GTA Games in Order (Story and Release Date)

The Grand Theft Auto series was and remains one of the best video game creations ever. Throughout its history, the GTA franchise has evolved by leaps and bounds. With the best GTA games out there, there’s something for everyone. And with GTA 6 on the horizon, it’s only about to get better. While unlikely, there’s a chance you’re a new gamer just looking to start out with Grand Theft Auto. However, with over 17 different GTA games, we wouldn’t blame you for getting confused. To help you avoid just that, we created a dedicated guide on all the GTA games in order. So keep reading and start out properly!

GTA Games in Story Order

We begin by listing all GTA games in chronological order. Although Rockstar has made it clear that the 2D, 3D, and HD universe lores are not connected, we have kept them in the setting order of the game. Have a look at the GTA games in the order below based on story:

1. Grand Theft Auto: London 1961

Grand Theft Auto London 1961
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

As the title mentions, GTA London takes you to 1961 London. This was a nice introduction and away from the ideal American locations. The game was the second free expansion pack for the original Grand Theft Auto game. From red Double Decker buses to Mini Coopers, 1960s London looked amazing. Fortunately, it does not lose its original taste of the core GTA experience of stealing cars, completing missions for criminal gangs, and avoiding the police.

2. Grand Theft Auto: London 1969

Grand Theft Auto London 1969
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 was the first expansion pack for the original GTA, taking players on a criminal rampage in a fictional 1960s London for the first time. The game offered a fresh setting with iconic landmarks, classic British cars, and a period-appropriate music and slang soundtrack. While the core gameplay remained similar to the original, it provided 36 new missions and a unique atmosphere for players to explore.

3. GTA: Vice City Stories

GTA Vice City Stories
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories puts you in the shoes of Vic Vance, who built a criminal empire in the 1980s Vice City. The story follows Vic as he raises money for his sick brother, clashing with gangs and drug lords. A new feature is “empire building,” where you take over and manage various criminal businesses to grow your power. This prequel to Vice City lets you experience a different perspective on the neon-soaked city.

4. GTA: Vice City

GTA Vice City
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Immerse yourself in a 1980s Miami crime world through GTA: Vice City. Play as Tommy Vercetti, a man on a revenge mission after a drug deal goes wrong. Build your criminal empire by taking over gangs, buying properties, and completing missions for shady characters. Cruise through Vice City in iconic cars, engage in wild shootouts and soak up the neon-drenched atmosphere.

5. GTA: San Andreas

GTA San Andreas
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Control Carl “CJ” Johnson, a gang member returning home to fictional San Andreas city after his mother’s murder. The game takes you to the early 1990s when Gangsta rap and relevant fashion were featured. The story revolves around CJ navigating gang wars and corrupt cops while unraveling the mystery behind his mother’s death. Beyond the missions, San Andreas offers a vast open world with activities like gambling, working out at gyms, and customizing cars.

6. Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto (GTA 1)
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

The first Grand Theft Auto, released in 1998, wasn’t intentionally set in a specific period. However, the late 90s vibes come through loud and clear with its payphones and soundtrack. Though Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City locations would become franchise staples, they were much smaller and looked quite different in this 2D world.

7. GTA: Liberty City Stories

GTA Liberty City Stories
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Set in 1998, three years before GTA 3, Liberty City Stories follows Toni Cipriani, a recently reinstated member of the Leone family. The game acts as a prequel, letting players explore a slightly different Liberty City and witness Toni’s rise through the criminal underworld. Though the specific year doesn’t heavily influence gameplay, it cements Liberty City Stories’ place within the larger Grand Theft Auto storyline.

8. Grand Theft Auto 2

Grand Theft Auto 2
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

GTA 2, released in 1999, throws players into a strange world. The game takes place in a fictional metropolis called Anywhere City, with a retro-futuristic vibe that makes pinpointing the exact year difficult. While there’s no official date, fans believe it’s likely 1999 based on clues like a radio host mentioning the millennium. Despite the unique setting, Grand Theft Auto 2 doesn’t have a clear story or character development, making it stand out from the rest of the series.

9. Grand Theft Auto Advance

GTA Advanced gameplay
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Set in 2000, Grand Theft Auto Advance follows Mike, a small-time criminal seeking revenge in Liberty City a year before the events of Grand Theft Auto 3. While the game was released much later, it acts as a prequel, even featuring some familiar characters from GTA 3. Mike’s journey is one of vengeance as he hunts down those responsible for his friend’s death.

10. Grand Theft Auto 3

Grand Theft Auto 3
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

The first 3D game in the franchise, GTA 3, changed the vision and helped the rise of open-world games. It became fully 3D and brought a stronger narrative with Claude, a silent protagonist, chasing his ex. The game offered a vast open world modeled after a contemporary city, giving a glimpse into urban life in the early 2000s, even though it lacked the historical flair of later titles.

