In the six years since its release, Rockstar’s GTA V has become one of the most successful video games of all time, with an online mode that continues to make buckets of money thanks to regular updates.
As of May 2019, the open world crime sim shifted an eye-watering 110 million copies worldwide, putting it in third place behind Minecraft and Tetris – though it looks to be closing in on the competition fast.
A huge part of the game’s continued success surely comes down to the aforementioned online mode, with hundreds of thousands of players still logging in every month to play, heist, and race with friends.
In one of the most substantial updates to GTA Online to date, Rockstar has finally opened the doors to the mysterious Vinewood Casino – a location that Rockstar had promised would be “opening soon” for over five years now.
The Diamond Casino & Resort update is out today, and will introduce a slew of new content to GTA Online, including gambling minigames, new co-op missions, and shiny new penthouses for players to purchase – but folk are wondering exactly why it took so long.
In a fascinating new report from Eurogamer, two dataminers discussed why they thought it had taken so long for the Casino to become a feature of GTA Online. The whole story is a complicated one (and well worth a read), but one of the more interesting tidbits to come from the piece regards details on the long-since scrapped but dearly desired GTA V single-player DLC.
Eurogamer spoke with Tez2 and Yan2295, two dataminers who’ve been part of the GTA Online community since the early days, who discussed a sting of code uncovered way back in 2014 that implied the casino update was originally part of a series of single-player updates that included zombies, and a story expansion for Trevor.
As it turns out, one of the DLC episodes would have featured a zombie apocalypse that would have apparently overhauled the majority of the game’s map. As we know now, it was not to be.
What Rockstar was planning to do with the single-player DLC can be compared to adding a whole new map expansion. They had plans to redesign 80 or 90 per cent of the map to fit a specific theme – one of the episodes was supposed to feature a zombie apocalypse. Rockstar would make changes to the whole map to fit the zombie apocalypse theme.
Another of the DLC episodes would have followed Trevor after the events of the main story, in which everybody’s favourite sociopath would have worked with the IAA, with references to heist missions and a casino robbery.
Obviously, in 2017 Rockstar finally confirmed that the single-player DLC was dead, with ex GTA leaker Yan2295 claiming that the casino was indeed originally planned for GTA V as single-player DLC, as well as the online mode, but the success of GTA Online put paid to any single-player expansions.
The casino was supposed to come to GTA5 as single-player DLC as well as to GTA Online, but as many already know, the single-player DLCs got cancelled thanks to the success of GTA Online.
Yez told Eurogamer that they believe “most or some of the online updates” from 2017 and 2018 were based on the planned single-player DLC, with many elements from the Doomsday Heist bearing a resemblance to the rumoured Trevor DLC.
The dataminers reckon that this change in gear was ultimately one of the reasons it took so long for the Casino to make it into GTA Online, though the Eurogamer piece also touches on other intriguing elements that could have contributed to the delay.
Personally, I’m heartbroken that we didn’t see a zombie apocalypse come to Los Santos. If we can’t get that as a single-player update, I live in hope that Rockstar one day finds a way to implement it in the online mode, as the studio seems to have done with other bits and pieces of planned DLC.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.