Welcome to Los Santos, Please Insert Disc #4


Now entering Downtown Los Santos, please insert disc #4.

Update: Rockstar Games has officially confirmed that the Xbox 360 version of GTA 5 will ship on two discs. The PS3 version is one disc. Read the details here.

Are those the words you Xbox 360 owners want to see flash across your screen while you’re exploring the world in Grand Theft Auto V? Didn’t think so.

What Rockstar Games is going to do given the limited data capacity of the DVD9 discs that the Xbox 360 is stuck with is quite an interesting topic.  Of course it doesn’t apply to the PS3, the other platform that GTA 5 will be released on, given it has Blu-ray.  Similarly, the inevitable PC and next-generation versions of the game will not be constrained by this problem.

So what are Xbox 360 owners going to do?

First things first:  will the game actually be bigger than 8.5GB (actually, they’ve got a little less than that to work with due to proprietary files required on each 360 disc)?  Most likely it will be, yes. Rockstar has already confirmed that the map in Grand Theft Auto 5 will be around 3.5 times larger than that in Red Dead Redemption. That’s a heck of a lot more data.  And the thing is that even the Game of the Year Edition of RDR came on two discs… Yes, one disc was for single player and the other disc for multiplayer (ie the map and storyline actually fit on one disc), but the fact they needed a second disc for the multiplayer map says that disc one was pretty full. And if one disc is full of Red Dead Redemption maps that are less than 30% the total size of the maps in GTA V, you can see that problems are going to arise.  in all likelihood, GTA V will be bigger than one DVD9 disc.

Turning to potential solutions, let’s look at the hard-drive install option/theory.  Yes, you should be able to install the game to your expanded Xbox 360 hard-drive and not need to swap discs at all.  However, Microsoft are highly unlikely to let Rockstar simply make this mandatory in order to play the game.  This is because of the 4GB Xbox 360 consoles floating around.  If you wanted to play GTA V and had one of these, you’d basically need to purchase a whole new hard-drive (which you really don’t want to do, particularly at the end of a product’s lifecycle!).  So we think it’s safe to say that the mandatory install option is out.

So what about going down the route of RDR: GOTY edition and putting single player on one disc and multiplayer on another.  This is illogical.  Rockstar have already said you’ll be able to jump into the multiplayer part of the game simply by pressing down on the d-pad.  Pressing down on d-pad, and then having to swap discs, just doesn’t make sense.  Add to this argument that the single player and multiplayer maps are exactly the same in Grand Theft Auto games, and it makes no sense to divide the discs into single versus multiplayer – that just won’t work.

So, can we actually expect to see the message at the top of this article in the game?  Well, that depends.  Here’s our two theories:

Maps versus Media

The map and the sound files are going to be the biggest sources of data in the game (well, definitely maps at least – and by maps I mean all the accompanying textures and graphics, etc).  And given you need to be able to switch from single to multiplayer and back very easily, splitting the game along those lines is out of the question, as is breaking it up based on where you are in the map (way too limiting, for example during exploration).  So what if the map was on one disc, and the bulk of the sound files and maybe some other media were on the other?  This would mean that if you want access to all the radio stations and even potentially the cut-scenes (for example, maybe they are split high versus low definition) then you need to install the second disc onto a hard-drive.  This would then let you play through the game, in its entirety, using one disc only.  However, you wouldn’t be getting the full “GTA experience”, which is why we think theory #2 below might be more appealing.

Maps versus Storyline

Another option is to have all the maps on every single disc, and to then split the storyline (and all its accompanying sound and video files) across other discs. This would mean: (1) you are free to explore anywhere without fear of getting the “insert disc #x” message; and (2) you can jump into multiplayer at any time as the maps will always be on whatever disc you have inserted.  It just means that when you want to play through the story itself, you’ll need to swap discs as you progress.

Yes, both options above are still a lot less than ideal (and rely on the basic, raw map files fitting on one DVD9 disc), but what are you going to do – the game could potentially be HUGE!

We think the second option is the lesser evil, but how about you?  Feel free to rip our theories to shred and/or leave your own by commenting below.

Trevor Phillips
Founder of GTA BOOM, Trevor has been a long-time fan of the GTA series but probably isn’t quite as hardcore a gamer as you’d think. When he isn’t tweaking the content on GTA BOOM, you’ll find him working on the server or making other improvements to hopefully make the site better. Other than that, Trevor enjoys getting outside in the sunshine!


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  1. gta5 will be on two disk.you will need to install one disk,(that will be multiplayer),and will play the game on the other disc.

  2. I’ve been told to tell you this following statement to quell the speculation: Grand Theft Auto V WILL be on 1 disc ONLY!

      1. We had an error with a computer which had a virus and decided to mix up the keyboard software we use, we meant to say *2 discs only* with a 625 MB update which will include map data and animations, the other disc is a multiplayer installation which installs multiplayer to your console. A rare thing, the guy who infected about 25 of our computers, was a Chinese hacker who used proxies in China which in-turn relayed them into the servers of Rockstar JapanTM who sent emails about the development of the Japanese version of GTA 5, to us here at Rockstar GamesTM, which, unbeknownst to us, were infected with a Trojan Horse virus. The hacker was arrested by the federal government, he was also involved in the US Military schematics for the new stealth planes and ships, also a rare thing, he took out water pump stations in Utah, which killed 15 people, so he’s looking at death by firing squad, which is still used in Utah. And there is our big explanation.

  3. Big deal. Non event here.

    So I have to RIP all the discs to my Xbox 360 hard drive first. I do that ONE time. After that, I never have to swap discs and the access to the disc data is much faster (HD v DVD).

