[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Grand-Theft-Auto.jpg]]
->''Take it to the edge, there's nowhere to hide\\
And call up the boys, let's go for a joyride''
-->-- Lyrics from [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoClassic the first game's]] theme song, '''[[http://gta.wikia.com/Gangster_Friday "Gangster Friday"]]''' by Craig Conner

In 1997, when controversy was still running high over the "immoral" content of games such as ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'', ''Franchise/MortalKombat'', and ''VideoGame/{{Carmageddon}}'', Scottish games studio DMA (of ''VideoGame/{{Lemmings}}'' fame) came out with a game to top them all. Called ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoClassic Grand Theft Auto]]'', it allowed the player to [[VillainProtagonist take the role of a ruthless criminal]] working his way up the ladder of organised crime. The game offered an overhead view of a city, through which your character could walk or drive; the basic objective was to gain enough points -- or rather, in the context of the game, earn enough money -- to progress to the next level. The lowest-paying activity was damaging cars by fender-benders or by shooting them; more money was earned by stealing cars, destroying cars, and running down pedestrians; more still by selling the stolen cars down at the docks and by killing police officers.

The main source of income, though, was by accepting missions from a faceless, voiceless criminal boss, by either answering certain phones or getting into certain cars. It wasn't necessary to complete or even accept these missions (which could be done in whatever order the player wished), but doing so was worth a lot of money, and raised the amount of money the lesser activities were worth. The missions included such noble exploits as [[BankRobbery robberies]], [[ProfessionalKiller assassinations]], [[TheAggressiveDrugDealer drug-running]], [[NotMyDriver kidnappings]], [[StuffBlowingUp and blowing up buildings]]. All the while, the player had to keep from losing all his lives, as well as keeping out of the clutches of the police.

Ironically, the first game wasn't all that gruesome - simple blotches of red on the pavement marked your kills, and the detail regarding damage to your current car was not high. Still, the game was a massive success, [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity almost entirely on the basis of the controversy it generated]]. This was deliberately contrived by the game's publishers: they hired the notorious tabloid publicist Max Clifford to create a furor in the media, which resulted in a huge demand for the game.

In 1999, two expansions were released: ''Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969'' and ''Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961''. Both were essentially the original game with somewhat different art design, a new setting (UsefulNotes/{{London}} in opposite ends of TheSixties), and a batch of new missions. Also that year came ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoII'', which was almost the same as the original but set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, with the chance to save your game (at a steep cost), much improved graphics, and a finicky "Respect" system whereby you could strengthen your standing with one of three gangs by carrying out acts against the other two.

''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' was an entirely different ball game. It's probably not a coincidence that DMA were now working on a new console and attached to a new publisher: the wealthy Rockstar Games division of Take Two Interactive. First and foremost, the overhead view was done away with, bringing the game into three dimensions instead and allowing for a LOT more gore. An overhead camera could be selected for those who liked the old way, but only in that particular game. ''Vice City'' and onwards did away with the option fully.

Also, an actual ''story'' was implemented, about a thug who escapes from a prison van, and plots revenge against his traitorous partner in crime/ex-girlfriend while establishing himself in the underworld of [[BigApplesauce Liberty City]]. Voice actors were brought in for the first time -- not just any actors, but respected character actors such as Michael Madsen, Joe Pantoliano, and Michael Rapaport. The number, variety, and complexity of the missions were raised. The radio stations started using licensed material and send-ups of radio commercials and DJ chatter.

The game's success paved the way for a series of games which [[MissionPackSequel blurred the line between expansion pack and sequel]]. DMA, now wholly incorporated into Rockstar as "Rockstar North", came up with two more titles. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' moved the action to a cheery mockery of [[TheEighties '80s]] {{Miami}}, introduced motorcycles, and was the first entry where the lead character spoke (with the voice of Ray Liotta, no less). After that came ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', set in [[TheNineties early '90s]] UsefulNotes/{{California}} with a flavor that was less ''Film/{{Goodfellas}}'' and more ''Film/BoyzNTheHood''. It allowed the player jet aircraft and more than enough airspace to get the use out of them, as well as three cities (expies of UsefulNotes/LosAngeles, UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco, and [[VivaLasVegas Las Vegas]]) with [[SceneryPorn vast, open countryside]] in between. It also cast [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Samuel L. Muthafukkin Jackson]] as the BigBad. Meanwhile, Rockstar's other studios crafted ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories'' (a prequel to ''[=GTA3=]'') and ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories Vice City Stories]]'' (a prequel to ''Vice City'') for the [=PlayStation=] Portable, and ''Grand Theft Auto Advance'' (another ''[=GTA3=]'' prequel in the original overhead style) for the GameBoyAdvance.

The series' seventh-gen debut, ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'', [[ContinuityReboot reset the series' canon]] and went in a DarkerAndEdgier direction, and saw a return to Liberty City, now fully redesigned to look more like [[UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity its inspiration]]. It was the first ''GTA'' to have online multiplayer, and it also had two DLC mission packs, ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony The Ballad of Gay Tony]]'', made for it. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoChinatownWars'', set in the same canon, returned to overhead action for the NintendoDS, the [[PlayStationPortable PSP]], and [[IOSGames Apple's iDevices]].

