The GTA franchise burst onto the scene in relative quietness with the first two games, but the fans sensed the potential early on. And with GTA 3's release, which was the first 3D game in the franchise and had an expansive open-world, the series announced its arrival to the big stage.
The GTA franchise has only gone from strength to strength with each subsequent release. Many games in this genre have, at the cost of sounding reductive, been deemed to be "GTA clones".
The series made significant headway in the genre and established itself as the industry juggernaut that it is today. The GTA franchise is now one of the most valuable properties in all of entertainment.
Very few franchises have had the same staying power, and we take a look at some of the potential reasons why the series has worked so well.
Five characteristics that make the GTA franchise so popular
5) Freedom of the virtual paradise
Let's get the obvious out of the way quickly: the GTA franchise was one of the earliest to capitalise on the open-world genre and become an industry leader.
This genre is successful for many reasons, like the player having full-reign in the game and being able to do almost anything. He/she vicariously lives out his/her criminal fantasies by way of these GTA games.
Not just restricted to criminal activities, players can fly planes, drive ridiculously-fast supercars and do so much more. GTA is, in every sense of the way, a virtual paradise.
4) Attention to detail and authenticity
Rockstar Games, over the years, has garnered quite the reputation for its attention to detail, especially in the GTA franchise. The games are brimming with little details that upon closer inspection reveal just how much effort the developers put into the game.
Even details as little as signboards on the street, or sounds of car engines turning down, are paid attention to. And the games are all the better for them. Players can potentially spend weeks just scouring through all the little information, secrets, and Easter eggs Rockstar puts into the games.
The GTA franchise, because of its realistic setting, provides an incredibly immersive experience to the player that is quite unparalleled.
3) Cinematic spectacle
GTA's love affair with movies is no secret to anybody who watches films or plays the series. The games have been able to deliver movie-like cinematic experiences in video game form for years, at this point.
Drawing from classics like Scarface and Heat, among many others, the GTA games have become a great way to play through the events of a cinematic story. Players can be directly involved with the events of the story and experience them first hand.
Other games in the genre rarely match the type of cinematic spectacle offered by the GTA franchise.
2) Sharp and colourful writing
The writing of the GTA games, from the main story to even the radio chatter, is done with utmost brilliance. These titles are a treasure trove of humour and satire in various forms.
The games poke fun at everything, from America itself to pop culture and media, and Rockstar maintains a colourful and playful tone while writing these aspects.
Some characters have gone down exceptionally well with the fans and even become icons in the industry. The GTA games are abundant with quotables still repeated in 2020.
1) The Satire and humour
Younger audiences obviously appreciate the freedom of gameplay and the vast possibilities of the open-world. But as the fans have gotten older, they have come to appreciate the brilliant satire and humour of the franchise.
These two traits have been at the core of this series, and its ability to not take itself seriously has been a major part of its appeal. The franchise tackles several issues, not always with the nuance needed, but has been brave in its approach.
Rockstar Games continues to put out games that are critical, but not entirely too cynical, which is possibly the reason for its mass appeal.Published 24 Aug 2020, 18:52 IST