Probably the most intricate, mind-blowing open-world games to ever hit the shelves is the legendary Grand Theft Auto series. Here is the history of the franchise and every GTA game in order from the first GTA game in 1997 right through to 2020, an undefeated 23 years with no end in sight.
1997 - Grand Theft Auto
The first Grand Theft Auto was not even close to what GTA's are like today, they were from a 2D overhead top-down perspective with the ability to navigate around on foot and in-car to complete missions. The 2D perspective games lasted for a few years which, if we think about it in today's time, sounds really boring, but we have to keep in mind that those were what games were like back in the day! Grand Theft Auto released a few sequels to the initial game which were also 2D top-down perspective gameplay and these tiles were launched as Grand Theft Auto (the original game) Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, Grand Theft Auto: London 1961, and then finally Grand Theft Auto II. All these game releases were available on these platforms: Sony PlayStation, Game Boy Color, MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969
The next Rockstar Games addition to the franchise after Grand Theft Auto, was Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and was launched in early 1999, which was an expansion pack for the original Grand Theft Auto game launched a few years before. As the game expansion title states, the game was based in London in the late 1960s. This expansion pack game was available on Sony PlayStation, MS-Dos and Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1961
A few months after the launch of Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, a new expansion pack game titled Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 hit the shelves, and continue the gameplay of the original Grand Theft Auto game, and would only work if you have previously installed Grand Theft Auto: London 1969. This game expansion pack offered a few additional multiplayer modes as well as holds the title for introducing the first drive-by mechanic feature to the GTA franchise. Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 was only available to Windows/PC versions of GTA and was only offered as PC freeware. Available platforms: MS-Dos and Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto II
In the same year, in late 1999, Rockstar games released a revolutionary new addition to the Grand Theft Auto game lineup with Grand Theft Auto II. Not only were the graphics and more in-depth gameplay new features, but this was also the first game of Grand Theft Auto to offer some 3D gameplay experience even though the camera viewpoint was still the familiar overhead perspective like it was in previous Grand Theft Auto games. Grand Theft Auto II was available on these platforms: Sony PlayStation, DreamCast, Game Boy Color as well as Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto III
A few years later, Rockstar Games launched Grand Theft Auto III in late 2001. GTA III was the first game in the Grand Theft Auto game franchise to offer a fully 3D gameplay world, similar to the GTA's we play today, which gives the gamer a bigger sense of realism, graphics and storyline. Out with the over-head top-down viewpoint and in with the third person viewpoint, we are still familiar with today.
Grand Theft Auto III was also incredibly diverse on available devices. It was first launched for Sony PlayStation, then for Microsoft Windows the following year in 2002, and unfortunately for Xbox, only available in 2003. Due to GTA III's worldwide success and popularity, it was released for Apples OS X in 2010, and for Andriod and IOS in 2011. Still, with the climbing demand, Grand Theft Auto III was made available for PS3 in 2012 and again for PS4 in 2014 so that Grand Theft Auto fans around the world can experience the game and storyline on much newer console platforms.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Just about a year after the launch of GTA III, Rockstar Games launched Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which was yet another great success in the Grand Theft Auto lineup. The storyline and set were based on the Miami gangster and drug scene in the 1980s, and aside from the in-depth missions during gameplay, it also allowed the gamer to purchase houses, cars, casinos and clubs.
Similar to the previous release, Grand Theft Auto, GTA: Vice City was first launched for Sony PlayStation, then for PC and Xbox and then for mobile operating systems years later and a relaunch for PS3 and PS4 in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTA: San Andreas was released two years after GTA: Vice City, in late 2004, and quickly became the most popular GTA ever created, arguably continuing to hold its title even in 2020.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had gamers minds blown with not only one city where the storyline would play out, but three: Los Venturas, San Fierro, and Las Santos, which are fictionalized versions of Los Vegas, San Francisco, and Las Angeles, respectively. Also, character customisation was a whole new experience in the game as well, from going to the local gym to increase stamina and physical build, going to the barber for a variety of different haircuts and facial hair trimmings and styles, clothes shops for some new stylish threads, a tattoo parlour and even car customisation shops for a new set of wheels, paint job, engine upgrades and loads more! Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was seriously a game that changed how people viewed gaming as a whole and was a game that was years ahead of its time.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was made available for Windows and Sony PlayStation first, then Xbox, and overtime, for IOS and Andriod and PS3 and PS4.
