Single-player GTA 5 DLC was canceled because it couldn't "out-compete" the "cash cow" that GTA Online had become, former DLC developer claims

The three playable characters having an exchange in GTA 5
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Rockstar Games shelved various GTA 5 expansions because of the massive, sudden success of GTA Online, one former developer claims. 

Last year, dataminers found evidence suggesting that three different DLC packs were once in development for GTA 5, possibly called Agent Trevor, Alien Invasion, teased everywhere in the base game, and Zombie Apocalypse, which would probably echo Red Dead Redemption's excellent American Nightmare. 

Steve Ogg, who portrayed dangerous wildcard Trevor in the 2013 game, recently confirmed that a "James Bond Trevor" DLC was indeed in development at one time before the studio abruptly scrapped it. "He's still kind of a fuck up, but he’s doing his best to pretend to be like [a secret agent]," Ogg said of his character's journey in the doomed expansion. "We shot some stuff and then it just disappeared."

We now know what to blame for that sudden disappearance: the bonkers success of GTA Online. 

Former Rockstar Games developer James Rubino, who "was one of the main editors, camera artists, and [did] a lot of the second unit on-stage stuff" for six years, told YouTube channel SanInPlay about his time on the Agent Trevor DLC. "We split our teams into two, so I stayed on GTA Online and then this DLC, which Steven Ogg was a very important part of, and then some of the team overlapped and went to Red Dead Redemption 2 early on." (Good spot, VGC.)

Diretor da ROCKSTAR Joe Rubino revela DETALHES INÉDITOS da DLC do TREVOR… (Veja) - YouTube Diretor da ROCKSTAR Joe Rubino revela DETALHES INÉDITOS da DLC do TREVOR… (Veja) - YouTube
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Rubino then explains that after GTA Online came out, "it was so much of a cash cow and people were loving it so much that it was hard to make an argument that a standalone DLC would out-compete that... I think looking back now I would say that you could probably do both, but that was a business decision that they made."

Rockstar didn't burn all that work in the scrapyard, though. "A lot of that stuff did end up making it, I believe, into later iterations of GTA Online, I think, so it’s not like they wasted it. It was really, really good." That's not the only thing the studio binned from the GTA 5 era - behind-the-scenes documentary cameras were apparently filming "the whole time" during GTA 5's development, but Rockstar has yet to do anything with the footage.

Check out everything we know about GTA 6 in the meantime - hopefully, we get some zombie infestations for that one, at least.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.