''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' was released on 17 September 2013, amassing over a billion dollars in sales over three days, and became the fastest selling entertainment blockbuster in history. Taking criticism of GTAIV's downer tone to heart, Grand Theft Auto V follows the story of three new villain protagonists fighting to better themselves in a cynical, morally bankrupt world in and around the city of Los Santos. In addition to many new activities and gameplay refinements, such as the ability to switch to other player characters instantly, the new Grand Theft Auto online boasts a compliment of up to a thousand missions and other diversions.

Compare ''VideoGame/{{Driver}}'', ''VideoGame/MafiaTheCityOfLostHeaven'', ''VideoGame/SaintsRow''. Also, there's ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' and ''VideoGame/LANoire'', both considered to be {{Spiritual Successor}}s to the ''Grand Theft Auto'' franchise.

Not to be confused with the Creator/RonHoward movie of the same name, though you can blame ([[VideoGameMoviesSuck or thank]]) that movie for why this likely won't have a film adaptation.

Now has [[Characters/GrandTheftAuto a character sheet]]. You can vote for your favorite game [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/GrandTheftAuto here]].
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!!Works within this series (details on games with their own pages) listed by AlternateContinuity:

[[index]]
!!!2D Era
* ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoClassic Grand Theft Auto]]'' (1997)
** ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoClassic Grand Theft Auto: London 1969]]'' (1999)
* ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoII Grand Theft Auto 2]]'' (1999)

!!!3D Era
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' (2001)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' (2002)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoAdvance'' (2004)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' (2004)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories'' (2005)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories'' (2006)

!!!HD era
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' (2008)
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned'' (2009)
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony'' (2009)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoChinatownWars'' (2009)
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' (2013)

!!!Other
* ''Radio/GTARadio''
[[/index]]
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!!This series has examples of the following tropes:

'''Note: If a trope only applies to a single game in the series, and that game has its own page (see above), then place it on that page. If the trope applies to the many [[ShowWithinAShow radio stations, TV stations, internet websites, et cetera]] in the GTA universe, put it under GTARadio.'''

