All Grand Theft Auto (GTA) Games In Order Of Their Release

Grand Theft Auto doesn’t need any introduction. It is considered by many as the most successful action-adventure game of all time. The series spans over three decades, with the first game released in 1997. These games are centered around shooting, roleplaying, and shooting. Graphically, the GTA series can be divided into three universes – 2D, 3D, and HD universe.

Below, we have listed Grand Theft Auto games in order of their release from the first to the most recent in the series. We have also arranged GTA games in chronological order.

15. Grand Theft Auto (1997)

Grand Theft Auto 1997

Platform: MS-DOS, Windows, PlayStation, Game boy color
Initial release date: 28 November 1997
Type of installment: Main entry

The first Grand Theft Auto game introduced popular locations, namely San Andreas, Liberty City, and Vice City, that would be significantly expanded and enhanced in the later installments in the series. The original GTA takes place within an open-world environment and is played top-down. It follows the story of a criminal who is trying to make a name in the underground world.

The game is divided into six different levels and follows a linear method of progression, meaning as soon as you complete a level, the next one in the chain will be automatically unlocked.

The player’s objective in each level is twofold; achieve a target number of points, then reach the level’s final goal to complete the level. Points are awarded for doing almost anything in the game, from stealing and selling cars to causing accidents on the road. However, the most efficient way to earn points is to complete the mission task given by local criminal bosses.

14. Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and 1961 (1999)

Grand Theft Auto London 1961

Platform: MS-DOS, Windows, PlayStation
Initial release date: April 1999
Type of installment: Expansion packs

Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 was the very first expansion of the series and was followed by London 1961. As you may already guess, both the expansion packs are set in a fictionalized version of London in the 1960s.

The gameplay mechanics of the two games are the same as the original title. Both the games consist of multiple levels, which are completed by achieving a target score. Again, points can be gathered by initiating jobs for crime syndicates. Successful jobs give you more points. The open-world environment ensures that you can freely engage in other activities alongside doing missions.

To add an authentic British outlook, the game includes vehicles such as red Double Decker buses and 60s Mini Cars that can be seen all over the roads. There are plenty of cultural references as well, including British music from the 1960s, slang, etc.

The second expansion, Grand Theft Auto: London 1961, is much shorter in length than the first one and was only released on PCs. It features the same characters and map but took place eight years before.

13. Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)

Grand Theft Auto 2

Platform: Windows, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast
Initial release date: 22 October 1999
Type of installment: Main entry

Grand Theft Auto 2 is the second main and fourth overall installment in the GTA series. Set in a retrofuturistic world known as ‘Anywhere City,’ GTA 2 takes players on a journey filled with crime and chaos. It is the only main title in the GTA series that doesn’t occur in either Liberty City or San Andreas. The game is even more unique because its intro includes live-action scenes.

Like its predecessor, the game consists of a series of levels, each with a target score that the player must achieve to successfully complete a stage and jump to the next one. Points are earned mostly by completing missions for different criminal families. Other activities such as destroying and selling vehicles also grant you points.

Grand Theft Auto 2 was the first in the series to introduce save points, where players can save their gameplays. However, you must spend $50,000 of in-game currency every time you do so.

Unlike other GTA titles, the game’s period is not mentioned. A few sources suggest it to be sometime around 2013, while its in-game references to “new millennium” suggest that the gameplay take place around 1999.

12. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

Grand Theft Auto III

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Mac OS X
Release date: 23 October 2001
Type of installment: Main entry

After a one-year hiatus, Rockstar Games came up with the third installment in the main series and fifth overall GTA game – Grand Theft Auto III – in 2001. It was not just the most successful title of the GTA series at that time, the game proved out to be one of the most important games of the 128-bit era (also known as the sixth generation of video games).

It allowed the open-world games to gain mainstream popularity for the first time and laid the foundation upon which future GTA games were built. GTA III was the first game in the series to introduce a fully 3D world.

