After being a frequent topic of discussion amongst fans for years now, Rockstar has finally given a semi-official statement regarding why Grand Theft Auto 5 never got any singleplayer DLC to expand the storyline.
In a recent interview with Game Informer about the development and evolution of GTA Online, Director of Design Imran Sarwar gave an answer about why GTA 5 didn't end up getting any post-launch single-player story content, even though its predecessor got two full expansions.
Another reason why story DLC has been such a topic of speculation is an announcement made by Rockstar on the Newswire not long after the game's initial launch, which spoke of upcoming content that will expand upon the story of Trevor, Franklin and Michael.
As such, the community's befuddlement over the absence of single player DLC isn't completely baseless. Most of the speculation as to why it never materialized pointed at the success of GTA Online.
While Sarwar finally gives us what amounts to the official answer to the question, nowhere in his statement is the original announcement referenced.
No, it was not really a conscious decision, it’s just what happened. With GTA V, the single-player game was absolutely massive and very, very complete. It was three games in one. The next-gen versions took a year of everyone’s time to get right, then the online component had a lot of potential but to come close to realizing that potential, also sucked up a lot of resources. And then there are other games – in particular Red Dead Redemption II. The combination of these three factors means for this game, we did not feel single-player expansions were either possible or necessary.
It was no secret that Rockstar's resources were pretty heavily taxed.
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Even before we knew about Red Dead Redemption 2 being in the works, it was widely known that something was being developed (well, somethings, really). Additionally, GTA 5's staggered release over the course of three years also spread the development of the ports into the years that the game was already live on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
However, the general assumption was that a company the size of Rockstar Games could easily facilitate the production of single-player DLC, provided they prioritized it over Online DLC. It seems the immense profitability of the multiplayer component has prevented that from happening.
GTA Online's runaway success has often been blamed for the lack of story DLC, and while Sarwar's comments don't reflect this, it is still likely what happened in the background. The initial announcement on the Newswire indicates that at an early point in the game's lifecycle the developers did indeed think a single player expansion was both possible and necessary.
However, the lack of singleplayer DLC has had fans worried about the future of Rockstar Games, and whether other projects will see lessened focus turned to the solo experience. Sarwar wanted to put these fears to rest:
We would love to do more single-player add-ons for games in the future. As a company, we love single-player more than anything, and believe in it absolutely – for storytelling and a sense of immersion in a world, multiplayer games don’t rival single-player games.
This should be a good indicator of what to expect for Red Dead Redemption 2, for example. We know the game will include a multiplayer mode similar to GTA Online, but many people worried that it would take up even more of the game's bulk and content - this comment indicates the opposite.
Well, there you have it folks - one of the longest standing questions that has plagued the GTA 5 fandom has been answered.