Here's a Complete List of 'GTA' Games in Order

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Rockstar Games

If you're a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, you know how awesome and influential these games have been since they first hit the scene in the late '90s. Developed by Rockstar Games, the open-world, action-adventure series has given us hours of fun, crime-fueled gameplay. Let's take a trip down memory lane and check out all the GTA games in order, including their release dates, the consoles they're on, and what makes each one unique. Welcome to our complete list of GTA games in order (this list will only include the mainline series entries released on home and handheld consoles).

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Complete List of 'GTA' Games in Order

While it's not necessary to play all of the GTA games in order, doing so does help you get a feel for the evolution of the GTA franchise. Because the games are not direct sequels to one another, and only feature some of the same cities and Easter eggs from previous games, you can play the GTA games in any order you like and still get a great experience. Here is a look at all the GTA games in the main franchise.

  • Grand Theft Auto (1997)
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)
  • Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
  • Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

1. 'Grand Theft Auto' (1997)

Grand Theft Auto
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS1, PC, Game Boy Color

  • Metacritic User Score: 7.7

It's hard to believe it's been over two decades since the first Grand Theft Auto game took the world by storm in 1997. The original GTA introduced us to the criminal underworld of "Liberty City," "San Andreas," and "Vice City" with its top-down perspective and open-world design. This controversial game, introducing players to such illicit activities as car theft, murder, and robbery, allowed players to complete missions for crime bosses or simply engage in mayhem as they explored the three expansive cities that became fleshed out in subsequent GTA games. The enduring success of this groundbreaking title, initially developed as "Race-n-Chase" for the Commodore Amiga in 1995, set the stage for the phenomenal GTA series we now know today.

2. 'Grand Theft Auto 2' (1999)

Grand Theft Auto 2
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS1, Sega Dreamcast, PC, Game Boy Color

  • Metacritic Metascore: 70

In 1999, just two years after the original GTA, gamers were introduced to GTA 2. GTA 2 delivered players into the futuristic metropolis of "Anywhere City," reminiscent of the worlds of Blade Runner and Cyberpunk 2077. Maintaining the top-down perspective of the first GTA, the game boasted improved graphics over its predecessor, a more detailed cityscape, and the introduction of rival gangs. Players could choose which gang to work for, and their actions affected their reputation with the various factions in the city. The sequel also introduced the concept of "respect," which was essential for unlocking new missions.

Building on the success of the first game, GTA 2 continued to offer a high level of freedom while adding new features. Anywhere City comprises three sprawling districts, and crossing between these areas requires players to make enough money – through missions or other activities.

GTA 2 was the first in the series to introduce the infamous Star system, which determined the in-game police response level. An interesting quirk was its introduction of safe houses, which was a first for the series. Each district had one save point in a church, and the churches have neon "Jesus Saves" signs that occasionally flickered to say "U Save." This game expanded the GTA universe and paved the way for the series' future innovations.

3. 'Grand Theft Auto III' (2001)

Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

  • Metacritic Metascore: 97

In 2001, Rockstar Games revolutionized the action-adventure genre with the release of GTA III. This groundbreaking title ditched the top-down perspective of its predecessors, opting for a fully realized 3D third-person view that took the series to new heights. Set in the gritty and immersive Liberty City, players take control of the silent protagonist Claude, who was on a mission for revenge against those who betrayed him.

GTA III introduced many signature features that have since become synonymous with the franchise, such as carjacking, an extensive arsenal of weapons, and a colorful cast of characters. With its engaging storyline, realistic physics, and expansive open-world design, GTA III set a new benchmark for action-adventure games. 

The transition to a 3D perspective had an incredible impact on the gameplay experience, transforming the way players approached driving and exploration in the game. GTA III's compelling tale of revenge and ascent through the criminal underworld has undoubtedly left a huge mark on the gaming landscape and has had a strong influence on multiple generations of games.

On this list of all complete list of GTA games in order, GTA III has to be seen as the most groundbreaking of them all.

4. 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City' (2002)

Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

  • Metacritic Metascore: 95

In 2002, GTA: Vice City transported players to the sun-soaked, neon-drenched world of 1980s Miami, to take on the role of Tommy Vercetti and build a criminal empire. Building upon the foundations laid by its predecessor, GTA III, Vice City expanded the gameplay with a larger game world, a wider array of vehicles, and an extensive arsenal of weapons. The addition of property and business ownership also introduced a new layer of strategy and depth to the series to allow players to make income in other ways outside of robbery and theft.

Vice City pushed the envelope by incorporating real-life gangs, such as the Haitians and the Cubans, and allowing players to commit robberies in various establishments like drug stores and jewelry stores. As a nod to popular culture, in-game pornstar Candy is voiced by real-life adult movie actress Jenna Jameson. At the same time, protagonist Tommy Vercetti is brought to life by the late great actor Ray Liotta.

