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Grand Theft Auto clone

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Grand Theft Auto III is credited with popularizing a game genre based on driving and shooting in an open world environment.
Grand Theft Auto III is credited with popularizing a game genre based on driving and shooting in an open world environment.

A Grand Theft Auto clone (often shortened to GTA clone) is a subgenre of open world action-adventure video games, characterized by their likeness to the Grand Theft Auto series in either gameplay, or overall design. In these types of open world games, players may find and use a variety of vehicles and weapons while roaming freely in an open world setting. The objective of Grand Theft Auto clones is to complete a sequence of core missions involving driving and shooting, but often side-missions and minigames are added to improve replay value. The storylines of games in this subgenre typically have strong themes of crime, violence and other controversial elements such as drugs and sexually explicit content.

The subgenre has its origins in open world action adventure games popularized in Europe (and particularly the United Kingdom) throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The release of Grand Theft Auto (1997) marked a major commercial success for open-ended game design in North America, and featured a more marketable crime theme. But it was the popularity of its 3D sequel Grand Theft Auto III in 2001 that led to the widespread propagation of a more specific set of gameplay conventions consistent with a subgenre. The subgenre now includes many games from different developers all over the world where the player can control wide ranges of vehicles and weapons. The subgenre has evolved with greater levels of environmental detail and more realistic behaviors.

As usage of the term "clone" often has a negative connotation and can be seen as controversial, reviewers have come up with other names for the subgenre. Similar terminology for other genres, such as "Donkey Kong-type" and "Doom clone", has given way to more neutral language. Names such as "sandbox game," however, are applied to a wider range of games that do not share key features of the Grand Theft Auto series.

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Open world

Open world

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard for the concept which has been used since.

Action-adventure game

Action-adventure game

The action-adventure genre is a video game hybrid genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a series of action-adventure games created by David Jones and Mike Dailly. Later titles were developed under the oversight of brothers Dan and Sam Houser, Leslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily developed by British development house Rockstar North, and published by its parent company, Rockstar Games. The name of the series references the term "grand theft auto", used in the United States for motor vehicle theft.

Minigame

Minigame

A minigame is a short game often contained within another video game. A minigame contains different gameplay elements, and is often smaller or more simplistic, than the game in which it is contained. Some video games consist entirely of minigames which tie into an overall theme, such Olympic Decathlon from 1980. Minigames are also used to represent a specific experience, such as hacking or lock picking or scanning an area, that ties into a larger game.

Replay value

Replay value

Replay value is the potential of a video game or other media products for continued play value after its first completion. Factors that can influence perceived replay value include the game's extra characters, secrets and alternate endings. The replay value of a game may also be based entirely on the individual's tastes. A player might enjoy repeating a game because of the music, graphics, gameplay or because of product loyalty. Dynamic environments, challenging AI, a wide variety of ways to accomplish tasks, and a rich array of assets could result in a high replay value.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is the use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others. It is a form of substance-related disorder. Differing definitions of drug abuse are used in public health, medical and criminal justice contexts. In some cases, criminal or anti-social behaviour occurs when the person is under the influence of a drug, and long-term personality changes in individuals may also occur. In addition to possible physical, social, and psychological harm, the use of some drugs may also lead to criminal penalties, although these vary widely depending on the local jurisdiction.

Pornography

Pornography

Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. Primarily intended for adults, pornography is presented in a variety of media, including magazines, art, literature, photography, audio, film, animation, and video games. A distinction is often made as to whether to classify adult content as pornography or erotica.

Europe

Europe

Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. Comprising the westernmost peninsulas of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Africa and Asia. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and Asia to the east. Europe is commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus, the Black Sea and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.

