Grand Theft Auto

Celebrating the 25 Year Anniversary of Grand Theft Auto

No matter where you are in the world, if you ask somebody if they know what Grand Theft Auto or ‘GTA’ is, odds are they’ll know exactly what you’re referring to. I’m not talking about the US State Law which is a Felony, punishable up to 5 years in prison… I’m talking about the second best-selling video-game franchise of all time. 

Straight from the start, Grand Theft Auto was never a walk in the park. Originally the game began as a concept, known as Race ‘N’ Chase (for those younger readers, you may notice these Arcade machines in GTAOnline. This is a reference to the early GTA concept). Race ‘N’ Chase was developed by DMA Design, now known as Rockstar North. The game was designed to be an open-world semi-2D/3D game which allowed the player to take on the role as either a Cop or a Criminal. During development, the developers at DMA Design encountered a number of bugs, one of which caused police cars to ram criminals off the road. Unknowingly to the developers, this simple ‘bug’ is what shaped the concept for the game and the series which led to Grand Theft Auto being born. The game’s name was then changed, development continued and then finally on November 28th 1997, Grand Theft Auto 1 was released.

Concept image of Race ‘N’ Chase.

So where is the series at now? Well, whilst we wait for the highly anticipated GTAVI, the Grand Theft Auto series has become one of the most iconic and appreciated video-games titles of all time, shaping what Open-World gaming means today. Rockstar Games have never failed to push the boat out on a GTA title; from the narrative and storyline, to the environmental design and soundtracks, every part of a Grand Theft Auto game has been phenomenal in its own way. 

From the sunny beaches of Vice City, to the sun-soaked Metropolis of San Andreas and the dark gritty streets of Liberty City; Grand Theft Auto has always done a fantastic job at representing their real-life counterparts and over the years with each addition has always grown to be bigger and better in various ways. You can learn more about the GTA Series here, including more about each individual Grand Theft Auto title. 

Inside Rockstar North during the development of GTAV.

Grand Theft Auto has also featured a number of iconic film and music veterans over the years including Ray Liotta, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jacksion, Axl Rose, Ned Luke and Dr Dre. It has introduced a wide-array of soundtracks ranging from 80s pop, hip-hop, rap, country & western, classical and more. 

The most recent entry, Grand Theft Auto V still sells a high amount of units despite being 9 years old. As of November 2022 the game has sold a total of 170 million units worldwide, making approximately $6 billion in worldwide revenue and has been the winners of over 12 awards including Best Multiplayer, Best British Game and Best Game Design from the 2014 BAFTA Awards. 

Creating a game the size of Grand Theft Auto, with the ability to travel anywhere in that play-space, whilst also working your way through a narrative and storyline, finding easter-eggs from other GTA and Rockstar titles, is still absolutely mind-blowing. The creativity required to develop and write a game like GTA doesn’t just come naturally. The team at Rockstar Studios put an enormous amount of effort into their games and we are super excited to see what they have been working on with Grand Theft Auto VI. The last 25 years have been extraordinary, with some fantastic titles such as GTA: Vice City, San Andreas and GTAIV being released, generating millions in revenue and winning numerous awards… I think all of the developers, both past and present deserve a great amount of respect and appreciation for their hard work. To any of you developers out there reading this, thank you! 


Happy 25 Year Anniversary, Grand Theft Auto! 


GTA Cover Art inspired by the GTA3 10th Anniversary Art

Looking back at the history of Grand Theft Auto is always an interesting topic as it unveils not only the creativity that goes into creating these games, but also the controversy that comes with it. Whether that be the murder of several police officers which GTA: Vice City was blamed for, or the Hot Coffee ‘mod’ which was left inside of GTA: San Andreas’ coding on release, all of this as well as learning how the games were made and all link together in their respective universe’s is always something of interest, so I would highly suggest taking some time to watch the 2-hour documentary of the History of Grand Theft Auto, created by Nick930. You can check it out below. 

Hi, I'm Lewis! - I'm 25 years old and from the UK. I am the owner and founder of Rockstar Universe, which was founded in 2014 following the release of Grand Theft Auto V. I'm responsible for writing articles, running the website and managing the social media platforms. I'm a huge fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise and have been for over 2 decades - with GTA IV being my ultimate favourite release.