The GTA franchise has had a huge impact on the gaming world. Like every other franchise, it has gone through its fair share of back and forth with some less than popular releases. But one thing is for sure. Gamers are always looking forward to the next release.
GTA is outstanding because it doesn't follow any specific timeline of events. This always packs an element of surprise with each release, which is why gamers are always keen to get their hands on the newest GTA releases. Here's a look at the history of the GTA franchise and all the games that have been released to date.
Grand Theft Auto 1
Grand Theft Auto 1 is what started the franchise. The game was released on 21st October 1998 in Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City. Developed by DMA Designs, the games had simple top-down graphics. Despite being dated, the game is still loads of fun, especially among young players that are just starting to experience gaming.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969
After the initial release of the franchise, it did not take long to follow up on the success of the first game with its first expansion. GTA: London 1969 was released on 31st March 1999. The game was set in London in the year 1969 and developed by Rockstar Games Canada. Like its base edition, the expansion featured a 2D Universe.
London 1969 is one of the two expansion packs that featured the same engine and had the same mechanics like those of the original GTA.
The London 1969 version was compatible with PlayStation, MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1961
The second expansion pack was released on 1st June 1999 but was set several years earlier than the first expansion in the same city of London.
London 1961 plays and feels the same as the base game. However, it improved on one aspect of the game, which is the multiplayer element. The expansion offers new multiplayer game modes. It also featured a new feature ‘drive-by-mechanic’, which was a first in the GTA franchise.
Like the first expansion, London 1961 was available on the same platforms like PlayStation, MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows.
Grand Theft Auto 2
GTA 2 came with various improvements for gamers, among them new supported platforms, which included Game Boy Colour and Dream Cast in addition to PlayStation and Microsoft Windows.
The new sequel built on the mechanics and graphics of the game, among them ushering in the new 3D model but, the overhead view remained. The game was released on 22nd October 1999 designed by DMA Designs, based in Anywhere City.
In the new release, players got a chance to try out some new weapons, and there are also new enemy types making the game more immersive.
Grand Theft Auto III
GTA III was the first release in the new millennium and the fifth of the franchise. It was released on 22nd October 2001 for various platforms, including OS X, iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 and 3, Android, Fire OS, and Xbox.
Besides incorporating new gaming platforms, GTA III also featured the first 3D gaming of the GTA sequel. The game also started using an adjustable third-person camera instead of the overhead option that was synonymous with the previous versions.
Using the third-person camera approach, Liberty City, where the game is set in feels more realistic and encourages more exploration for gamers compared to the previous cities.
Once again, the franchise looked to DMA Design to create the game and given the multiple improvements and interactions of the game, it’s safe to say they did an excellent job.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released just over a year after GTA III on 29th October 2002. The new release was set in a fictionalised city of Miami called Vice City. The game was supported on various platforms, among them Xbox, Android, Fire OS, PlayStation 2, 3 and 4, and Microsoft Windows.
The gameplay didn't change much from GTA III and took the same approach of exploration. However, there were some graphical improvements that gave the game a more realistic feel, and players spent more time exploring Vice City.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
San Andreas is one of the most successful sequels of the series. It took major strides in the right direction for the franchise and is responsible for some of the most memorable moments among GTA players.
San Andreas was so successful that the following games had a problem reaching the same milestones.
Released on 24th October 2004, the game featured protagonist Carl Johnson and is set in three cities: Las Venturas, Los Santos, and San Fierro. What stood out in the game was the integration of wilderness and rural towns within the three cities.
It helped that the game was supported on a variety of systems that kept increasing over the years. These included Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4, and major mobile operating systems.
Grand Theft Auto Advance
The GTA franchise took a big hit with the release of Grand theft Auto Advance. The fall was even more evident considering the success of its predecessor. Advance is easily the least remarkable game in the sequel and was probably overshadowed by the success of San Andreas.
The game's primary function was as a Prequel to GTA III and was mainly supported on Game Boy Advance.
Despite being a 3D universe game, Advance had 2D graphics mainly because of the limitations of the Game Boy Advance. It's not only the 2D graphics that remind you of the 2D Universe. The game's mechanics also borrow heavily from the classics complete with the overhead camera position.
Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories
Set in Liberty City, GTA: Liberty City Stories was released on 24th October 2005, primarily for PSP. The game is a prequel to GTA 3 and is very similar to GTA 3 as well. It shares identical graphics and the layout of Liberty City.
The game mechanics are better and more streamlined with some new elements that came after the original GTA 3.
The game was ported to iOS, Fire OS and Android from 2015 to 2016 and was made available on PS3 in 2013.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Vice City is the last of the 3D Universe games. It's also a prequel but to Vice City. It has similar features, aesthetics, and the same elements and mechanics as Vice City. The only difference is that this one is more polished compared to the original game.
Unfortunately, the game was not ported to modern smartphones. It was only available on PSP, PS2, PS3, and PSN.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The newest of the GTA franchise, GTA IV, was released on 29th April 2008 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. It marked the new HD era in the franchise. The game offered the most detailed version yet of Liberty City and unrivalled graphics.
There was plenty to get excited about. Unfortunately, the game has not been remastered yet, but you could try playing the Xbox 360 version on Xbox One.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned
The Lost and Damned is an expansion of GTA IV. It has a new storyline and protagonist. The game also features a few changes with some new mission types and more focus on the motorcycle hub. Slight changes to the mechanics attempt to make the game more outstanding but don’t offer the same variety as the base game.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
The most recent release of the franchise is the Chinatown wars, which is a handheld spinoff of GTA IV. It was released on 17th March 2009 for PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, Fire OS. The game focuses on the Liberty City Triad and offers a semi-adjustable camera, which is a handy addition.