Grand Theft Auto (video game)

Grand Theft Auto (video game)

Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game developed by DMA Design and published by BMG Interactive. It is the first title of the Grand Theft Auto series and was released in November 1997 for MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows, in December 1997 for the PlayStation and in October 1999 for the Game Boy Color. The game's narrative follows a criminal who climbs in status within the criminal underworld across three fictional cities, inspired by real-life locations. The gameplay is presented from a top-down perspective and takes place within an open-world environment in which the player is not required to perform missions, although they are necessary to progress through the levels.

North America

North America

North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. Because it is on the North American Tectonic Plate, Greenland is included as a part of North America geographically.

Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 action-adventure game developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games. It is the third main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 1999's Grand Theft Auto 2, and the fifth instalment overall. Set within the fictional Liberty City, the story follows Claude, a silent protagonist who, after being betrayed and left for dead by his girlfriend during a robbery, embarks on a quest for revenge that leads him to become entangled in a world of crime, drugs, gang warfare, and corruption. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. Its open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main areas.

Sandbox game

Sandbox game

A sandbox game is a video game with a gameplay element that provides players a great degree of creativity to interact with, usually without any predetermined goal, or alternatively with a goal that the players set for themselves. Such games may lack any objective, and are sometimes referred to as non-games or software toys. More often, sandbox games result from these creative elements being incorporated into other genres and allowing for emergent gameplay. Sandbox games are often associated with an open world concept which gives the players freedom of movement and progression in the game's world. The term "sandbox" derives from the nature of a sandbox that lets children create nearly anything they want within it.

Definition

A Grand Theft Auto clone[1] is a video game that falls within the genre popularized by the 2001 title Grand Theft Auto III,[2] where players are given the ability to drive any vehicle or fire any weapon as they explore an open world.[3] These games are sometimes treated as a 3D action-adventure game,[4] or third-person shooter.[5] They are noted for frequently bearing strong violent or criminal themes,[6] though exceptions like The Simpsons: Hit & Run and American McGee Presents: Scrapland have copied its gameplay and structure with a Teen rating.[7]

Other terminology

Calling a game a "Grand Theft Auto clone" is sometimes considered unfair or insulting.[8] This is because reviewers sometimes use this term to suggest that the "clone" is a mere imitation, which commonly occurs in the video game industry, designed for the sole purpose of capitalizing on the success of the Grand Theft Auto series.[9] However, this term can also be used as a neutral description of a game,[10] which can range from good to bad.[11] Reviewers have used "Grand Theft Auto clone" to describe games that rest on their own merits,[12] and do not necessarily dismiss the entire class of games as mere imitators.[13]

Games of this type are sometimes defined under the broader terminology "open world games" or "sandbox games".[3] However, many games that predate Grand Theft Auto III, such as Metroid from 1986, are also called open world games.[14] Conflictingly, games such as Grand Theft Auto III and Body Harvest are credited with inventing this genre more than a decade later.[15][16] Furthermore, reviewers have stated that this genre does not include every game with a freely explorable world and that this genre is much more specific, thus excluding the free-roaming titles Spider-Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction from this class of games.[6] The terminology is inconsistent, sometimes including any game with open level design,[14] while other times focusing on a specific genre created at the turn of the century.[17]

Without clear classifications to describe the genre popularized by Grand Theft Auto, reviewers have created a number of alternate names for this genre. Some reviewers have focused on the pervasive criminal themes and content in the genre, using terminology such as "crime games", "crime-based action games",[18] and what CNN called the "gangsta genre".[19] Other journalists have emphasized gameplay by describing the genre as "free roaming action adventure games",[20] "driving-and-shooting games",[21] and "driving action hybrids".[22]

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Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 action-adventure game developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games. It is the third main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 1999's Grand Theft Auto 2, and the fifth instalment overall. Set within the fictional Liberty City, the story follows Claude, a silent protagonist who, after being betrayed and left for dead by his girlfriend during a robbery, embarks on a quest for revenge that leads him to become entangled in a world of crime, drugs, gang warfare, and corruption. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. Its open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main areas.

Open world

Open world

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard for the concept which has been used since.

