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Why didn’t Grand Theft Auto 5 get a single-player expansion?

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Rockstar explains what happened to the game’s story DLC

Grand Theft Auto 5
Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games has found success with story-based single-player add-on content for games like Grand Theft Auto 4 and Red Dead Redemption, but the company’s latest release — 2013’s Grand Theft Auto 5 — never got a story expansion.

Rockstar did have something planned in terms of additional single-player content for GTA 5 at one point. “For those ready to jump back into the story of Grand Theft Auto V, we have big plans for substantial additions in 2014 continuing Michael, Franklin and Trevor's action, mayhem and unexpected adventures in Southern San Andreas,” Rockstar said in a post on the Rockstar website in 2013.

But that DLC never came to pass. Instead, Rockstar focused its efforts on bringing the game to a new generation of consoles and on Grand Theft Auto Online — a move that certainly worked out for the studio. Grand Theft Auto 5 has since sold more than 80 million copies, so it’s hard to fault Rockstar for its efforts.

So whatever happened to that expansion to GTA 5’s story? In an interview with Game Informer, Rockstar director of design Imran Sarwar said it wasn’t a conscious decision to steer away from story-based content; it just ... kind of happened that way.

“With GTA V, the single-player game was absolutely massive and very, very complete,” Sarwar said. “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, but we may well do them for future projects. At Rockstar, we will always have bandwidth issues because we are perfectionists and to make huge complex games takes a lot of time and resources...”

Sarwar stressed that Rockstar “would love to do more single-player add-ons for games in the future,” so don’t be surprised if the company’s next game, Red Dead Redemption 2, continues its story beyond what’s on the disc.