The game even pays tribute to Liotta's filmography by naming a couple of missions after his movies Goodfellas and Copland. With its innovative features and captivating setting, Vice City cemented the GTA series as a dominant force in the gaming world.

5. 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' (2004)

GTA San Andreas
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS2, Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

  • Metacritic Metascore: 95

In 2004, Rockstar Games once again raised the bar with the release of GTA: San Andreas, a title that brought players to the sprawling, fully explorable state of San Andreas. Taking control of Carl "CJ" Johnson, players embarked on an epic quest to avenge their mother's death and rebuild their family's criminal empire. San Andreas introduced a plethora of gameplay enhancements, including character customization, a diverse array of vehicles, and new abilities such as swimming and climbing. Adding role-playing elements to the mix, the game required players to maintain CJ's physical fitness and skills to keep up his stamina and excel in certain missions. 

GTA: San Andreas holds the unique distinction of being the first title in the series to receive remasters across multiple console generations, as well as the first to be ported to Mac devices. Rockstar placed a strong emphasis on the game's narrative, incorporating more prominent cutscenes and a wide array of criminal activities. This includes bringing in the legendary Samuel L. Jackson to voice the game's villain, corrupt police officer Frank Tenpenny. 

In a more eccentric twist, the game also delved into supernatural elements, featuring alien sightings and ghosts of deceased relatives. This contributed to San Andreas' distinctive charm and enduring legacy among all the GTA games. Side note - everyone reading this complete list of GTA games in order has to know Big Smoke's iconic order by heart!

6. 'Grand Theft Auto Advance' (2004)

GTA Advance
Rockstar Games

Console: Game Boy Advance

  • Metacritic Metascore: 68

In 2004, Rockstar Games took a trip down memory lane with the release of GTA Advance, developed by Digital Eclipse for the Game Boy Advance. This portable installment harkened back to the series' early days by adopting the classic top-down perspective, while still delivering a fresh and engaging experience for fans on the go.

Set in Liberty City and serving as a prequel to the events of GTA III, players took on the role of Mike, a small-time criminal in pursuit of the truth behind the murder of his close friend, the mafia-connected Vinnie. Despite the limitations of the Game Boy Advance, GTA Advance managed to retain many of the franchise's iconic elements, including vehicle-based side missions, a wide array of weapons, the use of safe houses, and a familiar heads-up display style.

For those craving a taste of nostalgia, Grand Theft Auto Advance provided a charming reminder of the series' beginnings. It successfully combined the core gameplay mechanics synonymous with GTA – carjacking, shootouts, and a colorful cast of characters – within a Game Boy-sized adventure. While it might not have been groundbreaking, GTA Advance is evidence of the series' enduring appeal.

7. 'Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories' (2005)

GTA Liberty City Stories
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PSP, PS2, iOS, Android, Fire OS

  • Metacritic Metascore: 88

In 2005, Rockstar Games ventured more successfully into the realm of handheld gaming with the release of GTA: Liberty City Stories. Developed by both Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North, this ambitious title initially hit shelves for the PSP before being ported to other platforms, as well as remade for the next generation of consoles. 

Set in the iconic Liberty City, the game's narrative unfolds three years prior to the events of GTA III, with players stepping into the shoes of Toni Cipriani, a devoted member of the Leone crime family. Emerging from hiding after executing a made man, Toni becomes entangled in a city-wide power struggle involving Liberty City's criminal factions.

Despite its handheld console origins, Liberty City Stories provides signature gameplay and visual quality consistent with its console counterparts. The game delivers a vast open-world environment filled with side missions, hidden collectibles, and an array of vehicles to commandeer. This nostalgic return to Liberty City, coupled with the PSP's portability, allowed fans to enjoy the excitement of GTA on the go. Liberty City Stories typified Rockstar's dedication to innovation and the continued evolution of the GTA franchise.

On this complete list of GTA games in order, Liberty City Stories marks that wonderful period where the PSP received two quality handheld series spinoffs.

8. 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories' (2008)

GTA Vice City Stories
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PSP, PS2

  • Metacritic Metascore: 86

GTA: Vice City Stories, released in 2006, is another standout title in the longstanding GTA franchise. Like Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories was developed by both Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North and the game was initially launched on the PSP as a handheld title. Much like Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories serves as a spin-off, essentially replicating the original Vice City experience with a new storyline and activities. Set in 1984, the game features a new protagonist, Victor "Vic" Vance, and marks the last entry in the series to use the RenderWare engine that powered all 3D GTA games up to that point.

In Vice City Stories, players follow Vic as he navigates the criminal underworld of Vice City, dealing with a powerful drug cartel, corrupt law enforcement, and his own family's betrayal. The game introduces several improvements over its predecessor, including a more extensive map, swimming mechanics, empire-building gameplay, and a plethora of new vehicles and weapons. 