3D computer graphics

3D computer graphics

3D computer graphics, sometimes called CGI, 3D-CGI or three-dimensional computer graphics are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering digital images, usually 2D images but sometimes 3D images. The resulting images may be stored for viewing later or displayed in real time.

Action-adventure game

Action-adventure game

The action-adventure genre is a video game hybrid genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run

The Simpsons: Hit & Run

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is a 2003 action-adventure game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games. It is based on the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and is the twenty-second installment in the Simpsons series of video games.

Scrapland

Scrapland

American McGee Presents: Scrapland is a game developed by MercurySteam, with American McGee as a executive producer and published by Enlight Software. A remastered version was released for Microsoft Windows on December 13, 2021.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a series of action-adventure games created by David Jones and Mike Dailly. Later titles were developed under the oversight of brothers Dan and Sam Houser, Leslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily developed by British development house Rockstar North, and published by its parent company, Rockstar Games. The name of the series references the term "grand theft auto", used in the United States for motor vehicle theft.

Metroid

Metroid

Metroid is an action-adventure game franchise created by Nintendo. The player controls the bounty hunter Samus Aran, who protects the galaxy from Space Pirates and other malevolent forces and their attempts to harness the power of the parasitic Metroid creatures.

Body Harvest

Body Harvest

Body Harvest is an action-adventure video game for the Nintendo 64 video game console, developed by DMA Design. It was intended to be a Nintendo 64 launch title, but was delayed due to its original publisher, Nintendo, having issues with the game's violent themes, and eventual dropping of the title, leaving DMA to find a new publisher. It was eventually published by Midway Games and Gremlin Interactive in 1998.

Spider-Man 2 (2004 video game)

Spider-Man 2 (2004 video game)

Spider-Man 2 is a 2004 action-adventure game based on the 2004 film of the same name. The game is the sequel to 2002's Spider-Man, itself based on the 2002 film of the same name. It was released on June 29, 2004 for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, and Game Boy Advance, followed by N-Gage and Nintendo DS versions, both released later in the same year. A PlayStation Portable version was released almost one year later, on March 23, 2005. The Game Boy Advance version, developed by Digital Eclipse, was re-released on a twin pack cartridge and bundled with that system's version of the 2002 Spider-Man game in 2005. A tie-in game, titled Spider-Man 2: Activity Center, was also released in June 2004. Published by Activision, the console versions were developed by Treyarch, while the others had different developers and are drastically different as a result. The Treyarch-developed versions are considered a landmark title in the industry for being the first superhero video game to incorporate a full open world design.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is a 2005 action-adventure video game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games. The game is based on the Marvel Comics superhero the Hulk and showcases an open world with destructible environments. A stand-alone sequel to the 2003 game Hulk, the narrative follows the Hulk as he is subconsciously influenced by his human alter-ego Bruce Banner and his psychotherapist Leonard Samson into assembling a device that will mend Banner's psyche and prevent the emergence of a darker personality. Aside from advancing the game's story, the player can engage in side missions and purchase new abilities for the Hulk to use.

CNN

CNN

CNN is a multinational cable news channel headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner and Reese Schonfeld as a 24-hour cable news channel, and presently owned by the Manhattan-based media conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage and the first all-news television channel in the United States.

Game design

Driving and shooting

Grand Theft Auto clones offer players the ability to steal and drive a number of vehicles.[23][24] Games have included all kinds of vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, helicopters, boats, fixed-wing aircraft, and military vehicles.[6] Reviewers have compared these games based on the number of vehicles they offer, with greater choice resulting in better reviews.[6] Players can also use vehicles as weapons, either by driving into enemies, or by damaging the vehicle until it explodes.[17] Some games allow vehicles to perform stunts.[6] Games in the genre thus incorporate elements of driving simulation games.[25] Some games even allow players to customize their vehicles.[26]

