Grand Theft Auto is easily one of the most popular video game series in the world. GTA V was released back in 2013, and it still tops monthly lists of being the best game sold. With so many gamers to please, the developers have taken to retaining certain aspects in every game.
These details range from being within the story to part of the gameplay experience. For this list, we’ve mostly considered the games from GTA III and beyond, as these form part of the formula introduced then that still remains. However, these details can also be seen in the first GTA game as well, only in smaller quantities. Next time you play a GTA video game, take note of the following aspects that can be found.
No matter which GTA game you’re playing, there’s no denying each one has been belly laugh-inducing hilarious. The stories have always involved kooky characters who meet even crazier people. The jokes almost exclusively come from the over-the-top antics of the side characters, and the dialogue comedy is relayed through sardonic exchanges.
This comedic aspect has become so second nature to GTA that you don’t even notice it is a carefully added detail to the story. Think about it, would you have enjoyed the GTA games half as much if the story was gritty and serious all around?
GTA has been incredible at keeping continuity at a premium. All of the 3D universe games from GTA III to GTA: Vice City Stories were interconnected in some direct way, while the HD universe was also shown to be connected through Trevor’s killing of Johnny Klebitz, the protagonist of The Lost and Damned.
Characters tend to weave in and out, and due to the sequels and prequels being separated by a great number of years, much detail is put into ensuring these characters feel very different from where we left them off. There’s no gaming series in the world that has carried on continuity to the absolute minute detail as GTA has.
8 Open Worlds
Starting from all the way back from Grand Theft Auto, the series has maintained an open world for the player to explore. Although the first game was an over-the-top feature (where all you did was run around doing pretty much nothing), it was the open world game of that time.
This has been carried forward in every iteration of GTA, and was perfected by GTA III. That was the game which first put exhausting efforts in making the world feel open and full of opportunities before GTA V gave us a world with greatly detailed landmarks, side quests and all of the exploration.
7 Easter Eggs
Being enormously wide open worlds, there are a lot of places people haven’t been to in all the GTA games. It requires a special kind of commitment to unearth the easter eggs that have been planted around these landscapes.
While the first few games had these scattered in small quantities, the more recent games have thrown in dozens and more of easter eggs. For instance, you can go to the Liberty statue in GTA IV, where you’ll find a beating heart inside it! There were also references to GTA: San Andreas in the game, with the supposed information that CJ had died. GTA V has too many easter eggs to list down, but placing these in all their games is a Rockstar habit.
6 Stealing Cars
Without driving, GTA would feel like the biggest chore of a game ever made. Every game since the first one has had the player make use of a vehicle. And each time, a car has been gained by shoving some poor sap out of their property.
GTA III bettered this by miles by having the main character physically remove the driver. This made the process come alive, and GTA V’s car stealing sequences inject every main character’s personality into it now. No matter which way a car is stolen, this aspect of GTA games has always remained part of the franchise.
5 Wanted By The Cops
Having a game be titled as Grand Theft Auto naturally means the police will be involved, and the cops have made their presence known in every game as a response to our criminal activities. With the 3D universe’s inception, the addition of a Star rating began the more organized nature of the police.
Now, the more stars you gain, the tighter the police barrage will be. In the older days, too, you’d have the police on your tail for the crimes you’ve committed. Being pursued by the police is a requirement of the series, and the details added to it has made the experience more engaging.
4 Health Bar System
Games from the seventh generation of consoles began eliminating the health bar system and employing a regeneration-based method instead. The player would need to hide for a little while when injured, and then re-emerge once the health regenerated. GTA, however, has stuck to the health bar system throughout its run.
The display of the health bar might change, but the concept itself is always the same. The method of replenishing health also remains similar by having the protagonist go through health pick-ups – in recent games this has evolved toward the option of having the main character eat food. The respawning system has been ever-present, with the player starting over from the nearest point after death.
3 Exasperated Criminal Protagonists
Every game has had us take control of criminals. Their goal is also always the same of acquiring large amounts of money by the end, although their motivations to do so does vary. A character trait you can find in every protagonist is that they are exasperated.
This is a detail one might miss if they don’t invest themselves in the story, but you’ll realize every one of the main characters has this. They are always the odd one out of their situation, and are pulled into completing missions they don’t want to do. They are thrust into scenarios they don’t want to be in; commenting frequently how they could ever find themselves where they are.
2 Unlocking New Areas
While the games in the series feature open worlds enormous in scale, they don’t allow the player to simply waltz over wherever they want to; instead, the player needs to unlock these places according to the story.
You could use some sort of trickery to cheat the game and access these places earlier, but they’ll never to be truly open to you, as once you die, you’ll respawn in the unlocked area only. Along with that, you won’t have any options in the places remaining to be unlocked unless you play through the part in the story that allows you access. This detail has been passed on in every game so that the player doesn’t exhaust the open world opportunities without completing the game.
1 Cheat Codes
This aspect of the game has been greatly brought down in the HD Universe games, but back in the early-2000s, the ability to use cheat codes was what prompted millions to even buy a Grand Theft Auto game.
Cheat codes became the selling point for the series, and more outrageous ones started being implemented with every new iteration. GTA: San Andreas, in particular, has the richest quantity (and the most bizarre) numbers when it comes to cheat codes. GTA IV began scaling these cheat codes down – mostly by eliminating the trophy system should one activate the codes – but the feature still exists and we’re still flying our cars all around the city.