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Things About GTA 5 That Were Too Good To Be True

Any way you slice it, Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the most successful titles from the last console generation, period. GTA 5 sold more than 130 million copies as of May 2020. And 40 million of those sales came between 2018 and 2020, thanks largely to the surging popularity of GTA 5's online multiplayer spinoff, GTA Online. The base game may be heading towards its eighth birthday, but Rockstar keeps adding new content to the multiplayer version, like December 2020's Cayo Perico heist.

Clearly, Rockstar has done nearly everything humanly possible to keep fans occupied. Even so, there are still many planned features in both GTA 5 and GTA Online that didn't make the cut, to some fans' disappointment. Some of these features have been openly discussed by Rockstar at various points in the game's development history, while others have been discovered by fans digging through the game's code.

GTA 5 could have been a much different game, but it turns out that these planned features were just too good to be true.

A six-star wanted level

A six-star wanted level was a staple in previous GTA games, so it was a surprise when GTA 5 didn't include it. In past games, causing enough mayhem to reach six stars would prompt the game to send the military after you, including all their tanks and assault rifles. But in GTA 5, the highest wanted level is five stars. At five stars in GTA 5, all civilian vehicles leave the roads and the game throws unlimited police vehicles at you, including regular cop cars, souped-up Police Mavericks, and FIB SUVs. They're a challenge, but not as difficult as the entire military. 

Gamers who dug into GTA 5's code discovered that a six-star wanted level was indeed a planned feature for the game at one point. Rockstar hasn't yet explained why this longtime feature didn't make it into the latest games, which is even more curious because the game does include soldiers and military vehicles. In the end, modders added a six-star wanted level themselves.

Playing as Lamar

Had this feature been included, it would have given GTA 5's ending a totally different vibe. It was long rumored that Rockstar planned to kill off Franklin. This would have happened at the end of the game. After completing "The Big Score," choosing the ending "The Third Way" leads to a shootout with the feds. In the original version, Franklin would have died and the game would have switched over to his wisecracking best friend Lamar Davis as a playable character. According to Gamepur, the GTA 5 source code included unused lines and animations for Lamar that would have come into play for this ending.

This rumor was actually confirmed to be true. In a Reddit AMA, Lamar's voice actor Slink Johnson confirmed that Rockstar had planned for this ending, but a problem in Johnson's personal life made him unavailable and Rockstar scrapped it.

Rockstar would end up doing a version of this idea at the end of Red Dead Redemption 2, when the game switches to John Marston following Arthur Morgan's death. Otherwise, fans who really want to play as Lamar can do that via mods. He just won't have any new lines or actions.

Single-player DLC

With three co-protagonists, it would seem that GTA 5 had lots of potential for post-launch DLC. Rockstar even announced in late 2013 that more content starring Michael, Trevor, and Franklin was coming. But that never happened.

In a 2017 interview with Game Informer, Rockstar director of design Imran Sarwar explained why GTA 5 DLC: because GTA Online was a bigger priority. GTA Online debuted on Oct. 1, 2013, just weeks after GTA 5. Not only was GTA Online buggy at launch, like most multiplayer games, but its biggest planned feature, co-operative Heists, did not "live up to [their] own standards. GTA Online quickly began losing players as Rockstar scrambled to improve the Heists. The numbers stabilized in the middle of 2014, but Rockstar had already lost millions of players. 

Another factor for why post-launch DLC never happened is Rockstar's experiences with post-launch DLC for both Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV. Both games offered paid DLC, but not all players appreciated paying for content they didn't want. Rockstar felt those DLCs divided the audience and limited both games' growth. Instead, Rockstar opted to add free DLC for GTA Online, which it still offers today. 

Factions in GTA Online

In 2016, GTA 5 data miners discovered content in the game code that suggested GTA Online would have featured very different team-based gameplay. In a since-deleted post on the GTA forum, user ZT shared screenshots of a beta version of this feature. As reported by Kotaku, this "factions" system would have allowed players to join different groups and battle for turf on the streets of Los Santos. Some of these factions would have included police, bikers, and even the Los Santos Vagos gang

Rockstar hasn't confirmed the original plan for this feature or why it was cut. GTA San Andreas already had a gang warfare system, so it could have been cut for being too similar. GTA Online players are also free to form their own factions and mess with other players, which they've been doing for years. You and your friends may not be able to team up and fight another crew in quite the same way, but you can definitely still work together and ruin a stranger's good time.