The GTA franchise has undoubtedly laid claim to the throne of open-world games and has been the undisputed king ever since its arrival on the big stage with GTA III.
The franchise has always had a target on its back, seeing as it is the standard-bearer of open-world games. Many have tried knocking it off of its perch with varying degrees of success.
While GTA has always been the cream of the crop, many studios elect to create games with unique identities of their own rather than try to do what Rockstar Games do.
This is why the following 5 franchises have a potentially good chance at rivalling the GTA series in the future.
5 game franchises that could rival GTA in the future
1) Watch Dogs
The Watch Dogs franchise has had a revival of the highest order and has made the kind of comeback that has rarely been seen in gaming. After a somewhat rocky start to the franchise in the form of the original Watch Dogs, Ubisoft went back to the drawing board and tinkered with the game's tone and its approach to gameplay.
The resulting sequel was perhaps one of the best open-world games in a long time and easily one of the most quality offerings from Ubisoft.
Watch Dogs: Legion is now one of the most anticipated titles of 2020, and things are looking up.
By no means is the Watch Dogs franchise close to the financial or cultural level of GTA but it is bound to give Rockstar Games cause for concern. The key area for Ubisoft to focus their efforts on has to be the writing as they already have the gameplay side of things on lock.
The franchise has a lot of potential for growth, and Ubisoft will be looking to rival the likes of GTA in the future.
Rockstar Games went through a severely rough patch quite recently, with the departures of co-founder Dan Houser and key figure in creative, Lazlow Jones.
However, one of the biggest losses for the company came in the form of the exit of Rockstar North's president and lead producer on virtually every GTA game as well as Red Dead, Leslie Benzies.
Benzies had been an extremely integral part of what made the GTA franchise such a successful game series. Since his departure, he has sued Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, to the tune of $160 million.
Leslie has found another studio by the name of Build A Rocket Boy Games and is reportedly working on an open-world action/adventure title, which is in the same vein as GTA. The game has also recently secured massive funding, which is a sign of good things to come.
The game is being worked under the title "Everywhere", and Leslie is sure to have his eyes set on rivalling the GTA franchise with the project. There has been little information regarding the next game but competition is always good for the players as well as the companies involved.
3) Sleeping Dogs
As of now, the Sleeping Dogs franchise is on ice, and the only new thing to have come out as part of the series was a re-release on current-gen consoles as "Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition". The game is perhaps one of the most beloved titles in 2020, and one that was sadly not a huge success upon release.
The game was already being touted as a spiritual successor to games like Shenmue and a potential rival to GTA. However, the game had a distinct identity of its own outside of the trappings of the open-world genre and inevitably, GTA. The game did not do well financially upon release and received mixed reviews from the critics. As a result, all plans for a sequel had reportedly been dropped by Square Enix and United Front Games.
The game, which began as a sequel to True Crime, had developed a cult following of its own and remains a dearly beloved title in the gaming community.
If Square Enix decides to revive the franchise, then Rockstar have some serious competition as Sleeping Dogs has, over the years, cultivated quite the devoted fanbase.
4) Saints Row
The Saints Row franchise is also on ice after the underwhelming response to its spin-off title, Agents of Mayhem. The game series was initially bombarded with unfair criticism of being "GTA clones" and was dismissed wrongly as a derivative title.
However, the franchise would go on to develop a wholly unique identity and has come to be hailed as one of the most creative and bizarre open-world games in existence. The franchise dropped all pretense of reality and chose to go with wall-to-wall ridiculousness and camp.
The games, as a result, have become extremely fun titles that are perfect for an online experience, similar to GTA Online. A Saints Row game that looks to rival GTA Online would be just the kind of competition that the fans can benefit from.
Some would even argue that GTA Online is now taking notes from Saints Row and its ridiculous sci-fi elements, which inspire many of GTA Online's vehicles and game modes.
Mafia III might not have been the title that 2K and Hangar 13 had hoped for, seeing as it was the most ambitious of the games in the franchise. The third part in the trilogy chose to go a completely open-world route, ditching the fairly linear structure of the previous games.
It was a bold move from the studio but was also one that didn't hit the mark as it should have. However, the game's faults come by the way of a repetitive mission structure and gameplay loop, which still can be rectified.
The game is still backed by great writing and creative flair, which makes the Mafia franchise home to some of the most cinematic games in history.
By this point, Hangar 13 is aware of what makes the Mafia franchise great: a period setting, clever writing and massively cinematic storytelling. The franchise is simply a goldmine for 2K and is one that can rival the likes of GTA.