Rockstar has apologised for the continued absence of GTA Online's multiplayer heists, which were promised at launch, then Spring, then delayed into the ether. Apparently they need more time to deliver.
Call me a cynic, and I'd love to be wrong, but I'm not entirely convinced that time is the only factor here. Especially when they could easily turn an embarrassing delay into a 'next-gen' feature.
"We know many fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Online Heists that we had planned to release for you this spring, and they are taking more time to create than originally anticipated," Rockstar acknowledged in a comment on their official blog, following a post about a Hipster-themed free update.
"We are very sorry for the delay, and are working hard to bring them to you as soon as we can. Please know that we are focused as always on making the best possible content for you to play and we are thankful to all of you for your patience, understanding and support."
It's always nice to see major companies apologise to their fanbase, but even so, "patience" is wearing a little thin for many players while many abandoned GTA Online several months ago. Fun for a time when played with friends and an appetite for silliness, the online suite quickly became tiresome, lacking the story-driven heist content to glue the disparate events together. That, again, was revealed (promised?) during the initial reveal.
Galling, doubly so as numerous (uncorroborated, hence technically useless) reports allege that the heist content has been ready for some time, requiring only a little tweaking to launch on last-gen platforms.
But, of course, last-gen platforms and last-gen players aren't exactly Rockstar's top priority at the moment.
GTA V and GTA Online are headed to PC, PS4 and Xbox One as a brand new version with notably prettier visuals, enhanced draw distance, new wildlife and damage effects amongst other cosmetic tweaks. Great news for PC owners, but as far as the new console editions are concerned, they arguably need extra features to tempt players into making the jump.
So what better way to secure one than holding back the heists, polishing them up for the new version and then releasing at or shortly after launch, while touting it as brand new content? Transferring your character to shinier yet still limited version of GTA Online isn't exactly tempting as it stands... but with new heist content alongside extra events? Suddenly the deal seems that much sweeter, even if they simultaneously roll out to last-gen platforms too. Heists! They're brand new! Play them in the new version with better graphics! Job, as they say, is a good one.
Cynical? Yes. Both as far as the idea and my own musings are concerned. But it makes a cheeky kind of sense.
Either way, here's hoping Rockstar release the Heists tomorrow and make me look like an idiot. Seriously, I'd love to be dead wrong. Or more to the point, I'd love a reason to start playing GTA Online again over the hot summer months.