Rockstar had grand plans for 'Red Dead Online' and hoped to make it a wild west version of their wildly successful 'GTA Online' but now the online mode for the cowboy epic will stop receiving major content updates.

In an update on the Rockstar website, the developers said "over the past few years, we have been steadily moving more development resources towards the next entry in the 'Grand Theft Auto' series."

"Understanding more than ever the need to exceed players’ expectations and for this next entry to be the best it can possibly be, we are in the process of making some changes to how we support Red Dead Online."

'Red Dead Online' will enhance the existing game modes as opposed to adding any major new updates.

"We plan to build upon existing modes and add new Telegram Missions this year, rather than delivering major themed content updates like in previous years," the announcement read.

“Firstly, with both new and experienced players engaging in the wealth of activities already added to this massively rich world including Specialist Roles, story-based cooperative missions, competitive Showdown Modes, and much more, we will continue to showcase these unique additions through monthly events as we move forward, so players of all levels can enjoy everything the vast frontier has to offer,” it says.

“This direct feedback from players has been instrumental to the ongoing success of both 'GTA Online' and 'Red Dead Online' — and an integral element of what helps us continue to evolve and improve as we push ahead towards the future," it added.

Fans had high hopes for 'Red Dead Online' following the launch of 'Red Dead Redemption 2' in 2018, but the game didn't receive the same level of support as 'GTA Online' in terms of major content updates.

This has irked a sizeable portion of the fanbase, with the hashtag #SaveRedDeadOnline created on social media and players staging a virtual funeral within the game in protest at Rockstar's supposed lack of support for the mode.

'Grand Theft Auto 6' was formally announced earlier this year, with industry rumours pointing to the game being a constantly evolving live service game ala 'Fortnite'.

'Grand Theft Auto 5' is among the 5 biggest selling video games of all time, with the game selling well over 150 million copies since it launched in 2013.