Dinesh Elumalai recalls the controversies and the temptation that marked the evolution of the Grand Theft Auto franchise

If you ever saw the Al Pacino version of Scarface and thought to yourself, ‘Heck! That is a fun life!’ you might just be all in for GTA. If your thing is to lead a criminal life, be a gangster and mow down your enemies with brutal violence, GTA offers it all: car theft, murder, and even mass killing and a step more if you dare mess around with police.

Despite having a sizable fan base and being highly regarded by critics, this franchise is notorious among parents for its violent, racist, and sexual themes. In each game, the player takes on the role of a criminal in a fictional open-world American city.

Jobs and missions, such as robberies, muggings, assassinations, and more, are finished. More complex missions, including potentially stealing an undersea nuclear weapon, were added to the game in later iterations.

Image Credit: PlayStation Store

Games in the Grand Theft Auto series do not immediately follow one another. Although some characters or locales might resurface in multiple chapters, most stories are stand-alone experiences. As a result, Rockstar can choose the year in which each title’s events take place. Occasionally, the decade or year in which a game is set has a significant impact on how it is presented or its themes.

In contrast, how many GTA games have there been, what is the proper order of release, how do they fit chronologically, and are we overdue for GTA 6?

Main GTA games in release order

The list of main Legendary Game “Grand Theft Auto” the most helpful:

1. Grand Theft Auto – 1997

2. Grand Theft Auto 2 – 1999

3. Grand Theft Auto III – 2001

4. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – 2002

5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 2004

6. Grand Theft Auto IV – 2008

7. Grand Theft Auto V – 2013

Image Credit: Reddit

Main GTA games in chronological order

The below list is to show that the main GTA games are ordered based on when their stories took place:

1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – 1986

2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 1992

3. Grand Theft Auto – 1997

4. Grand Theft Auto – 1999

5. Grand Theft Auto III – 2001

6. Grand Theft Auto IV – 2008

7. Grand Theft Auto V – 2013

However, in the early days, the game had a quite different feel, now the graphics and game play improvised much better and interesting to play every assignment in the game. Let us discuss each release short and crisp.


Published by: BMG Interactive

Developed by: DMA Designs

Expansions series: Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1999), Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (1999)

Initially released in October 1997 for Windows-based PCs and MS DOS, the first game in the series was later ported to PlayStation and the Game Boy Color. GTA 1 is a two-dimensional game that uses a top-down, bird’s-eye view camera.

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Players who assume the role of criminals must fulfill missions connected to theft, robbery, and violence. You can answer in-game phone calls to get additional objectives. The GTA 1 game’s point system determines how many points are required to accomplish each level. Points are a form of currency that may be used to buy a variety of in-game products. As the game advances, missions get harder, however players who are having trouble can employ a variety of tricks to get over difficult sections. Grand Theft Auto 64 was supposed to be the title of the game for the Nintendo 64 system, but it was never released.


Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: DMA Design

GTA 2 was born as the logical result of the success of GTA 1. Its top-down, bird’s-eye view camera and two-dimensional action-adventure gameplay were similarities to GTA 1’s gameplay. Two distinct modes called Noon and Dusk were available for use in the PC version of the game. Dusk mode resulted in higher-quality images.

Image Credit: YouTube

The GTA 1 mission structure was preserved by Rockstar. To receive missions from crime leaders dwelling in the game’s location, Anywhere City, players must answer public phones. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Race, and Tag were among the four multiplayer game modes included in this installment of the series. On the PlayStation, Dreamcast, Windows, and Game Boy Color, GTA 2 was made available.


Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: DMA Design

Expansions: Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories (2005)

The innovative, genre-defining game in the Grand Theft Auto series is this one. The first game in the series to use a third person POV was GTA 3, which debuted on October 22, 2001. Through an over-the-shoulder perspective, players may view the updated open environment.

Image Credit: Hogan Reviews

Returning to Liberty City, which was a part of the original Grand Theft Auto 1, in Grand Theft Auto 3 was significant. The protagonist of the game is Claude, a criminal who is shot by his fiancée during a bank heist, is then apprehended by the police, found guilty, and given a prison sentence. But when they are being transported to the jail, Claude and another prisoner manage to flee and find their way to a safe house, where he meets a criminal lord and starts his crusade for vengeance.

