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Rockstar shows off GTA Online

The multiplayer version of Grand Theft Auto looks even more sprawling and ambitious than anticipated.

Rockstar has finally dropped some information on GTA Online, with a three-minute trailer and a big preview article with CNET Australia's sister site GameSpot.

(Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

GTA Online is not just a multiplayer component for Grand Theft Auto V. It's much more than that. It's an ever-expanding version of Los Santos that lets you create and customise a character, slowly building up money, reputation and maybe even a massive criminal empire. Perform tasks to earn reputation points; the more you earn, the more non-playable characters you unlock to interact with.

You enter the online world by selecting your online character, much as you can swap between the three single-player characters. You'll be dropped into a shared world with 16 other players, selected from your friends list, teammates and just other characters of a similar level.

From there, it's a sandbox experience. Race, plan cooperative heists, initiate team-based death matches, cruise around, play the stock market, buy an apartment and host a party — even use the content creator to build your own experience to share.

It's far bigger than expected — we highly recommend reading the full GameSpot preview for a much more detailed look — and as such, it's on a slightly different development schedule than GTA V.

GTA Online will release on 1 October and be delivered via a patch to GTA V. There's no additional pass or code required; if you have GTA V, you'll have GTA Online.

This looks even better than anticipated, and we're definitely looking forward to seeing what Rockstar can cook up for GTA Online.