When the game initially took liberties with the concept of realism by adding the beast, I thought: well, that isn't such a big deal, but now, I feel as though the game has moved to complete fantasy--something of a hybrid between *insert random war game* and Mad Max with a generous serving of other cliches. It isn't the same game and the semi-realistic nature of GTA from the past was an essential element in regards to why I have always enjoyed and had high hopes for the series.
I realised something earlier today: a lot of the whole 'just shove random Content™ in!' approach really started with Freemode Events, which was also the first update that left behind last-gen consoles. If Heists was the end point of R*'s original design goals for GTAO (and Ill-Gotten Gains the big finalé for last-gen), then Freemode Events marked the start of building/evolving on that, with all the limitations of older machines removed.
And it's kinda telling that the first thing they did was to remove the more realistic, in-universe Freemode activities, in favour of a bunch of random out-of-context, videogame-y-as-heck multiplayer games. Instead of hijacking armoured trucks and playing decoy with the cops, you're ...playing King of the Hill, like so many multiplayer games. And now, we've got the Batmobile coming, hot on the heels of KITT, jetbikes, etc. That stuff used to be random mods on GTA IV - now it's official DLC. And yet things as benign as regular clothes/cars/etc.? If you'd told me back in 2014 that R* would be adding sci-fi vehicles and turning everyone into 1% property moguls, but you couldn't wear realistic outfits or putter around in a Civic or a Miata, I'd have laughed you out of the building - funny how things pan out, huh?
In any case, I've been increasingly pushed out of this game over ...the last two years. Updates come out, I'll get disappointed when 90-100% of the content isn't what I want from GTA, and so I'll go play other games instead. Back in 2013-15, GTAO ended up eating up all my game time - now, I'm having to force myself to check in once in a while, just to not miss out on event tees and whatever. That's the only reason I'll be playing this week, and even that feels like a chore.
In some ways, it'd be easy enough to turn it around - add a Freemode business thing that's not just high-end/warzone stuff, and some cheap, fun vehicles of the type I like, and that'd probably reel me back in. But there's more fundamental stuff, like the continued decline of clothing quality and the like, or the lack of decent PvE gameplay, that makes me worry about even stuff like RDR2 multiplayer. If R* keeps demonstrating that they don't care for players personalising their experience, or enjoying a more structured experience over PvP free-for-all nonsense, then they're effectively saying they don't care if folks like me even play their games at all. And if that's the case, I'm wasting my time with GTAO, and R* titles in general.
Maybe there'll be another update which ticks all the boxes, and sucks me back in, just like the good old days - I'd love for that. But I'm so tired of the same old routine by this point: see if the next update has anything promising, realise it doesn't, drift away and play other games for a couple of months, come back when the next update is announced, see if it has anything promising... There's only so long I can do that, if it's clear nothing's going to change.