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Ex-Rockstar dev says GTA Online got so big, it killed GTA 5's story DLC

GTA V's multiplayer has been such a beast unto itself, it's very nearly consumed the idea of what Grand Theft Auto is these days.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

July 5, 2024

2 Min Read
Key art for Grand Theft Auto Online.
Image via Rockstar Games.

Joseph Rubino, a former cinematics editor for Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V, suggested the game's planned story DLC was scrapped once Grand Theft Auto Online grew into such a gargantuan hit.

Talking to SanInPlay, Rubino revealed he was at work on an expansion focused on Trevor, one of the game's co-leads. Story DLC for each lead was previously datamined, and Trevor's actor Steven Ogg mentioned its existence in April.

Per Rubino, prioritizing GTA V's multiplayer marked a shift in Rockstar's hopes for the open-world game. It was such a "cash cow" that he claims the studio didn't think single-player expansions would be able to properly stand beside it.

"I think looking back now I would say that you could probably do both, but that was a business decision that they made," he added. Further adding to the sting was the DLC was quite a ways into development before it got cut, which he admitted made him "a little upset." Even so, he said "a lot" of that expansion was put into GTA Online. "It's not like they wasted it," he acknowledged. "It was really, really good."

GTA Online has been so ever-present that players understandably thought this would just be the series now. As GTA V has changed consoles over the last 11 years, the multiplayer has been its one constant. In a way, this supports Naughty Dog's fear for its now-junked Last of Us multiplayer game.

Even with Red Dead Redemption II and soon Grand Theft Auto 6, Rockstar has effectively become a full-time live-service studio through this game. GTA 6 is expected to release in 2025. Time will tell if Rockstar is going to commit another 11 years to GTA Online, or what it plans to do with the component once the sequel releases.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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