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Things About GTA Everyone Takes For Granted

Grand Theft Auto is a much-lauded series that has brought Rockstar unbelievable success. The fifth mainline entry is, after all, the best-selling video game in the US. The GTA franchise has become a core mainstay in the world of gaming, and it's hard to find someone who hasn't heard of the series. Indeed, it's hard to find an open world game these days that wasn't influenced by GTA

This is because GTA changed the gaming world, and maybe we don't give Rockstar enough credit for that. Sure, the studio has plenty of cash flow from the continually successful GTA Online to pad its pockets, but perhaps we're still not giving Rockstar its due when it comes to its most valuable property.

Let's take a moment to really appreciate GTA.

Unprecedented freedom

The writers at Rockstar might feel under-appreciated, considering the fact that players often skip out on their painstakingly written plots. Yes, the campaigns are enjoyed by players from all over, but the real appeal of the world of GTA is the unprecedented freedom it offers. You want to rob a bank? Steal a car? Commit a murder? Just stroll on the beach? You can do it all in GTA.

There are few games that are really, truly sandboxes. Grand Theft Auto 5 is especially explorable, offering players a wide world to take advantage of. Players might not truly take the time to appreciate how reactive Los Santos really is. Would heists and impromptu crimes be nearly as fun if the fuzz didn't show up? If the NPCs weren't ready to fight back? We don't think so. 

GTA gives players the ability to do what they want, no matter how bombastic or mundane. Fans may have come to take that for granted.

Beautiful cities with big personalities

We've been waxing poetic about how the GTA games allow you to do your own thing, whatever that may be. This isn't to say that the actual campaigns and stories are incredible pieces of writing that have a distinct attitude. GTA games established a reputation for being sassy, smart, and rather salacious early on. From the radio to the NPCs to the city streets themselves, GTA has personality.

San Andreas, Liberty City, and Los Santos have all left their respective impressions on players. Rockstar put work into making sure the maps themselves were like the characters — sassy and smart. This is why we see such thought and time put into the brands and ads; the radio hosts and the passersby. The designers at Rockstar didn't take anything for granted, so why should we?

Thousands of hours of entertainment

Despite the fact that Grand Theft Auto 5 came out all the way back in 2013, players are still wandering the streets of Los Santos to this day. On average, the main campaign lasts approximately 30 hours, but there's enough content to keep players engaged for up to 80. That's two full work weeks for you completionists out there, and that isn't even counting the adventures and Easter eggs that players can seek out on their own. 

Leisurely play can result in dozens of hours of entertainment. Continued commitment to hanging out in each and every corner of GTA 5 might result in hundreds of hours of play. And then there's GTA Online, which offers even more content, game modes, challenges, and frequent updates to keep players engaged. It's entirely possible that some have been playing Grand Theft Auto 5 for over six years now, and when you take $60 divided by all of those hours, that's some pretty cheap fun.

Free content updates

There's a reason why players have been able to wait for years and years for Grand Theft Auto 6. Rockstar Games has given us plenty of content in the meantime to keep us entertained (and distracted). GTA Online allowed for GTA 5 to have a long, hearty life. Los Santos is not yet stale thanks to the continual updates that Rockstar has doled out over the years. 

Thanks to the inclusion of new game modes, vehicles, and missions GTA Online is alive and thriving to this day. In this way, Rockstar piloted the now popular games as service model. Forgot one-and-done releases; games today are more about the slow trickle of content. GTA 5 has perfected this to the point where, now, we naturally expect new content to be added on a regular basis. More than that: we expect it to be free.

Big names in big games

Grand Theft Auto plots play out like good, R-rated dramas. It's only fitting that the characters are voiced by big name actors. Today, we don't blink when we hear that breathtaking actors like Keanu Reeves or Norman Reedus are starring in the latest and greatest of games. In the past, however, video games weren't exactly on A-listers' radars. 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City raised a lot of Hollywood eyebrows when Goodfellas alum Ray Liotta signed on to voice the part of Tommy Vercetti. 

Rockstar continued to pursue Hollywood rockstars like Samuel L. Jackson and even Burt Reynolds. That said, Rockstar producers didn't have the best time working with big names, and in the end, decided that they wouldn't bend over backward for their egos. Even so, Rockstar had inadvertently changed the world of gaming as we know it. Actors began to take video game voice acting more seriously, and the gaming industry decided that there was merit in pursuing the Hollywood elite.

Daring to be different

It's no secret that Grand Theft Auto is a little daring. Risque even. Rockstar has gotten into a number of controversies over its not-so PC content featured throughout the franchise. And yet the writers and devs never balked at bad press. At one time, GTA was at the center of the hackneyed "violence in video games" debate that persists to this day. Despite widespread bans, petitions, and upset editorials, GTA stayed true to the GTA way of life. Which, yes, is rife with violence. 

Previous to GTA standing strong, other games bowed under the pressure of concerned parents. Mortal Kombat's original bloodspurts were made green so as to not scar the little arcade kiddos. More recently, Fortnite removed some more jiggly aspects of their characters after backlash. For better or worse, Rockstar rarely bows to the pressure of outside forces. To this day, you can hit up strip clubs, pick up prostitutes, and attack any police officer you like.

Pump up the jams

What other game do you know of wherein you can play your favorite songs? Usually you have to open Spotify if you're playing on PC. Console players? You have to figure out another setup. GTA games, on the other hand, tried for a more realistic immersion that recreated the classic cruising experience complete with music. 

Rockstar's ingenious inclusion of radio stations has been appreciated by players since its release, and the devs are continuing to add in new jams to this day. There's a little something for everyone on the radio in Los Santos. Over a dozen radio stations offer hip hop, funk, and even ska. The immersion is made all the more real with commercial breaks and obnoxious radio hosts. The devs at Rockstar know that the devil is in the details, and they heap on the details – much to the delight of players that appreciate the little things.