Home » The Evolution of GTA and How It Has Maintained Popularity Over The Years

The Evolution of GTA and How It Has Maintained Popularity Over The Years

by Henry Emmanuel
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grand theft auto

The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series is a true leviathan in the video gaming world. It has pushed the industry boundaries in virtually all areas – be it creativity, graphics, storytelling, gameplay, and sheer entertainment value. 

Above all, the games in the franchise have earned at least $10 billion for developers Rockstar Games, who made its money through seven games launched across 25 years. And, virtually all of these were critically acclaimed games. Let’s take a closer look at what makes GTA so popular over all these years.

Crime – The Main Reason why GTA is So Popular

Every game in the GTA franchise has the same premise – the absolute freedom to wreak havoc on a sprawling city as a gangster. You can rob cars, shoot people, and do all kinds of damage with great abandon. 

Of course, the in-game police and army will come at you hard, but death has no major consequences. You can resume the game, usually at a nearby hospital location, a few dollars poorer. Rockstar has created a game where we can live out our fantasies of total anarchy and doing as we please. 

It’s a freedom most of us don’t have out in the real world – for very good reasons obviously! But living the fast life of a criminal – driving speedy cars, ice cream trucks, boats, planes, and even large army tanks in a wide-open virtual world has a special kind of joy that’s unmatched by many games.

Rich Storylines with Memorable Characters

In the first two installments of GTA, you played a random thug accepting missions from various crime syndicates. But the storylines and characters began to take off in a big way with the release of GTA III and Vice City. Tommy Vercetti, the protagonist of GTA Vice City, was the video game equivalent of Tony Montana from Scarface.

And things have only got better from there. We enjoy the legendary thug Carl Johnson being featured in GTA: San Andreas, and the memorable eastern European gangster Niko Bellic in GTA IV looking vainly for a peaceful life away from violence (quite unsuccessfully, which is good news for us gamers!). 

GTA V, the last major entry to the series, took things to a whole different level with not one, but three main protagonists, all of them more interesting than anyone we’ve met: Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton, and Trevor Philips – all refreshingly different, forming part of real and compelling storylines. 

The Online Gaming Phenomenon of GTA V

Online gaming has come a long way. Its evolution is nothing short of amazing. Similarly, when we think of gaming’s array of categories, we can’t help but think of online casinos and the way many console games made a crossover to the casino scene and vice versa. 

Chief Editor at NoDepositDaily, Mervyn Davids confirms this, ‘it’s always good to know what’s trending in the realm of gaming – whether the console or online casinos variety. It may be surprising to many, but there are quite a number of similarities between the two!’

And no other game blurs this line better than GTA V – the latest installment in the franchise is already 9 years old. Yet it still attracts up to 100,000 players online in 2022 on Steam (PC) alone. The game even has a working casino inside! 

Before GTA V, the games were all about the single-player experience. You played GTA for the rich story and fun missions. But with the online component, it acquired a new dimension. Instead of dealing with boring NPCs, you can now interact with other players (max 30 in a server) in an online arena. 

Tackle missions with your squad of friends, race cars, explore the ocean in a submarine, visit the Playboy mansion, play golf, and go to yacht parties, the amount of things you can do in GTA Online is just insane.

A Rich and Stunning Open World

Rockstar is a company that knows how to create stunning game worlds. You only need to look at the graphics in their western-themed game Red Dead Redemption 2 – in some screenshots, you could easily mistake it for a real-world photo.

GTA V is a much older game than RDR2 and does not hit the same level of graphical realism. Yet it’s still a beautiful game. GTA games have historically had less than optimal 3D models, textures, and lighting effects – Vice City was quite bad in this regard. 

Yet the overall package was so packed with activities, events, and densely populated areas, you could always feel like it is a real city. And there lies the main appeal of the GTA series. In recent editions, they have upped the ante with even sharper graphics to enhance the levels of realism. 

GTA V is practically ancient at this point. If RDR2 is any indication of the progress Rockstar has made in game design, we’re in for a real treat, when the next game rolls out. However, thanks to the cash cow that GTA online has become, it could be a while. 

With a decade-old game still making billions of dollars a year, Rockstar is in no hurry to push out a new edition. Rumors indicate that we may have to wait until 2024 for the next edition of Grand Theft Auto. It’s going to be a heck of a long wait indeed! 


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