch of the game?” Zelnick: “Uhh, we have different recollections.”
While Take-Two Interactive did issue a statement later that day saying “Strauss misspoke during today’s call, as over a year ago, Rockstar Games had said that they were exploring story mode content for Grand Theft Auto V; however, no further information has been released since. As always, we leave it to Rockstar Games to share information about their games when they’re ready.” In retrospect the writing was pretty much on the wall wasn’t it?
Grand Theft Auto V originally launched on September 17th, 2013 (making this Thursday it’s second birthday) on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game received universal acclaim for it’s story, open world, acting and gameplay. In November of 2014 Rockstar released a substantially reworked port on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, featuring greatly enhanced graphics, new open world events and a first-person mode. That was followed earlier this year by the much requested PC version. The game has been an extraordinarily successful enterprise for Rockstar Games and their parent company Take-Two Interactive. The game remains the fastest selling entertainment product in history, bringing in US $800 million on it’s first day on store shelves and passing US $1 billion after it’s third day. By comparison Jurassic World, the movie to cross US $1 billion the fastest, took thirteen days to reach that mark. It is currently the fourth best selling video game of all time with 54 million copies sold. That’s the entire population of Australia more than twice over. It’s also a lot of potential purchasers of story DLC. The game is trailing behind Minecraft at number three with 70 million copies sold, Wii Sports (which is kind of cheating because it includes the copies that were bundled with the Wii system) at 82 million copies sold and the portable version of Tetris at 100 million copies sold.
In all likelihood we’ll be seeing another Rockstar game soon anyway. The company owns an additional six studios as well as Rockstar North, and a few of them are definitely due a game. The only question is what will it be? Another Red Dead? Max Payne 4? Bully 2? Something else entirely? Personally, my fingers are crossed for a Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis sequel. Finally the true power of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One will be unleashed!