Grand Theft Auto III revolves around the story of protagonist Claude (player’s character). Set in an open-world environment, players can freely explore the fictional world of Liberty City. You can walk, jump, run and drive vehicles to navigate.

The story progress as you complete the mission with set objectives. These missions will take you deep into the criminal world of Liberty City, from stealing and delivery tasks to doing jobs for gangs and underground syndicates. It also feature a plenty of optional side missions.

11. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Mac OS X
Release date: 29 October 2002
Type of installment: Main entry

My affection for the GTA series started from when I first played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and it’s not so hard to tell why. GTA Vice City is the fourth main installment and the sixth overall game in the series. It follows the story of Tommy Vercetti, a small-time drug peddler, who gets caught in a drug deal. He then builds his drug empire in Vice City. Like its predecessor, Vice City is an open-world game in which players are free to roam.

The world map of GTA Vice City, which includes two main islands, is much larger than previous games in the series.

In 2003 (2004 outside the United States), Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto Double Pack, including Xbox and PlayStation 2 ports of GTA III and GTA Vice City games.

10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 2 and 3, Xbox and 360, Mac OS X
Release date: 26 October 2004
Type of installment: Main entry

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the fifth main entry and seventh overall installment in the GTA series. It follows the story of Carl “CJ” Johnson, who gets drawn into the world of crime, betrayal, and corruption after the death of his mother. The missions take place all over the San Andreas, that include the cities of Los Santos, Las Venturas, and San Fierro. Before the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5, GTA San Andreas had the biggest world map in the series.

San Andreas was the first game in the series to feature RPG elements, including customization options (for both vehicles and the character), mini-games, and other side activities.

Set in the 90s, GTA San Andreas constantly reminds players of that era with gangsta rap, hairstyles, and outfits of different characters. A remastered version of the game was released on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2015.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the best-selling PlayStation 2 game. As of 2011, it sold over 27.5 million copies on all platforms worldwide.

9. Grand Theft Auto Advance

Grand Theft Auto Advance

Platform: Game Boy Advance
Release date: 26 October 2004
Type of installment: Handheld entry

Grand Theft Auto Advance was released on the same day as GTA San Andreas, albeit exclusively for Game Boy Advance. The game serves as a prequel to GTA III with almost similar game mechanics. However, due to Game Boy’s hardware limitations, some of the fan-favorite elements, such as animated cutscenes and pedestrian dialogue that are present in GTA III, were removed from the game.

Grand Theft Auto Advance is set a year before the events of GTA III in liberty City. It follows the story of the protagonist and player character, Mike, who gets involved with criminals and the Mafia for revenge, typical of GTA titles.

The animated cutscenes are replaced by text only with a thematic background. Despite the top-down perspective gameplay, Grand Theft Auto Advance gives a 3D feel with the consistent three-dimensional art style, familiar heads-up display, vehicle-based missions, and the use of similar weapons.

8. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

GTA Liberty City Stories

Platform: PlayStation 2 and Portable
Release date: 24 October 2005
Type of installment: PlayStation port, expansion

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is set three years before the events of GTA III. The game focuses on one of the characters of GTA III, Antonio “Toni” Cipriani. The game begins with Toni rejoining the Leone crime family after returning from Liberty City and working his way up in the family business.

Though Liberty City’s overall layout is similar to GTA III, it features elements of later games (Vice City and San Andreas) with identical environments, clothing, and vehicles. Liberty City is the first 3D game in the series to be released for handheld consoles.

The PSP version of the game allows up to six players to engage in multiplayer gameplay through Wi-Fi. In the United States alone, both the PlayStation 2 and PSP version of the game sold nearly 2 million copies by early 2007.

7. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

GTA Vice City Stories

Platform: PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable
Initial release date: 31 October 2006
Type of installment: PlayStation Port, expansion

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is the tenth installment overall in the series. It serves as the prequel to the fan-favorite GTA Vice City. Set two years before the events of GTA Vice City, the game follows the story of Victor “Vic” Vance, an Army Corporal who gets involved in crime, drugs, and gang wars after being dishonorably discharged from the army.

