Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto (commonly abbreviated GTA) is a video game series created in the United Kingdom by Dave Jones, then later by brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. The name of the series and its games are derived from grand theft auto, a term referring to motor vehicle theft.
The series is set in fictional locales heavily modeled after American cities, while an expansion for the original was based in London. Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities; all consisting of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth and racing elements. While the subject of the games is usually a comedic satire of American culture, the series has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organization, or who has the most impact impeding their progress.
Video game developer DMA Design began the series in 1997, and it currently has ten stand-alone games and four expansion packs. The third chronological title, Grand Theft Auto III, was widely acclaimed as it brought the series to a 3D setting and more immersive experience, and is considered a landmark title that has subsequently influenced many other open world action games and lead to the label "Grand Theft Auto clone" on similar games. Subsequent titles would follow and build upon the concept established in Grand Theft Auto III. Film veterans such as Michael Madsen, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Danny Trejo, Gary Busey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia, Kyle MacLachlan and Peter Fonda have all voiced major characters in many installments, and the series is critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Main articles: Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto IV was released on 29 April 2008, after a six month delay. It was the first Grand Theft Auto game to be released simultaneously for both Sony and Microsoft's video game consoles. In August 2008, Rockstar announced that it was going to publish GTA IV for PC. GTA IV's game engine is the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) used in Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis and the Euphoria physics engine.
Grand Theft Auto IV has much more realistic gameplay than its predecessors, no characters from previous games appear in GTA IV; according to Dan Houser "virtually none of the characters from the previous games returned, as a lot of them are dead anyway." The game once again takes place in a redesigned Liberty City that very closely resembles New York City, much more than previous renditions.
Microsoft officially announced a "strategic alliance" with Rockstar Games over the rights to episodic content through their Xbox Live service at their X06 event. This content was released as Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned on 17 February 2009, and it was available for download, exclusively for the Xbox 360, this was because of the substantial $50 million that Microsoft paid Rockstar to keep it exclusive. The strategic alliance was however timed and both DLC episodes and the compilation pack were released on 13 April 2010 on PS3 and PC. The expansion adds some new elements to the existing game and focuses on Johnny Klebitz, the vice president of "The Lost" motorcycle gang.
The second and last Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content episode was called Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony and was released on 29 October 2009. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City is a compilation pack released for the Xbox 360 at the same time as The Ballad of Gay Tony. It contains The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony on one disk and does not require an original copy of GTA IV.
Grand Theft Auto IV officially introduced online multiplayer to the series. In most games, a customizable character is used to play, and money earned in game is translated to levels, with more customization available at higher levels. The game does not offer split screen or local area network (LAN) multiplayer modes on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, but there is LAN on the PC mode. Up to 16 (32 on PC) players can play together, doing a variety of games including Death Match, Cops 'n' Crooks, races, Deal Breaker, and Mafiya Work as well as team varieties of Death Match, and Mafiya Work to name just a few.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the first Grand Theft Auto game to be released on the Nintendo DS, and was announced at the E3 Nintendo Press Conference on 15 July 2008. This game has several new features, such as touch screen mini-games. The game was released on 17 March 2009 in North America and 20 March 2009 to Australia and Europe. The game is rated 18+ by PEGI and the BBFC (Europe, UK) and M by the ESRB (North America). A PSP version was later announced on 22 June 2009 and was released in North America on 20 October 2009. It was also released on the Apple iOS platform 18 January 2010.
In chronological order the fourth generation Grand Theft Auto games are in order:
* Grand Theft Auto IV; set and released in 2008
* Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned; set in 2008, released in 2009 for Xbox 360, in 2010 for PlayStation 3 and PC
* Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony; set in 2008, released in 2009 for Xbox 360, in 2010 for PlayStation 3 and PC
* Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars; set and released in 2009
On February 26, 2011, five websites were discovered which seemed to indicate the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.