Ok, let's just put this on the record right now: Rockstar Games in no way, shape or form invented open world gaming. According to Wikipedia, that honor goes to some space game you've never heard of. Heck, Rockstar wasn't even the first person to go with 3D graphics. If you want the genius behind that, you're talking about some other game no one has ever heard of.
And yet, Rockstar's juggernaut still endures. No, "endures" isn't the right word. "Endures" implies that it releases and does respectably despite not being anything new or exciting. "Grand Theft Auto" doesn't endure, "Dragon Age" endures.
"Grand Theft Auto" dominates.
Each new chapter in the series releases to a level of excitement and prestige that no other series in gaming (all of gaming) can even hope to approach. Throughout the franchise's history, "Grand Theft Auto" has consistently heralded a new age of gaming. From the original embracing the magic of the open world to "GTA III" basically inventing modern gaming to "GTA IV" and it's gift for immersion, every time a "Grand Theft Auto" drops, people take notice.
So, join us, won't you, on this trip down memory lane, as we look into the history of this gaming goliath.
Head's up, completionists, there are omissions within. In favor of covering the series' biggest milestones without drowning readers under a mountain of exposition, we lumped the first two games together and left out the original "GTA" offshoots: "London: 1961" and "London: 1969". You also won't find any reference to "Liberty City Stories" or "Vice City Stories" and we're only going to tangentially mention "The Lost and Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony" since none of these games did much to expand the play style or change the feel of the overall series.