Players can engage in combat using a range of weapons depending on the game setting, such as firearms, explosives, close-range melee weapons, or even exaggerated fictional weapons (e.g. laser weapons or a hand-held minigun) .[6] As such, several reviewers have stated that games in this genre are partially third-person shooters.[5] Players can find weapons scattered throughout the game world, and may buy weapons in shops or take them from dead enemies.[3] Virtually anyone in the game world can be attacked by the player. In many games, excessive violent behavior will provoke a reaction by police authorities, who the player may then choose to fight or evade.[27] Players must also keep track of their health and ammunition in order to succeed in combat.[17]

These games have employed a variety of aiming mechanisms, such as free look aiming or a "lock-on" button.[28] Several games have been criticized for difficult or burdensome controls when it comes to shooting,[23][28] and thus video game designers have tried to refine the aiming and shooting controls in these games.[6]

Open world and missions

Grand Theft Auto clones allow players to freely explore the game world,[6] which is typically on the scale of an entire city. Some games base their level design on real world cities, such as London, New York City, and Los Angeles.[6] Players are usually able to navigate by vehicle or on foot.[29][30] Some games put greater emphasis on leaping, climbing,[6] and even swimming.[31] Exploring the world is not just necessary to complete objectives, but also to gain valuable items, weapons, and vehicles. Different parts of the game world may be controlled by different enemy factions, who will attempt to stop the player in a variety of ways.[17] However, more recent games in this genre allow players to acquire their own territory.[8][32] The freedom of navigating a huge game world may be overwhelming or confusing for new players.[17] Game designers have come up with a variety of navigational aids to solve this problem. A mini-map feature is common,[33] while Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto IV go so far as to offer a GPS service.[25] Games without these navigation tools are sometimes criticized as confusing.[6]

The player's freedom to explore may be limited until they complete certain objectives and advance the game plot.[17] Players must visit specific locations and complete specific missions in order to win the game,[34] such as racing, tailing, couriering, robbing,[30] stealing,[23] shooting, assassinating, and driving to specific checkpoints.[35] There may be multiple ways to complete these missions as the game environment is designed to facilitate shortcuts, experimentation, and creative ways to kill enemies.[17] Completing a core mission will unlock further missions and advance the storyline,[8] and if the player fails a mission they will be able to resume the game from before the mission began.[23] In addition, these games usually offer optional side missions, which allow players to gain other rewards. These side missions improve the game's replay value.[17] These games are also known for incorporating numerous minigames into the game world,[36] such as circuit races.[26] Ultimately, this allows the player to follow or ignore the game's storyline as they see fit.[24]

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Firearm

Firearm

A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally defined further in different countries.

Explosive

Explosive

An explosive is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if released suddenly, usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound, and pressure. An explosive charge is a measured quantity of explosive material, which may either be composed solely of one ingredient or be a mixture containing at least two substances.

Melee weapon

Melee weapon

A melee weapon, hand weapon or close combat weapon is any handheld weapon used in hand-to-hand combat, i.e. for use within the direct physical reach of the weapon itself, essentially functioning as an additional extension of the user's limbs. By contrast, a ranged weapon is any other weapon capable of engaging targets at a distance beyond immediate physical contact.

Laser weapon

Laser weapon

A laser weapon is a directed-energy weapon based on lasers. After decades of R&D, as of January 2020 directed-energy weapons including lasers are still at the experimental stage and it remains to be seen if or when they will be deployed as practical, high-performance military weapons. Atmospheric thermal blooming has been a major problem, still mostly unsolved, and worsened if fog, smoke, dust, rain, snow, smog, foam, or purposely dispersed obscurant chemicals are present. Essentially, a laser generates a beam of light which needs clear air, or a vacuum, to work without thermal blooming.

