The evolution of Grand Theft Auto (+video)

Gamers are holding their breath for the launch of Grand Theft Auto V in September. Ahead of the hotly anticipated title, we take a look back at the evolution of the popular but controversial series.

Grand Theft Auto I
Release date: October, 1997
Platforms: Playstation 1, PC
The very first GTA game sparked instant controversy over the high level of violence. It looks tame in comparison to today's ultra-gory games, but one scene in particular - in which a group of Hare Krishna monks could be run over to earn bonus points - was particularly problematic. Needless to say, GTA I was an instant hit and displayed all the building blocks for future instalments: Missions involved mob hits, car bombs, road carnage and kidnappings with a top down, point-and-click view of proceedings.
More information: gta.wikia.com

Grand Theft Auto II
Release date: October, 1999
Platforms: Playstation 1, PC
GTA II continued the top-down view started in the first installment, but added improved graphics with some early 3D technology.

It also contained hallmarks of the game which are present today: Player's missions were delivered using payphones, car stereos could be tuned into various radio stations including Lithium FM (hosted by DJ Spaz Funbags), and missions earned players respect among warring gangs in the game's location, Anywhere City. It earned mixed reviews, with IGN calling it, "Not a bad game, but essentially, it's more of the same".
More information: gta.wikia.com

Grand Theft Auto III
Release date: October, 2001
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, PC
The third installment revamped the entire design of the GTA series, moving to a 3D gameplay engine and open world strategy - an innovative design that is still mimicked today. Based in the fictional Liberty City, players took control of Claude as he tried to work his way up through the ranks of the game's various gangs and mobsters. It offered a tonne of story and side missions - but running riot around the city in a stolen car offered the kind of carefree thrills few other games could match. The New York Times called it, "one of the most influential and successful games ever made." They weren't wrong.
Read more: gta.wikia.com

Grand Theft Auto IV
Release date:
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
With some of the most intense and graphic violence yet, as well as the main character's ability to drive drunk, GTA IV courted more controversy than any previous installment. But it's rated as the best PS3 and Xbox game of all time on review aggregate site Metacritic, and it's easy to see why: Lush graphics, addictive gameplay, a great soundtrack, inventive missions and intriguing characters. It delivered a world ready to dive into, one which was limited only by gamer's imaginations.
Read more: gta.wikia.com

Grand Theft Auto V
Release date: September 17, 2013
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Fans got their first look at GTA V on July 10 when the first gameplay trailer was released. They were promised "a sprawling satirical reimagining of modern southern California covering mountains and oceans, expensive stores and strip malls, urban decay and untouched wilderness, beaches and backwaters, the sublime and the ridiculous, greed and hypocrisy". And it looks like they'll get it: With a world larger than Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and GTA: San Andreas combined, along with what appear to be the best graphics yet seen on the Playstation 3, it's almost a certainty that GTA V will be on top of the Game of the Year lists come December. September can't come soon enough.
Read more: grandtheftauto.com

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