Grand Theft Auto 5 powering through 2017 in terms of popularity and sales, to close its most busy year, is nothing short of a miracle considering how old a title it is. Not much of note has happened yet in 2018, however looking back there is a bumpy road behind us, though the game provided more ups than downs. Let's take a look at some of the biggest successes and disappointments to rock the GTA community in 2017.
Overall, without delving into the positives and negatives, 2017 wasn't quite as eventful as 2016 was, what with the whole hacking crisis and the Great De-Moneying. Certainly a lot less negative events marred the positive aspects of 2017 though, such as the strides made in DLC. GTA Online activity increased significantly as more players have bought the best selling unbundled game of all time, and there is zero sign of things slowing down.
Without further ado, the highlights of the past year, in no particular order.
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The Doomsday Heist
Last December, out of nowhere, without any leaks or hints preceding it - in fact, Rockstar suggested that the previous DLC would be the last one of the year - the first DLC bringing new heists since, well, heists was announced. The Doomsday Heist was later reported to have been a repurposed version of the cancelled single player DLC that never happened.
Bringing some of the most content seen in any DLC, The Doomsday Heist for the first time provided GTA Online with some sort of end-game, added ludicrous sci-fi vehicles, an orbital cannon, and a ton of other goodies. It's the most influential update since Heists, and that's saying a lot.
DLC In General
2017 was a strong year in terms of DLC, with Gunrunning and Smuggler's Run being two major staples after The Doomsday Heist. While those other updates struggled to break away from the "supply-warehouse-sell" framework in terms of gameplay which Further Adventures in Finance and Felony introduced way back when, they all managed to put new spins on the concept while also delivering strong thematic content.
Gunrunning with its focus on military vehicles and gear, and Smuggler's Run with its focus on planes managed to somewhat diversify GTA Online's most engrained mechanics. New vehicles pushed the infamous Hydra into the background, go-to combat vehicles were traded for newer, better ones, and player tendencies evolved with the new focal points of activity on the map. More than in any year before, GTA Online was changing and evolving before our eyes.
Hacking Menus Shut Down
While we're still a fair ways from a hacker-free GTA Online, the situation has improved enormously compared to 2016. The game can no longer be called outright hacker-infested like it was during the worst periods of the year before. Modded transfer accounts on the current-gen consoles were ceased simply because the option to transfer characters is no longer available, whereas Rockstar has seemingly figured out cheat detection on PC.
A bunch of paid hacking menus have also been shut down this year. While all this means is that most of the affected hackers will move on to other ones, there is always some bleedoff and eventually their numbers will dwindle. Too long has GTA suffered from players paying for unfair advantages, however it seems that things are turning around.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Cross Promotion
This highlight spans franchises, which makes it even more special. Though to most players it likely was just a small, fun but forgettable diversion, fans of Red Dead Redemption 2 who are anticipating any crumb of info about the game had a field day when a scavenger hunt mission was added to GTA Online, allowing you to unlock a weapon skin in the future multiplayer mode of the Western.
While the hunt was also a decent way to score some quick pocket money, the golden and ivory revolver that players received was the main attraction. While the weapon isn't too impressive compared to the rest of GTA Online's arsenal, the true value of unlocking it lies in the weapon skin these Social Club accounts will have access to in Red Dead Online.
The Year Ahead
Looking forward, we hope and envision that 2018 will be a strong year for GTA Online as well. Already in January it hit the number one spot for sales in the UK, so the population isn't going anywhere, and with such a burgeoning business, Take-Two and Rockstar won't be ceasing content support anytime soon either.