Free look

Free look

Free look describes the ability to move a mouse, joystick, analogue stick, or D-pad to rotate the player character's view in video games. It is almost always used for 3D game engines, and has been included on role-playing video games, real-time strategy games, third-person shooters, first-person shooters, racing games, and flight simulators. Free look is nearly universal in modern games, but it was one of the significant technical breakthroughs of mid-1990s first-person perspective games. Many modern console games dedicate one of the several analogue sticks on the gamepad entirely to rotating the view, where as some older console games, when gamepads usually had fewer or only a single D-pad or analogue stick, had a feature where the single D-pad or analogue stick would move the view instead of the character whilst the player held down another button at the same time, often labelled in game as the "look button".

London

London

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a 50-mile (80 km) estuary down to the North Sea, and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The City of London, its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retains its medieval boundaries. The City of Westminster, to the west of the City of London, has for centuries hosted the national government and parliament. Since the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, which since 1965 has largely comprised Greater London, which is governed by 33 local authorities and the Greater London Authority.

New York City

New York City

New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over 300.46 square miles (778.2 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States, and is more than twice as populous as second-place Los Angeles. New York City lies at the southern tip of New York State, and constitutes the geographical and demographic center of both the Northeast megalopolis and the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the United States both by population and by urban landmass. With over 20.1 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and 23.5 million in its combined statistical area as of 2020, New York is one of the world's most populous megacities, and over 58 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of the city. New York City is a global cultural, financial, entertainment, and media center with a significant influence on commerce, health care and life sciences, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy, and is sometimes described as the capital of the world.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, often referred to by its initials L.A., is the commercial, financial, and cultural center of Southern California. Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California, the second most populous city in the United States after New York City, and one of the world's most populous megacities. With a population of roughly 3.9 million residents within the city limits as of 2020, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, being the home of the Hollywood film industry, and its sprawling metropolitan area. The city lies in a basin in Southern California adjacent to the Pacific Ocean in the west and extending through the Santa Monica Mountains and north into the San Fernando Valley, with the city bordering the San Gabriel Valley to its east. It covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), and is the county seat of Los Angeles County, which is the most populous county in the United States with an estimated 9.86 million residents as of 2022.

Mini-map

Mini-map

A mini-map or minimap is a miniature map that is often placed at a screen corner in video games to aid players in orienting themselves within the game world. They are often only a small portion of the screen and must be selective in what details they display. Elements usually included on mini-maps vary by video game genre. However, commonly included features are the position of the player character, allied units or structures, enemies, objectives, and surrounding terrain.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the sixth main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the eleventh instalment overall. Set within the fictional Liberty City, based on New York City, the single-player story follows Eastern European war veteran Niko Bellic and his attempts to escape his past while under pressure from high-profile criminals. The open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main islands, and the neighbouring state of Alderney, which is based on New Jersey.

Automotive navigation system

Automotive navigation system

An automotive navigation system is part of the automobile controls or a third party add-on used to find direction in an automobile. It typically uses a satellite navigation device to get its position data which is then correlated to a position on a road. When directions are needed routing can be calculated. On the fly traffic information can be used to adjust the route.

Minigame

Minigame

A minigame is a short game often contained within another video game. A minigame contains different gameplay elements, and is often smaller or more simplistic, than the game in which it is contained. Some video games consist entirely of minigames which tie into an overall theme, such Olympic Decathlon from 1980. Minigames are also used to represent a specific experience, such as hacking or lock picking or scanning an area, that ties into a larger game.

History

Origin

Open world, 3D action-adventure games existed for years prior to the release of any similar game from the Scottish developer DMA Design.[37] Mercenary (1985) has been described as a major ancestor to the Grand Theft Auto series, because it featured an open world which the player could explore freely.[14] Turbo Esprit, the first free-roaming driving game,[38] featured an explorable city with traffic, pedestrians and working traffic lights and has been cited as a major influence on the Grand Theft Auto series.[39][40][41] The Terminator, released in 1991, was a free-form, open world game that set its action in a modern-day city that extended for miles, and included the ability to fire at civilians and steal cars. This game was also among the first American-developed games to feature these elements.[42]

