Evolution Of Grand Theft Auto

The evolution of the Grand Theft Auto series shows just how much of a limitation the software is for any game, all you have to do is compare the original top down shooter to the enormous and full of detail game of GTA V. Even looking at only GTA V comparing the previous consoles to the newer ones you can notice a difference in the quality and style of the game.


The series first started out being developed for low power systems such as the Playstation 1, Game Boy Colour, MS-DOS and Windows. All of which at could not handle anything near the size of the earliest 3D entry to the series in the form of GTA 3. This game for its time was DMA Designs pushing the consoles to its limit being released on the Xbox and Playstation 2. The 3D world, however, seemed a lot smaller in comparison to the older games in the series, this was mainly due to the fact that due to restrictions from the software it would struggle to render a 3D version of the past games as all that needed to be rendered on top down games is the top view of the game. Meaning most buildings and objects could be drawn images not taking up nearly as much power as an entire 3D model.

The quality and look of the GTA series keep’s adapting to use the full potential of the console they are developed on. Having the game transform from 2D to 3D is a perfect example of that and how they removed some features such as the multiplayer just to be able to promise a stable experience. Just by looking at the newest instalment for the game of Grand Theft Auto 5/Online and how when translating the game from the previous generation to the newer generation they completely overhauled the graphics and implemented some features that were not possible on the older consoles. That goes to show how they are using the new found software to improve upon an already existing game because it was made possible thanks to the new capabilities of the software.


The Grand Theft Auto series is known for its multiplayer gameplay, from as early as Grand Theft Auto the game had some form of multiplayer allowing players to have fun together eventually being provided with a more user-friendly system by GTA 2, however, when reaching GTA 3 much like the map size the game made a sacrifice in not including any multiplayer for users to experience, this again was due to the sheer demand the game had on consoles and to avoid a lot of issues, the game opted out of attempting multiplayer in GTA 3.

It was not till GTA San Andreas, that players got a co-op mode that had players go in free roam or in rampage modes. However, for the PC release of the game, a form of in-depth multiplayer was released as a mod in the community that had many people playing online together doing different things within the world. The massive amount of players and attention that the mod got opened ‘Rockstar North’ to the idea of a large-scale open world multiplayer experience that would sit as a separate experience from the main game. You can see the next two titles that were developed by Rockstar North both are known for their large and fun multiplayer experiences. First GTA IV which had a simple 3D open world for the players to explore and create fun in together and then immediately followed by GTA V’s GTA Online, which is known by many as one of the best open world multiplayer game experiences there is.

As from the earliest days of GTA’s development, you can see how the idea of the multiplayer game was attempted and seeing how GTA Online’s focus on the multiplayer game really seemed like the goal from the start was having the story as merely a box to put the Online gameplay within. The continued expansion again shows us how Rockstar are not contempt with how the previous generations of consoles limited them, as they are now talking about completely expanding the map to incorporate two maps the same size as the southern GTA V map alone. That on top of the constant content that is added regularly and the graphical overhaul that took place on the next generation consoles shows just how they wish to keep removing their restrictions and expand the game further.

Target Audience

The target audience of the game also tailored how it was both developed and marketed. Since the early days, the first GTA game clearly shows how the game is marketed towards boys, initially starting at a younger age of around 14+ to more lately reach a more mature 16-18+ rating. This direction of its audience shows as having guns, explosions, violence and murder are not really what you would associate with girls.

The audience that GTA was developed for dictated how it was made as since they aimed to please a more male audience there would be no need for an in-depth story, but merely have a story to facilitate the various things that can be done in the game. The newer instalments of the game have been changed to incorporate a story and other things that could widen its audience as the game has grown in such popularity.

The countries in which GTA was marketed to also affected how it was developed, for instants GTA V was banned in both Saudi Arabia and Australia due to the games many violent and mature themes, this lead to the game having to make some changes to make it acceptable in those countries sometimes removing entire parts of the game, this tells us that while developing the game the developers must have strict rule on what is and is not allowed. In different parts of the world, this also means they will attempt to make the experience as similar as possible by cutting parts that would not be allowed in one country from the entire game to have one staple product under the title.

It would also be important to say how the media would have affected development as GTA was painted as a violent game and demonised for what you could do, this would have put a strain in the amount of ‘bad things’ that would have been added as an attempt to not offend too many people and risk losing the series altogether.


The performance of the game varies for each game, for the most part, each game was developed for their respected devices they released on and which each new instalment allowed the developer to expand upon what they had beforehand and even leaving room for the current game to be expanded upon. The first game in the series had to be optimised as well as it could in order to have a faked 3D world from the top down perspective and having the objects in the game such as banners and fuel pipes and such.

The Grand Theft Auto series regularly uses different and effects in the games most prominently of which being explosions and muzzle flashes for guns. As for animation they game first began with simple 3 part animations which switched through the images while the respected action is done, whereas now the animations are fully rendered 3D realistic actions to go along with what the player does.

Evolution of Game Design


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