Time for those rumors about Liberty City being added to GTA 5 to start up again, it seems. The idea that down the line, Rockstar will add multiple cities to their newest flagship title has been floating around since before initial launch - and originated from Rockstar itself. Specifically, Leslie Benzies (who isn't affiliated with Rockstar anymore - in fact, quite the opposite) stated that they have toyed around with the idea of eventually adding new cities as DLC, with every GTA city being present in one massive map in the future.
Of course, this is far from any kind of confirmation. All he said was that the company considered the plan - nothing about actually implementing it. Add to that Leslie's departure and the simple fact that plans change over the course of years based on demand, the dream of GTA 5 containing every city from Los Santos through Vice City and Las Venturas all the way to Liberty City might never be more than a dream.
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This didn't stop the community from spreading rumors, though. Alleged leaks "confirming" Liberty City being added to the game along with Single Player DLC popped up every half-year or so. At one point Franklin's voice actor, Shawn Fonteno trolled the community with a similar joke. However, all of these turned out to be fakes and over time the community became more and more skeptical whenever a similar claim surfaced.
However, with the recent announcements about Rockstar showing off some heavy hitters at this year's E3 (Which is just two weeks away), the community has become a tad more receptive of rumors and speculation. More and more often has the idea of new cities being added to GTA Online been tossed up.
So it might seem like a bit more than a coincidence that one of the 3D artists working for Rockstar Games has recently updated their portfolio page with a screenshot of a graphically upgraded and slightly changed location in Liberty City from GTA IV.
Now, this can mean one of three things, one of which is extremely exciting, another less so, while the third pretty disappointing. Only time will tell which of the scenarios comes to pass, but let's hope we get the answer as soon as E3. Rockstar has historically avoided E3 and other large gaming events, however Take-Two has stated that they will be present this time around.
Firstly, let's let hope reign supreme and say that yes, that indeed means that Liberty City is coming to GTA 5. It could either be the highly sought-after Story DLC that the whole community has been waiting for practically since launch, or an expansion of GTA Online.
Since story DLC has been leaked, rumored, leaked again and debunked over and over again, it comes up as one of the most desired yet least likely candidates in this situation. Taking Franklin to LC would allow Rockstar to continue the story without forcing them to canonize any ending, while letting players re-unite with characters from previous games (such as Niko Bellic).
Then again, the option that this will be an Online only expansion seems more likely. GTA Online is a massive cash cow right now, with Shark Cards generating massive amounts of revenue for the company. Why would they spend large amounts of funds on developing a high-quality and solid piece of Story DLC on the scale of the main game that only a fraction of their player base will buy once, when they can spend those funds on a highly interactive new continent for Online where players will have more incentive to keep buying Shark Cards?
They could include old characters (Once again, Niko) as contacts who would provide players with missions. They could port a motherload of vehicles that appeared in GTA IV with little effort. They could fill up the map with various side-activities and make a handful of new jobs for each category. Throw in insanely expensive penthouse properties (knowing real estate prices in Manhattan, yachts would look like dinghys next to these apartments) to drive up Shark Card sales and voila.
The other, less exciting possibility is that Rockstar will release a remastered version of GTA IV for the current gen consoles. It would probably include the two DLC campaigns as well as powered-up visuals, alongside some of the features from 5 such as the Rockstar Editor, first person mode and Snapmatic. Seeing as the remaster trend is pretty popular in the AAA gaming scene, this is likely. It's a low-risk investment with guaranteed profit.
We've explored the idea of Rockstar remastering some of the older, 3D era games with modern graphics, seeing as they have been re-released on mobile platforms recently featuring new control schemes and marginally better visuals.
The final possibility is that it's merely a personal side-project for the artist, where he played around with that small section of Liberty City and upgraded the visuals just as a portfolio item. Seeing as the remake/remaster trend is big in gaming right now as we mentioned earlier, some employers might be looking for artists skilled in bringing existing assets up to date as well as in the creation of new assets.
However, some other factors are at play here as well. Adrian Page, the artist whose site the image originates from, still works at Rockstar. If he had shared an image of a WIP project that has yet to be announced, he'd be facing some repercussions. He was probably authorized to share that image on his portfolio, making the third option the most likely - despite being the least favorable.
In more recent news, GTA Online is getting its share of DLCs before E3 even comes around. Rockstar recently shared their plans for the next few months, including a large scale follow-up to Executives and Other Criminals as well as an overhaul to the Content Creator.
Further Adventures in Finance and Felony will launch on the 7th of June and will add a whole lot of content to Online, including new vehicles, new mission types as well as a few weapons and clothes. The missions will be focused on VIPs fighting their way to the top of Los Santos' black market hierarchy.
A recent leak regarding that DLC has possibly revealed the other vehicles and some of the weapons that will be added alongside the Pegassi Reaper hypercar. These might include an Armored Oracle in terms of vehicles and a programmable AR for weapons.
The other DLC that Rockstar plans on releasing during the summer is Stunt Ready, which will add a host of new vehicles designed specifically for stunting, as well as adding countless new props and features to the Content Creator.
A recent decision by Rockstar to disable the option to stack props, or to even place them in close proximity to one another has riled the community up a tad. The explanation was that doing this could cause holes to appear in the map, however Rockstar is working on ways to fix the bug while enabling prop stacking. This is probably the main factor that will decide the release date of the Stunt Ready DLC.
Would you like to see Liberty City ported to GTA Online as an expansion, or would you prefer to see it appear as single player content?