We can easily find out the release date of each Grand Theft Auto game via Steam, Wikipedia, or whatever. But what are the in-game dates? Let’s discuss Grand Theft Auto Franchise timeline and chronology.
In some GTA games, release date and in-game date are same. But that’s not the case with all of them. So, I’ve specified the release dates and universe timelines on below for each Grand Theft Auto game ever released.
ASSASSIN’S CREED FRANCHISE TIMELINE
The list goes from oldest universe timeline / in-game year (Vice City) all the way to the most current one (GTA5) which is pretty old too. Since the last GTA release was in 2013 (GTA5), it’s to be expected.
Grand Theft Auto timeline:
1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (1986)
- Released in 2002.
- Set in Vice City, 1986.
I’ve played all the Grand Theft Auto games. Including the first ones, and the last ones. In the end, my favorite is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I just can’t get over it. It’s probably because I’m old and love the nostalgia.
Anyway, with its memorable character, locations, and amazing story, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is made the franchise what it is today. Of course, San Andreas was probably more impactful, but the Vice City was the first GTA game that became immensely popular.
Did you know that the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6 is going to be set in Vice City? That’s what the leaked data points. I’m excited!
2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (1992)
- Released in 2004
- Set in State of San Andreas, 1992.
Again, to me Vice City is the best GTA. But most players agree that the San Andreas is better. So, why is San Andreas is the best GTA?
Reasons why GTA San Andreas sold hundreds of millions of copies:
- Setting and atmosphere. There aren’t many games featuring hood life.
- Music. Soundtracks are masterpiece and perfectly fits the setting.
- Story is deep. Though not as deep as Vice City in my opinion.
- Size. San Andreas map is huge and filled with content.
- Role-playing. It’s the first GTA game introduced role-playing. Such as choosing outfits, getting fat. going to gym to get fit, recruiting gang members to assist you with quests, earning respect, etc.
3. Grand Theft Auto (1997)
- Released in 1997.
- Set in Liberty City, 1997.
Grand Theft Auto 1 is the first game of the series. So, that’s how it started ladies and gentlemen.
It’s using top-down view, 2D graphics, very linear progression, etc. Overall, it’s really bad for today’s standards. However, it was a revolutionary game for 1997. That’s why it’s still considered classic by some.
I’m old but not that old. Tried GTA 1 & 2 after playing Vice City, couldn’t get into either of them. It should be even harder today for players who started with GTA 5.
4. Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)
- Released in 1999.
- Set in Anywhere City, 1999 – 2013.
Grand Theft Auto 2 released in 1999. We know that for sure. But can’t say the same for the in-game date. The game is set in either 1999 or 2013. That’s 14 years, which makes a huge difference. We’re not so sure because developers didn’t specify a certain date. However, some in-game events point both 1999 and 2013.
Intro is filmed in New York City, but that doesn’t mean Anywhere City is New York.
5. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
- Released in 2001.
- Set in Liberty City, 2001.
Most people think GTA III is the first game. Probably because it’s the first 3D Grand Theft Auto game. Hey, it’s in the name. If it’s the third, there must be first and second…
Anyway, I’ve played GTA 3 after playing Vice City. It was certainly a down-grade. But not un-playable. It’s actually quite fun. Difference? I would say GTA 3 is darker.
If you like the GTA games, I recommend you play GTA 3 for its unique atmosphere. It’s so old that you can even play it on your mobile.
6. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
- Released in 2008.
- Set in Liberty City, 2008.
There you go, biggest disappointment… I was expecting something unbelievably good after San Andreas, yet we got Grand Theft Auto IV. Look, it’s not terrible, but not nearly as good as Vice City, San Andreas, or GTA V.
Hey, at least its main menu music is brilliant. I still listen to it; in fact, I’m listening GTA 4 Loading Screen Theme right NOW! Also, Niko Bellic was cool, who is definitely based on Jason Statham.
7. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
- Released in 2013.
- Set in Southern San Andreas (Los Santos), 2013.
The timeline of Grand Theft Auto franchise ends with GTA V. However, we’ll get GTA VI in 2024, so, buckle up! Quite frankly, I can’t contain my excitement for GTA VI because it’s going to be set in the Vice City!
I love Grand Theft Auto V. I love both its single-player and online modes. However, Grand Theft Auto V turned into this online PvP shitshow. Flying cars, rocket launcher motorcycles, etc. To me, GTA is a single player with amazing story, and gameplay. They’ve turned into something else!
I hope Rockstar focus on both single-player and multiplayer modes of GTA VI. As you know, game developers started ignoring single-player in the recent years because single-player games don’t sell much.
All in all, GTA V is the most advanced game of the franchise. It’s budged was the highest, and development team was the biggest. So, its graphics are the best. As for the story, don’t expect it to be better than San Andreas, but it’s definitely better than GTA IV.
I’ve covered the release dates, 2d universe timelines, 3d universe timelines, and HD universe timelines of Grand Theft Auto games. I hope you enjoyed and learned something new from this article. Do leave a nice comment below and I’ll see you soon!
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