Shoot, drive, steal, complete missions, collect your money, and earn your respect. The idea has been the same since the franchise’s 1997 debut.
The free-roam open-world sandbox has evolved greatly, though, but one element remains consistent: GTA games are chaotic fun.
All GTA Games in Chronological Order
- Grand Theft Auto- 1997
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 – 1999
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 – 1999
- Grand Theft Auto II – 1999
- Grand Theft Auto III – 2001
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – 2002
- Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack – 2003
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 2004
- Grand Theft Auto Advance – 2004
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories – 2005
- Grand Theft Auto Trilogy – 2005
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories – 2006
- Grand Theft Auto IV – 2008
- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned- 2009
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars – 2009
- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony – 2009
- Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City – 2009
- Grand Theft Auto V – 2013
- Grand Theft Auto Online – 2013
- Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition – 2021
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is one of the biggest game series in the world. It includes eight main entries, eight available expansions, four spin-offs, and four bundles / remasters. The total is 20 GTA entries, and here they are:
GTA – 1997 (Main Series) – First generation
The original GTA debuted in 1997 for MS-DOS systems and Windows PCs. It also became available for PlayStation and GameBoy Color.
GTA has three cities and eight playable characters. The cities are San Andreas, Vice City, and Liberty City. Each one is inspired by real-life cities. The game is fully open, though, and players can follow the quest or pursue other criminal activities like stealing cars.
The player chooses a protagonist and plays through the game’s story in one of the available locations. As for gameplay, it’s a top-down open-world adventure. Players can drive and shoot, and the city’s emergency system reacts.
GTA London 1969 – 1999 (GTA Expansion)
London 1969 is GTA’s first expansion. It debuted in 1999 for MS-DOS systems, Windows, and PlayStation. The content takes players to 1969 London to play as a criminal rising as an underworld leader.
GTA: London 1961 – 1999 (GTA Expansion)
London 1961 takes players eight years before London 1969 events as a prequel story.
GTA II – 1999 (Main Series) – Second Generation
GTA 2 debuted in 1999 for Windows. It later became available for PlayStation, Dreamcast, and GameBoy Color. It introduces the retro futuristic city “Anywhere City” and recurrent Claude Speed.
The game allows many activities to earn money and have fun (most of which are chaotic). However, the best way to make money is by going through missions.
As you go through the missions, you raise your respect level with a particular criminal band and create enemies within another. At the same time, the game added the “Star” system that increases police reactions according to player actions.
GTA III – 2001 (Main Series) – Third Generation
GTA 3 came out in 2001. for PS2 and Xbox. It later became available for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and PS3.
The game changed the birds-eye view to a third-person perspective. As a result, the game had 3D graphics, improved driving, and better shooting and exploration mechanics.
The plot follows Claude Speed after Miguel and Catalina betray him during a bank robbery. Abandoned in Liberty City, Claude Speed must climb up the criminal ladder and get revenge.
GTA: Vice City – 2002 (Main Series)
GTA: Vice City came out in 2002 for PlayStation 2. It later debuted for Windows, Xbox, macOS, Android, and Fire OS. The plot happens in Vice City, in the year 1986. The setting takes inspiration from Miami and the Miami Vice show.
Tommy Vercetti, a lowly goon, is trying to recuperate stolen money from his boss, Sonny Fiorelli. That said, the game features real-life gangs and 1980s events. These include Cubans, Haitians, and biker gangs.
The novelty is how the game allows players to assault drugstores, jewelry stores, gun stores, and other places for money.
Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack – 2003 (Bundle)
Double Pack was a special edition that bundles GTA III and GTA Vice City. It debuted in 2003 for PS2, and it reached the Xbox in 2003. It’s not available anymore.
GTA: San Andreas – 2004 (Main Series)
GTA: San Andreas debuted in 2004 for PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, and macOS. Later on, it premiered for PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android, and Windows 10.
The plot happens in San Andreas, a fictional state with three metropolitan areas: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas. Combined, it’s the second biggest map in the saga, after GTA V.
The plot follows Carl “CJ” Johnson in 1992, craving revenge after his old band members betrayed him. The game centers around a gang rivalry between the Bloods and the Crisp. As the plot moves on, CJ grows in power in one gang and controls neighborhoods. Still, the other gang will actively pursue the protagonist in communities he doesn’t control.
San Andreas adds several new activities like exercising, buying outfits, more weapons, swimming, driving a train, climbing walls, and more. There’s also a character progression system that improves as “you natural”CJ” performs activities.
GTA Advance – 2004 (Spin-off)
GTA Advance debuted in October 2004 for Gameboy Advance. It has a similar style as GTA and GTA II, as it delivers its gameplay with a birds-eye view.
The adventure happens in Liberty City, where lowly criminal Mike wants to avenge his fallen friend Vinnie.
Its gameplay was the barebones the series has to offer. However, it added street racing, taxi missions, fire department missions, ambulance missions, and similar activities.
