Features are bound to be dropped at some point in the GTA franchise, but it's often a shock when that feature is only present in one game.
Sometimes, a feature is dropped because a better one replaces it. However, the features streamlined in this article are ones that fans adored. Even in instances where it makes sense, fans are still disappointed to see these features removed.
As "features" is a bit of a broad term, it should be noted that this article will refer to anything the player can do in GTA as "features." Graphical improvements and radio stations won't be a part of this list, as these features have to be something the players can actively do themselves. Predictably, it won't include features that could return to GTA 6 as this article was written before GTA 6 was officially announced.
Five features that the GTA franchise dropped after only one game
#5 - Gravestones (GTA Liberty City Stories)
Cemeteries exist in most GTA titles, but the ability for the player to visit a cemetery with new tombstones is something only GTA Liberty City Stories has incorporated thus far. For example, after Paulie Sindacco dies, the player can go to the Liberty City Cemetery and see his grave with the caption "Viva Las Venturas Baby."
This is unquestionably the most minor feature to be removed after just one game on this list. However, it's still a neat feature that helps bring immersion to the game, making it quite a shame that it never returns as a feature in other GTA titles.
#4 - Burglar
GTA San Andreas introduced several key features that the GTA fanbase loved as a whole. However, not all of them returned. Home invasions through the Burglar side-mission is a prime example of a feature introduced in GTA San Andreas, but it never returned in a later game.
As far as vehicle-based side missions go, Burglar is one of the most unique ones, hence it's strange that this feature never returned. Pimping might just be a variation of Taxi Driver, but Burglar is distinctly its own vehicle-based side mission.
#3 - Detailed GTA IV combat
GTA V (and by extension, GTA Online) still has elements of GTA IV's combat system, yet there are notable omissions. Not only is the combat far quicker in GTA V, but the player also has fewer actions to perform. So while it is more detailed than old GTA games, it's noticeably less detailed than GTA IV's system.
Likewise, specific executions are also lacking in GTA V. Some of this was tied to GTA IV's combat system, which in turn meant that GTA V couldn't have it. Some players like the new combat more, but there are vocal fans that miss the old features from GTA IV's combat system.
#2 - Good Citizen Bonus
Helping police isn't something most GTA players think about when they're playing a GTA game. However, GTA Vice City introduced the ability to assist cops chasing criminals. More specifically, the player has to use their fists, brass knuckles, a baseball bat, or a nightstick.
By doing so, the player can earn $50 for knocking over whomever the police officer is chasing. This doesn't apply to random pedestrians attacking cops; it has to specifically be somebody the cop is chasing. If a player is lucky, they can continue to stomp the dead criminal for $50 over and over again.
#1 - Fat & muscles
Although fat and muscle weren't an integral part of GTA San Andreas, it is still a feature fans often reminisce about and how it never returned to a later GTA title. In GTA San Andreas, CJ's fat and muscle stats influenced minor gameplay elements, such as how fast he could run or how hard he could hit something.
Of course, it went a little deeper than that. For example, fat CJ cannot climb certain objects if it requires him to jump too high. Other RPG elements of GTA San Andreas, such as customizable appearances and vehicles, did return in GTA V after an absence in GTA IV, but fat and muscle stats are yet to return in any capacity since it was featured in GTA San Andreas.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.