* AKA47: Averted in ''San Andreas'' with the Desert Eagle, AK-47, and TEC-9, and ''Vice City'' with the MAC-10, TEC-9, and [=MP5=], (but NOT the M4, the model used in both games is a Colt Model 733) but played straight with every other weapon.
** Played straight in the ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV IV]]''-era games, which sees generic names applied to all weapons. The AK-47 is aptly named "Assault Rifle", while hilariously, the M4 is called "[[ShapedLikeItself Carbine Rifle]]".
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: The biker gangs in ''Vice City'' and ''Vice City Stories'', and the Lost Brotherhood and the Angels of Death in ''IV''.
* AllCrimesAreEqual: Go on a killing spree? Police will shoot, fair enough. Steal a bunch of cars with police nearby? Police will shoot, still kind of fair. Pushing past someone or lightly tapping a cop car? Police will shoot.
* AlternateContinuity: Starting with ''IV''.
** And the ''III''/''Vice City''//''San Andreas'' continuity is separate to the original game.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Asuka and Maria in ''III'' are implied to be lesbian lovers. Likewise, in ''IV'', it is suggested strongly that Elizabeta is a lesbian.
** Also from ''IV'', Brucie, despite [[ArmouredClosetGay his firm conviction of his heterosexuality]].
* AntiHero: Just about every main character in every GTA game falls into this trope, along with plenty of side characters.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: A minor character in the original GTA, Samuel Deever, was arrested for suspected cannibalism during a stakeout, urinating on a superior officer's desk, theft of impounded narcotics, malicious wounding of fellow officer on five separate counts, incestuous practices, sexual harassment, reporting for duty under the influence of alcohol, kidnapping, alleged sodomy of a superior officer and enjoying all of the Police Academy movies.
* ArtificialStupidity: The civilian AI will attempt to dive out of the way should you try to run them over with a car, but most of the time, they will dive ''into'' your path, getting themselves killed and getting the cops pissed off if they happen to see the unintentional act.
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Oh, quite a bit of it. The most notable being that as you are driving down the streets causing many fender benders as you weave through traffic the police don't react or pull you over unless you actually hit ''their'' car. Evidently "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hit_and_run_%28vehicular%29 Leaving the scene of an accident]]" isn't against the law in this universe, but the reason this is the case is that you would spend the entire game evading police for hit and run rather than playing. Also, the police don't seem that interested in you running red lights, making illegal U-turns, or driving on the wrong side of the street. Or on the pavement.
* AscendedExtra: ''GTA III'''s arms dealer Phil Cassidy and corrupt cop Leon [=McCaffrey=] in ''Vice City'' and ''Liberty City Stories'' respectively.
* BackSeatsAreJustForShow: Cars with two doors but four seats can't be used to carry more than two people.
** The same goes for coach buses, semis, freight helicopters -- you name it.
* BareYourMidriff: Quite a few female characters throughout the series, including prostitutes and female pedestrians. Of course, you can also do this yourself in ''V''[='=]s online mode if you choose to play as a female character.
* BadAss: Too many to list. Every main character, for starters, as well as plenty of side characters.
* BadHumorTruck: Mr. Whoopee. Toggle the jingle by honking the horn!
** The truck debuted in ''[=GTA2=]'' as a means of luring out the asylum inmates, and as targets in the bonus mission. It appeared in ''[=GTA III=]'' in the same capacity, except overweight mobsters are lured to their deaths this time around.
** It doesn't appear in ''GTA IV'', but Mr. Tasty takes it's place.
** A running gag in ''Vice City'' is Tommy's inability to run a legal business, even if it's frozen yogurt. When you buy the Cherry Popper factory, it turns to be owned by a crazy old woman who [[ChildHater hates children]], and the ice cream trucks sell drugs instead. It's also impossible to sell ice cream to kids, even if you wanted to, considering there are no kids in the game.
* BallisticDiscount
* BandOfBrothels: The Sex Workers Outreach Project USA didn't take too kindly to DisposableSexWorker. Their complaints were written off as coming from a WeirdTradeUnion.
* BangBangBANG
* BankRobbery: Occurs in ''Vice City'' and ''IV''. The prologue of ''III'' is set up by a bank robbery gone bad. ''San Andreas'' has CJ committing a string of robberies (including at least one at a bank) with Catalina, as well as robbing a casino in a ShoutOut to ''OceansEleven''.
** Plays a big part in ''V'', where the player can make a number of decisions about carrying out the job and split the workload between any of the three playable characters as is demanded by swapping between them freely.
* BigBad: They pop up regulary in the games.
** Catalina in ''III''.
** Sonny Forelli in ''Vice City''.
** [[spoiler: Vinnie]] and King Courtney in ''Advance''.
** [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Officer Tenpenny]] [[spoiler:[[FaceHeelTurn and Big Smoke]]]] in ''San Andreas''.
** Massimo Torini in ''Liberty City Stories''.
** Sgt. Martinez and The Mendez Brothers in ''Vice City Stories''.
** [[spoiler:Dimitri Rascalov]] in ''IV''.
** [[spoiler:Billy Grey]] of ''The Lost and Damned'' counts as a BigBadFriend.
** [[spoiler:Wu Lee]] in ''Chinatown Wars''.
** Ray Bulgarin in ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'' was a BiggerBad in ''IV''.
** Devin Weston ([[spoiler: for Michael]]), Harold "Stretch" Joseph ([[spoiler: for Franklin]])Steve Haines and Wei Cheng ([[spoiler: for Trevor]]) in ''V''.
* TheBigRottenApple: Various incarnations of Liberty City, first visited in the original title and recurring twice since then. [=GTA3=] proudly proclaimed it "the worst city in America", and its sister city is [[PlaceWorseThanDeath Beirut]].
