Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto, or GTA, is a long-running series of videogames, published by Rockstar Games and developed by subsidiary companies owned by them. The game was originally developed and published by DMA Design and BMG Interactive (a subsidiary of BMG Records).
There are currently nine games in the series, with a further two expansion packs for the original.
There has been a massive amount of controversy over this series, which peaked with the discovery of some removed sex scenes in San Andreas. The Hot Coffee mod and subsequent uproar gave Rockstar Games a huge amount of press attention.
Individual games in the series can be categorised into different 'eras', depending on the number after Grand Theft Auto and/or the graphics engine used.
Grand Theft Auto era
In this era we see the original game, and the subsequent two expansion packs featuring missions in 1960's London.
- Grand Theft Auto (1997), available for the PlayStation, PC and Game Boy Color. Features the cities of Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas.
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1999), an expansion pack, available for the PlayStation and PC.
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (1999), a further expansion to London 1969, available only as a free download for the PC.
Grand Theft Auto 2 era
This era contained just GTA2, which featured an improved graphics engine and a different style of gameplay.
- Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999), available for the PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. The game is set in completely fictional Anywhere City in the near future around the year 2013.
This era featured the first blockbuster GTA title, Grand Theft Auto III, and brought with a new third person perspective.
- Grand Theft Auto III (2001), set in a fictional Liberty City, based upon the real life New York City. Multiplayer game mode was lost, but other areas were much improved, namely the graphics, voice acting, storyline with non-linear gameplay.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), set in Vice City, a city based on real life Miami. This sequel to GTA III is technically a prequel (set in 1986) to the game, and to GTA: San Andreas, which was released after Vice City.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004), set in the state of San Andreas, featured three cities, Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas, based on Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas respectively. The game is set in 1992, making it a sequel to GTA: Vice City, and prequel to GTA III. The game featured a lot more customization options, for both player and vehicles, and caused controversy when sex games were revealed in the games code on both the console and PC versions (see Hot Coffee).
- Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004), what was originally supposed to be a cut-down port of GTAIII for the Game Boy Advance, turned out to be a completely original game, set a year before GTAIII, in a slightly changed Liberty City.
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005), a prequel set in Liberty City, 1998. Originally for the PlayStation Portable, a PS2 port was released in June 2006.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006), announced on May 10th during E3, is based in Vice City, 1984, two years before the original GTA Vice City, featuring Lance Vance's brother Vic as the protagonist. It was released in October 2006 for the PSP.
It is generally believed that the GTA III Era has been completed, and there will be no more official expansions on the characters, storylines or engine. However Modifications and Fan Fiction continue to build on these.
Grand Theft Auto IV era
- Grand Theft Auto IV (2008), Set in modern-day Liberty City, with protagonist Niko Bellic trying to start a new life. Released: 29 April 2008
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2008), set in Chinatown district in Liberty City and focusing on the triads.
The Fan Base
Grand Theft Auto has one of the largest fan bases of any game franchise. Because of this, there are many dedicated fan sites, and lots of large communities. One of the most popular activities fans like to do is modding - creating new vehicle models, skins, re-texturing of objects, and tweaking settings in the games' configuration files. Another popular pastime (since GTA III) is stunting - the act of performing stunts with in game vehicles, and producing compilation videos, sometimes themed (such as aircraft only).
Some of the more creative members of the community, in terms of literacy, enjoy writing their own Fan Fiction - stories based on events which follow on from, or are based around events which happen in the games.
The List of GTA Forums attempts to list all of the large communities, and demonstrates just how big the community as a whole is.
- Grand Theft Auto official site
- Free download of GTA and GTA2 at Rockstar Classics
- GTA: London
- GTA III
- GTA Vice City
- GTA San Andreas
- GTA Advance
- GTA Liberty City Stories
- GTA Vice City Stories
- GTA IV