What do Heists and Daily Objectives tell us about the future of GTA Online?

By Matt Martin, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 12:20 GMT

Daily Objectives could be more important to GTA Online than Heists. These theories and more, from a giddy Matt Martin.

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Yesterday Rockstar dropped a bombshell. Not only is it releasing Heists next week – the mythical 4-player missions for GTA Online – but it’s also going to be introducing daily challenges and more modes to the game on the same day.

I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, so I put together my theories about the future of GTA 5, GTA Online, Heists and what that means for future Rockstar games. I know!

No rest for the wicked


Firstly, the amount of work Rockstar continues to put into GTA Online is encouraging for the future. As well as adding five new Heists it’s now also openly discussing three new Adversary Modes, Daily Objectives and more Free Mode activities.

None of those are small beans, especially when you consider the often-delayed PC version of the game is also out in April. The good news is the game clearly has legs 18 months after release. In a world where online titles are shut down quicker than an Xbox One policy reversal, it’s good to know the hours and money invested by players isn’t going to be slammed back in our faces any time soon.

Daily objectives will keep the game alive more than Heists

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This is something we called for at the start of the year. Players need a reason to come back regularly, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day. Rockstar says it’s going to issue three challenges a day, all with cash rewards. Interestingly there’s no mention of dedicated RP as a reward, although presumably you’ll get the usual bonus for kills.

Rockstar also mentions you can “stack up challenges over consecutive days” so presumably there will be a limit to the amount of objectives you can have running at the same time. Like Destiny’s bounties?

The amount of money as rewards for Daily Objectives is interesting too – “up to $500,000” according to Rockstar. That’s a fair amount of greenbacks, even in a game that can charge $10,000 for a haircut. But then I think the game is about to get a whole lot more expensive anyway…

Heists are going to cost you


We’re not entirely clear on the cost of putting on a Heist. We know that the Heist leader will need to front costs to begin with, which will include buying gear, weapons, vehicles and more. Presumably if you fail the big Heist or any of its side missions you’re going to have to pay up again. As talented as we all think we are, there are many random elements to GTA Online that can cock-up even the tightest of plans. From erratic NPCs to a malicious cop car, it only takes a second for a job to go from peachy to pissed. You’re going to need a lot of cash in the bank.

Rockstar is listening to the community

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Two of the new Adversary jobs, Hasta La Vista and Come Out To Play, are typical hunters versus runners modes. One team is almost overpowered but slow, the other is very nimble but weak. These are the sort of creator-games you’ll find all over YouTube. It’s good to know Rockstar is paying attention to the way regular players are creating their own content and replicating that.

And obviously Rockstar is still obsessed with movies – in this case, Terminator 2 and The Warriors.

Public events are increasingly important


While there was no mention of RP in the Daily Objectives (that’s not to say there won’t be), it was mentioned in the new Free Mode activities, Rockstar’s acknowledgement that some people are just happy to hang out and go crazy under their own rules. Check out the description:

“Players should be on the lookout for calls from Lester, who may need help to distract the cops in a specific area while Lester’s accomplices finish their criminal business. Lamar may call looking for help destroying a vehicle or two, while Trevor and Ron need occasional help picking their business rival’s planes out of the sky.”

So that’s what the overpowered guided missile launcher introduced in the Xmas update was for.

The above sound almost like Missions, but are more likely going to be similar to random crate drops or vehicle jacking calls from Simeon. They’ll happen as and when, and players can race each other or team-up to complete the objectives (it also sounds a bit like the public events in Destiny). Rockstar is also promising more Awards for doing these side-missions in “style”. I would expect RP bonuses similar to those you get for riding shotgun with another player, or the $2,000 gifted for being a Good Sport.

We’re getting more Awards

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This is just a throwaway mention at the end of the press release but one of the many nice things GTA Online does is gift little RP bonuses for regular activity like slipstreaming. More are welcome, as are a bunch of new t-shirts you think you don’t need but actually love collecting.

Are the bi-monthly updates a thing of the past?


With all the new modes, Awards, clothing and Heists mentioned so far, I wonder if Rockstar is moving away from last year’s approach, which was to release extra free content every six weeks or so. We got some great additions to the game that rounded-out the city as a whole and gave players more options in who they could be: beach bums, hipsters and business execs, more apartments and vehicles, a handful of weapons and extra clothing.

They were great, but a little random or themed around public holidays such as the Valentine’s Day Massacre and the Independence Day update. There was no update on Feb 14th this year though, which makes me think Rockstar has shifted to a more focused approach with future DLC, at least for the time being.

GTA Online is in danger of splitting its dedicated player base

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GTA Online’s connectivity is notoriously flaky. There’s a big and legitimate concern that come March 10 with all this new content and a flood of returning players that the infrastructure is going to collapse. In fact, I’d put money on it.

But just as worrying is how the player base is being split. From April the game will be available across five different formats. Unlike something like Destiny, which launched on four consoles at the same time, GTA 5 has gradually appeared on more formats, meaning those of us that used to play on 360 have now graduated to PS4 or another console of choice. I’m no longer playing with some of the friends I made online last year (Hello W33dWizard1974!), and with the introduction of the PC release the player base will thin out again. Sure, more people continue to buy and play the game, but some people are lost to another format forever.

DLC continues to be free! But for how long?


In these days of money-grubbing, the fact that GTA Online is getting major updates for free is something to celebrate. Rockstar seems to understand that it’s unfair to have vehicles and weapons only available to those with spare cash, and introducing them could unbalance the gameplay significantly.

But that’s not to say future Heists are going to be free. If there’s a demand for them (and there clearly is), Rockstar could sell more Heists at a premium. So long as the unique vehicles and weapons specifically used for those jobs aren’t introduced into the rest of GTA Online, there’s no risk of unbalancing the gameplay. Rockstar has been extremely generous to players so far, but it has to continue to make the game pay…

Single-player GTA 5 content is still coming, and it’s most likely going to cost you


Which brings us to single-player content. Rockstar has always said there will be more from Trevor, Michael and Franklin in the future and we believe them. It’s just its sense of timing is awful.

Earlier this year it was reiterated that single-player content was still on the cards, and you can bet your ass you’ll be paying for it, just the same as you did for The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and the Damned. Why even consider GTA 6 when the game is (almost) out on all platforms? Rockstar can just keep updating it with single-player content for as long as this generation is relevant.

What does this mean for other Rockstar games?


I have a theory: Any contemporary games Rockstar has made in the past will be incorporated into GTA Online. Smuggler’s Run is already a mini-game in GTA 5. Why make another Midnight Club when you already have millions of people racing in GTA Online, some with crews purely dedicated to car culture? With a little work why not add the gunplay of Max Payne or the sleuthing of LA Noire? GTA is Rockstar’s biggest franchise and money-spinner which is why it’s still creating so much content and selling GTA 5 again for the third year running.

Apart from a new Red Dead Redemption, I can’t see a reason why it would create another game outside of Grand Theft Auto.

Heists and more modes for Grand Theft Auto 5 will be released on March 10.

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