Grand Theft Auto players 'rightfully pretty pissed' after Rockstar commits around 200 acts of grand theft auto

Official GTA 5 artwork showing a teen flipping the bird at his sister
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Grand Theft Auto Online's latest update, San Andreas Mercenaries, arrived yesterday and adds a new type of mission, various cosmetic content, and a bunch of quality of life changes. What's got the fans angry, though, is what's happened to hundreds of vehicles.

Rockstar giveth with this free update but has also done quite a job of taketh-ing away around 200 cars and motorcycles from the in-game stores. To add insult to injury, a bunch of them have now been made available to GTA+ subscribers, the game's premium offering, through the Vinewood Car Club (which only GTA+ players can access). 

This is a 10 year-old game. Rockstar had flagged that it would be removing some cars before the update, but players assumed this meant getting rid of a few old bangers that no-one uses anymore. That wasn't the case.

For its part Rockstar said "many lesser-used vehicles have been removed from dealership websites to streamline the shopping experience … these will occasionally be made available in other ways, including at The Diamond Casino & Resort’s Lucky Wheel".

On the GTA forums players are keeping a catalogue of what vehicles have been removed from the in-game websites (which is how you purchase them) and the list is extensive. A particular bone of contention for players is the Rockstar claim it would be removing "lesser-used" cars, because that is not the case.

"They said lesser vehicles and removed fucking everything," said SparkySyndicate, which is not strictly accurate but does perhaps capture an emotion.

"I would have been mostly alright with cars that you could just steal from the street and store in a garage being removed from the websites but they've gone absolutely nuclear and taken away a load of vehicles that, let's be honest here, definitely do not fit the description of "lesser-used"," said ImAddictedToGaming. "I mean seriously, you're telling me that cars such as the Jester and the Massacro, a pair of amazing cars at a very affordable price point, are used less than the Virgo from Ill-Gotten Gains or the Baller LE LWB?

"I try to see a bit of logic in everything they do regardless of whether I agree with it or not, but I'm seeing none in this. I know that they're probably trying to drive GTA+ subscriptions or boost player numbers, which I get because they're a business, but removing access to old content, some of which has been available to everyone since 2013, and locking it behind a paywall (or at the very least a FOMO model through event weeks) is disgusting".

Oh, the kicker for PC players is quite the thing. Take the beloved Stirling GT: this is one of the cars that's been affected, and is now only available to be bought by GTA+ subscribers. You can't subscribe to GTA+ on PC. The subscription is only available to PS5 and Xbox Series S/X players.

One further caveat is that players who already own these cars don't lose them. But for those who don't, hard cheese. You'll need to be playing on console and subscribe to GTA+ or wait for the weekly roll-around of cars on prize wheels where they may "occasionally" appear. 

"The vast majority of these vehicles are not simply less-common or spawn-on-the-street vehicles," said Thrasher9294. "Some, like the Stirling GT, are among the most competitive vehicles in their specific classes. And in that particular case, the Stirling GT is still available for purchase—for GTA+ members only at the new "Vinewood Car Club," a location where 10 vehicles will be shuffled around every week for test driving/purchasing.

"It's a fairly baffling example of attempting to introduce FOMO into a decade-old game at this point, and the community is rightfully pretty pissed".

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."