11. Grand Theft Auto 4

Grand Theft Auto 4
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

In 2008, Grand Theft Auto 4 took a massive leap forward, showcasing a stunning Liberty City teeming with life. Eastern European immigrant Niko Bellic arrives seeking a fresh start with his cousin Roman, only to find himself pulled into the city’s dark underbelly. Roman’s secret romance with a woman involved with the Russian Mob puts Niko in a dangerous situation, forcing him to work with Liberty City’s shadiest figures to survive while facing his troubled past. The story blends in with great gameplay mechanics, making this one of the best GTA games ever.

12. GTA 4: The Lost and Damned

It’s 2008 in Liberty City, around the same time as the events of GTA 4, a bustling metropolis full of crime. Johnny Klebitz, the vice-president of The Lost Biker gang, has kept the peace during the leader’s absence. But Billy Grey’s return from rehab throws everything into chaos. Ignoring Johnny’s truce with rivals, Billy ignites a bloody gang war. Torn between loyalty and reason, Johnny grapples with a difficult choice: follow Billy’s violent path or forge a new one for The Lost.

13. GTA 4: The Ballad of Gay Tony

The events of this game also take place at the same time as GTA 4 and GTA 4: The Lost and Damned. In the flashy, unforgiving world of Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony isn’t just about Tony Prince, the flamboyant nightclub king. His loyal righthand man, Luis Lopez, takes center stage. Luis juggles keeping Tony’s business afloat and, more importantly, Tony himself alive, all while dodging debt collectors and familiar faces from the Liberty City underworld.

14. GTA: Chinatown Wars

GTA Chinatown Wars
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

Set in 2009, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars throws you into the shoes of Huang Lee, a Triad leader’s son. Navigating a Liberty City that remembers Niko Bellic’s rampage, Huang Lee hunts for his murdered father’s killer and a missing family heirloom – a legendary sword. While the game trades social commentary for a deep dive into Asian gang culture, it remains a thrilling and insightful entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. However, the game retains a top-view gameplay even after releasing in 2009.

15. Grand Theft Auto Online

GTA Online
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games

GTA Online is the live-service version of Grand Theft Auto 5, and the story of this mode starts before the actual GTA 5 story. However, the game gets real-time updates, setting the gameplay in real-world events. From stealing cars and burning rubber in street races to pulling off daring bank heists, GTA Online lets you live out your wildest criminal fantasies in a world that feels disturbingly close to ours.

16. Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games/GTA 5

The Los Angeles parody city Los Santos set in 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 was the first game to let you play as three wildly different characters: Michael, the ex-con; Franklin, the young hustler; and Trevor, the volatile maniac. Despite their oddball dynamic, they become an unlikely trio for a time. The open world is filled with satire reflecting the 2013 era, from social media craze to celebrity worship, making GTA 5 a hilarious and thought-provoking look at modern life. All that with one of the best visuals in video game history.

17. Grand Theft Auto 6

GTA 6 official poster
Image Courtesy: Rockstar Games/ GTA 6

A decade after GTA 5, Grand Theft Auto 6 launch date has finally been confirmed! Rockstar’s latest open-world game is returning to the sprawling metropolis of Vice City. The game ditches the 80s setting and instead rockets players into a modern-day Vice City, brimming with the chaos and satire the series is known for.

Get ready to wreak havoc in a 2025 Vice City reimagined for the current generation. According to the visuals and social media showcase seen in the trailer, it is confirmed that the game will take place in the modern state of Leonida. All told GTA 6 will be legendary, so make sure you’ve played all the games above!

GTA Games in Release Order

If you’ve already played through the games above and want to know their release date order, here they are:

  • Grand Theft Auto (1997 | PC, PS1, Game Boy Color)
  • Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1999 | PC, PS1)
  • Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (1999 | PC, PS1)
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999 | PC, PS1, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color)
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001 | PC, PS2, Xbox, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Fire OS)
  • GTA: Vice City (2002 | PC, PS2, Xbox, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Fire OS)
  • GTA: San Andreas (2004 | PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Oculus Quest 2)
  • Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004 | Game Boy Advance)
  • GTA: Liberty City Stories (2005 | PSP, PS2, PS3, Android, iOS, Fire OS)
  • GTA: Vice City Stories (2006 | PSP, PS2, PS3)
  • Grand Theft Auto 4 (2008 | PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  • GTA 4: The Lost and Damned (2009 | PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  • GTA: Chinatown Wars (2009 | Nintendo DS, PSP, Android, iOS, Fire OS)
  • GTA 4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009 | PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 (2013 | PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)
  • GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (2021 | PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch)
  • Grand Theft Auto 6 (2025 | PS5, Xbox Series X/S)

And now you know all the GTA games in order. So, which games you have already played? Are you thinking about completing all of them before GTA 6 comes out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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