5 reasons GTA Online’s Heists could go horribly wrong

Friday, 27th June 2014 11:45 GMT By Patrick Garratt

GTA Online’s Heists have been delayed from “spring”. Why? Pat reckons Rockstar may have elected to benchpress something considerably heavier than its pecs will allow.


Can GTA Online’s Heists actually work? Having been delayed last week (the new missions were supposed to launch this spring), it was rumoured on Wednesday that Online Heists would be, as promised, very much like the heists in the main game.

Is this even feasible? While the dream of doing these large scale jobs with your friends may be instantly appealing, the reality may be somewhat different. You may be waiting a while yet. Here’s why.

1 – Heists contain multiple elements

The heists in the main GTA 5 storyline are drawn-out affairs with multiple elements. Some are longer than others, but they all have a planning phase, a set-up phase, a part where you travel to the job, the job itself and the getaway.

Anyone who’s played GTA Online for more than five minutes will tell you there’s precisely no way the multiplayer versions could ever work in the same way. Players are constantly hopping between servers and the prospect of doing anything remotely like this with randoms is instantly dismissible.

Even if you were able to hold together a group of strangers for long enough, there’s too much communication involved; not enough people speak and there’s no text chat. It’s hard enough to get through one of the existing driving missions in which the passenger tells the blind driver which way to turn (if you’re not wearing a headset you have to press left and right on the d-pad to bring direction arrows up for the driver).

Unless you’re part of an organised team, the sort of multi-part missions detailed in the most recent rumour wouldn’t work for anyone but the most dedicated crews.

2 – GTA Online is just too flaky

Even if you have a committed group, getting even two people together on the same server can sometimes be a grind. It took Matt and I half an hour to get into the same city last night over Xbox Live. Once you find a stable session GTA Online is a truly amazing thing, but getting kicked, not being able to find appropriate sessions and mid-scene hanging are all commonplace. “Three abseilers, one driver, 16 cops”? Forget it. It’s hard enough to assemble eight people for a simple race half the time.


3 – Playing the cops will be rubbish

No one will want to be the cops, and even if you “have to” because you’re automatically shepherded into teams, will the cops have to wait until a certain trigger from the criminal team? Who’s going to want to sit around until someone else trips an alarm? Why should those players be a supporting cast in someone else’s drama?

Or will it be like some of the existing GTA Online missions, where one player drives to an objective Downtown and another starts at the airbase in a jet, the distance between the two regulating the mission’s structure? And if that’s the case, why it is going to be different to the current content? Why be a cop when the heists are all about being the robbers?

4 – And if the cops aren’t players it’ll be too easy

A fix to the cop problem is, of course, to have only a criminal team and use AI as law enforcement. But we all know GTA 5′s enemy AI is a tad “predictable,” so isn’t that going to make success a foregone conclusion? If you can just walk into the heist, pull it off and easily escape, what’s the incentive to replay it? In the campaign you can return to get a better grade, but that only works because of the general complexity of the event itself. And if the GTA Online version is too complicated it’s going to make it really difficult to ever execute. Which is probably why Heists is being repeatedly delayed.


5 – There are far too many questions

The devs may have backed themselves into a corner here. Heists sounds great on paper, but the reality is obviously causing some tight headaches. Excited bunny Rockstar promising to give players the equivalent of the campaign’s most rewarding single-player set-pieces in an online environment may have been a little previous. The FIB event detailed in the rumours this week may or may not be correct, obviously, but if this is the direction Rockstar’s moving with Heists even a single job is going to be ambitious. Just how is this going to work?




  1. undermyrules

    tip for rockstar…….
    1.ditch the past gen console heist update
    2.release on PC,xboxone,ps4 with some rubish platform exlusive content
    5.thank me later

    #1 6 months ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    @undermyrules I reckon it’ll be a next-gen launch thing, yep. Makes sense.

    #2 6 months ago
  3. Visali

    I don’t completely agree with these arguments. As all GTA Online jobs, heist missions will be already planned, so players will have to go to specified locations, hacking, and escaping to a drop off, there is not much to think and discuss on it. These missions shouldn’t be so long, or longer than any other. There are several long missions in GTA Online, such as Base Invaders , The Los Santos Connection, or else. Survivals are long as well, but we are still playing them.

    Playing the cops won’t be rubbish. There is nothing disgusting in being a cop, despite it is a GTA. Cops ‘n Crooks was one of the most played game modes in GTA IV (at least on PC).

    #3 6 months ago
  4. Reddpayn

    1. I agree mostly
    2. Never had any issues to play with my mates. Dont understand how can it take so long from you guys to play together ( might be cause i play in psn ;) )
    3. Why cops would be rubbish? I personally like the idea to be a cop and chase the crooks or try to get them out of a building or something.
    4.if they are, this might be true

    #4 6 months ago
  5. FredWilkins

    You’ve made some very valid points, but I think you missed the big one…

    The payout for heists will be disappointingly low. The overriding design philosophy of GTA online is steering you toward buying shark cards, so all the payouts have been nerfed over the life of the game. People are already disappointed and frustrated with many aspects of online, including low payouts. If payouts for heists are low, that disappoint will probably lead to mass defection from the game. Rockstar has delayed this problem by simply not releasing what they originally promised. This is just another area of the game that seems to be so very poorly thought out by the money grubbers at R*.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. fatsolio

    I just want heists to be something that will be fun which I can do with my buddies. I don’t want to have to go against humans and don’t care if that means it’ll be easier. I play games for fun rather than for some huge challenge. If they had it so the cops severely outnumber the heist crew and humans make up everyone then chances are the heist will never go off so how would that be fun? It’d be a disaster.

    I play this game with 2 other people and I want heists where it can be either just us 3 doing the heist or us 3 plus a bot making up anyone else on our crew. I have no desire to play with randoms given most people are idiots.

    Heists really aren’t that difficult to put into the game IF people actually have friends they play with and will do the heists with. It’d just be like a few regular type co-op jobs joined together which is all the single player heists are like.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. Von Dies

    Or it was delayed because…y’know…they decided to work in the ports instead. iunno

    #7 6 months ago

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