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GTA Online meets Twisted Metal in the new Arena War update

If you can manage to pull yourself away from the outlaw life in Red Dead Redemption 2 (opens in new tab) and chasing bounties in Red Dead Online (opens in new tab), Rockstar's got another huge update to chew on in GTA Online (opens in new tab). The Arena War patch that went live earlier today added a slew of modes revolving around the eponymous contest of car combat, as well as new rides and the in-depth customization of the Arena Workshop. As Rockstar puts it: "Sit down, strap in, and battle other would-be opponents in the greatest orgy of sports and automotive gladiatorial combat in human history." 

Looking like a chaotic mix of Mad Max, Twisted Metal, and Death Race (with just a sprinkling of Rocket League), the Arena War series demands that you drive or die behind the wheel of some tricked-out death machines. It's all put on by a goofy suit named Alan and his loyal assistant in the Maze Bank Arena, which you might remember from GTA 5 (opens in new tab)'s 'Fame or Shame' mission. Your GTA Online avatar has the opportunity to wreak havoc in seven new modes:

  • Carnage - Be the last car standing in this free-for-all brawl
  • Flag War - Classic capture-the-flag, but with two teams of cars
  • Wreck It - A NASCAR-style race where destroying other vehicles is encouraged
  • Tag Team - A series of one-on-one deathmatch battles between members from each team
  • Games Masters - One team races for checkpoints while the other team tries to obliterate them with remote-controlled traps
  • Here Come the Monsters - A cat-and-mouse match where one team's driving monster trucks and the other team must try to survive in defenseless compact cars
  • Hot Bomb - Hot Potato where slamming into another car passes on the explosive device 

As an added incentive to get you buckled up and ready for car carnage, GTA Online is offering double GTA$ & RP across the Arena War series. When you're not burning rubber and scraping metal in the arena itself, you can customize your killer rides in the Arena Workshop, which brings 12 new Arena Contender vehicles in Future Shock, Apocalypse, and Nightmare varieties. You can trick these cars out with all kinds of weaponry, from flamethrowers to buzz saws, or go for defensive options like additional armor plating.

Once your Arena Workshop is up and running (which isn't a requirement for playing Arena War modes), you'll have access to the Career Wall, which tracks your progress and awards you Arena Points after completing arena events. These points can go towards boons like discounts on outfits and additional modification options. And of course, you'll be able to fill out a trophy case commemorating all those burning piles of wreckage you left in your wake.

If you're not ready to jump into Arena War just yet, the update also brought a 25% discount off most weapon types (and even a 35% savings on Mk 2 weapon upgrades and customization). For everyone else, prepare to put the pedal to the metal and drive all over someone else's dreams in the Arena War.

That Arena Workshop won't pay for itself - so here's how to make money fast in GTA Online (opens in new tab).  

Lucas Sullivan
Lucas Sullivan

Lucas Sullivan is the former US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. Lucas spent seven years working for GR, starting as an Associate Editor in 2012 before climbing the ranks. He left us in 2019 to pursue a career path on the other side of the fence, joining 2K Games as a Global Content Manager. Lucas doesn't get to write about games like Borderlands and Mafia anymore, but he does get to help make and market them.