UGO: Grand Theft Auto: A Retrospective

The metric of success in the video game industry needs to be repositioned when Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series is considered. Unlike the escapist fantasies on display in titles such as Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto instead taps into our cultural fascination with the anti-hero. Rather than fighting aliens in space or taking on Black Ops missions for the government, players assume the role of a morally corrupt sociopath in a large, open-world city populated by pedestrians, police, criminals and - in more recent efforts - working girls.

Born in the late 90s as a 2D urban action game played from a top-down perspective, the series saw only moderate success until the release of Grand Theft Auto III in 2001. Bolstered by the PlayStation 2's then-cutting edge technology, Rockstar's open-world city finally moved into the 3D realm. Gamers were immediately blown away by both the size and the scope of III's Liberty City; never before had such a large space been rendered so realistically in a video game.

Feature by Adam Rosenberg.

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