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History of the GTA Series

Grand Theft Auto is a gaming series with a long, long history. With more leaks and information coming out about GTA 6, there is no time better than right now to get caught up on all the games in the series.


This photo and all photos in this article courtesy of Rockstar Games

The first game in the series came out in October 1997. In this game, the player starts in Liberty City and works their way to San Andreas and Vice City by completing parts of the game. There are six main levels in the game and you have to reach a target number of points to move past each individual level. The catch is that you only have five lives to get to this certain score or you will have to start over. Besides this, the player is free to do whatever they want in the game and get into all those classic GTA shenanigans. Despite how the game came out so long ago, there was still a multiplayer aspect where players could play with other people all over the world. This game gives players a top-down view of what is going on.


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GTA 2 was released on October 22, 1999. This game was one of the worst-reviewed games in the entire series, but also had a much better monetary success compared to the first game. This game also had 3D graphics. Although the game still was not in third person, the graphics were a lot better than the first game and made the use of a top-down perspective a lot better on the eyes. The game takes place in an unknown area only ever called  “Anywhere City.”  The game never really tells you what year it is taking place, and this has puzzled players for years. In the game you play as Claude Speed, a newer criminal who is trying to make his way in the world. Similar to the first game, GTA 2 is split into three sections: commercial, residential and industrial.


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GTA 3 was released in 2001 and was set in the fictional world of Liberty City, which was seen in the first game, You also follow Claude, a character from the second game. The game is a direct sequel to GTA 2. GTA 3 had a major rise in quality when the game was changed to a fully 3D world instead of the top-down view used in the previous games. This was also the first game to really get a solid review from the public. In my opinion— some others may disagree— this was the game which really put the series on the map and led the way for the success of future games in the series.

GTA: Vice City

GTA Vice City
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This game came out on October 27th 2002 and, similar to the last game, kept the 3D universe style. The game is set in 1986 Vice City Florida, and you play as Tommy Vercetti as he becomes a major mob boss. This game is known for being the most influenced by the real world, especially the show Miami Vice. This game was really well-received, getting amazing reviews from the public and the gaming community.

GTA: San Andreas

GTA San Andreas
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This game is a direct sequel to Vice City and a prequel to GTA 3. The game came out on October 26th 2004 and consisted of three areas of play, Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas. This game was known for being the most complex and thought out game of the series thus far and really changed the format and quality of the series in a good way. You play as Carl Johnson, a man who is returning home after his mother was murdered. This was also the first game to really give a lot of options for player customization, a theme that continued on for all games to come.


Gta IV
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This game came out on April 29th 2008 and is set in Liberty City. You play as Niko Bellic, a veteran trying to stay out of the way of a mob boss and a loan shark. This game was known for taking another huge step in the realism and quality of the graphics. GTA 4 is also the first game to take place in a fully different timeline and story world than the other games. This game was also the first game in the series many people my age played, as it came out around the time we were all getting old enough to love video games.


GTA V Story
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GTA 5, the latest game in the series, is an absolute masterpiece and still extremely popular in the gaming community even though it came out all the way back in 2013. Taking place in Los Santos, you can play as three main characters, Micheal, Trevor and Franklin, who all have their own unique sets of skills. This was the first time the series had more than one main playable character and it totally worked. Having multiple characters whom you could play as gave the game a whole new angle and feel.

Expansion packs

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Along with the main games in the series, there were some expansion packs which came out in years a main game did not come out. There was GTA: London, which came out in 1999 and GTA: London 1961, which also came out in 1999. Along with those there was also GTA 4: The Lost and Damned which came out in 2009 and GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony which also came out in 2009.

Well there you have it. GTA has a long and interesting history and each game really paved the way for the next game in the series quality wise. While we still have no idea when GTA 6 will come out, I can personally guarantee it will be a quality project. The developers over at Rockstar gaming have yet to let us down.

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