Is GTA Annualized?


Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said on an investor call:

“We don’t feel that GTA oughta be an annualized franchise,”

1997: GTA 1
1999: GTA 2
2001: GTA 3
2002: GTA Vice City
2004: GTA San Andreas
2005: GTA Liberty City Stories
2006: GTA Vice City Stories
2008: GTA 4
2009: GTA Chinatown Wars, GTA Lost & Damned, GTA Ballad of Gay Tony

OK, they missed a few years, but if that’s not annualized, it’s close. Also, if you the GTA offshoots Bully (2006) and Red Dead Redemption (2010) which use the same engine and gameplay style of GTA, it’s even closer.

Admittedly, there have only been four mainline, non-portable, non-expansion GTA-branded games since (and including) GTA III.

As long as they keep putting out amazing games at regularly spaced interrvals, there isn’t much to complain about. Red Dead Redemption looks amazing and I expect “The Agent” to be even better.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by JimmyMagnum on December 4th, 2009 [ 83111 Points ]

    it seems closer to bi-annual. Liberty City Stories, though ported to PS2, I believe was developed by Rockstar Leeds, but going by full-blown GTAs, we got this:

    1997: GTA 1
    1999: GTA 2
    2001: GTA 3
    2002: GTA Vice City
    2004: GTA San Andreas
    2008: GTA 4

    It was every other year until Vice City, but then San Andreas didn’t come out for 2 years after that. And then there was a 4 year hiatus between SA and 4. I wouldn’t necessarily count VCS and LCS as full-blown GTAs because they were much shorter gameply wise.

    And the GTA4 expansions are just that, expansions, though, you could technically call both of them together and call it a game, but it still runs parallel to GTA4′s storyline.

    Since Rockstar North is currently working on Agent (Red Dead Redemption is being developed by Rockstar San Diego), we probably won’t see the next GTA until, most likely, 2011, unless another Rockstar company takes/have taken the reigns to create the next one, which is unlikely since R*N has always developed the main GTA games (though, until Vice City, they were called DMA Design)

    Oh, and Bully was developed by Rockstar Vancouver.

  2. #2 by Mike on December 4th, 2009

    It was three and a half years between main installments from Rockstar North, so no, this series isn’t even close to being annualized. If you counted spinoffs and whatnot, Final Fantasy would be a monthly franchise despite waiting three and a half years between XII and XIII.

  3. #3 by Darrin on December 4th, 2009 [ 17143 Points ]

    Before, with Rockstar the publisher, Rockstar North was the gifted studio, and their other studios put out junk like State of Emergency or mediocre stuff like Smuggler’s Run.

    Today, I think they cross polinate their teams much more, and the lines between dev teams are more blurred. Bully lists Rockstar Vancouver as the main studio, but clearly they used the GTA engine, GTA writers, lots of high level creative directors (Dan Houser), and had technical assistance from the GTA team.

    Good analogy with Final Fantasy. Sure, all those Final Fantasy offshoot games don’t “really” count as a big FF title. But if Square was using the same engine to make a similar type of big full release game, with shared dev talent, I think that would count.

  4. #4 by JimmyMagnum on December 4th, 2009 [ 83111 Points ]

    but they’re still their own entities. Lots of companies share code and people with one another, but they’re still a separate studio, so, therefore, games like Bully and Red Dead Redemption, apart from maybe a few writers and using the same game engines and whatnot, really have nothing to do with GTA apart from that (and, obviously, they use the same engines because its cost effective).

    As far as LCS and VCS go, they used most of the assets were already available in GTA3 and VC, but the actual games themselves were subpar compared to R*N productions. Sure, the GTA team at R*N would help them, but Leeds still had most of the creative freedom

    Also, given the length of the games, they’re about half the length of console games, so going by that, you could technically count LCS and VCS as one full game. Neither of which, though, were as fun as R*N’s GTAs.

  5. #5 by Darrin on December 4th, 2009 [ 17143 Points ]

    “Bully and Red Dead Redemption, apart from maybe a few writers and using the same game engines and whatnot, really have nothing to do with GTA”

    Did you play Bully?

    The whole game was structured very similarly to GTA. You have a map compass with missions to go and start. You had vehicles, home bases, mini games, and easter eggs.

    Plus all of the writing, character dialog and cut scenes just felt like they came from the same team.

  6. #6 by JimmyMagnum on December 4th, 2009 [ 83111 Points ]

    but they didn’t come from the same team.

    going by that analogy (open mission structure, etc.), then there are a lot of open sandbox titles with similar traits (Jak 2,3, etc)

    And yes, I’ve played Bully, but it was different enough to feel like something other than GTA, it just had things in common with it, as do a lot of other games that used the same basic formula that GTA3 created.

    They did have a same writer in Dan Houser, though (but they had different co-writers), so that would help explain the writing style, but they had completely different teams working on the games themselves, Bully just borrowed heavily from the GTA formula. And Dan Houser is VP of Creativity in Rockstar Games, so he has the ability to work with any of the other teams anyway, he doesn’t work for Rockstar North


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