Grand Theft Auto V has been out for a couple of weeks, but a big chunk of the game—the entire multiplayer part, actually—was missing at launch. Tomorrow, the ambitious GTA Online multiplayer suite launches as a free download for anyone who owns the base game. Tomorrow at around 7AM Eastern, to be more specific.
In a sizable update to the company blog, Rockstar has laid out a bunch of guidelines for players to get ready to take GTA V online. Right up front, they made it clear that they're not entirely sure when the online component will launch, though they're pegging it for sometime in the early morning on October 1:
Access to Grand Theft Auto Online is free with your copy of Grand Theft Auto V. On October 1st there will be a small downloadable Title Update released on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE. Upon installation of that Title Update, direct access to begin GTA Online will be unlocked in your GTAV game menu. You will be able to jump right into GTA Online via the 4th (bottom) slot in your GTAV character wheel. We’ve received many questions asking for a specific confirmation of what exact time GTA Online will be available but of course this is contingent on both Title Updates becoming available on each console’s network. As a general timeframe, we do expect the Title Update to become available on PSN and Xbox LIVE starting around 7AM ET tomorrow morning, and your best bet is to stay tuned throughout the day here at the Rockstar Newswire and by following us on Twitter and Facebook where we will be keeping everyone updated.
Rockstar also elaborates on GTA Online's much-ballyhooed GTA$ and microtransactions, stressing that "no one can begin GTA Online and simply spend a lot of money out of the gate to get a leg up." Their full elaboration:
To allay some concerns we’ve heard on this subject, we can assure you that the game is designed such that the option of purchasable GTA$ should not disrupt the playing field – and there are a few mechanics in place to help ensure that. All players still have to rank up with Reputation Points (RP) in order to get access to purchase high-end items. No one can begin GTA Online and simply spend a lot of money out of the gate to get a leg up. You will have to earn your stripes and play to unlock access to the aspirational clothes, guns and other items. Please also remember that in GTA Online, hustling to afford the finer things by earning GTA$ doing robberies, stick-ups, winning races and other profitable activities is a fun gameplay experience rather than ever being a ‘grind’. As we mentioned on Wednesday, we will constantly tweak all areas of the game to make it play fairer and iron out any balancing problems (while fixing all the other problems we encounter!), but we really need your help in figuring out what those issues are. So please work with us on that!
Other interesting tidbits: The narrative of GTA Online takes place a few months prior to the story events of GTA V, and you'll be able to visit your friends' pads by invitation only, which is designed to limit griefing. Using their heredity-based character creation system (which is a phrase I enjoy just writing, let alone using), you can adjust your character's genetics to account for how much sleep they get, how much partying they do, and how often they break the law, among other things. Rockstar: "Essentially, you can adjust the genetics to wind up with a fresh faced lad or lass or a grizzled, haggard degenerate or anywhere in between!"
I'm looking forward to diving into GTA Online, and while it's likely we'll see the usual server overload for a while, hopefully launch day won't be so crowded as to make it impossible to play. We'll have a lot more on GTA Online here on Kotaku as soon as it gets up and running.
GTA Online Details: Game Day Access Info and More [Rockstar Blog]