Forums, subreddits, and message boards all over the internet were set ablaze with an outpouring of criticism about Rockstar Games' decision regarding GTA 5. Even the YouTube comments section on any GTA-related video is filled with fan's displeasure with this decision.
All of this stemmed from the announcement that kicked off the recent PS5 Reveal Event. Rockstar came out with the news of a GTA game being released for next-gen consoles but fans weren't too pleased when they got to know which game they would be receiving.
This is because the game they were set to receive was not a sequel to GTA 5 but an "Expanded and Enhanced" version of the game. The fanbase did not take too kindly to this announcement, and much has been said about Rockstar's "milking" of GTA 5 as well its Online counterpart.
Here, we take a look at whether this is the correct move for Rockstar going forward into the next generation of consoles.
Have Rockstar made the right call to release GTA 5 on next-gen consoles before a sequel?
To put things into perspective, while it is true that it has been three years since the release of a GTA game, Rockstar have released another huge project since then: Red Dead Redemption II in 2018.
Therefore, three years simply isn't enough time for Rockstar to finish developing future content for both Red Dead and GTA Online while also finishing a sequel as big as GTA 6.
Issues relating to crunch at Rockstar
Rockstar ran into trouble with the media and the fanbase when its toxic work culture during the development of Red Dead Redemption II was made public. The issues had to with "crunch", which is industry-speak for working excruciatingly long overtime without proper compensation.
Therefore, Rockstar will be looking to have an extended period in development so as to mitigate issues relating to crunch.
Pros regarding GTA 5 and Online's release on PS5/Xbox Series X:
#1 Getting familiar with next-gen console dev-kits
The re-release of a massive game like GTA 5 allows Rockstar to familiarize themselves with the next-gen dev-kits so as to not run into massive trouble with the release of a mainline sequel.
The PS3 dev-kit was infamously hard to work with, leading many developers to delay their projects multiple times while the console also suffered from a lack of quality launch titles.
While that does not seem to be the issue for the PS5, Rockstar wouldn't want to taint their reputation with a buggy release for an entry in their flagship franchise.
#2 Continued support for GTA Online on next-gen consoles
While fans remain cautiously optimistic for an expansion of the Story Mode, hopes are extremely high for Rockstar to bring some massive changes to GTA Online.
Since a large chunk of the fanbase still enjoys GTA Online on a daily basis, this will be one of the best ways for Rockstar to reward players for their continued support towards the game.
It is, therefore, a positive sign that Rockstar will continue to put out content for a game that is nearly 7 years old.
#1 Raising the stakes
Now that fans are aware of the re-release of a massively popular title, their expectations with regards to new content are bound to be sky-high.
Raising the stakes has never been a problem for Rockstar but they have never faced such intense backlash from their fanbase before.
For the first time in Rockstar's history, their own fanbase seems to be up in arms regarding their decision. This makes the re-release of GTA 5 all the more important for the publisher.
Rockstar must truly deliver with the re-release in order to win back disgruntled fans and get the ball rolling for GTA 6.