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Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a video game series created and primarily developed by Scottish developer Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design), published by Rockstar Games and debuted in 1998. It includes eight stand-alone games and two expansion packs for the original. Film veterans such as Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia and Ray Liotta have all voiced major characters. The name of the series and its games are derived from "grand theft auto", a term referring to motor vehicle theft. As of September 26, 2007, the Grand Theft Auto series has sold over 65 million units.Contents
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The games allow the player to take on the role of a criminal in a city, typically a lowly individual who rises in the ranks of organized crime over the course of the game. Various missions are set for completion by the figureheads of the city underworld, generally criminal, which must be completed to progress through the storyline. Bank robberies, assassinations and other crimes feature regularly, but occasionally taxi driving, firefighting, pimping, street racing, or learning to fly an airplane are also involved as alternate adventures, which can be done at any time during the game, with the exception of the periods performing main missions.
In later titles, notably those released after Grand Theft Auto 2, the player is given a more in-depth storyline, in which they are forced to overcome an unfortunate event. This served as a motivation for the character to advance in the criminal ladder, and eventually leads to the triumph of the character by the end of the storyline. Furthermore, the storylines tend to intertwine with one another, creating a vast network of associations between people and locations that results in the appearance of certain characters and locales multiple times throughout the series.
The Grand Theft Auto series is notable for the large amount of freedom given to the player in deciding what to do and how to do it through different methods of transport and weapons. Unlike most action games, which are structured as a single track series of levels with linear gameplay, in GTA the player can pick and choose which missions they want to undertake, and their relationships with various powers are changed based on these choices. The vast cities of the games can also be roamed freely at any point in the game, offering many accessible buildings and minor missions. There are exceptions: Missions follow a linear, overarching plot, and some city areas must be unlocked over the course of the game.
Grand Theft Auto: III and subsequent games have been notable for their storylines, high quality of voice acting, and "radio stations," which simulate driving to music with satirizing DJs, radio personalities, commercials, talk radio, popular music, important news breaks, and American culture. All of this is seamlessly integrated in the realistic setting of a dysfunctional urban environment which parodies a real-life city. Players also often cite the music and humor of the series in explaining its appeal.
The game's influence on teenagers and adults alike has created a "cult" scene of GTA fans that see past the merits of the game itself and appreciate the retro feel and the good-old-days vibe the game emanates. People remember or imagine the time the games are set in and can enjoy the music, the atmosphere, the fashion, the slang and the cities from their favorite decade, namely the 1980s or the 1990s.
The use of vehicles in an explorable urban environment provides a basic simulation of a working city, complete with pedestrians who obey traffic signals. Further details are used to flesh out an open-ended atmosphere that has been used in several other games, such as The Simpsons Hit & Run and the True Crime series, which have less emphasis on crime or violence. Some compare this to open-ended RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls series, and foresee action games using a similar design.
The series has courted a great deal of controversy since the release of Grand Theft Auto III. This criticism stems from the focus on illegal activities, in comparison with "hero" roles that most other games offer. The main character can commit a wide variety of crimes and violent acts while dealing with only temporary consequences, including the killing of policemen and military personnel. Opponents believe that players will try to emulate this behavior, while proponents disagree for a variety of reasons. For specific incidents, see the individual game articles.
The Grand Theft Auto series may be divided into eras, based on the inclusion of a numbering after the recognizable title name (e.g. Grand Theft Auto III) after the original Grand Theft Auto's release, and to a certain extent, the type of graphics engine used. For further information on each title, see their respective articles.
Cities and states
Liberty City - A city based on New York City. Setting of Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto Advance, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto IV. Appears in one mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Vice City - A city based on Miami. Setting of Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories; the Vice City and Vice City Stories renditions of the city reveal Vice City to be located in the state of Florida.
San Andreas - A state based on California and Nevada. Setting of Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Note that the GTA1 version of San Andreas is significantly different from the GTA: San Andreas version: The GTA1 version is a city based on San Francisco, while the GTA: SA version is a state.
Los Santos - Los Angeles, California
San Fierro - San Francisco, California
Las Venturas - Las Vegas, Nevada
Anywhere City - Setting of Grand Theft Auto 2. Unknown location.
Carcer City - Most likely Newark or Detroit. Said to be neighboring Liberty City. Manhunt takes place in Carcer City; mentioned in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
London - Setting of both Grand Theft Auto mission packs (London, 1969 and London, 1961)
Manchester - an add-on, multiplayer-only city featured in Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961
Salford (featured in The Introduction, a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas prequel film)
Claude Speed - The name of the Grand Theft Auto 2 character, as revealed by the FMV introduction's credits.
Claude - Grand Theft Auto III. In San Andreas a phone call upon completion of the game reveals his first name is in fact Claude. In GTA III, he is only referred to by nicknames Fido and (The) Kid. Since the release of San Andreas, many players speculate that Claude is in fact Claude Speed, the protagonist in GTA2, though this is unknown.
Tommy Vercetti - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Carl "CJ" Johnson - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Mike - Grand Theft Auto Advance.
Toni Cipriani - Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
Victor Vance - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
Niko Bellic - Grand Theft Auto IV.