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Grand Theft Auto 5 story DLC was cut due to ‘cash cow’ GTA Online, dev says

Trevor firing an assault rifle in GTA 5.
Rockstar Games

Despite us being close to the Grand Theft Auto 6 launch, we’re still getting news and anecdotes from Grand Theft Auto 5‘s development. According to a former Rockstar Games developer, the game was set to get a story DLC, but that it was canceled in favor of GTA Online.

Joe Rubino guested on the SanInPlay YouTube channel, and you can watch the whole interview below. Rubino, who was an editor and did second-unit directing on the DLC, described it as “kickass” and “awesome,” but said that the success of GTA Online meant leaders at the company didn’t think it was worth investing in both projects. He didn’t offer up details on specifics, but said that Trevor actor Steven Ogg was involved.

Diretor da ROCKSTAR Joe Rubino revela DETALHES INÉDITOS da DLC do TREVOR… (Veja)

“When [GTA Online] came out, it was so much of a cash cow, and people were loving it so much that it was hard to make an argument that a standalone DLC would compete,” he said. “Looking back now, I would say that you could probably do both.”

While the free-to-play GTA Online was — and still is — popular, regularly bringing in tens of thousands of concurrent players on Steam, Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the top-selling games of all time. According to Take-Two Interactive’s February financials, it sold over 195 million copies to date. It even beat out a bunch of Call of Duty titles to become the top-selling game of the 2010s.

However, aspects of the project weren’t completely shelved. He noted that it was around “halfway” done, and elements were eventually incorporated into GTA Online. The teams were working on both GTA games and Red Dead Redemption 2 simultaneously, so when the DLC was scrapped, many of them moved over to GTA Online.

Rubino, who has since worked with Amazon Games and NetEase, also gave a bit more insight into the security situation around Rockstar Games — specifically the New York City office. He mentioned that you had to go through three levels of security to get to his part of the company, which handled a lot of the story and early parts of development.

Carli Velocci
Carli is a technology, culture, and games editor and journalist. They were the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief at Windows Central…
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