    So what is your point?

    1. Like the article said ” However, Microsoft are highly unlikely to let Rockstar simply make this mandatory in order to play the game. This is because of the 4GB Xbox 360 consoles floating around.”

      1. GTA on Xbox is important to MS/Xbox, thus I think that it will be like Halo 4 where there is a disc or discs that are packed in for the sole purpose of installing.

  4. every point made in this article is incorrect. scare mongering from the SDF in lieu of MS’s impending reveal.

  5. I can’t remember for sure, but didn’t Forza Motorsport 4 have a mandatory install disk? But pretty sure Microsoft published that title so I’m sure it’s ok to have different requirements.

  6. It’s as if nobody has ever played Skyrim before…data compression and procedural rendering goes a VERY long way as long as you limit variation in asset use and level of detail.
    You can procedurally generate an entire world that is the same every single time from only a few Kilobytes of data and if you want more detail, you could expand that infinitely.
    You can create very lifelike and large experiences within only a few Megabytes.

    Now, I’m not saying that GTA5 won’t be multiple discs, because it very likely will because of all the different HD story assets, but it won’t be 4 or 5 discs.
    An install of the certain data also seems very plausible (MS does tolerate it for specific high profile releases) and could keep the total package even smaller.
    LA Noire actually fit on 1 disc (without the DLC) on the Xbox 360, just look at the GoD version (6.7GB). It was on 3 discs because it didn’t use the newer XGD3 format.

    The other discs were there because of story assets that didn’t fit on the XGD2 format and cloned many items from the first disc (like you see on many PS3 games to shorten access times on the Blu-Ray).

    There’s also other things in this article that are incorrect, like RDR GOTY (disc 2 was DLC install e.g.), as pointed out by various previous posters.

    1. The point is RDR GOTY was still 2 discs. Are you saying RDR GOTY will be a bigger game than GTAV? GTAV is already 3.5x bigger in the map alone. Given RDR was 2 discs then GTA V will be…?

  7. this article is a joke yes rdr goty was 2 disk’s but the second disk was all the dlc night of the living dead and the dlc which is a install disc. You never have to switch disks on RDR on 360 obviously u have never played it on 360 so this takes all merit away from ur article. I still play RDR on 360 to this day and have never switched disks or even had to put another disk in get ur facts right …

    1. The map in GTA V is 350% bigger than RDR and map data is the main source of data in these types of games. So how then is GTA V meant to fit on one disc? You completely missed the point. RDR DOES NOT EQUAL GTA V. That is the entire point!

      1. That’s not true. Texture assets and models are the main type of data. Geometry from the maps is under 100MB. You can see this if you look at GTA4 on the PC for example.

      2. Man u kids think u know it all but know nothing worst case scenario it comes with 2 disks u install one which is a HD texture pack like medal of honor/BF3 ?

      3. When you put in a new game disc into your Xbox, it HAS to download an update. That’s what we plan to do, have you download a Day-1 update which also contains some of the map content, about 100MB of map data, 1/5th of the total map data, re-using ALOT of the textures in places like the desert or mountains. Most of the other data is included on the disc, with 50 MB in the update for things like animations, physics, and even the ‘cheaters pool’ feature in multiplayer. The bottom point is, you don’t need more unnecessary discs, because the update will put in the other bits of data, it will be a regular disc to access the singleplayer and multiplayer features, you will still need to install the multiplayer features into the game with a separate disc. But what you all want to hear about it : NO MORE THAN 2 DISCS WILL BE REQUIRED. There you have it, the explanation Rockstar allowed me to tell you all about.

        1. I won’t mind installing discs or things like that, it usually enhances loading times and overall performance, something that is very valuable in a massive game such as GTAV.

        1. Ya but the last single game I had that needed 2 discs was a PSOne game. Final Fantasy VIII I think. #Justsaying.

  8. Im thinking a multi disc install is whats gonna happen. LA Noire was a huge game, and dint it have 3 discs? I remember buying On Demand, and had like 10gb of data on my Xbox (still do, 250gb).

    Who knows, maybe GTA 5 will come with a 50% off coupon for a 250gb HDD. lol

    1. Maps means textures, graphics etc – basically everything. You think he is talking about the actual map diagram you bring up on your screen? Hahaha lol.

  9. no no no no … they will do like what 313 did for halo 4 … they will put it in multiple discs make us install the other disks and the first one for playing without any need for swap between them 😉

      1. I’m sure Roger feels the same way about the poor PS3 20 gig owners as well right? You know, with MANDATORY installs. 20gig owners have to choose what stays and what goes.

        I’m sure you’re concerned about them too right? Like your concern for the 4 gig owners.

      2. i have the arkade xbox … so i bought 80G HDD

        because when you install games on the HDD the popups becomes less and the game looks more smooth … so my advise buy one its not expensive its like 20 or 15 bucks that’s it

    1. Damn straight! And back in those days we could only store 1.45MB on a disk.

      I kind of liked seeing the “Insert Disc #”, it made me feel like I was making progress in the game.

      Yeah, installing the map data to the HDD would make sense, and for those that need to, purchasing a HDD now would be rather expensive and silly; but surely installing to a large enough USB could solve this issue? An 8GB stick doesn’t cost much these days.

      The multi disk solution is the path I think Rockstar would take, simply because something similar was done with LA Noire. No multiplayer modes, but a crap load of data.

    1. No we will NOT!The game is already finished and is shipping out on August 15th 2013.We have cases on display in stores now with the disc in each.

  10. Maps versus Storyline or install disc makes sense to me. Does seem to be a problem. Hope it doesnt kill the game!