GTA 5 DLC details leaked in source code, but why was it canceled?

gta 5 liberty city dlc

The leak of GTA 5’s source code has seemingly uncovered details on a scrapped Liberty City DLC.

Although the reveal of Grand Theft Auto 6 has taken the spotlight away from GTA 5, that doesn’t mean it’s dead. In fact, Rockstar just dropped a significant December update for GTA 5 Online, showing that the studio has no plans on abandoning the decade-old sandbox titan just yet. 

That said, Rockstar did abandon some aspects of GTA 5. Things were bound to be cut as development progressed but there was some significant content removed from the game including DLC centered around Liberty City, the setting for several games in the GTA series. Liberty City and the characters and events of past GTA games were referenced in GTA 5’s story mode, most notable being the appearance of Lost and the Damned protagonist Johnny Klebitz. The GTA 5 source code leak revealed there were far more than just references planned at one point.

Johnny Trevor Gta 5
GTA 4’s Johnny in GTA 5

Was there GTA 5 DLC?

No single-player DLC was ever released for GTA 5, despite GTA 4 receiving two DLC expansions in The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. DLC for the game was planned at one point, however.

It is uncertain why this happened, but the most likely explanation is that GTA 5’s Liberty City DLC was scrapped due to a focus on GTA Online and Red Dead Redemption 2. According to information uncovered in GTA 5’s source code, the game had a full DLC roadmap planned at one point that would have included eight extra “episodes.” This would have included several DLC packs and single-player expansions, with the Liberty City DLC likely being the meatiest of the bunch.

johnny gta online
GTA 4’s Johnny as a ghost in GTA Online

Unfortunately, Rockstar likely had a case of “suffering from success” when GTA Online became a massive hit.

GTA Online instantly made hundreds of millions of dollars despite numerous technical issues and propelled GTA 5 to become the most lucrative piece of media ever. This likely prompted Rockstar to call an audible and focus its resources on GTA Online. With Red Dead Redemption 2 also taking away more manpower, Rockstar likely just pulled the plug on the Liberty City DLC project, despite fan interest.

What would Liberty City have looked like in GTA 5?

Liberty City would have looked better than ever on the GTA 5 engine.

In 2016, screenshots emerged of GTA 4’s Middle Park with a visual upgrade from GTA 5’s engine. Given Rockstar’s traditional attention to detail, adding Liberty City to GTA 5 likely would’ve been a massive undertaking. 

Recent leaks prove this, as a massive unrendered map showcased the full scope of Liberty City. Although it’s mostly gray polygons, the scale alone hints at how ambitious the DLC was going to be. With GTA 6 seemingly set at least partly in Vice City, it looks like fans will be waiting a long while to see Liberty City once again.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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