Grand Theft Auto: Game Design


Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game series developed by Rockstar North and created by Rockstar Games in 1997.

Throughout the game, the player can play from either a first-player or third-player perspective and has to complete certain “missions” in order to progress to the next level.

These missions are based around car-jacking (with racing elements) and shooting, however the gameplay series allows the player to roam freely and engage in other activities in the virtual world. These additional activities have stirred up a lot of controversy as the player has to participate in the criminal underworld in order to complete a mission. Some of these activities include running over pedestrians, picking up prostitutes and having sex with them, doing drugs, and many other things that are generally considered “bad behaviour”.

Grand Theft Auto V trailer

Game Release History

Over time, the quality of each release has changed dramatically…

The first release of the game was played from a 2D, top-down perspective. This version was fairly innocent as the player had limited freedom within the game.

GTA III was a major breakthrough as it introduced a 3D world giving the player more freedom. This version also introduced prostitutes which did not go over well with everyone.

GTA IV received many awards as it was considered one of the best games of all time. Again, this game stirred up controversy as this release allowed the player to drink drive.

GTA V was released for ps3 and cBox360 (later ps4 xBox1). This game is still rated as one of the best selling games (90 million copies sold).

The series continues to evolve and content is still being produced. At the moment, Rockstar has been putting their focus on other game releases but GTA 6 is rumoured to be released sometime in 2020.

GTA 6 is one of the most highly anticipated games on the horizon

(Dassanayake 2019)

“Player Profile”

So who exactly is playing this game?


GTA’s target audience is teenage boys (despite the game’s M/18+ rating) and young men. However, GTA’s success has ultimately widened their audience over the years, where now those in their mid-50’s to mid-60’s can be seen playing.


The GTA gender demographic is pretty much equally male and female. According to tech blogger Mic Wright, 47% of players are now female.

Social Class…


Grand Theft Auto has been extremely popular in Western Culture. This may be due to the fact that the game itself is based in Los Santos, a fictional city in California’s coastal cities.

A game without a player is just software.

(Moore, C. 2019)

Graphic Improvement Over Time

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GTA 1997
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GTA 1998
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GTA 2001
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GTA 2004
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GTA 2008
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GTA 2013

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