** ''IV'' toned it down somewhat, given that it's based more on the "cleaned-up" New York of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg rather than the WretchedHive that it was in TheSeventies. Of course, this means that this trope has been replaced with stereotypes of ''modern'' New York, such as the city's gentrification into TheThemeParkVersion of itself, its "nanny state" attitude to things like guns and junk food, and its post-9/11 police presence. Case in point: the Statue of Liberty's stand-in is a monument to "Happiness", i.e. crass commercialism.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The good guys tend to be criminals and the bad guys tend to be even worse criminals.
* BlackComedy: A sizable chunk of the game's humor is either this or social satire. Seeing both together can be quite jarring.
* BlandNameProduct: The vehicles in the games are all fictional versions of real-life cars; the Lamborghini Countach becomes the Infernus in ''Vice City'', for example, while the Range Rover becomes the Huntley in ''San Andreas'' and ''IV'' (the Huntley Sport in the latter). Naturally, some of the most common mods for the games are those that replace the vehicles with their real-life counterparts.
* BodyArmorAsHitPoints: Played straight for much of the series.
** Though averted in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'' and even more so in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV IV]]'': in the former, damage from [[NotTheFallThatKillsYou falls]] and [[HollywoodDrowning suffocation while submerged in water]] bypass armor; the latter applies this to damage from [[GoodOldFisticuffs melee attacks]] and [[CarFu being run down by vehicles]] or heavy objects as well.
* BrandX: Played for laughs -- in keeping with the game's satirical tone, there are parodies of just about every consumer product in America, from [[BurgerFool fast food]] to sneakers to {{friending network}}s. To list them all would require a separate page, since they number in the hundreds.
* BrokenBridge: Played straight in almost every game between ''III'' and ''IV''. In the original GTA you can ''jump'' the BrokenBridge in a [[strike: Ferrari]] Itali. And indeed, in ''III'', the bridges to Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale are literally broken.
** CJ is warned not to exit Los Santos at the start of ''San Andreas'', or else Tenpenny makes good on his threat to pin a cop's murder on him. Realistically, this only results in a maximum wanted level and an unavoidable trip back to Los Santos. CJ is only allowed to leave when Tenpenny changes his mind, tosses a bag over CJ's head, and ''kicks him out'' of Los Santos. Las Venturas, however, is unreachable due to a hurricane warning which has shut down San Fierro's bridges.
** In keeping with GTA's tradition of rewarding cheats, you can access the entire San Andreas map early; just hop the airport fence and steal a Shamal. (CJ isn't rewarded with access to planes until much later in the game)
** Finally averted in ''V'', where the entire map is opened at the beginning of the game and there are no convenient bridges or invisible walls blocking Los Santos off from the countryside.
*** Although a later event in the game creates a broken bridge until it is resolved, in which [[spoiler: Trevor kidnaps Martin Madrazo's wife, causing him and Michael to be restricted to Blaine County under threat that he will send his goons to kill either one of them when one enters Los Santos]]
* BulletProofVest: In every game, these act as basically [[BodyArmorAsHitPoints a second health bar]] when you pick them up. [[spoiler:Big Smoke]] also wears one when you fight him at the end of ''San Andreas'', as does [[spoiler:either Dimitri or Jimmy Pegorino]] (depending on which ending you chose) at the end of ''IV''.
* CameraCentering: A side effect of using the side view buttons while driving.
* CameraLockOn: All the 3D games.
* CanonDisContinuity: ''Advance''. Neither its characters nor plotline are referenced in the rest of the series, and many fans either deny its existence or do not even know it exists.
* CanonWelding: The game ''{{Manhunt}}'' is set in the same continuity as the ''GTA III'' canon.
* CaptainCrash: It's surprising how many cab rides in IV end up knocking a light pole over as they drop you off.
* CarFu: One of the most effective ways to finish some of the missions is to just run the fool over.
* CardboardPrison: When you are arrested, you are simply taken to the police station, stripped of your weapons, and charged with a fine (a hundred dollars in past games, and ten percent of your cash in ''IV'').
* ChainsawGood: The chainsaw in ''Vice City'' is a one-hit kill weapon, limited only by the fact that the player can't run while wielding it. The chainsaw in ''San Andreas'' is slightly less powerful, but still incredibly deadly. ''ChinatownWars'' gets rid of the speed limitation, making for maximum "split tiny tiny people in half" carnage.
* ChurchOfHappyology: [[http://www.epsilonprogram.com/ The Epsilon Program]], first referenced in ''San Andreas''.
* CityOfAdventure: [[BigApplesauce Liberty City]], [[OnlyInMiami Vice City]], and [[HollywoodCalifornia San]] [[VivaLasVegas Andreas]]. [[SequelDisplacement And Anytown, USA.]]
* CityOfWeirdos: You can generally walk around brandishing any weapon you want without drawing attention to yourself. Also, you can indulge in any amount of destruction and carnage, but people will walk past the wreckage without a curious glance. Blow up something and they'll flee in terror... for a few hundred yards, then they forget all about it.
* ClusterFBomb: Particularly ''San Andreas'', which is justified in that it helped the "gangbanger" theme. ''III'' and ''Vice City'' had surprisingly [[GoshDarnItToHeck little use of the F word]].