The “wanted level” rises as the main character commits crimes, causing law enforcement to pursue you with increasing vigor until you are apprehended or manage to escape. It was the first game in the series to use a 3D gaming engine. As soon as it was released, it swiftly won over fans and received favorable reviews from many critics. Grand Theft Auto III is still well-liked today and is accessible on many other platforms, including Microsoft Windows PCs, XBox, and PlayStation gaming consoles. Later, it was made available for iOS, Android, and Mac OS.


Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: DMA Design

Expansions: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)

The second GTA game to use a 3D graphics engine was the sixth installment in the series. A made-up metropolis named Vice City is modeled after Miami. Tommy Vercetti, a mafia hitman, seeks retribution after a botched cocaine deal. Players in Vice City have the same freedom of movement as in the earlier games.

Image Credit: YouTube

Players finish both major missions and side missions as the plot develops to unlock new playable locales. The gameplay and graphics are identical to the series’ prior installment. Some of the NPCs from GTA III appear in Vice City’s plot, which is set 15 years before the events of GTA III. It offers a range of modes of transportation, including cars, motorcycles, boats, and helicopters, just like the other games in the series.


Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: Rockstar North

The graphics engine used by Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was the same as that of the first two games from the GTA III period. It is set in the state of San Andreas, which is modeled on the states of California and Nevada and uses a sizable open-world game map. Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas are the three cities where the majority of the action takes place (which are based on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas respectively).

Image Credit: APKMODY

The protagonist of the tale is CJ (Carl Johnson), who was falsely accused of murder by dishonest police. To keep his freedom, CJ completes assignments for these police. In terms of gameplay, GTA San Andreas resembles its predecessors stylistically but adds role-playing elements. The player can entirely alter their appearance, but they must eat right and work out to get in better shape. Due to a mod dubbed “Hot Coffee,” the title generated some debate. The game’s sexually explicit elements can be accessed with this mod. Its rating was also changed from Mature to Adult Only as a result, and it was removed off numerous store shelves.


Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: Rockstar North

Expansions: The Lost and The Damned (2009), Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)

The Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) made its series debut in GTA IV. More realistic gameplay and an intricately detailed rendering of the urban environment than GTA III were achieved with the RAGE platform. Numerous games, including GTA 5 and the Red Dead Redemption series, have incorporated RAGE.

Image Credit: Steam

As the immigrant with high dreams—this time as Niko Bellic—players return to the Liberty City scenario. There are both main missions and side missions in GTA IV.

Players can either drive or walk-through Liberty City, which is modeled like New York. The player has access to several melee weapons during combat. Additionally, GTA IV has a first-ever in the series first-person point-of-view mode. This mode is usable while operating a car.

The game has a multiplayer option with street racing and Death Match for up to 32 players.

GTA V (2013)

Published by: Rockstar Games

Developed by: Rockstar North

The most technologically advanced video game of its time is GTA V, the series’ fifteenth installment. Utilizing Rockstar’s RAGE graphics engine, it provides a sizable game world that replicates southern California with enhanced AI, heavy traffic, a variety of air, land, and sea vehicles, weather effects, and more.

The same open world layout is included in GTA V, and players have the choice of either the first- or third-person camera POV. Like earlier games, players advance through tasks to access new areas of the map. Franklin Clinton, Trevor Philips, and Michael De Santa are the game’s three primary protagonists. Each character has a unique talent that may be enhanced by accumulating experience points. The player can switch characters after the story has advanced sufficiently.

Image Credit: The Scotsman

The stunningly detailed environments in the game’s distinct locations were all beautifully produced. There were tall mountains, peaceful beaches, calm waters, wildness, strip malls, and upscale shops in addition to the regular metropolitan scenery.

GTA V was an enormous success, earning $800M on just the first day. As of 2019, it had sold more over 110 million copies, ranking it as the third-most popular video game of all time.

Thank you for all your time, hope you enjoyed the article, do let us know which is your favorite series (my personal favorite is GTA Vice city and San Andreas) and share your thoughts in the comments box below on what next you want to read about we will do our best to give the same. There is an ongoing talk on the release of GTA VI, we will share our complete insight on that version too post release after exploring the game.

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Dinesh is an aspiring commerce graduate who enjoys reading about technology and exploring video games and expressing his views through writing on the experience he had which keeps him satisfied.


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