One of the fun elements of the Vice City Stories gameplay is “empire-building,” in which the player can make money from operating different businesses and properties that are taken from rival gangs. These businesses are of different types and sizes. Owning a business also gives you access to unique side missions with rewards and more income for the related business.

The game made changes in the combat system as well. Unlike in GTA Vice City, the player character can grab and throw opponents during hand-to-hand combat. Like Liberty City Stories, the PSP version of the game has a multiplayer mode that can host six players at a time.

6. Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto 4

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Initial release date: 29 April 2008 (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360)
Type of installment: Main entry

Grand Theft Auto 4 is the sixth main entry and eleventh overall installment of the GTA series. GTA 4 introduced a few radical changes to the game’s design. Like its predecessor, GTA 4 is set in Liberty City but a completely remodeled one. The game’s rendition of Liberty City is more detailed and as much as three times larger than that of Grand Theft Auto III. The advanced capabilities of consoles allowed GTA 4 to have more realistic and detailed graphics overall.

The gameplay revolves around Niko Bellic, an East European war veteran, who finds himself entangled with the criminal world after escaping to America. As with its predecessors, the missions in GTA 4 follows a linear progression, and it’s possible to have more than one active mission at any given time.

The game revamped its combat system with the inclusion of a ‘cover system,’ a game mechanic that allows the player character to hide behind and use an obstacle as a cover during enemy attacks. GTA 4 is the first game in the series to use the cover system with more realistic renderings of this element of the gameplay. It also features a subway system.

5. Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

GTA IV The Lost and Damned

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Initial release date: 17 February 2009
Type of installment: Expansion pack

Grand Theft Auto 4 was followed by two expansion packs, the first of which is ‘The Lost and Damned.’ With similar game settings to GTA 4, The Lost and Damned revolve around Johnny Klebitz and motorcycle club ‘Liberty City chapter of The Lost MC.’ Most of the gameplay is about keeping the gang intact and running by dealing with internal conflicts, doing side jobs, and defending against enemy gangs.

Unlike GTA 4 (base game), the entire map of The Lost and Damned is unlocked for the player to explore after completing its first mission (although it features only about one-third of the total number of missions of the base game). Other changes in The Lost and Damned include the addition of mid-game checkpoints, new vehicles (including custom-made motorcycles), and a couple of unique missions or side jobs.

4. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown WarsGTA Chinatown Wars PSP gameplay

Platform: Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Fire OS
Release date: 17 March 2009
Type of installment: Handheld entry

Chinatown Wars follows the story of a Triad member, Huang Lee, and his journey towards the top of the Triad crime syndicate in Liberty City. It was the first GTA expansion released for handled consoles since Vice City Stories in 2006.

Chinatown Wars differs from the other GTA titles in a number of ways. The most notable change was the introduction of new cop evasion mechanics. In most Grand Theft Auto titles, you must leave a certain locality as fast you can to evade cop chases. However, in this game, players are required to destroy a set number of police vehicles to lower the wanted level and eventually evade cops.

One of the more fun elements of the game is that players can have notable interactions with objects. For instance, you can buy and sell illegal substances on the side to make money.

The game uses a fully rotatable camera presentation that angles down at the player’s actions instead of just top-down or ground-level perspective. The cell-shaded rendering gives the game more like a comic book-like outlook.

3. Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Initial release date: 29 October 2009
Type of installment: Expansion pack

The Ballad of Gay Tony is the second of two episodic expansion packs for Grand Theft Auto IV, the first being The Lost and Damned. It is the fourteenth installment overall in the series.

The game follows the story of Luis Fernando Lopez (player character), who serves as a bodyguard to a socialite and nightclub owner named Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince. The player assists Tony in various aspects of his business, from debt to disputes with other crime families in Liberty City.

Set in an open world environment, ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’ has similar gameplay settings to GTA 4. It also features a scoring system for the missions (do not affect the gameplay). You can also replay missions to improve your scores.

