The GTA franchise is one of the most successful video game series of all time.
Numerous open-world games have failed to achieve half of what the GTA series has been able to accomplish. Even some of the biggest open-world game franchises can seem minuscule when compared to this series at times. Naturally, Grand Theft Auto didn't get all of its fame and fortune through sheer luck.
There are numerous valid reasons why the GTA series has prevailed, whereas other series have failed. Many of these reasons extend past the mere dynamics of being an open-world game and branching more towards general video game philosophy.
While some fans can appreciate other open-world video games for their gameplay, it's an objective statement that the GTA series has done very well for itself financially.
Five reasons why GTA was more successful than other open-world game franchises
#5 - GTA is more adult-oriented
Reverse psychology can work in interesting ways. When Rockstar Games was making GTA 1 back in the day (back when they were DMA Design), they used this to their advantage by marketing the game as a more serious, violent game. As a result, some kids wanted to see what this new, taboo game was and begged their parents to buy it.
Eventually, some parents heard of it and complained about it. These complaints eventually made the GTA name more well-known, which ultimately played a role in the series' success today.
Even today, the GTA series' notoriety stands apart from nearly every other open-world game franchise. Its raunchy and violent reputation is easy to understand, making it appealing to a lot of gamers.
#4 - Rockstar takes time to make games
Some video game series are notorious for rushing content so they can reach a particular deadline. Even some of the most noteworthy open-world game franchises tend to have some missing features that make the game feel empty at times.
Compared to similar games of the same era, it's pretty clear that the GTA franchise has far more effort put into them than their contemporaries. GTA 5, for example, took a lot of time to be made. As a result, it looks like a masterpiece compared to other games finished in about half the time.
With GTA 6 seemingly in development for years, it would be hard to argue that Rockstar's dedication hasn't paid off yet.
#3 - Rockstar puts a lot of money into their games
The GTA franchise has had some of the best voice actors, starting with GTA 3. These people aren't cheap, especially since some are famous for their work outside of GTA. However, all of these good voice actors are still a drop in an ocean of investments than Rockstar makes for the GTA series.
For example, GTA 5 cost Rockstar approximately $265 million to make. That's a higher investment than what most games earn in their lifetime. Unsurprisingly, this and the previous reason meant that the GTA games were often considered some of the best games on the market.
Considering GTA 5 made a profit by itself (not counting how much GTA Online has done for Rockstar financially), it's unlikely to change anytime soon.
#2 - The GTA series is long-lasting
Part of the reason the GTA series continues to work so well is that it's an established video game franchise. Most of the gaming world knows what it is and what it represents.
As a result, it doesn't have to compete with other older gaming franchises to capture the limelight. Whenever there's GTA news, there will always be somebody out there waiting to cover it.
This also extends to the past catalog of GTA games. GTA Vice City is still a fun game to play, as are GTA San Andreas and GTA 4. All three games take the GTA formula and twist it in a good way.
#1 - Excellent inclusion of an online system
To say GTA Online was a financial success would be an understatement. It has made a ludicrous amount of money for Rockstar, so much so that some fans are worried that the publisher will never move on from GTA Online. While there is no direct evidence to say that GTA Online will live forever, it would be foolish to abandon all of that free money.
Most open-world games stick to a single-player campaign. While some fans might prefer these campaigns over GTA 5's in terms of gameplay, it cannot be argued that GTA Online is an excellent idea for a video game company seeking to maximize profits.
Rockstar's ability to adapt to the current video game market is what allows them to be so much more successful than their competitors.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.