Hunter (1991) has been described as the first sandbox game featuring full 3D, third-person graphics, thus making it an important precursor to the Grand Theft Auto series.[43] The game consisted of a large, open world in which there were numerous possibilities to complete different missions.[43] The character could travel on foot, or steal different vehicles such as cars, tanks, or even bicycles, boats, helicopters and hovercraft.[43] Moreover, Hunter also had many unique features such as day and night lighting, fuel modelling, a log book, aerial observation units, tank traps, land mines and computer-controlled rocket batteries and tracer guns.[44] It was also possible to ride a bicycle, swim, windsurf or even make a parachute jump from a helicopter.[43][44]

DMA Design began pursuing open world game design with the first Grand Theft Auto,[15] which allowed players to commandeer various automobiles and shoot various weapons within a mission-based structure.[45] Unlike later games in the series, and indeed many earlier influences, the first two GTA games were 2D, using a top-down perspective. In 1998, DMA moved many of these design concepts into a 3D world, with Body Harvest, a Nintendo 64 game developed by DMA Design.[15] This title featured an open world with nonlinear missions and side-quests, as well as the ability to commandeer and drive a variety of vehicles.[15] As such, it has been retroactively called "GTA in space" (despite the fact that most of the game takes place in various settings on Earth),[15] and is credited with making Grand Theft Auto III possible.[46] Dan Houser has also cited the 3D Mario and Zelda games on the Nintendo 64 as major influences.[47]

In 1999, Midtown Madness was released by Angel Studios. This driving game was 3D and featured an open world in an urban environment like Grand Theft Auto. It was however not a sandbox game, as the player could only choose one of the pre-defined gameplay modes. Travelling on foot or switching cars during gameplay was not possible. Rockstar Games approached Angel Studios with a long-term partnership in 1999, which resulted in the creation of video game series Midnight Club (another open world 3D race game) and Smuggler's Run. In November 2000, almost a year before Grand Theft Auto III, Driver 2 by Reflections came out. Set in a 3D open world in an urban environment with the ability to traverse on foot and commandeer other vehicles, Driver 2 featured many aspects of what would later become known as a Grand Theft Auto clone, though violence was restricted to cutscenes.

Grand Theft Auto III took the gameplay foundation of the first two Grand Theft Auto games and expanded it into a 3D world,[48] and offered an unprecedented variety of minigames and side-missions.[36] The title was a much greater commercial success than its direct precursors,[15] and its influence was profound.[48] As such, Grand Theft Auto III is credited with popularizing this genre,[15] let alone inventing it.[16] Its release is sometimes treated as a revolutionary event in the history of video games, much like the release of Doom nearly a decade earlier.[49] GamePro called it the most important game of all time, and claimed that every genre was influenced to rethink their conventional level design.[50] IGN similarly praised it as one of the top ten most influential games of all time.[36] Subsequent games that follow this formula of driving and shooting in a free-roaming level have been called Grand Theft Auto clones.[51]

Other critics, however, likened Grand Theft Auto III to The Legend of Zelda and Metroid,[14] as well as Shenmue in particular,[52][53][54][55] and noted how GTA III had combined elements from previous games and fused them together into a new immersive experience. For instance, radio stations had been implemented earlier in games such as Sega's Out Run (1986)[56] and Maxis' SimCopter (1996), open-ended missions based on operating a taxi cab in a sandbox environment were the basis for Sega's Crazy Taxi (1999),[57] the ability to kill non-player characters dated back to action role-playing games like Hydlide II (1985),[58] and Final Fantasy Adventure (1991),[59] and the way in which players run over pedestrians and get chased by police has been compared to Pac-Man (1980).[60]