** The uncensored version of the first game also had this, with Bubby (your boss on the first two chapters) and Deever (on "Bent Cop Blues) being the worst offenders. Other bosses are actually quite calm and clean with their language.
** Ditto for [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV GTAIV]] as well.
* ComedicSociopathy: The radio and television shows and in-game websites all depict the GTA world as an over-the-top whacky CrapsackWorld to rival the likes of WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} and WesternAnimation/SouthPark. This is rather jarring when compared to the (relatively) realistic behavior and human motivations of the characters you actually interact with in the game's cutscenes and storyline, at least in the later games in the series (''San Andreas'' and ''GTA IV'' in particular).
* {{Confessional}}
* ContinuityNod: Tons. Some of the radio [=DJs=] alone have their own stories spanning multiple games.
* CoolCar: Several varieties in all games, just waiting to be stolen.
* CoolGuns: Ditto. This is especially the case in ''V'', where many oddball weapons have been added as free DLC through the online mode.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: The Zaibatsu Corporation in ''GTA2'', Donald Love in ''III'' and ''Liberty City Stories'', and Avery Carrington in ''Vice City''.
* CorruptPolitician: GTA loves to give us senators who dress up in women's clothing and have kinky sex, get caught on film, then murder their way out of scandal.
* CrapsackWorld: 90% of the population is either a criminal or morally corrupt. In ''IV'' The kicker: Niko ''still'' considers Liberty City better than the Balkans.
** Not just in terms of the storylines and characters, the player themselves (through the protagonist) lives in a world where he can go on a rampage in a tank, kill several cops, get arrested, but only get a fine and a slap on a wrist, before he's released out to do the same thing all over again.
** If you play GTA Online, you get to experience this from the perspective of one of the many pedestrians you've previously mowed down carefree, as you remain fully vulnerable at all times to any other sociopath in the lobby.
* CrewOfOne: Tanks.
* DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster: Oh yes it does. However, ''IV'' deconstructs this, while ChinatownWars averts this trope altogether.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: The games have different control schemes depending on the system. ''IV'' makes it even worse with the change in the driving system.
* DeadpanSnarker: Tommy Vercetti in ''Vice City'', Niko Bellic in ''IV'' and Huang Lee in ''ChinatownWars''.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: See CardboardPrison, but replace "arrested" with "killed", and "police station" with "hospital". Oh, and in ''IV'', you don't even lose your weapons when you get killed.
* DefeatMeansRespect: This is a fairly regular trope, particularly in ''Vice City'', where you set up a crew by proving you're better than each of your specialists in their specialty.
* DepravedBisexual: Asuka, from ''Grand Theft Auto III.''
-->"Oh, Asuka, you have a massager."
-->"That's not a massager."
* DifficultButAwesome: The "Rhino boost" from the 3D era games[[note]]Except ''San Andreas'', where it didn't work due to the different handling for the Rhino tank[[/note]] allowed you to get a speed boost while driving the Rhino tank by turning the turret around so it faced behind you, then firing it and allowing the recoil to propel you forward (similar to a RocketJump). This turned the Rhino from one of the slowest vehicles in the game to one of the fastest... which, when compounded with its already terrible handling, made it nearly impossible to control. But ''damn'' if it isn't awesome propelling the NighInvulnerable wrecking ball that is the Rhino straight into traffic at a speed to rival [[CoolCar the Infernus]] using the power of a ''tank cannon''. This is especially true in ''Vice City'' and ''VCS'', where the long boulevards mean you can cross half the map doing this.
* DirtyCop
* DisposableSexWorker: And how.
* TheDon: Salvatore Leone from III is the best example.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Good luck getting from one side of town to the other without driving like that. You may be polite the first couple times, but on your umpteenth attempt of a tough mission where you have to drive all the way back to the start point to try again, and you've gotten really angry... well, let's just say the title will fit more and more.
* DrunkDriver:
** In ''IV'', you can get drunk at a bar with a friend. The screen gets very blurry, and you swerve all over the road. If the cops see you, they start chasing you.
** In ''Vice City'', Tommy Vercetti has to drive Phil Cassidy to the hospital after a boomshine accident. Problem is, Tommy is messed up from merely smelling the boomshine, and the cops think he's drunk (which he is). And the screen gets all blurry and the car hard to control.
** ''San Andreas'' did something similar with the last of The Truth's first set of missions, though it's not "drunk" so much as it is "high from the marijuana field you just torched," and the effects aren't as severe as in the Vice City example.
** ''Vice City Stories'' has "Purple Haze", where Vic gets knocked unconscious, falls face-first into a pile of cocaine, wakes up a few minutes later having inhaled a fair amount of it, and has to carry out the rest of the mission (retrieving a stolen van full of drugs) while coked out of his head. The effect is pretty much the same as the drunk effect from previous games, except a purple tint is also applied to the screen.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Rather obvious in ''III''.
** Returns to some degree in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV IV]]''.
* DumbassDJ: Pretty much all of them.
* {{Eagleland}}: The setting of every GTA game, with the exception of the London expansions for the original. Played as Type 2, without exception.
-->'''Torneo:''' I'll be a nice guy and I'll lose! And ''then'' what'll we have? [[FauxHorrific Communism in Ohio! People sharing! Nobody buying stuff!]] That kind of bullshit.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first two games were 2D, overhead. III had "Rampages" giving you a free weapon and X time to destroy X cars/people.
* EasterEgg: A huge amount.