Offering the classic GTA experience, Vice City Stories combines a compelling narrative with the series' signature open-world exploration and action-packed gameplay. The game successfully translates the console experience to a handheld device, letting players enjoy Vice City's iconic atmosphere and immersive storyline on the go. With its memorable characters, engaging side missions, and captivating soundtrack, GTA: Vice City Stories is a great addition for franchise fans who want to experience all the games in the GTA games in order.

9. 'Grand Theft Auto IV' (2008)

Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

  • Metacritic Metascore: 98

With GTA IV, Rockstar Games brought players back to the iconic Liberty City, this time introducing the fan-favorite Serbian protagonist, Niko Bellic, and his cousin, Roman Bellic. This groundbreaking installment was the first to be powered by the cutting-edge Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), which would later fuel other Rockstar titles like Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, and GTA V. Building on the series' strong storytelling legacy, GTA IV was the first entry to feature decisions that impacted the game's outcome with two unique endings. It was also the first title to receive an update removing over 50 radio songs from the game due to licensing issues.

GTA IV delivered a darker, grittier rendition of Liberty City, showcasing a massive, meticulously detailed cityscape enhanced by realistic physics, smarter AI, and jaw-dropping graphics. The narrative explored hard-hitting themes such as immigration, organized crime, family, and betrayal, guiding players through an enthralling journey into the city's criminal underworld. 

Not to be outdone by other titles of the era, GTA IV also debuted a multiplayer mode, enabling players to dive into various activities alongside friends or other gamers from around the globe. While it was pretty basic in comparison to GTA Online, it helps to solidify the game's immersive appeal long after players made their way through the single-player campaign and the two DLCs: The Lost and the Damned and The Ballard of Gay Tony.

For this entry on this complete list of GTA games in order, GTA IV is certainly the most divisive among diehard fans.

10. 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' (2009)

GTA Chinatown Wars
Rockstar Games

Consoles: PSP, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, Fire OS

  • Metacritic Metascore: 93

GTA: Chinatown Wars is a standout entry in the acclaimed GTA franchise. It hit the scene in 2009 with a fresh perspective on the series' classic gameplay. Like most of the other GTA handheld titles, it was developed jointly by Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North. What set Chinatown Wars apart was its rotatable top-down view, allowing for dynamic camera angles, and the unique cel-shaded graphics that lent a comic book-style aesthetic to the experience.

Following the tale of Huang Lee, a young Triad member navigating Liberty City's criminal underbelly to avenge his father's death and deliver a precious family heirloom, Chinatown Wars is anything but short on action. With over 100 missions and a host of GTA staples, it's hard to believe this game was tailored for handheld devices. The introduction of touch-screen controls on the Nintendo DS and PSP versions, a controversial drug-dealing mini-game, and a real-time weather system added even more depth to the game.

Chinatown Wars is a shining example of Rockstar's ability to adapt and innovate, showing that the essence of GTA can thrive on handheld platforms while still delivering a memorable gaming experience. For fans of Easter eggs, the game also includes a mission titled "Dragon Haul Z," an obvious nod to the popular anime and manga Dragon Ball Z.

For this entry on this complete list of GTA games in order, Chinatown Wars marks another major handheld spinoff game that honors the top-down origins of Rockstar Games' biggest franchise.

11. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

Rockstar Games

Consoles: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows

  • Metacritic Metascore: 97

GTA V took players on a wild ride to the all-new, sun-soaked city of "Los Santos" and the picturesque countryside of "Blaine County." This game-changer introduced a groundbreaking feature, enabling players to switch between three unique protagonists -Michael, Franklin, and Trevor - each with their distinctive abilities and missions. 

GTA V's massive, intricately detailed open world is filled with activities, hidden treasures, and endless opportunities for chaos. With over 175 million sales across three generations of consoles, it firmly established itself as one of the biggest games ever made, with an estimated budget of $265 million and a legacy of remasters and ports rivaling even that of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

On top of its remarkable single-player campaign, GTA V gifted players with the wildly popular GTA Online. This multiplayer mode allowed gamers to create custom characters and team up with friends or other players across the globe for missions, heists, and races. The consistent stream of updates and fresh content has kept GTA Online thriving for over 10 years after the release of GTA V

The game's emphasis on world-building and storylines showcased the interconnected narratives of the three main characters, touching on themes ranging from the corrupt criminal underworld to the bonds formed along the way. GTA V's visuals have stood the test of time, and the levels of chaos it unleashed remain unparalleled within the series, even giving other open-world games of the time a run for their money.

Since its inception, the GTA series has consistently pushed the envelope, delivering cutting-edge gameplay and expansive, immersive open-world environments. What began as a humble top-down crime simulator has evolved into a groundbreaking, genre-defining franchise that has left a massive mark on the gaming landscape. Each new entry in the series has built upon its predecessors, setting new standards for action-adventure games and leaving fans eager to see what Rockstar Games will come up with in future installments.

And with that, it's a wrap for our complete list of GTA games in order!

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