Import/Export Is Exactly What GTA Online Needs

Why a return to the basics is refreshing

As GTA Online became a surprise breakout success, Rockstar Games wanted to stay on top of the situation by keeping players engaged while attracting new ones through DLC. They succeeded, too, with one update being more spectacular than the next. However, over time the game drifted further and further away from the franchise’s essence – which is probably why the idea of the upcoming return-to-form DLC is so refreshing.

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Unless you possess the general knowledge and/or deductive capabilities of a sock, you’ll know that GTA stands for Grand Theft Auto. In legal terms, this is a criminal felony the specifics of which vary, but generally involve stealing a large quantity of vehicles in succession.

While the gameplay of all GTA games was deeper and extended beyond this one mechanic, it was always a major aspect. Usually, to get from point A to point B, you’d jack one of the countless cars parked in your vicinity. You’d complete missions by stealing specific cars. You’d chase down targets in stolen cars. You’d spend a lot of time stealing cars.

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Eventually, in their bid to innovate, Rockstar drifted farther and farther away from this basic activity. Sure, there is still a lot of carjacking going on in GTA 5 and in the early game of Online, but it’s rare indeed when a high-level player yanks the driver out of a passing-by ride.

Instead, the late-game – since there is no end-game – now focuses on heists, crate missions, VIP jobs and the running of various illegal businesses. Sure, the occasional stealing of a vehicle still pops up, but more often than not you’ll be riding into battle piloting a heavily armed aircraft. Which you own.

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A game called Grand Theft Auto wants you to join a motorcycle club.

Now, don’t get us wrong – the diverse lineup of updates and content that GTA Online has going for it is great. Bikers is a really neat DLC, Heists brought some of the most complex missions to the game and Further Adventures in Finance and Felony finally made us feel like all of this criminal work was getting us somewhere in the (virtual) world.

Don’t even get us started on Cunning Stunts. It’s one of the best-received updates GTA Online has ever gotten, it’s wicked fun, the content is great, it added a whole host of vehicles and it revitalized the racing scene. Its concept is also incredibly silly and unlike anything that the GTA franchise has ever touched before.

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Cunning Stunts literally puts players on whacky and potentially deadly stunt races that are suspended hundreds of feet in the air, with various bits and pieces simply floating there. GTA has always been over the top while being grounded in reality. Cunning Stunts took that status quo and tossed it off a flaming ramp.

Import/Export, on the other hand, is a wonderful way to evolve the game. Rockstar has, after years of coming up with all kinds of new concepts, figured out how to innovate and bring new content to the table while sticking to the game’s basic premise: steal cars. In essence, that’s all that Import/Export will be about.

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While details are scarce, Import/Export will add a new gameplay mechanic to the game wherein players will be able to accept challenging and complex missions that task them with stealing unique and high-valued vehicles. These vehicles will be then taken to a special chop-shop where they will be retrofitted and readied for resale.

Chances are we’ll be able to sell these unique cars for a lot of cash in-game since this new system will be competing with the likes of Finance and Felony’s crates and Bikers’ businesses. The official announcement makes it sound like this is a new alternative to crate missions and heisting as a major source of income.

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Rockstar took the basic concept – steal cars – and put a new spin on it in terms of gameplay in order to make it challenging, rewarding, and most importantly, new. The innovated by going back to the basics, and by doing so, they also elevated this mechanic. We finally feel like committing Grand Theft Auto, the crime the game is named after is a meaningful act instead of being a throwaway mechanic that we only use when we’re low level.

The addition of the new executive garages is another stroke of genius. As if Rockstar had taken our post about lifting property limits to heart (we know they didn’t, development pipelines don’t work like that), we announced that a new kind of property will allow players to store an additional 60 vehicles next to the existing 6 properties. This doubling of the maximum number of rides is a blessing.

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Think about it – we will be stealing cars for a living in the game, and we won’t have to worry about storing all those vehicles that we’ll honestly never use. This is what GTA Online is meant to be, this is what the game has been working towards all these years. It’s living up to its name.

We don’t need to wait too long until Import/Export is released. It will be launched in December, that we know for sure, and it’s a pretty good guess that it will arrive sometime in the first half of the month. While a launch on the 6th would be surprising, it wouldn’t be entirely unexpected. That said, it’s more likely that we’ll see the update drop on the 13th, next Tuesday.

Import/Export will be bringing new vehicle warehouses, executive garages, special vehicles and all new vehicle stealing missions on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 sometime in December.

Which aspect of this new GTA Online DLC has you most excited?


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