Before Grand Theft Auto V even hit the market back in September of last year, one of the most talked about features in the game’s massive online component was the co-operative Heist missions, which in theory would expand upon the gameplay mode from the single-player campaign onto a broad and chaotic canvas. But as it turns out, Rockstar Games discovered that creating and indeed balancing the four-player mode was harder than expected, and so Grand Theft Auto Online‘s enticing multiplayer mode slipped indefinitely.
But today, buoyed by the game’s recent re-release on current-gen hardware, the studio has formally unveiled Heists with an explosive trailer all the while confirming that the online mode will make its debut in the early stages of 2015.
Speaking to IGN, Imran Sarwar — GTA Online‘s lead mission designer — elaborated on the new addition and why it took Rockstar so long to implement Heists in the first place.
Our initial idea was to build on the concept of Story Mode heists to make a new gameplay experience for GTA Online that was more focused on cooperation, where everyone could play to their individual strengths and feel like they had a stake in the outcome.
After many months of designing, testing, rewriting and re-testing, we settled on the four-player structure that you will experience in the game. It took a ton of work from our programmers and mission designers to make it work at the level we were happy with.
Much like its single-player counterpart, Heists in Grand Theft Auto Online will require players to work as a unit by taking up individual responsibilities such as crowd control and direct hacking. It’s understood specific missions will encourage budding crooks to split into smaller groups to complete different objectives and, ultimately, provide support for the rest of the team. According to Rockstar, this multiplayer mode will add around 20 hours of all-new gameplay into GTA Online, and that the 20 missions will be divided into five strands of Heists.
That’s all the information that the studio divulged for the time being, but it’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic nature of Heists transitions from single-player to multiplayer when the mode makes its long-awaited bow next year.
Rockstar Games has planned to implement Heists into Grand Theft Auto Online in the early stages of 2015. Only then will we know if the long and arduous wait was really worth it.