GTA 5 Online Heists
An official still for GTA Online's Heist mode. Rockstar Games

Update: The PS3 update is now live.

Original story: The long-awaited Heists update for GTA Online is now live on PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. There is no confirmation of the PS3 update rolling out as yet, but we don't suppose Rockstar will leave it hanging for too long.

The update comes 539 days on from the initial release of Rockstar's latest Grand Theft Auto - or one year, five months and 21 days - heists have finally arrived in GTA Online. Multiplayer heists had been promised since before the game's September 2013 release (and November 2014 release on new gen consoles), and it was a core element to the GTA 5 single player story. Now fans will be able to put together and complete daring heists online with their friends and players around the world.

On PS4 the free update is 4.75GB and 4.8GB on Xbox One, and is rolling out gradually across PAL territories as we speak - meaning some players may have to wait a bit before downloading. Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game are receiving a 1.5GB update.

Rockstar officially revealed Heist mode earlier this year, promising it would be live for existing versions of the game before the repeatedly delayed PC version of the crime epic. The PC version will launch on 14 April after previously being set for 27 January and 24 March.

Over the last couple of days Rockstar have been detailing how Heists will work in the multiplayer portion of GTA 5. Here's their description:

First things first: every Heist needs a leader and the Heist Leader is going to need to be at least rank 12 and own a high-end apartment with a planning board in order to co-ordinate the crime. Not only do Heist Leaders cough up all of the setup costs up-front, they have complete control over team roles and the cut of the final take each Crew Member gets. Additionally, Heist progress is only saved for the Heist Leader - so when choosing a leader it makes sense to link up with someone you can trust.

It should go without saying that good teamwork starts with communication - and headsets are important to successfully pulling off Heists. Whether it's telling a lookout where they need to be, a passenger locating vehicles using the Trackify app and giving directions to the driver, or two infiltrators operating a pair of security panels in perfect sync.

At different stages of each Heist, Crew members will be assigned different roles. These could be slightly different responsibilities within a single scenario - for example, two lookouts and a bodyguard while a buyer completes a less-then-legal exchange of information - or larger deviations, like two players patrolling in an attack chopper above while the other two infiltrate a facility below. It's important for all players to know their strengths and, in turn, for the Heist Leader to assign accordingly. If you see yourself as an ace pilot, then put in some time at the Flight School and increase that flying stat to prove it.

Professionals don't expect the customer to provide the tools for the job. While there might be some more specialized equipment that may be provided (or that you'll need to acquire) along the way, for the most part you'll be using your own custom vehicles and firearms to get by. So it's a good time to take stock and make sure your garage and your arsenal are prepared for all possibilities. Silencers on guns and RPGs in general are especially useful for certain Heists while four-door vehicles with added armor can come in handy if you like to keep your friends close. With GTA Online Heists you'll be able to unlock a range of new vehicles and gear including an extensive selection of new outfits perfect for whatever each Heist throws at you.

For the financially ambitious there are a few ways to increase the income from Heists in a major way. First off, each Heist has its own Elite Challenge which, upon completion, will yield a substantial cash bonus. These can be completed multiple times, but be warned: they're no cakewalk.

On top of that, there are Special Heist Completion bonuses that can only be achieved once per person, but will add some serious zeros to your bank balance. They are as follows:

  • First Time – Completing each Heist Finale for the first time, will net you a bonus cash reward
  • All In Order Challenge – Complete all Heists in order, including Setups, to receive a $1,000,000 cash bonus
  • Loyalty Challenge – Complete all Heists, including Setups, with the same team of players to receive an additional $1,000,000 bonus
  • Criminal Mastermind Challenge – Complete all Heists, in order, with the same group of players, without losing any lives, to receive a massive $10,000,000 bonus

The one-off bonus challenges are linked to in game awards. You can monitor your award progress via the Stats > Awards tab in the Pause Menu.