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5 times Rockstar Games successfully took a risk with the GTA franchise

Nearly every 3D GTA game feels unique enough that it can be classified as somebody's favorite GTA game (Image via Laith, Twitter)
Nearly every 3D GTA game feels unique enough that it can be classified as somebody's favorite GTA game (Image via Laith, Twitter)
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Alan Sahbegovic

Rockstar Games took many risks with the GTA franchise, and many of them were an absolute success.

Rockstar Games is one of the best and most consistent video game companies of all time. Between great franchises like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, the company always seems to deliver great games.

Rockstar Games often takes risks. Nearly every 3D GTA game feels unique enough that it can be classified as somebody's favorite GTA game. These risks often led to some of the company's best games, so it's essential to highlight the ones that paid off wonderfully in the end.


5 risks that Rockstar Games successfully took with the GTA franchise

#5 - Emphasis on a serious story in GTA 4

GTA 4's story has a different tone compared to previous titles (Image via Rockstar Games)
GTA 4's story has a different tone compared to previous titles (Image via Rockstar Games)

Fans often argue about which game is better between GTA 4 and GTA 5.

GTA 4 is widely considered Rockstar's storytelling masterpiece in the Grand Theft Auto series. The game immerses its fans into its story, thanks to a change in tone.

Compared to GTA San Andreas and GTA 5, GTA 4 is far more serious and realistic. Niko Bellic doesn't get to rule over the entire city nor does he get rewarded for his actions in a way fans are accustomed to in past titles.

Regardless of the player's choices, GTA 4 shows from top-to-bottom how the American Dream isn't really all that it seems to be.

#4 - Multiple protagonists in GTA 5

Rockstar Games introduced the concept of multiple protagonists in GTA 5 (Image via Rockstar Games)
Rockstar Games introduced the concept of multiple protagonists in GTA 5 (Image via Rockstar Games)

Even if the story in GTA 5 suffered as a result, it is hard to argue that having multiple playable protagonists at once is a bad thing in terms of gameplay.

Each protagonist has a unique, special ability that can desirably alter gameplay to a player's favor. They also have their own unique missions, side stories and other mannerisms that help them stand out as individual characters.

It's too early to tell if GTA 6 will have multiple protagonists, but there is a genuine interest in the idea from some fans. Either way, having multiple protagonists was a gameplay decision that was ultimately successful for Rockstar Games.

#3 - Transitioning to 3D

GTA 3 was the start of the 3D universe of the franchise (Image via LongPlay & GamePlay, YouTube)
GTA 3 was the start of the 3D universe of the franchise (Image via LongPlay & GamePlay, YouTube)

There's a good reason why GTA 3 has a Metacritic score of 97/100. The transition to 3D was revolutionary, not just for the GTA franchise but for the video game industry as a whole.

GTA 3 was the start of the 3D universe of games. If the transition to 3D was a failure, who knows where GTA would be right now as a franchise?

Transitioning from a 2D style to a 3D one isn't as easy as some gamers would like to believe, especially when it happened nearly two decades ago. Many game franchises have failed in this department, so Rockstar Games knocking it out of the park is a success story worth praising.

Comparing GTA 2 to GTA 3 is like comparing day and night. They're so different, it's sometimes hard to believe they're in the same franchise.

#2 - Paying Maxwell Clifford for bad publicity

Scandals always generate some interest for the next GTA game (Image via The Guardian)
Scandals always generate some interest for the next GTA game (Image via The Guardian)

Bad publicity is better than no publicity, and Rockstar Games took a risk when they paid Maxwell Clifford to generate some rumors about how violent GTA 1 was going to be. Predictably, tabloids picked up the rumors, and some kids who saw them were immensely excited for the arrival of the game.

GTA 1 was a success in terms of sales, selling well over 1,000,000 copies in 2000. It helped put GTA on the map as a genuine video game series to watch out for, and it helped prepare Rockstar Games for the bad publicity they would continue to get in the future. Scandals are nothing new, but they always generate some interest for the next GTA game.

#1 - Creating GTA Online

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

GTA 5 is a phenomenal game, but who would've guessed that it would end up being completely overshadowed by GTA Online?

At the time, people were just hyped to play a new GTA game. GTA Online was low on most people's priorities when GTA 5 first came out, and some critics even thought that it would be a flop.

Unsurprisingly for most modern fans, GTA Online was a massive success. In some ways, GTA Online is largely to thank for propelling GTA 5 to new heights. It was a huge risk, considering the online aspect of GTA 4 wasn't anywhere near as successful.

Even if some fans are sick of how much attention GTA Online gets from Rockstar Games, it is undeniable that it succeeded beyond everyone's expectations.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.


Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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