* EarthDrift: Occurred over the course of the ''III'' era. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' had a reference to the city of {{Miami}} and to the then-newly elected president UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush; later installments had almost no real life persons (barring figures like UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan that are intrinsically tied to the setting, and Music/PhilCollins' cameo in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories Vice City Stories]]''), and Miami was replaced with Vice City in [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity the next game]]. Then ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' comes out, which does away with even more real-life stuff -- the {{FBI}} is replaced with the [[FunWithAcronyms FIB]], SWAT is replaced with NOOSE (which is also based on the Department of Homeland Security), all guns are AKA47 now, and the president in 2008 was Joe Lawton, [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush who is stated to be a buffoon]] and c[[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush whose father was also president]] [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed several decades prior]].
* TheEighties: In ''Vice City'' and ''VCS''.
* EmergencyServices: The "Firefighter", "Vigilante", and "Paramedic" missions can all be played by driving a firetruck, police vehicle, or ambulance respectively.
* EscapeConvenientBoat: Many, though the boats are rarely actually all that convenient. ''IV'', however, plays this straight a couple of times.
* EqualOpportunityOffender: Starting with the third game, each installment mocks the sad state of society, the sad state of people who refuse to take part of society, minorities, white people, gay people, straight people, transpeople, feminists, misogynists, you, game developers, religion, atheists, cults, the military, the government, those against the government, foreign art, and old people. About the only thing not mocked is Britain. It's like BretEastonEllis and ToddSolondz teamed up with MADMagazine and CharlieBrooker to make gangster flicks.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Before ''IV'', cars that took enough damage would star flaming and explode within a few seconds. In ''Vice City'' and ''San Andreas'', this could even happen if you ''stomped on the roof'' long enough. Somewhat averted in ''IV'', where, after enough damage, the car's engine will die. They'll still explode given enough extra rounds though.
* EveryCarIsRearWheelDrive: Averted by the 3-D installments, with many cars having different drivetrains.
* EverythingIsBigInTexas: Real estate mogul Avery Carrington is a stereotypical Texan, right down to the cowboy hat.
* [[BuiltWithLego Everything's Built With LEGO]]: ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMY9VlMIEJk Grand Theft Auto: Lego City]]''.
* ExcuseMeComingThrough: All of them have this in some fashion.
* FaceHeelTurn: Nearly every game has at least one.
* {{Feelies}}: The "tourist" maps. These were rendered somewhat obsolete in ''[=GTA3=]'', though the psx titles were borderline impossible without them. Even if one stuck to the general rules (remember the names of neighborhoods, use highways for fast travel), the destination markers would intentionally mislead you.
* FreeRotatingCamera: Standard since ''San Andreas''.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: A lot of the protagonists, particularly in the ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII III]]''-era games start out as small time thugs but end up becoming some of the most notorious crime lords in their respective cities
* GaidenGame: ''GTA Advance'', ''Liberty City Stories'' and ''Vice City Stories'', without a doubt.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: ''[=GTA2=]'' was the only game to avert this. There, if you killed members of a particular gang while free roaming, your respect with them will go down, and eventually they will stop giving you missions and start shooting you on sight. In every other game, you can kill a hundred members of a gang, and then take a mission from them five seconds later.
* GangBangers: While your archetypical 'bangers are present, organized crime isn't treated as particularly different. As such, Claude and Niko are the only protagonists not affiliated with any one gang throughout their game.
* GatlingGood: The minigun in ''Vice City'', ''San Andreas'', and ''ChinatownWars''.
* GenreBusting
* GunsAkimbo: In ''San Andreas'', you can dual wield the standard pistol (although not the Desert Eagle or silenced variant), the sawed-off shotgun, and the standard sub-machine guns (but not the [=MP5=]) after you max out your skill with each respective weapon. Also appears in ''ChinatownWars'' and GTA2 with the dual pistols.
* HammerSpace: This is where the protagonists store their arsenals. Slightly resized since ''Vice City'', and ''IV'' puts limits on how much ammo you can carry. Niko Bellic is still able to pull helmets out of hammerspace every time he climbs onto a motorbike, however.
* HammerspacePoliceForce
* HeroicMime: Claude (unnamed until ''San Andreas'' -- and an actual mute). He is also believed to be the protagonist in ''[=GTA2=]'', thus making his full name Claude Speed.
* HideYourChildren: For obvious reasons, children under the age of 18 are very few and far between in the ''GTA'' games, only showing up as story characters (like Louise's infant daughter in ''Vice City Stories'' and [[BrattyTeenageDaughter Tracey]] in ''V'') -- and even then, they're rare. This is also a recommendation for when you're playing the game.
** There were meant to be children and even [[http://www.grandtheftwiki.com/images/SchoolBus-GTAIII-beta.jpg school buses]] in ''GTA III'', but they were dropped when the production was delayed after 9/11.
* HollywoodCalifornia: The state of San Andreas, with some Nevada mixed in for good measure.
