Here is the Entire History of GTA (Grand Theft Auto)

11 November, 2023 - 11:22 am (19 days ago)
6 mins read

Rockstar Games announced that the first trailer for the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI will arrive in December 2023. Now let’s take a look at the history of the game.

GTA 1 (1997)

In the video gaming industry, ‘Grand Theft Auto’ (GTA), developed by DMA Design and published by BMG Interactive, stands out for its controversy and acclaim. Launched in 1997, it revolutionized gaming by allowing players to explore the criminal underworld in cities based on real-world locations. Originally titled ‘Race ‘n’ Chase’, GTA shifted from a police chase narrative to a criminal perspective, a change that was crucial for its success. Despite debates over its violent content and mixed reviews, GTA became a commercial hit, praised for its entertainment value and player freedom. It set a new standard in gaming with its nonlinear gameplay, linear progression system, and strategic elements like point multipliers. The PC version introduced networked multiplayer gameplay, and the presence of law enforcement in the game added complexity. The development of GTA faced many challenges, including production delays and conceptual changes. Ultimately, GTA’s pioneering open-world concept and bold narrative approach redefined gaming, inspiring a genre that continues to evolve. Its lasting success reflects its groundbreaking impact on the gaming world.

GTA 2 (1999)

Grand Theft Auto 2 (GTA 2), released in 1999 by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design), is a notable chapter in action-adventure gaming. Available on PC, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color, it brought innovations and a cinematic approach to the series. The game is set in a retrofuturistic city called “Anywhere City”, where players engage in criminal activities across various syndicates. It introduced live-action scenes, a diverse soundtrack, and a gang loyalty system. While the graphics and controls received mixed reviews, the game achieved moderate commercial success.

GTA 2 stood out for its gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to save games, syndicate jobs, and improved interactions within the game world. The game’s narrative and setting, not clearly defined in time, added to its appeal. A short film served as the introduction, enhancing storytelling. Each gang in the game had its radio station, but emergency vehicles lacked radios for realism.

The game received varied critical reception across different platforms, with the PC version being more favored. It was awarded a “Silver” sales award. Although criticized for not innovating significantly from its predecessor, GTA 2’s improvements laid the groundwork for future installments, particularly Grand Theft Auto III. Reflecting on GTA 2’s legacy, it represents a blend of innovation and continuation in the series, impacting the action-adventure genre significantly.

GTA III (2001)

In 2001, “Grand Theft Auto III” (GTA III) revolutionized open-world gaming, taking players to the gritty streets of Liberty City. Developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games, GTA III marked a new direction for the Grand Theft Auto series and the gaming industry. The game, developed in Edinburgh and New York City, transitioned the franchise into 3D gaming. Released post-September 11, it first appeared on PlayStation 2, later expanding to Windows and Xbox.

GTA III featured a comprehensive open-world, three distinct areas, and a third-person perspective, allowing extensive player interaction. It introduced advanced game mechanics like health regeneration, armor use, and a law enforcement response to the player’s crimes. Notably, it offered side missions and dynamic mission structures for great freedom.

The narrative follows Claude, a criminal seeking revenge in Liberty City, and touches on themes like betrayal and gang warfare. The engaging story and open-world freedom led to critical acclaim, making it 2001’s best-selling game. Despite controversy over its violence and adult themes, GTA III’s impact on gaming was profound, inspiring more sophisticated open-world games and setting new standards for narrative and gameplay.

GTA III’s legacy continues with ports to various platforms, including mobile devices, and its influence is evident in many modern open-world titles. Its journey from a 3D gaming experiment to a cultural icon highlights its monumental impact on gaming and popular culture, redefining open-world action-adventure games and influencing the gaming industry’s direction.

GTA: Vice City (2002)

In 2002, Rockstar Games released ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,’ developed by DMA Design, as the fourth main and sixth overall installment in the Grand Theft Auto series. Set in the Miami-inspired fictional Vice City, it follows mobster Tommy Vercetti’s rise to power after his release from prison and involvement in a failed drug deal. The game introduced a revolutionary third-person perspective in an open world, allowing players to explore Vice City’s two main islands freely. It mirrored real-world events and figures from 1980s Miami, such as the crack epidemic and glam metal’s prevalence.