Recent history

One of the first games to be compared to Grand Theft Auto's foray into the 3D video game landscape was Mafia. Its development during the same time and release a year later in 2002 had a few review websites draw comparisons, notably comparing the open world city and driving.[61] These comparisons were mostly positive, with Game Informer writing "This is a lot like GTA III. Awesome!" and "There's no shame in taking a proven gameplay formula and changing it a little bit" in its review.[62]

Rockstar North finished development of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City later that year, which expanded on the open world concept by letting players explore the interior of more than sixty buildings.[32] The game featured an expanded soundtrack and the voice talent of several Hollywood actors, including Ray Liotta. This set a new standard for the genre, making studio talent a pre-requisite for success.[63] Other game developers entered the field that year, with releases such as The Getaway.[6] The Simpsons: Hit & Run in 2003 applied the concept to a cartoon world,[6] while True Crime: Streets of LA reversed the Grand Theft Auto formula by putting the player in the role of a police officer.[64] Some reviewers began warning parents of the growing number of games in this genre, due to the violent themes intended for mature audiences.[63]

A mural ad for Grand Theft Auto IV, which currently holds numerous sales records
A mural ad for Grand Theft Auto IV, which currently holds numerous sales records

Ultimately, rival developers were unable to match the reception of the Grand Theft Auto series.[6] Rockstar North released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004, which featured an open world on the scale of three distinct cities.[32] The game also allowed players to customize the player-character and vehicles, as well as compete for turf by fighting with rival gangs.[32] The continued success of the Grand Theft Auto series led to successful spin-offs, including Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories in 2005, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories in 2006, and the 2D Grand Theft Auto Advance for the Game Boy Advance handheld game console.[32] A market analysis in early 2006 found that new games in this genre would have more difficulty than new first-person shooters or racing games, and noted that overall revenue for this genre declines during periods without a new Grand Theft Auto game.[18] By 2006, developers were producing fewer games in this space, estimated at half the number seen in 2005.[19] Grand Theft Auto clones for mobile phones were also released by a number of developers, most notably those from Gameloft's Gangstar series, the first being Gangstar: Crime City in 2006.[65][66]

With the arrival of the seventh generation of video game consoles, the first "next-gen" Grand Theft Auto clones were released in 2006, beginning with Saints Row from 2006 and Crackdown from 2007 both introduced online multiplayer to the genre, a feature that had been requested by many fans.[6] Crackdown attracted attention for being created by David Jones, the developer of the original Grand Theft Auto,[19][67] and featured the ability to develop the player character's superpowers in a semi-futuristic setting.[6] Meanwhile, The Godfather: The Game and Scarface: The World Is Yours entered the market in 2006, and attempted to apply the Grand Theft Auto formula to popular movie franchises.[32] Still, reviewers continued to measure these games against the standard set by the Grand Theft Auto series.[6] Grand Theft Auto IV was released in April 2008 and featured a large, detailed environment, redefining gameplay [68] and even adopted the GPS navigation system seen in Saints Row.[25] The game broke numerous sales records, including the record for the fastest selling game in its first 24 hours.[69] Since its inception, this genre has evolved to include larger settings, more missions, and a wider range of vehicles.[15] In 2010, Rockstar Games published Red Dead Redemption, an open world Western themed game.[70] Later that year, the second entry in the Mafia series, Mafia II, was released and met with a few comparisons to Grand Theft Auto as well.[71] On the day of Grand Theft Auto V's release on September 17, 2013, Volition released a free downloadable content pack for Saints Row IV titled "GATV", purposely playing the similarity in the abbreviated titles to promote their game due to the confusion raised on various social networks.[72]

Variations of the Grand Theft Auto formula have also been applied to games aimed at children and younger audiences, most notably with Lego City Undercover, first released in 2013 for the Wii U with a remastered version for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One released in 2017.[73] As is with the True Crime and later Sleeping Dogs games, the game is role-reversed with the player taking on the role of a police officer enforcing the law, rather than of a criminal, although the player is required to commit criminal acts on some occasions in order to infiltrate criminal gangs.[74][75]

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Mercenary (video game)

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Mercenary is a 3D action-adventure game written for the Atari 8-bit family and published by Novagen Software in 1985. It was converted to the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga and Commodore 16/116/Plus/4 platforms. The game uses vector graphics renderings of vast, sparse environments and has open-ended gameplay. It was also released as Mercenary: Escape from Targ and Mercenary: A Flight Simulator Adventure.