* HomeVersionSoundtrackReplacement: Completely averted, as Rockstar have managed to license all their songs for inclusion in the games in perpetuity. This is significant, because on Steam the games can go on sale for as little as $2.50 each, when the music included in the game, if used on a TV series without a special contract, would result in royalties making a DVD boxset cost ''hundreds of dollars'', which is why shows like ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'', ''Series/ColdCase'', and ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' have had trouble releasing [=DVDs=].
** ...Or so it seemed. [[http://www.destructoid.com/gta-vice-city-pulled-digitally-from-steam-other-outlets-238752.phtml Some sort of licensing issue]] with [[Music/MichaelJackson "Wanna Be Startin' Something"]] has resulted in pulling ''Vice City'' from Steam and other digital outlets.
** This does, however, create some strange implications with the increasing EarthDrift the series has; several songs they've licensed include references to real world locations that don't exist in the ''GTA'' universe, such as New York and Los Angeles.
* HookersAndBlow: A frequent feature of the series.
** [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] in ''V'', however. The wealthy and affluent Michael is living a pretty clean life in Rockford Hills, while his dingy and strung-out partner Trevor is a drug addict with mere pennies to his name living out of a dilapidated trailer in the middle of nowhere.
* HotPursuit
* HyperspaceArsenal: See HammerSpace.
* IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon: Since ''2'', the FBI gets sent in at 5 wanted stars; this is usually the death knell (at least on land). Later sequels gave the FBI hulking (and [[LightningBruiser fast]]) [[VanInBlack black SUVs]], which means you can't even evade them.
** Even the sky won't protect you; in ''San Andreas'', the air force gets called in.
* ImAHumanitarian: Donald Love is discovered to be one in ''Liberty City Stories''. In [=GTA2=], you get to gather a bus full of [[HumanResources "ingredients"]] and drop them off at the hot dog factory for the [[TheMafiya Russian Mafia]].
* InspiredBy: In more than one of the games, you get a mission where you drive an ice cream van. It's hinted at that these are fronts for drug dealing. Older readers in Scotland will remember the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Ice_Cream_Wars Ice Cream Wars]].
* InstantGravestone: Later games (third game onwards) have a variation. Bodies will eventually [[EverythingFades fade away]] and be replaced by a chalk outline (irrespective of whether the police have arrived at the scene or not).
* InUniverseGameClock: At a rate of one minute per second in the GTA III canon games, and at one minute per two seconds in ''IV''.
* ItsAlwaysSpring: Justified in ''Vice City'' by virtue of the fact that Miami is actually like this. Not so much in ''III'' though...
** ''San Andreas'' is a particularly {{egregious}} example. One mission has CJ going to Liberty City, where we see ''snow'' on the ground[[note]]The first time snow would be seen in a GTA game, not to be seen again until GTA V[[/note]], implying that it's winter at the time of this mission. Yet when he returns home, there's no snow anywhere, not even atop the state's highest mountain.
** Averted in IV, which takes place in October. All the clothes in the game are long sleeved (mostly jackets and coats), the leaves on the trees have already turned, and there are times where you can see the characters' breath. A specific quote in ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'' puts the events of the games after October 3rd.
* ItsUpToYou: Subverted in games where you have a gang, who will happily take down anyone that they see attacking you. Played straight in missions, though. This is especially glaring in the bank robbery mission in ''Vice City'', for which you need to recruit a gunman, a safe cracker, and a driver. None of whom perform their roles and require the player to do them.
* JapanTakesOverTheWorld: Zaibatsu is a recurring name in the GTA series, which is kind of like an American company naming itself "NGO". They were the de facto rulers of Anywhere City in ''[=GTA2=]'', controlling everything from the army to its power resources. The crimp in the U.S. economy is starting to be felt in ''Vice City'', with radio adverts guilting people for purchasing "cheaper, more efficient" Maibatsu cars instead of shoddier American-made ones. ''Grand Theft Auto 3'' poked fun at oversized [=SUVs=] with the Maibatsu Monstrosity, a small monster truck marketed toward insecure, middle-aged men and soccer moms who misplace their cars in parking lots.
* KatanasAreJustBetter: In ''Vice City'' and ''San Andreas'', the katana is one of the best melee weapons, as it's a one-hit kill most of the time. One mission in ''San Andreas'' ends with CJ dueling a mob boss on a cargo ship with katana. [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim Or you could just shoot him]].
* LadyNotAppearingInThisGame: The covers of ''III'', ''Vice City'', ''San Andreas'', and ''ChinatownWars.''
** In ''Chinatown Wars''' case, the girl on the cover ''does'' appear in the game. [[spoiler: She just dies like five minutes after she first appears.]]
** ''IV'' had the lollipop girl, and ''V'' looks to keep the tradition with the smartphone-and-peace-sign bikini girl.
* LandDownUnder: A RunningGag in the series, starting with ''III'', is a fictional war between the US and Australia, which the US won handily. Radio ads for the [=AmmuNation=] gun store, for example, mention weapons "from when we whooped Australia's ass!" This could be seen as a TakeThat against Australia's overzealous {{Media Watchdog}}s, although the gag dates back to before the Australians earned their reputation for video game censorship.
* LawOfCartographicalElegance
* LemmingCops: Oh, the irony of this particular trope appearing in these games considering [[VideoGame/{{Lemmings}} some of the developer's older titles]]...
* LimitedWardrobe