The gameplay features missions to progress the story and optional side missions, with an extensive array of transportation and combat options. Despite acclaim for its music, gameplay, and open world, the game faced controversy for its portrayal of violence and racial groups. ‘Vice City’ was the best-selling game of 2002, with over 17.5 million copies sold, influencing the sixth generation of video games and spawning ports, enhanced versions, and successors like ‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.’ The game’s success, blending narrative depth and cultural references, underscores its lasting impact on storytelling and entertainment in video games.

GTA: San Andreas (2004)

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” developed by Rockstar North and released in October 2004, significantly impacted the video game industry as the fifth main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. Known for its expansive open-world setting, the game features three major cities (Los Santos, San Fierro, Las Venturas) based on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, and includes diverse environments like countryside, forests, and a desert. The narrative revolves around Carl “CJ” Johnson, who rejoins his gang in Los Santos after his mother’s murder, delving into themes of crime and corruption, mirroring real-life events such as the 1990s L.A. riots. The game introduced role-playing elements, allowing character customization, and combined shooter and driving mechanics for a dynamic gameplay experience. Despite controversies like the “Hot Coffee” mod revealing sexual content, San Andreas received acclaim for its story and gameplay but faced criticism for its graphics and controls. As the best-selling game of 2004, with over 27.5 million copies sold by 2011, it significantly influenced open-world game design. The game’s legacy includes remasters, like the 2021 “The Definitive Edition,” and its ongoing popularity highlights its role in shaping the gaming industry.

GTA IV (2008)

“Liberty City Chronicles: The Evolution of Grand Theft Auto IV” discusses the groundbreaking action-adventure game, GTA IV, developed by Rockstar North and released by Rockstar Games. The game, set in Liberty City, a fictional representation of New York City, brought a new level of realism with the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE). It focuses on the story of Niko Bellic, an Eastern European war veteran navigating a crime-ridden world. The gameplay combines thrilling missions with exploratory freedom and moral choices affecting the narrative. GTA IV introduced first-person perspective in vehicles and expanded its universe with two significant DLCs, The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. The development process included intensive research and original storytelling, capturing over 100,000 photographs of New York. Released in 2008, it broke sales records and was critically acclaimed for its open-world design and narrative depth, despite controversies over its depiction of violence. GTA IV’s legacy lies in its impact on gaming history, technology, storytelling, and player agency, influencing many games that followed.

GTA V (2013)

In the video gaming world, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) by Rockstar North is a landmark title. As the seventh main entry in the series, it’s known for its groundbreaking sales and impact on gaming. The game’s open-world design showcases a fictional state based on Southern California, navigated on foot or by vehicles. Its story revolves around three protagonists involved in heists, offering a complex narrative experience. The game features dynamic environments and uses Rockstar’s RAGE engine for high graphical fidelity. Commercially, GTA V broke records, earning $800 million on its first day and grossing about $8 billion globally. It’s the second best-selling game and has sparked debates over its depiction of violence and women. Developed collaboratively by Rockstar’s studios, the game drew inspiration from titles like Red Dead Redemption. GTA V is celebrated for its innovative multiple-protagonist design and immersive gameplay, setting a high standard for storytelling and world-building in video games. It remains a benchmark in the gaming industry, noted for its narrative depth and cultural significance.

GTA VI  Expectations

As we mentioned in this article, the gaming community is eagerly awaiting the release of Grand Theft Auto VI, which is being prepared by Rockstar Games and has caused great speculation. Known for its innovative gameplay and engaging stories, this new installment promises to elevate the series further. The journey to its release has been marked by mystery and anticipation, beginning with a subtle hint in a GTA 5 Community Update and later fueled by a significant leak in September 2022, revealing details about the game’s content.

Rockstar and parent company Take-Two Interactive, committed to innovation, set high expectations for GTA VI, following the success of its predecessor, which sold over 190 million copies. The new game is expected to introduce groundbreaking features like a dynamic map and dual protagonists, including a Latina character, a first for the 3D GTA titles, indicating a fresh and inclusive direction.

The September 2022 data leak was a turning point, exposing game details and involving Rockstar’s response and even the FBI. This incident underscores the immense anticipation for the game. As the release of the first trailer in early December nears, fans globally are excited, anticipating that GTA VI could redefine open-world gaming. The journey to GTA VI’s release reflects the series’ enduring legacy and the gaming community’s eagerness for this cultural phenomenon.

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Bilgesu Erdem

tech and internet savvy, cat lover.

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