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Where On Earth Is GTA 5's Story DLC?

Sunday, July 12, 2015 8:18:57 PM America/Los_Angeles

In 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 set a seemingly untouchable day one sales recording, bringing in an $800M haul in 24 hours for Take-Two. Since then, the various versions of GTA 5 have sold more than 50 million copies, putting it behind only Tetris, Wii Sports and Minecraft in terms of lifetime total sales.

Why then, in this age of post-game content support, has GTA 5 never released any story DLC, particularly when Rockstar has shown they’re capable of creating great extra content in the past?

 

Rockstar has continued to work on GTA 5 after launch, but most of that has been ports for PC and new-gen consoles, and support for Grand Theft Auto Online, the game’s online multiplayer mode where new content is released periodically. Putting co-op heists into GTA Online was one of Rockstar’s longest-running projects, and was finally completed this year after being delayed for eons.

Yet through all of this, we’ve heard next to nothing about story DLC for the game. Way back at launch, it was announced that Michael, Trevor and Franklin would return in story DLC in 2014. The year came and went, and now midway through 2015, we’ve still heard literally nothing about story DLC for the game, indicating that if it is still being worked on, we probably won’t see it until 2016, closer to three years after the release of the original game.

Two months ago, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick was on an earnings call and asked about why story DLC was MIA for the game, and proceeded to try and convince the investor that it had never been promised in the first place. The exchange is pretty remarkable:

 

Doug L. Creutz – Cowen & Co. LLC

When you had 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 where your past (36:32) game launch. Is that still something that you have planned? And I’m sure you’re not going to talk about timing but is there still something that’s in the pipeline for you guys, eventually? Thank you.

Strauss H. Zelnick – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

No, we haven’t discussed any story-based downloadable content. We did talk about the Heists and they’ve been released.

Doug L. Creutz – Cowen & Co. LLC

But I am correct in remembering that you had talked about that around the launch of the game?

Strauss H. Zelnick – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

We have different recollections.

Take Two later issued a statement to clarify that Zelnick “misspoke” and that DLC plans were left entirely to Rockstar who could announce whatever they wanted when they saw fit. But again, Rockstar has been almost entirely mute about future story content for Grand Theft Auto 5 now years since launch.

It may very well be the financially sound decision to focus on more multiplayer content for GTA Online to keep those microtransactions rolling in, but it’s odd they haven’t managed to keep Online updated while also coming out with new single-player story DLC for the game. When your game sells 50 million copies in one form or another, you would think you’d really want to put out extra $15-20 content packs while you still had the interest of your fanbase. Now, waiting this long, Rockstar may run into some problems.

Take someone like me, for example, who played GTA 5 at launch for a solid hundred hours on Xbox 360. I would have easily bought new DLC for the game 3-9 months after launch, but now? I’ve moved on to Xbox One, which puts me in the awkward situation of either having to re-buy the new-gen version of the game, or to get my 360 out of mothballs to play the DLC when it comes out. By waiting so long, they very well may have lost my sale.

It’s a shame that Rockstar seems to be so hesitant to release GTA 5 story DLC because frankly, they do DLC better than almost anyone else in the business. In GTA IV, The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony were phenomenal content packs, but again, back then Rockstar wasn’t focusing on their online mode or worrying about porting the game.

I’m not saying GTA 5 has abandoned story DLC altogether, but Rockstar is being shockingly uncommunicative with its future plans. Maybe that’s wise considering whenever they put a solid date on something it ends up being delayed multiple times thereafter, but still, it seems strange to have one of the most successful games of all time on your hands and wait years to release new story content for it after many players are likely to have lost interest. That seems like it’s leaving money on the table.

Perhaps it was necessary to prioritize ports and GTA Online support over story DLC, but years with almost no information is more than most fans can tolerate. Releasing story DLC closer to launch could have easily turned millions of $60 purchases into millions of $80-100 purchases instead, but every day that goes by at this point likely means that more and more players are moving on. If Rockstar does still have GTA 5 DLC plans, it’s something they need to share sooner rather than later.

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Posted in Grand Theft Auto Gta By

Paul