GTA Online's The Diamond Casino & Resort
GTA Online's The Diamond Casino & Resort. Courtesy of Rockstar Games

It was a story that started out as a fun bit of downloadable content. Now, it’s become a highlight of the whole year for the loyal player base of Grand Theft Auto 5. That’s right, the Grand Theft Auto Halloween celebration is coming back for the fifth year – but will this be the final time we get to enjoy it? 

If you’ve never taken part in the annual GTA Halloween event before, you’ve missed out on a lot of fun. If you’ve ever seen the popular ‘Purge’ movies, you’ll have an idea of how things work. Basically speaking, everybody gets to dress up in a costume and go out on a murder spree. We realize that this might not be drastically different from how some of you play GTA online every time you log on, but during Halloween, your kamikaze actions will be more acceptable to your fellow players. 

Although some players have taken to internet forums to question whether RockStar would have the time or inclination to generate fresh content for their five-year-old game this year, those fears have proven to be unfounded. Even though they’ve been spending most of their time during the past twelve months focusing on the second Red Dead Redemption game, they were never likely to pass up on an opportunity to make even more money from their flagship franchise before it disappears over the horizon in terms of its viability as a game. If we had to place a bet, though, we’d say that this is the last time we’ll see RockStar do it. 

We say that because this time next year, the current generation of consoles will be close to obsolete. We know that both Microsoft and Sony will be launching next-generation models of the Xbox and PlayStation during 2020, and so RockStar will almost certainly be preoccupied with making a brand new Grand Theft Auto game for the new PlayStation – and possibly another version for Google’s new Stadia platform. At this point, the sixth incarnation of GTA is all but confirmed, and will likely be one of the first major games to become available for the new PlayStation. We’ve seen a new GTA game released close to the launch of new consoles in the past, and we don’t imagine there will be any different this time around. Again, if we had to bet, we’d say Sony will currently be making big money offers to try to make the new game a PlayStation exclusive – at least in the short term. 

We mention betting because it’s been something of a sore point for RockStar and the whole GTA franchise during the past twelve months. After a long build-up, the much-heralded Diamond Resort and Casino was launched in July this year. It was hailed as the final major development for the game, and it was one which RockStar had clearly put a lot of time and effort into getting right before it went live to players. It would be safe to say that it didn’t exactly go the way they’d imagined it. 

The developer thought they wouldn’t run into any issues with the law because real money couldn’t be won inside the casino. They hadn’t counted on so many territories objecting to the fact that casino chips could be bought with real money, even if the money couldn’t then be extracted as profit. In some countries, that puts the game into the same category as mobile slots websites like Rose Slots. Although mobile slots are seen as harmless fun in the majority of countries, some places outright prohibit them. Try to log on to a mobile slots website in Argentina, for example, and you’ll find yourself blocked. You can’t enter the GTA 5 casino in the same countries, and RockStar’s pleas for the situation to be reconsidered have fallen on deaf ears. 

Because the widespread blockage of the game’s casino element will have impacted the amount of money RockStar would have been able to make from the game this year, they almost certainly consider it more important than ever to make that money back from players willing to pour money into the game during the Halloween celebrations, so what do those players have to look forward do? Details are a little scant at the moment, but we can make some predictions based on what’s happened during the previous four years. 

Firstly, we know that when RockStar makes updates to GTA, they almost always do so on a Thursday. It just so happens that Halloween itself falls on a Thursday this year. That likely means that instead of being able to access the features in a few days in advance, players will have to wait until the day of All Hallow’s Eve before they can partake in the yearly festivities. Once it’s up and running – unless RockStar decides to leave it open for longer than they have in the past – it will probably remain open for one full week. 

During 2018’s Halloween special, RockStar did more than just release new content into the game. They also made playable content from previous Halloween specials available once more. That means we should be able to re-use all the content from the past four years in addition to whatever they’ve come up with this time around. Based on that alone, it will be the largest celebration of Halloween on GTA 5 so far. If it is to be the last one, it’s only fitting that it’s the largest celebration of them all. 

Aside from that, it’s likely to be a case of new missions, new cosmetics, and RP bonuses. If there were also a new map, then we suspect players would lose their minds, but that’s probably a little too much to ask for when RockStar also has Red Dead Redemption Online to worry about. There’s nothing to say that there won’t be a special celebration of Halloween on the cards in that game, too. 

If you haven’t logged into the world of GTA for a while, we can happily recommend doing so on the spookiest night of the year. Not only will you be able to take part in a special event that’s like no other – but it also might prove to be the final large gathering in the history of one of the greatest video games ever made. 


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