Going in, I was skeptical that Rockstar really needed to so prominently tease the reveal of GTA Online, but it feels good to be, on some level, proven wrong; this isn't just more of the same. Speaking to CVG, Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies referred to it "as a different entity, a separate thing, and it'll grow on its own. It'll be GTA Online; it's not part of GTA V. Obviously it's set in the GTA V engine, but it's going to grow and evolve into its own thing."
The interview itself goes incredibly in-depth, and it's worth a read. The main takeaway is that as crazy as all of this sounds -- we're basically talking the full world of GTA V, but in a persistent online setting -- it's only the start. For instance, underwater areas: "We're not really pushing the underwater side right now, but once we get the first batch of content out -- which is going to be a lot; hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of missions -- then we'll start looking at some other things. Underwater. Getting all the subs going. They're all there, it's all ready to go. And underwater's kind of cool. I think we're going to find that a lot of people like underwater, so I think it's an area that we might utilise in future."
It's slightly disappointing that all of this won't be out in time for launch, but it's intentional -- Rockstar wants to ease players into GTA V. Getting into the content on or after October 1, 2013 when GTA Online goes live will be as simple as changing to a new, fourth (multiplayer) character on the Switch Wheel. "There may be a tiny download, but it'll just be a code," reassures Benzies. "We've just got to figure out how that will work with Sony and Microsoft."