Rockstar Games has—in a surprising move that also makes tons of sense—purchased CFX.re, a team that has enabled the continued success of both Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption through the development of mod tools and maintaining roleplaying communities in either game’s online component.
Rockstar’s statement reads, “Today, we are proud to announce that Cfx.re — the team behind the biggest Rockstar roleplay and creator communities, FiveM and RedM — are now officially a part of Rockstar Games.”
If you’ve been around the block at all in the last several years, or just been on Twitch, you’ve probably seen the resurgence of Grand Theft Auto V, especially since the early stretches of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s largely because a) Grand Theft Auto will likely endure the heat death of the universe and outlive us all as a record of what humanity got up to and b) the development of roleplaying mods from CFX.re. These mods further expanded on the simulated reality Rockstar released nearly 10 years ago, allowing players to essentially participate in a fleshed out and functioning society. You can be a common citizen with some kind of day job or engage in a more typical game of literal cops and robbers as an actual career criminal or enforcer.
Though GTA Online has helped keep the game in the hearts, minds and wallets of many players for most of the last decade, roleplaying servers have supplanted typical online play in GTA for many players in the last few years. Many famous streamers, including figures like HasanAbi, have taken to GTA roleplaying communities like FiveM and RedM, helping popularize the alternative method of play. According to Rockstar, “Over the past few years, we’ve watched with excitement as Rockstar’s creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers.”
The statement goes on to mention that Rockstar has recently expanded its own policy about mods in order to specifically allow more of them from the roleplaying community, presumably with more ease than ever. Now that CFX.re is officially part of Rockstar Games, it isn’t hard to imagine elements of those roleplaying mods finding some home as official features in future releases, potentially even the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6.
In the meantime, I can see Rockstar’s cosign signaling to players that otherwise haven’t partaken that they should dip their toes into roleplaying in Los Santos and the Wild West. Expect to see an uptick in roleplaying servers while we wait and see how this gets legitimized and brought in-house over the next several years and releases.