GTA Online: Cunning Stunts, Bikers New Model For DLC?

Throughout its three-year run, GTA Online has seen a lot of DLC releases. A lot. You’d think that when a game has been getting updates for that long, some kind of pattern would emerge, however, the only constant throughout the history of the game was that all DLC was always free. Rockstar experimented with different models in the past, however, they always ended up mixing things up – something that might now change.

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In its first year, GTA Online only got smaller updates at larger intervals. They were at the time considered special instead of being the norm. Instead of demanding the next update, players would rather be thankful for what they got.

All of these smaller, early updates like the Beach Bum, Business and I’m Not A Hipster DLCs added many of the game’s mainstay vehicles as well as hoards of character customization items. This trend continued with the odd Creator update for quite some time.

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However, 2015’s first update, Heists, shook things up majorly with the massive amount of content it brought to the table. It was GTA Online’s first true major update, and once the bar was set so high, Rockstar had to ramp up the content of future DLCs to match. This brought us into the era of large-scale updates.

Ill-Gotten Gains, with its two-part release, was a herald of these updates. Best exemplified by the likes of Lowriders or Executives and Other Criminals, these updates brought a blend of vehicles, fluff and missions in larger batches. Lowriders added Benny’s Original Motorworks and a number of custom rides alongside new contact missions, while Executives brought things like VIP work and the yachts.

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Of course, Rockstar experimented with other approaches as well. They field-tested what may have been the forerunner of the current model with Lowriders. Following the main DLC’s release, they kept the lowrider theme going for a good long time, releasing several follow up DLCs including Custom Classics and a new car each week through April.

At the time, the model wasn’t well received by players, because it lead to a pretty long content drought with only the odd lowrider changing things up, so Rockstar seemingly abandoned the initiative. They returned to form with Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, releasing a massive content update.

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However, they haven’t given up on the concept of serialising updates based on theme just yet – which brings us to the present and possible future of GTA Online’s DLC scene. Enter Cunning Stunts, one of the most derivative and well-received updates the game has ever received.

 

Cunning Stunts took the status quo of GTA Online – namely that in spite of spectacle, it is grounded in reality – and tossed it off a spinning race-course suspended hundreds of feet in the air. The update added a massive host of vehicles, as well as a number of potentially deadly, and entirely fantastical, stunt race courses.

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However, the stunting theme didn’t end with the release of Cunning Stunts. Oh no, GTA Online received a number of smaller stunt-themed updates, adding things like vehicles and eventually the Stunt Race Creator. Even at the time we referred to these updates collectively as the “Cunning Stunts DLC Series”.

The weeks since the release of GTA Online’s latest major DLC, Bikers, seems to confirm that this is the future that Rockstar has envisioned for the series. Bikers has gotten several post-release expansions such as the insanely popular Deadline update, or today’s release of the Pegassi Esskey.

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It seems that from now on, whenever a major DLC is released in the vein of Bikers or Cunning Stunts, we can expect several smaller expansions adhering to the same basic model. Chances are that we’ll be seeing major DLC releases followed up by several smaller expansions adding things like vehicles or Adversary Modes which fit the update’s theme.

It more or less looks like each “DLC season” in GTA Online would last somewhere in between 1-2 months, with releases following the same pattern as before – new content always launches either on Tuesday or Thursday. This has been a constant pretty much since launch, so chances are it won’t change.

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But what do the fans think of this arrangement? They’re quite satisfied, actually. Ever since the release of Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, through the Cunning Stunts and Bikers ‘seasons’, there has been a marked decrease in posts calling for new DLC and speculation.

Instead, the player base is more focused on discussing whatever the current newest content in GTA Online is, meaning that the new model of “major update followed by small expansions for a month or so” has engaged players. It must also be said that the quality of the recent updates is also to thank for this.

Would you be happy with this kind of new GTA Online DLC release schedule?


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