GTA: Ranking the endings from worst to best

(picture credits:
(picture credits:
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 12 Jul 2020

It is an age-old adage in all of storytelling that a 'story is only as good as the ending'. That holds true for gaming as well; the GTA franchise has told some pretty great stories in the past.

While some of the games have managed to stick to the landing with the ending, others have not. It can be argued that some players do not play the GTA games for its way of storytelling and narration. A good ending is always appreciated by fans.

Here we look at some of the best endings and some of the worst in the GTA franchise.

Ranking the endings of the GTA franchise

(Dis)Honorable Mentions Ranked from worst to best:

  • Grand Theft Auto I
  • Grand Theft Auto II
  • Grand Theft Auto Advance
  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
  • Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 and 1969
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

7) Grand Theft Auto V

Being one of the best games in the series, GTA V is not exactly remembered fondly for its great storytelling or ending. The ending was extremely rushed and came in the way of 3 choices on a cell phone.

A lot of fans' disappointment stemmed from the fact that the ending had players get rid of the main villains in such quick succession without a gradual build up.

Although the cannon 'deathwish' ending was very feel-good, it did feel somewhat anti-climatic.

6) Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Dammned

The story of the Lost MC in GTA IV: The Lost and Dammned was an ambitious one. For the first time in GTA history, players would actually be a part of a larger group and work alongside their criminal brethren.

However, the story came off as a little immature and extremely cliched. The ending, albeit decent enough, left a lot to be desired.

However, the game's protagonist Johnny makes an appearance in GTA V, only to be brutally and unceremoniously murdered by Trevor Phillips.


GTA III was as cut-and-dry as any GTA game has ever been in the series. Doing the bare minimum of telling a story. There is nothing abjectly bad about the ending of GTA III but it can be hard to follow along.

With multiple sub-plots, and neither getting the resolution they deserve, GTA III sort of just comes to a halt as the ending rolls by.

4) Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

The Ballad of Gay Tony was a nice change of pace from the grim and grounded narrative of GTA IV and the Lost and Dammned. The story of GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony wraps up positively and leaves the player demanding more from these characters.

The colourful characters of this game is what makes it stand out in the series, and the somewhat humorous ending with the homeless man finding the diamonds is a great touch from Rockstar.

3) Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

The story of GTA San Andreas 'escalated pretty quickly' as the meme would go. From neighbourhood gang warfare to secret government conspiracies, the story has CJ in situations way over his head.

However, the story builds up to a strong crescendo, and has one of the most epic showdowns in the GTA series with CJ taking on Big Smoke admidst a riot in Los Santos.

2) Grand Theft Auto Vice City

The Scarface-like rise to the top of the narcotics business deserved a Scarface-like epic ending, and GTA Vice City delivered in spades.

Double-crossed by Sonny and Lance, Tommy Vercetti makes his last stand much like Tony Montano in his mansion. This epic shootout is very reminiscent of the movie, and is one of the high points of the series.

Lance's betrayal is still one of the most surprising twists that Rockstar has pulled on the fans.

1) Grand Theft Auto IV

Rockstar's ambitions with GTA IV was to tell a much more mature and grounded story. They succeeded, with GTA IV being one of the most strong narratives in the GTA franchise.

There are multiple endings to the game, and the player's choice will change the ending drastically.

Published 12 Jul 2020
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