If you were wondering why Rockstar became so generous as to offer double GTA$ on export missions in recent weeks, now you know why: a new major update is on its way!
Drawing inspiration from another Rockstar IP, which is in no way related to the content of this update, the name of the next big GTA Online DLC is Smuggler's Run.
Smuggler's Run was a two-part series which saw players taking contraband cargo from point A to B across a wide open map with buggies and armored cars. This is why Smuggler's Run, the update, is about... WW2 planes carpet bombing Los Santos?
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So, yeah, the choice of name is a tad odd, but the update itself looks great, as shown off in the trailer above.
The premise is that Nervous Ron, one of Trevor's cohorts from the game's story mode, wants the GTA Online protagonist to get involved in his smuggling business, which primarily operates in the air. He'll be giving us missions in the DLC, while his mechanic friend Charlie will keep your planes up to snuff.
Yep, planes. For planes will be the new gimmick vehicle in the upcoming DLC, with a number of new aircraft being added (helicopters included). These will be highly customizable and upgradable, so expect Benny's Original Motorworks levels of tweaking here.
Many of the most requested vehicles are included, such as the Hunter which was showcased in Grand Theft Auto 5 trailers, but eventually scrapped (we actually wished for this vehicle back when Gunrunning wasn't out yet), and the Rustler, a WWII fighter jet. The Skylift from the game's story mode will also make a return.
Your new fleet of planes, helicopters and ultralights will need a place to stay when you're not using them for a smuggling mission. This means a new kind of property, which are hangars this time around, to fit the theme. As was the case with most major updates recently, buying such a specialized property will be what unlocks most of the DLC content, including the new missions.
We don't know what kind pricing to expect, but you shouldn't hope to be let off the hook with a sub-million cheap option. Warehouses from those DLCs that relied on them were often cheaper than the main properties, and based on the trailer, we'll get a new set of warehouses anyway, so get ready to blow a lot of cash just on the hangar.
That said, the new planes and helicopters will be the biggest money sink in this DLC for sure. Rockstar will be adding quite a few of them, and with full customization options, you can bet that these vehicles will chew into your funds handsomely.
While Rockstar may have released a trailer for the upcoming update, this time around their explanation of what's what in it is sparse. We'll likely only get a full FAQ on the Newswire then the DLC is released next Tuesday, August 29.
One thing the trailer makes clear is that the new content is going to be very violent and action-packed, as opposed to being about "smuggling", which typically goes unnoticed when done right. Several shots of massive dogfights between multiple planes, the turrets of a flying fortress ripping through attackers, and other similar scenes set the stage.
Maybe it's just going to be a game mechanic that every time you smuggle, something will go wrong.
One element of the upcoming DLC has fans already worried, however. When we joked about carpet-bombing Los Santos earlier, we were only half joking, since it actually happens in the trailer. If one of the planes will allow you to do this in Freemode, completing any kind of business deliveries will become an impossible task.
Think about it - with Hydras and Oppressors, things are hard enough. But when some jock comes around in his bomber and flattens, say, four high-value export vehicles you are delivering with your friends, or he destroys a special crate delivery by re-enacting Dresden, playing in solo public lobbies will be all the more enticing.
Of course, a new DLC theme means new clothing, so we'll be getting a wider variety of pilot apparel with the update. The trailers showed off new helmets and jumpsuits, but Rockstar usually packs dozens of new clothing options into these updates so your GTA Online wardrobe is going to get a whole lot bigger.
Rockstar also revealed some of their further reaching plans for GTA Online. Beyond releasing Smuggler's Run, they'll be adding post-launch weekly aircraft and cars. Up until this point, we only ever got cars and bikes as weekly mini-DLC, so adding further planes and helicopters seems like a nice change of pace.
Obviously, more Adversary Modes are coming, and Rockstar revealed that they have updates planned for both Halloween and Christmas this year. In 2016, Halloween was just a retread of 2015's DLC, which introduced the Slasher Adversary Mode. Incidentally, Slasher is also based on another Rockstar game property, Manhunt.
We'll be getting a full fledged update this year though, or so it seems. The holiday season always brings snow to the otherwise perpetually sunny Los Santos, but we can expect more this time around as well.
However, the biggest 'one more thing' on the list is another Cunning Stunts-style update which focuses on races, but divorces itself from the spectacle of having you jump over deathtraps a thousand meters in the sky.
Transformation Races are, unfortunately, not related to massive robots turning into vehicles at all. As cool as that may be, it would be a licensing nightmare to actually pull off. No, Transformation Races will be special circuits which take land, sea and air races, and mash them all together.
As you progress through the track, you'll occasionally encounter checkpoints which instantly turn your vehicle into a boat or plane. We're not sure whether these are automatically chosen, or if the player selects them prior to beginning the race. You'll need to be skilled in the piloting of all three types, which have fairly different controls, and you'll need to adapt to the swiftly changing environment.
Of course, the team continues to urge players to keep sending them feedback via e-mail, so that they can incorporate suggestions into the game. Rockstar has proven plenty of times in the past that they heed these suggestions, most notably proven by the Bikers update last year. While the way Transformation races were described, it is possible that Smuggler's Run will be the last major update of this year, but you can bet on further big DLCs coming in 2018.
GTA Online: Smuggler's Run launches next Tuesday, August 29.