Grand Theft Auto (video game)

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Body Harvest

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Body Harvest is an action-adventure video game for the Nintendo 64 video game console, developed by DMA Design. It was intended to be a Nintendo 64 launch title, but was delayed due to its original publisher, Nintendo, having issues with the game's violent themes, and eventual dropping of the title, leaving DMA to find a new publisher. It was eventually published by Midway Games and Gremlin Interactive in 1998.

Nintendo 64

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The Nintendo 64 (N64) is a home video game console developed by Nintendo. The successor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was released on June 23, 1996, in Japan, on September 29, 1996, in North America, and on March 1, 1997, in Europe and Australia. It was the last major home console to use cartridges as its primary storage format until the Nintendo Switch in 2017. It competed primarily with the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn.

Dan Houser

Dan Houser

Daniel Houser is an English video game producer, writer, and voice actor, as well as the co-founder and former vice president of creativity for Rockstar Games. As well as producing video games, Houser was the head writer for Rockstar Games, being the lead for Bully (2006), Red Dead Redemption (2010) and Max Payne 3 (2012). He has also written, or co-written, almost all of the titles in the Grand Theft Auto series.

Mario (franchise)

Mario (franchise)

Mario is a media franchise, produced and published by video game company Nintendo, created by Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and starring the fictional Italian plumber Mario. It is primarily a video game franchise, but has extended to other forms of media, including television series, comic books, a 1993 feature film, an upcoming 2023 animated film and theme park attractions. The series' first installment was 1983's Mario Bros., although Mario had made his first appearance in 1981's Donkey Kong, and had already been featured in several games of the Donkey Kong and Game & Watch series. The Mario games have been developed by a variety of developers including Nintendo, Hudson Soft, and AlphaDream. Most Mario games have been released exclusively for Nintendo's various video game consoles and handhelds, from the third generation onward.

Midtown Madness

Midtown Madness

Midtown Madness is a 1999 racing game developed by Angel Studios and published by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows. The demo version was released in April 1999. Two sequels followed, with Midtown Madness 2 released in September 2000 and Midtown Madness 3 released in June 2003 for the Xbox. The game is set in Chicago; the object is for the player to win street races and obtain new cars.

Rockstar San Diego

Rockstar San Diego

Rockstar San Diego, Inc. is an American video game developer and a studio of Rockstar Games based in Carlsbad, California. The studio is best known for developing the Midnight Club and Red Dead series.

Midnight Club

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Midnight Club is a series of arcade-style racing video games developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games. Midnight Club is similar to the Midtown Madness series, with a focus on competitive street racing in open world urban environments. Throughout the series, players race through condensed depictions of New York City, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, San Diego, Atlanta, and Detroit.

Smuggler's Run

Smuggler's Run

Smuggler's Run is a video game developed by Angel Studios and published by Rockstar Games as a launch title for the PlayStation 2 on October 26, 2000. In the game, the player plays as a smuggler who has a number of different vehicles at his disposal including dune buggies, rally cars, and military vehicles. The vehicles are used to smuggle assorted cargo through three different large, open levels. The game, which was an early release for the Sony PlayStation 2, features career and 1- to 2-player arcade modes.

Driver 2

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Driver 2: Back on the Streets is a 2000 action driving video game and the second installment of the Driver series. It was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Infogrames for PlayStation. A port to the Game Boy Advance, titled Driver 2 Advance, was released in 2002, developed by Sennari Interactive and released under Infogrames' Atari range of products.

Source: "Grand Theft Auto clone", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto_clone.

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