Grand Theft Auto Advance
Grand Theft Auto Advance was launched at the same time as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but GTA Advance was specifically made only for the Game Boy Advance and still, today, is one of the most unknown and unspectacular Grand Theft Auto games of all time. This is largely due to the graphic and processing limitations of the Game Boy Advance. Grand Theft Auto Advance was visually similar to the original Grand Theft Auto games with the over-head perspective gameplay.
Available platforms: Game Boy Advance.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was in late 2005 and a was a GTA that was initially released for the PlayStation Portable or PSP and was meant to be a prequel to the storyline of Grand Theft Auto III which took place in Liberty City. The city was left pretty much unchanged, with the exception of updated graphics and a few features that games after Grand Theft Auto III supported. Even though GTA: Liberty City Stories was originally only for the PlayStation Portable, it was launched for PS2 a year later, and much like the other games, it was available for PS3 in 2013, IOS, Android and Fire OS in 2015 and 2016.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was launched in October 2006. Similar to what Rockstar Games did with GTA: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was a prequel to GTA: Vice City, with the same city layout with updated graphics and a different storyline. Where Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories leaves its mark on history is that it would become the last 3D based gameplay game before the Grand Theft Auto series evolves into a different High Definition category.
Available Platforms: Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 as well as the PlayStation Portable.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar Games launched the all-new Grand Theft Auto IV in late 2008, and again pushing the boundaries of what a Grand Theft Auto game can do. This time, the graphics had a lot of attention and pushed this GTA and GTA's to come into a brand new HD level. This was also the first Grand Theft Auto to change up the available consoles and platforms that will be supported by Rockstar for their new game lineup which was Microsoft Windows, Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost And Damned
A few months after the launch of GTA IV, Rockstar Games unveiled a new expansion pack game for GTA IV which was called Grand Theft Auto: The Lost And The Damned, which offered a variety of new missions for the game as well as an additional storyline and seeing that this is just an expansion pack for Grand Theft Auto IV, the available platforms are exactly the same as GTA IV, being the Sony PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 as well as Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
In March 2009, Rockstar Games released a new Grand Theft Auto, but this time, like they attempted to do way back in 2004 with the Game Boy Advance, it was specifically designed for hand-held platforms. Rockstar Games focussed a lot of this game on the Liberty City storyline and maps and improved on their our-dated 2D over-head perspective shots, like the original Grand Theft Auto games and the GTA Advance for the Game Boy like they had in 2004. The platforms available for Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars were the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and later for mobile.
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad Of Gay Tony
In late 2009, Rockstar Games launched yet another expansion pack game for GTA IV. Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad Of Gay Tony is the second and last expansion for GTA IV and offers a continuation on the storyline of GTA IV based around nightclubs and offers a variety of new weapons and add-ons, but the overall gameplay and graphics don't change from the original game. Available platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games launched a brand new Grand Theft Auto with the mindset of having one game to rule them all, and they sure stuck to their word with the latest GTA: Grand Theft Auto V.
Grand Theft Auto V holds the title of the third most sold game ever to be created and sold over 110 million copies worldwide!
Based on the platform of GTA IV, Grand Theft Auto V supported seriously improved graphics and a much more realistic world which was based in Los Santos. What made Grand Theft Auto V different from the rest was the involvement of multiple characters that could be played seamlessly together within the intricate, exciting and humorous storyline. Furthermore, in addition to the storyline, Grand Theft Auto V also has an online mode where a gamer is free to express his skill and game tactics with other players around the world and GTA V Online is continuously updated by RockStar Games to keep it exciting and interesting.
Grand Theft Auto V is available on Microsoft Windows, Sony Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
It is rumoured that Rockstar Games will be turning their attention to work on another addition to the Grand Theft Auto franchise soon, with a new game expected to be released within the next two years.
Take a look at the video beow on the history of the Grand Theft Auto games.