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If you want to understand why more publishers are shifting to a "games as service" model, you need look no further than Grand Theft Auto V. Despite the fact the base game came out in 2013, it continues to draw new players and earn Rockstar more money on a monthly basis. Combine that with a campaign that was already sizable and it's easy to see why the developer never decided to bother with story-driven DLC.
Rockstar struck gold with Grand Theft Auto V, which probably explains why they've taken their sweet time delivering their next major project, Red Dead Redemption II. But it's not like they've been lazing around the office or anything. While Grand Theft Auto IV kept players coming back with story-driven DLC, GTAV took a different route. Over the past four years, Rockstar has kept updates rolling out on a regular basis, usually boosting the game's online and cosmetic offerings.
In a recent interview with Gameinformer, GTAV director of design Imran Sarwar explained that this games as service model has served Rockstar well in recent years but, on top of that, the team felt like they had already told the story they set out to tell in Los Santos.
With GTA V, the single-player game was absolutely massive and very, very complete. It was three games in one. The next-gen versions took a year of everyone's time to get right, then the online component had a lot of potential, but to come close to realizing that potential also sucked up a lot of resources. And then there are other games -- in particular Red Dead Redemption II. The combination of these three factors means for this game, we did not feel single-player expansions were either possible or necessary, but we may well do them for future projects.
We doubt Rockstar will be able to pull this model off with Red Dead Redemption. For starters, the setting doesn't lend itself so easily to the types of game modes we've seen introduced in GTAV. Skydiving, stunt racing and over-the-to competitive modes don't really feel well suited to the Wild West. We imagine the "future projects" Sarwar referenced when talking about including story-driven DLC would be a more reasonable fit for RDRII.
And even once that highly anticipated follow-up finally launches, we doubt the GTA train will stop rolling. It's been hugely successful, after all, and continues to be one of the top-earning games on a regular basis despite the fact that it's going on five years old.