clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rockstar just made a big investment in the Grand Theft Auto role-playing scene

FiveM and RedM maker is now part of Rockstar

A group of bikers stand in front of their motorcycles in a screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 5 Image: Rockstar Games
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Rockstar Games announced Friday that it has acquired, the team behind Grand Theft Auto 5 mod FiveM and Red Dead Redemption 2 mod RedM, two popular mods that power custom multiplayer and robust role-playing experiences on those games.

“Over the past few years, we’ve watched with excitement as Rockstar’s creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers,” the studio said in a post on the Rockstar Newswire website. “As a way to further support those efforts, we recently expanded our policy on mods to officially include those made by the roleplay creative community.”

Rockstar’s acquisition of the team, the studio says, “will help them find new ways to support this incredible community and improve the services they provide to their developers and players.”

Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 already have robust multiplayer components, but FiveM and RedM go further, letting players use custom vehicles, maps, and weapons, and inhabit those game worlds as virtually anyone. On Friday, at time of publication, the FiveM website said that more than 170,000 players were using the mod on custom servers.

As noted in Polygon’s 2018 feature, “The life of a Grand Theft Auto role-player,” FiveM lets players “be anyone and do anything, so long as they obey a series of guidelines called the ‘Federal Law’ rules, designed to protect the RP.”

“Open-world games traditionally have overarching goals or win conditions to reward players for their skill or dedication,” author James Dator explained. “We’re conditioned through multiplayer, sometimes even rewarded, to seek out a player who got the kill and get revenge. GTARP defies all these conventions. Ideally, nobody should try to ‘win’; instead, the goal is to appreciate the journey and build stories for the server. Other players govern the reward, not the game. Was the RP good? Is there now a storyline others can share in? Did everyone feel it was fair?”

“GTARP is real-world role-playing rarely seen in video games, with a depth that can become intoxicating thanks to how much it mimics real life,” Dator wrote. That includes the ability to run a taxi business, elect a local politician, be a cop, celebrate Pride, start an underground MMA league, be a serial killer, or even revive the dead character you played on a massive TV series.

Rockstar and the team haven’t said exactly what they plan to do with FiveM and RedM next. But GTA RP users and Grand Theft Auto Online players can likely see the prospects of such an addition: While Rockstar Games’ vast worldwide studios turns their attention to Grand Theft Auto 6, the virtual worlds of Grand Theft Auto Online (and Red Dead Online) can continue to thrive and grow through mods and the active GTA RP community.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon