All GTA games in chronological order: Every Grand Theft Auto
The Grand Theft Auto franchise has undoubtedly been a subject of controversy throughout video game history. However, its impact on the gaming industry is undeniable. To commemorate its rich legacy, here is the complete list of every GTA game in the order of their release.
Since its debut in 1997, Grand Theft Auto has captivated gamers around the world. Developed by Rockstar Games, the series has revolutionized open-world gameplay, combining unrestricted exploration with criminal undertakings set in expansive cityscapes.
From its initial top-down perspective to the visually stunning 3D environments showcased in recent titles like GTA V, the franchise has consistently outdone itself and that’s why fans are eagerly awaiting the release of Grand Theft Auto 6.
But while we wait for that announcement, let’s take a nostalgic trip through the timeline of each GTA game.
GTA games timeline
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1961
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Grand Theft Auto
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto Advance
- Grand Theft Auto 3
- Grand Theft Auto IV / The Lost and Damned / The Ballad of Gay Tony
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Grand Theft Auto 2
- Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto (1997)
Where it all began. On November 28, 1997, the basis of what would go on to become a hugely successful series was created and established.
Allowing players to select several different characters, the goal was to complete a series of structured missions, accumulate lots of points, and generally cause chaos whilst doing so.
The game wasn’t a huge success with critics, but it sold over a million copies and showed there was interest in this sort of thing.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (1999)
Only available to PC players and serving as an expansion to the first GTA, London 1961 was released two years later on March 31, 1999.
It was a ‘freeware’ download pack for PC players and featured far less content than that of the fully-fledged console version of the expansion.
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1999)
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 was essentially a reskinning of the original game to capture the essence of London, England. Debuting on April 30, 1999, again, reception to the game was mixed, but it was still winning over fans and attracting new ones.
Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)
Available to PS2 and Xbox users on October 22, 1999, GTA II upped its game in terms of its story, but its overall lack of polish and no significant improvement in the graphics department hindered it.
Its gameplay had developed as Rockstar implemented a new save system and additional side missions, but it felt like GTA needed a huge leap forward to achieve true success.
Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Cue GTA III. Still underappreciated by many to this day, it’s hard to quantify how unbelievably key GTA would be to the gaming landscape from October 22, 2001, onwards.
Switching from the eagled-eyed perspective, mostly linear-based nature of previous games, GTA III threw the rulebook out the window and offered a sprawling 3D sandbox filled with tons of collectibles, missions, side missions, fun activities, and tons of replayability.
It finally earned the acclaim of reviewers, it was the highest-selling game in the US for 2001, and is, arguably, the most important GTA game ever made.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Rockstar was not content to rest on their laurels and immediately capitalized on their newfound success by releasing Vice City one year later on October 29, 2002.
Rampages, Stunt Jumps, Hidden Packages, and a whole lot more return in Vice City in bigger and badder fashion.
Not only that, but new elements were added, most notably a talking protagonist as GTA III’s mute Claude was clearly superseded by a very vocal Tommy Vercetti – voiced by Goodfellas icon Ray Liotta.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
October 26, 2004, capped off a memorable trilogy of games for the PS2 and Xbox as GTA: San Andreas was unleashed to the world.
Each game has tried to one-up the previous game in the franchise, whereas San Andreas tried to cram every single activity humanly possible into the game. Going to the gym, skydiving, burglaries, driving schools, and jetpacks, it’s actually harder to think of things San Andreas didn’t have.
Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004)
Released on the same day as San Andreas, October 26, 2004, GTA Advance was exclusive to the Game Boy Advance and Color and served as a prequel to GTA III.
Its gameplay and overall aesthetic shared more in common with the older-style GTA games rather than GTA III and beyond. As such, it hasn’t been remembered quite as fondly as other iterations.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
On the other hand, Liberty City Stories was the franchise’s first foray into the world of Sony’s PSP console and did so on October 24, 2005.
Rockstar made full use of the portable console’s surprising power and sold several million copies as a result. It was more in line with GTA III, Vice, and San Andreas, and the prequel story was a big hit.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
With no new entry in the main series imminent, Rockstar released another PSP GTA called Vice City Stories on October 31, 2006.
It was the first real extension of Vice City and the prequel did very well to add new content to Vice City and make it absolutely worth revisiting again.
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
With the three spin-offs under their belt, Rockstar returned to wow the world once more with GTA IV on April 29, 2008.
The game takes place in a reimagined take on Liberty City and follows the exploits of Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant. GTA IV moves away from the endless activity fest that was San Andreas and focuses more on its compelling, twisting-and-turning narrative.
The move paid off as the game is the joint second-best game of all time, according to Metacritic with a score of 99 out of 100.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009)
To further expand upon the GTA IV world, Rockstar decided to create two new pieces of DLC for the game. The first of which is The Lost and Damned, released on February 17, 2009.
Unlike other add-ons, The Lost and the Damned’s timeline rests in the same one as GTA IV, with the player even encountering an NPC Niko Bellic.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)
Following The Lost and Damned expansion was another called The Ballad of Gay Tony on April 13, 2009.
It’s also set in Liberty City with a story that intertwines with GTA IV’s grand narrative. The player’s character is tasked with helping their good friend Tony Prince – “Gay Tony.” The DLC serves as nothing more than another tale to be told in Liberty City and closes the book on GTA IV.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009)
Chinatown Wars would prove to be another milestone for the Grand Theft Auto franchise as the game’s March 17, 2009, release date would be the first time that the series had come to the Nintendo DS.
Whilst sales of the initial launch were not anything to write home about, the inclusion of new and exclusive gameplay elements proved to be a winner. The game is the joint highest-rated in DS history on Metacritic and received subsequent rereleases on other consoles.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
After more DLC and spin-offs, Rockstar finally satisfied their rabid fanbase by making GTA V available to purchase on September 17, 2013.
The groundbreaking entry into the illustrious franchise shook up the formula by having three playable, interchangeable protagonists, it had the biggest GTA map yet and also offered a source of endless replayability – GTA Online.
The exploits of Trevor, Franklin, and Michael in Los Santos have helped Rockstar to sell an estimated 150 million+ units of GTA V worldwide, and it became the most lucrative piece of media ever in 2018 – earning even more billions in revenue since then.
The game has been re-released for the PS4 and Xbox One, as well as PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy: Definitive Edition (2021)
Despite fans pleading with Rockstar Games to announce Grand Theft Auto VI, the developers tried to fill the void with the GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition released on November 11, 2021.
Instead of basic remasters with slightly updated graphics, Rockstar gave GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas full visual makeovers, and updated the gameplay and mechanics to be more attuned to the modern-day games.
That just about covers all the games in the GTA series listed in chronological order from first to most recent.
For more on GTA, check out our other guides:
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