Take a closer look at GTA Online’s upcoming Heists

In anticipation of the impending release of cooperative heists in GTA Online, Rockstar Games has released a new gallery of images and a brief teaser trailer. The long-anticipated heists will arrive in GTA Online via a free update on March 10, 2015.

The action images of masked men with a variety of guns and vehicles look exciting, but are nothing particularly new. Heists rely on the same gameplay mechanics as the rest of the game, such as gunplay, road chases, parachuting, etc.

The most interesting revelations come from the menu screens. The planning board for the Humane Lab Raid, for instance, divides the heist into nine discrete sub-objectives. Unlike regular missions and activities in GTA Online, heists are distinguished by their many moving pieces and multiple phases, requiring the careful coordination of all players involved to succeed.

There is also an upfront Setup Cost of $54,000 in the given example, meaning you can’t just come in off the street for one of these missions–a certain amount of establishment is required to take part. Heist leaders need to be at least rank 12 and own a high end apartment. After meeting those requirements, Lester contacts the player and then adds a Heist Room to their apartment (shown in the trailer), from which operations can be planned. The leader must pay the initial costs and invite the other characters, but the hope is that this will be recouped in the mission itself.

The rewards are also proportionally great to their requirements. In the Humane Lab Raid, the ultimate take is shown to be $540,000. The percentage cut of that which each player takes home is set by the leader before beginning. In the given example, all four players are taking an equal 25-percent share of the spoils, but any distribution can be agreed upon.

Heists, one of the most popular features in the story portion of Grand Theft Auto V, were previously scheduled for a spring 2014 release on GTA Online, but were delayed for further tuning. Rockstar producer Imran Sarwar explained to IGN in December 2014 that the delay came from a desire to make sure every player’s experience was fun and interesting, which was much trickier to balance than in the single player variant.

“They just turned out to be a lot more difficult than we originally thought. One of the challenges is that unlike a heist in Story Mode, every player needs to feel central to the action at all times, and that’s much more challenging than it appears. Some missions have all players working as one unit, some require players to take on specific tasks like hacking or crowd control, while others require players to split into smaller teams to complete separate high value objectives.”

Cooperative heists hit GTA Online on March 10 as a free update, alongside new competitive modes. GamesRadar has written an extensive hands-on if you’re hungry for more particulars. The Windows release of GTA V and GTA Online will follow on April 14.

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