Now that the official GTA 5 release date (Sept. 17, for anyone fresh out of a coma) has been announced, the unofficial response from fans has been "WHAT THE F**K?!?"
Rockstar has been promising a "Spring 2013" release date for a few months now. And that wasn't some idle speculation based on leaked receipts or Amazon.com preorders, but rather the firm printed dates on all their promos at game retailers worldwide. "Spring 2013." Ok, cool. We got it. The big question became "What does Spring mean?" Is it July? Is it March?
Turns out, it's September. And the proximity to the (rumored) release dates for Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 had many gamers assuming the worst.
Apparently GTA 5 is coming out in september now :o.. Only on PS4 and xbox 720!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!!!
— Luke Burton (@LB93Spurs) February 1, 2013
GTA 5 now pushed to September? It will be delayed again and then come as a launch title on Xbox 720/ PS4
— Addie (@IansTheGuy) January 31, 2013
GTA 5 will be on xbox 720 and PS4. let's get it!
— khalil.(@FlySince95_) February 3, 2013
The conspiracy theory around the delay is as follows: Rockstar, seeing next-gen consoles on the horizon and worrying about down-the-road profits (i.e. DLC packs) decided to delay the game so that they could work on next-gen console versions and have them ready to go as launch titles for the new systems. Another theory suggests that, post-Sandy Hook, GTA 5 would draw too much controversy and hurt the industry, so Rockstar received pressure to delay it.
Rockstar decided to respond to the conspiracy theories (as well as the hate-trolling on its forum). Here's their official statement:
Hey all, we understand many of you guys are disappointed with this news - unfortunately sometimes such delays are necessary in all forms of entertainment, and especially in the case of a game experience as massive and complex as GTAV. However this does not give you free reign to be abusive in comments. The general rules of common courtesy, decency and behavior as listed above the Comment Box still apply here, therefore anyone continuing to post abusive comments will have their privileges suspended.
To those of you saying or seeing various conspiracy theories about there being some other ulterior motive for this delay, rest assured that they're all nonsense - literally the only reason we've delayed the release is because we want the game to be as good as it needs to be.
For those of you asking about the official box art, that will be coming out a bit later as well.
Thank you all for understanding.
The GTA release date conspiracy theory is just that, a theory, at least according to Rockstar. Still, any gamer with half a brain can see the problems with a September release date for the hottest game of the year, especially with release dates for next-gen consoles expected a month or two later. First, the DLC-stream IS a legitimate concern. Rockstar may get people to hold on to their 360s and PS4s a little while longer, but an influx of holiday upgrades are going to put next gen consoles in a lot of living rooms come January. Given Rockstar's penchant for quality (if that is the true reason for the GTA 5 delay) then we shouldn't be expecting them to jam out a lot of DLC before Xmas 2013.
Does that mean a port will be coming for the holidays? Financially, this makes sense. Let the people who paid for the game in September pay for it again in December. (I said it makes financial sense, not ethical sense.) And doing future DLCs for next-gen consoles only is exactly the kind of heavy-handed incentive the industry loves to use to make people upgrade their systems. Heck, it might even be part of a bundle deal if and when the port version for the Xbox 720 and PS4 arrive.
Meanwhile, Wii U and PC Versions are apparently an afterthought, with Rockstar saying that no release date for those versions has been set and, in fact, the titles are only "up for consideration." And, since there is no mention of either platform on any promotional materials, "consideration" might as well mean "speculation" instead.