A Decade Later, GTA Online Finally Has Animals Running Around

A Decade Later, GTA Online Finally Has Animals Running Around

‘Tis the season, once again, for Rockstar Games to drop another massive (and free) Grand Theft Auto Online update. And this time, not only has the company added a whole new chop shop business, but it’s also added drift races, new cars, and animals, too. Yes, it took a decade and three console generations, but finally, GTA Online will have animals running around its massive map.

Sure, sure, everyone is very excited about Rockstar’s next game, Grand Theft Auto VI. The first trailer for the long-awaited sequel blew up the internet earlier this month and has already racked up over 130 million views. But don’t think Rockstar has forgotten about GTA Online, its big money maker. Its new update (out on PC, PlayStation 4/5, and Xbox) might not be as exciting as a new GTA sequel, but it’s still a great reason to return to the aging online crime sim if only because now you and some friends can hit a deer doing 180 while outrunning the law.

Released on December 12, GTA Online’s 1.68 patch, better known as the Chop Shop update, is a big one, adding 11 new cars, 300+ pieces of clothing, 32 new tattoos, birthday gifts, daily challenges, a large new 100-car garage for GTA+ subscribers, a whole new business, a long list of general improvements, bug fixes, a new rifle, and even the ability to unlock and own police vehicles legitimately without using mods or hacks.

Rockstar Games

The big star of this update is the chance for players to buy and operate their very own illegal chop shop. GTA IV’s Yusuf Amir is in town and looking for some luxury cars, so the player works with them to steal pricey vehicles and chop up less expensive cars to help generate parts and extra money.

Owning the new chop shop will also let players drive a tow truck, which opens up a new side hustle in which you can tow away vehicles and have them chopped up for extra money.

Things are getting wild in Los Santos

That’s cool and all, a new way to make money in GTA Online is always nice. But what longtime players like myself might be more excited about is that finally, a decade after it was released, GTA Online now has animals like deer and coyotes running around. Rockstar first teased this in November, but now it’s here and it’s great. The world of GTA Online feels a lot less empty and more alive than ever. I just hope those animals realize how dangerous the world is. (Watch out for jet bikes!)

Sadly, wildlife in GTA Online is exclusive to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game, so PC players and folks on prior-gen machines are left out of all the fun. While I understand why the weaker old machines might not be able to handle animals, it continues to be odd and frustrating that Rockstar still hasn’t updated the PC version of GTA Online to match current-gen ports. Maybe one day.

Thankfully, everyone now has access to law enforcement vehicles regardless of platform. All you have to do is complete a specific challenge or mission and you’ll be able to purchase either a police cruiser, an unmarked cop car, or a riot van. To unlock the cruiser, you’ll need to complete the Gangbanger Robbery scope-out mission. To unlock the unmarked cop car you’ll need to survive a three-star wanted level for five minutes. And finally, to unlock access to the riot van you’ll need to naturally lose a four or five-star wanted level.

Some other little things I noticed in this massive update:

  • Rockstar has removed the ability to email players in-game. You probably didn’t even realize that was a thing.
  • The interaction menu has been updated and improved. You can now manage cars and garages in it.
  • No more rank resections on buying throwable items, like grenades. Which, yeah, that was silly.

All and all, it’s another solid update for GTA Online that helps keep it from feeling too old and creaky after a decade of service. It’s also a sign that, at least for now, Rockstar has no plans to let its most successful video game wither away and die. But with GTA 6 coming, we’ll see if things change by 2025.

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