GTA: Liberty City Stories – 2005 (Spin-off)
Liberty City Stories is a GTA III spin-off featuring mafia member Tony Cipriani as the protagonist. It came out in 2005 for the PSP. It later premiered for the PlayStation 2, iOS, Android, and Fire OS.
The story happens in Liberty City, where Cipriani (a GTA III character) aims to rise as a crime boss of the Leone family. New features include interior places, outfits, bikes, and camera movements.
GTA Trilogy – 2005 (Bundle)
The Grand Theft Auto Trilogy was a bundle that included GTA III, San Andreas, and Vice City. Rockstar released the collection in 2005 for PS2, Xbox, and PC. It’s currently not available.
GTA: Vice City Stories – 2006 (Spin-off)
Vice City Stories premiered in 2006 for PS2, PS3, and PSP. It’s the last GTA game using the RenderWare game engine that debuted with GTA III.
The story takes players to 1984, in Vice City. Protagonist Victor Vance is a former military officer involved in criminal activities.
As a novelty, the game added a construction mode. The player can use the money to buy a store and then use the construction mode to develop the place.
GTA IV – 2008 (Main Series) – Fourth Generation
The fourth game in the saga debuted in 2008 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows. It ran on a new proprietary game engine, Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.
Protagonist Niko Bellic is an immigrant in Liberty City. Circumstances lead him to a criminal path, and he aims to go as far as he needs to escape the underbelly.
GTA IV focuses on narrative and enhances the story with cinematic cuts, strong personalities, and clear character journeys. Niko Bellio even has choices to make, ultimately leading to three different endings.
Gameplay-wise, it improved driving and third-person shooting. It also enhanced enemy AI, police AI, and the number of weapons available. And as a side quirk, Niko can restore his health by paying for the services of a…male entertainer.
GTA IV: The Lost and Damned – 2009 (GTA IV Expansion)
The Lost and Damned is the first DLC episode for GTA IV. It debuted in 2009 for Windows and then became available for PS3.
Jhonny Klebitz is the protagonist. He’s a member of the Liberty City biker gang The Lost. As such, the episode includes a new story, vehicles, outfits, and missions. Still, the adventure has a relationship with Niko Bellic’s story.
GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony – 2009 (GTA IV Expansion)
The Ballad of Gay Tony debuted in 2009 for Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows. It’s both an expansion to GTA IV and a standalone game because it doesn’t require a GTA IV copy to run.
Luis Fernando Lopez, a retired Dominican militia officer, is the main character. He works as a goon for mafia boss Tony Prince. Lopez must earn Gay Tony’s trust in a story that intertwines with Niko Bellic’s path.
Contrary to other GTA games, the entire content happens at night. The story revolves around bars, adult entertainment places, and similar.
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City – 2009 (Bundle)
Episodes from Liberty City is a bundle with The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. It debuted in 2009 for Xbox 360 as a standalone experience. A year later, Rockstar released it for Windows and PS3 as well.
GTA: Chinatown Wars – 2009 (Spin-off)
Chinatown Wars debuted for Nintendo DS, PSP, Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch in 2009. It’s the only GTA game that’s only available for handheld consoles.
The protagonist is Huang Lee, and the story revolves around a stolen family sword in Liberty City. And despite its handheld nature, it’s a complex game with over 100 missions and the amount of content you’d expect from any GTA title.
The gameplay has an aerial camera players can move and rotate freely. The game also uses cel-shaded graphics to deliver a comic-like graphical style.
GTA V – 2013 (Main Series) – Fifth Generation
GTA V is one of the most successful games in history. It debuted for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. Currently, the game is available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Windows.
The game presents three protagonists: Michael Townley, Trevor Philips, and Franklin Clinton. These are former bank thieves living in Los Santos, a San Andreas metropolitan area. They go through increasingly difficult heists to rise in the criminal world.
You can swap these characters at any time and complete the quests in many ways. Each character has their personality, journey, and relationships.
Aside from the narrative, the new graphical engine makes the world highly interactive and immersive.
Also, GTA V improves driving and shooting. Moreover, the amount of freedom and chaos you can create in the city has no equal. No wonder the game remains relevant.
GTA Online – 2013 (Main Series)
GTA Online is the franchise’s live-service multiplayer alternative. It debuted in 2013 for PS3, Xbox One, and PC. There’s also a new-gen version for PS5 and Xbox Series.
You play as a criminal and engage in many expanding criminal activities, either solo or co-op (lobbies support up to 32 people). These include heists, bank robberies, car robberies, street racing, bike racing, and more. There’re also missions in the game.
The game options and modes are vast, as Rockstar has released many updates and DLCs for GTA Online. Players earn Reputation Points for their activities to advance stats and ranks. RP points improve character stats and ranking.
GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition – 2021 (Bundle)
The Definitive Edition is a bundle that packs GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA; San Andreas. It’s available for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
The collection offers updated graphics, better lighting, high-res textures, enhanced draw distances, and modern control schemes.