2. Grand Theft Auto V

GTA 5

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, 4, 5, Xbox 360 and One
Release date: 17 September 2013
Type of installment: Main entry

Grand Theft Auto 5 features three different leads, Michael, Trevor, and Franklin, all criminals with interconnected stories. The player controls all three leads, switching between them throughout the single-player gameplay.

The game focuses on committing heists throughout San Andreas and the Los Santos area and other dangerous missions leading up to those heists.

GTA 5 does remarkably well in critical aspects of the gameplay, from storytelling and mission design to sound effects and graphics. One of the most significant elements of the game is the character switching mechanic that adds more thrill and excitement to the action. What’s more; each of the three characters has a unique skill that makes them more effective while performing a certain activity.

1. Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand Theft Auto Online

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3,4,5, Xbox 360, One and Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: 1 October 2013

A couple of weeks after the release of Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games launched an online multiplayer mode of the game, Grand Theft Auto Online. Set in a continually updated world, GTA Online allows players to engage in cooperative activities such as racing, deathmatches, and objective-based missions.

The events of GTA Online take place a few months before GTA 5. It begins with a cutscene, in which the player-created character lands in Los Santos by an airplane and is received by an individual named Lamar Davis, who provides you with the necessary tools for upcoming events. It is followed by a lengthy tutorial to introduce various gameplay elements to the player.

Players are free to form their own crew of five, have leaders and a hierarchy. They can compete against other crews to win experience points and progress in online leaderboards.

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Grand Theft Auto Games in Chronological Order

1. Grand Theft Auto 1961 – (Set in London, 1961)
2. Grand Theft Auto 1969 – (Set in London, 1969)
3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories – (Set in Vice City, 1984)
4. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – (Set in Vice City, 1986)
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – (Set in San Andreas, 1992)
6. Grand Theft Auto – (Set in Liberty City, San Andreas, Vice City, 1997)
7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories – (Set in Liberty City, 1998)
8. Grand Theft Auto 2 – (Set in Anywhere City, 1999)
9. Grand Theft Auto Advance – (Set in Liberty City, 2000)
10. Grand Theft Auto III – (Set in Liberty City, 2001)
11. Grand Theft Auto IV – (Set in Liberty City, 2008)
12. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars – (Set in Liberty City, 2009)
13. Grand Theft Auto Online – (Set in San Andreas, 2013- Present Day)
14. Grand Theft Auto V – (Set in San Andreas, 2013)

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many GTA games are there?

So far, there are sixteen games in the Grand Theft Auto series, including four expansion packs (two for the original game and two for GTA IV) and an online multiplayer game. These games have been released for multiple platforms, including PC, PSP, Xbox, Nintendo, iOS, and Android.

Furthermore, since 1999, a total of six compilations and remaster of GTA titles have been released. The most recent one, Grand Theft Auto: Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, includes remastered versions of Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Is GTA Online free-to-play?

Grand Theft Auto Online is not entirely free. While the game itself doesn’t require any fees, there are conditions. To play GTA Online, you need to purchase a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Moreover, you need Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus to enjoy the game on consoles. Apart from that, the game receives free updates on content to expand the gameplay.

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When is GTA 6 coming out?

While Grand Theft Auto 6 hasn’t been officially announced yet (at the time of writing), much speculation has been made about a new main entry in the series in recent years. According to a Kotaku report, a new title in the Grand Theft Auto series is in the early development phase as of April 2020.

Furthermore, as reported by VentureBeat, Take-Two Interactive (holding company of Rockstar Games) is expected to spend about $89 million on marketing in the fiscal year 2024 (between March-2023 and April-2024) based on the company’s recent 10-K SEC filing. The most likely explanation for this spike in marketing budget is the release of GTA 6 around that time.

Written by
Bipro Das

Biprojit has been a staff writer at RankRed since 2015. He mainly focuses on game-changing inventions but also covers general science with a particular interest in astronomy. His domain extends to mobile apps and knows a thing or two about finance. Biprojit has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delhi, majoring in Geography.

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