Grand Theft Auto V is almost out so I wanted to take a knowledge journey back in time to see how this colossal franchise became what it is today so let’s journey back to the late 90’s.
Grand Theft Auto (1997):
Originally this game wasn’t what it seemed, it began in fact as a completely different game all together called “Race n’ Chase”. It was a glitch within Race n’ Chase that gave Rockstar North (formerly DMA Designs) the idea for GTA. The glitch involved the police attempt to run the player’s car off the road rather than pulling them over.
Most games in this decade were mainly linear and had a set path for each objective to the other, but GTA was different you were give an entire playground to fool around in, you could do missions or you could go on a murderous spree.
GTA took the top down look so they could make the game open world due to the hard limitations the developers had. This meant that they could not make it a full fledged 3D game because DMA design they were known as back then, were not that well know as the now named Rockstar North are.
The first impressions of the game were not met with bliss with critics because they slated it with it’s out dated graphics and tasteless premise of murdering innocents. They carried on supporting the game with two expansions both set in London one called 1969 and the other 1961, it was clearly a parody of the film get carter with it’s stereo typical cockney characters and police officers, they were good expansions.
Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999):
The execution of this game wasn’t a giant leap from the first game, but they wanted to take the foundations that they already had from the original game and make something bigger and better and it certainly was.
This game was certainly an improvement from the first game and this how a sequel should be handled, developers should make a sequel bigger and better, hell even two worlds learnt from their mistake from the first game and made a fantastic sequel.. Anyway, I’m losing track here.. This game added more cars, more weapons, and new law enforcements like the FBI and the Army it was huge for the time.
What made this game interesting was the gang warfare system. How this worked is that the player will be required to do jobs for different gangs, but this came with a consequence because your reputation with rival gangs will go down and they will try and gun you down when they see you in the street. This game improved upon everything that the first game needed like graphics, sound and gameplay it was slicker and sexier to play.
If you want to play a nice slice of gaming history Rockstar have made these games available for free on their website for the PC so give them a go they are so much fun.
Grand Theft Auto III (2001):
When the next generation of consoles were coming out at this point DMA took full advantage of the PS2’s hardware by making a fully 3D GTA game with a more cinematic approach to the series.
This game gave birth to what the series is known for today such as massive open worlds, cities with depth and life, great third person action with gun play and driving and great cinematic story telling.
This game tells the story of a mute character who was betrayed by his girlfriend during a bank robbery and you must embark on a quest for revenge and move your way up through the criminal underworld from working for the Mafia to Yakuza.
This truly paved the inspiration of the sandbox genre for the next ten years with games trying to replicate it like Saints Row etc. This game is one of the best selling PS2 games of all time with good reason. This game was part of a trilogy on the PS2 with other games Vice city and San Andreas and this game was the conclusion so they did a star wars on us.
Grand Theft Auto Vice City (2002):
Vice city came out one year later after 3, but this game didn’t feel rushed considering they had such a small time gap to produce the final product. At this point DMA design were bought out by Rockstar Games and their name changed to Rockstar North.
This game was brilliant and funny having the typical 1980’s action style of films and television, using pop culture references from Scarface to Miami Vice hence the name Vice city.
The story of this one is that you play as Tommy Vercetti and you have been in prisons for ten years to help cover for a the Forelli crime family and then you are sent to Vice City to help secure a drug deal, but in GTA fashion it all goes wrong and you have to find out who stole your drugs and money.
Like GTA 2 it built upon the foundations of the game before by adding new vehicles like bikes and helicopters it also had sharper and more colourful graphics, there were more guns and more side missions to do. What they added in this one was the ability to purchase properties and business to add to your criminal empire, with the businesses they would accumulate money over a certain amount of time and you can go to the business and collect the money.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (2004):
This was a revolution and very impressive that console generation because this game was huge, you didn’t only get three cities inspired by real American cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Veges. You also got a massive rural landscape to explore with farms and combine harvesters to drive.
This game at the start takes place in Los Santos a fictional version of downtown Los Angeles and you play as CJ (Carl Johnson). You have returned home from Liberty City because your character’s mother had been killed in gang related violence, you end up being arrested by a corrupt police officer and then you are dumped in enemy gang territory.
There is so much to do in this game it can be overwhelming and it does leave me scratching my head a bit when GTA IV came out because it was a bit lack lustre compared to this, but I do understand why they down scaled it. This game is a classic and I am glad that they are returning to the city of Los Santos in GTA V.
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008):
A new console generation brought forward new opportunities with the series for starters they created a new physics engine called Euphoria which made people react to things in a realistic manner such as when you ran down a pedestrian with a car they flop about which can result in some hilarious YouTube videos.
This game had a more serious tone with the main protagonist questioning the American dream. Your character (Niko) is a Eastern European that has come over to have a new start because he wanted to forget about his violent past, but he comes one from violent life into another in the criminal underworld.
The gun play was tuned it had a cover system like most third person shooters because before you had to stand awkwardly behind a wall for cover in the other games. This re-imagining of Liberty city is in the form of today’s New York is brimming with detail and there was more life down to the fact that there will be a random police chase or the police will chase someone if they attack you.
For 2008 this game is really detailed and I can’t really think of any other title that was this good looking that year, except for maybe Metal Gear Solid 4. This game had an official multiplayer which as been absent since the first game, but thanks to the PC community they have kept the multiplayer spirit going throughout the 3D games.
This game received two expansion packs; The Lost and the Damned where you took the role of a biker called Johnny and your were in a gang called the Lost MC, and the Ballad of Gay Tony which added in new gameplay mechanics that were in San Andreas like the ability to do base Jumping.
I adore this game and this is one of the games in my collection that I hold dear to my heart, my friends and I used burn countless amounts of evenings on this game while drinking beer and eating lots of pizza, this is a classic and a fantastic leap in gaming technology for the time.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013):
So here we are with only two months to go until the release of the most anticipated GTA game. Rockstar have put a gameplay trailer out too so if you haven’t seen it check it out here.
This game has lifted the bar up to higher standard because for the first time you don’t play as one character, but three characters and what I’ve seen of the gameplay trailer it can add a variety of ways to do a mission and strategy.
Lets wait and see what the city of Los Santos holds for us on September 17th.
So are you looking forward to GTA V? What was your favourite part in the gameplay trailer? Let me know in the comments below.