** In ''III'', Claude wears only two outfits -- a prison uniform (which he only wears in the first mission, or after you enter the proper cheat code), and a black leather jacket with olive drab cargo pants. In later games, the player character has a wide variety of outfits, but most other characters still wear the same outfit whenever you see them.
** The cutscenes in ''Vice City'' seem to assume that you are always wearing the default outfit. For example, the first time you meet Big Mitch Baker he tells you "You don't look like the law, so that's bought you a minute," ''even if you are wearing the police uniform''. The exception is the last Cut scene, which assumes you're wearing the Mr. Vercetti suit.
--->'''Ken Rosenberg:''' It looks like you ruined your suit! And Tommy, that was a beautiful suit!
** Averted even more in the fifth installment, where the main characters aren't the only ones with multiple outfits.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests: The series in general, with its trademark WideOpenSandbox gameplay, falls into this. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' is the biggest offender in this regard, as the story missions only count for a very limited percentage for the HundredPercentCompletion.
* MadeOfExplodium: More noticeable in some games than in others.
* MadeOfIron: The final boss of ''San Andreas'', [[spoiler: Big Smoke]], takes several dozen assault rifle bullets to the face to kill and serves as a traditional boss fight (complete with health bar) in a game series which has generally avoided such conventions. In contrast, the final shootouts against [[spoiler: Lance Vance and Sonny Forelli]] in ''Vice City'', [[spoiler: Sgt. Martinez and Diego Mendez]] in ''Vice City Stories'', and [[spoiler: Dimitri Rascalov or Jimmy Pegorino]] in ''GTA 4'' were against reasonably realistic opponents, who had somewhat more health than standard {{mooks}}, but who still went down after a second or so of concentrated gunfire.
** In the case of [[spoiler: Big Smoke]], it's justified due to him snorting crack before you run into him, thus he wouldn't feel anything unless his body completely gives out. The body armor he wears also makes the trope more true.
** Most of the player characters also fall into this. Tommy Vercetti, for example, could jump out the 30th floor of a high-rise office building and live. The main exception is Niko, who, in keeping with ''IV'''s increased realism, can't survive falls greater than a couple of stories, and gets cut down by gunfire fairly quickly.
** Also more or less averted in GTA 1 & 2. While you could withstand more punishment than the average InnocentBystander, you were still relatively fragile and could often be instantly killed by explosions, long falls, fire or simply being run over.
** Trevor in ''GTA V'' is this when using his special ability.
* TheMafia: With the exception of ''Vice City Stories'', they appear in every game in the series, either as good guys, bad guys, or both.
* MafiaPrincess: Maria, although she abandons this lifestyle in ''III''.
* TheMafiya: Appears in [=GTA2=], and features heavily in the plot of ''IV'', [[spoiler:where they wind up becoming the BigBad]].
* TheMenInBlack: Mike Toreno in ''San Andreas'' certainly qualifies. In ''IV'', there is a shadowy government agency using a paper company as a front (a possible ShoutOut to ''Series/{{Heroes}}'') that gives Niko work and ultimately [[spoiler:helps him find the man who betrayed him in the Balkans. Niko's first girlfriend, Michelle (or Karen, or whatever her name is), also turns out to be working for them, as Niko finds out when she takes down a drug deal he was involved in.]]
* MissionPackSequel: ''Vice City'' and ''San Andreas''. It's debatable, though, because they were so much bigger than ''III'', and added so many new elements to gameplay (especially ''San Andreas''), that many fans will argue that they are the superior games. The ''Stories'' games, however, fall very cleanly into this trope.
** According to WordOfGod, the idea was to give each city featured in the original GTA its own game, starting with ''GTA III''. Hence the two sequels are called ''Vice City'' and ''San Andreas'' instead of ''IV'' and ''V'', respectively. Once they had completed this inofficial trilogy, they continued numbering their games. But why ''GTA III'' isn't simply called ''GTA: Liberty City'' is anyone's guess.
** ''GTA London'' plays this trope more straight.
* MoodWhiplash: The first few [=GTA=] games were known for their zany, over the top humor and for not taking themselves too seriously. Then ''IV'' came along and the humor was toned down in favor of gritty realism and drama. Many fans did not like this change, so it appears from the trailers that ''[[=GTA V=] will return to a more lighthearted tone.
* MurderSimulators: Only because it's hard to disassociate this game from the idiocy of Jack Thompson. Thanks to him, it ''is'' the TropeNamer in a roundabout fashion.
* TheNineties: The early '90s in ''San Andreas'', and the late '90s in ''LCS''.
* NinetiesAntiHero: Any PC who isn't a VillainProtagonist.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: This series ''loves'' this trope.
** In ''Vice City'', you get Pastor Richards, an {{expy}} of Jim Bakker and other corrupt televangelists, Jack Howitzer, a parody of [[TheEighties '80s]] [[TheAhnold action stars]] like Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone (who reappears in ''San Andreas''), and Love Fist, a gleeful mockery of every HairMetal band ever.
** In ''San Andreas'', you've got rapper Madd Dogg (three guesses as to who he's an expy of, and the first two don't count -- oh, and he's voiced by Ice-T), and Cris Fromage, a parody of Creator/LRonHubbard.
** Averted somewhat in ''Vice City Stories''; PhilCollins appears as himself in a few missions, complete with an ingame performance of "In The Air Tonight".
** ''IV'', meanwhile, gives us Samantha Muldoon (a Madonna-esque pop singer who has adopted pretty much half the babies in Africa), Jill Von Crastenberg, Cloe Parker, and January Natasha Vasquez (parodies of famous-for-being-famous celebritarts like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian), Tony [=McTony=] (a club-friendly rapper whose lyrics are only about money, bling, guns, pimped-out cars, and hot bitches), and Brandon Roberts (a big-name actor who associates himself with liberal causes solely to enhance his public image -- oh, and he's also a [[strike:Scientologist]] member of the Epsilon Program).
** ''V'', being set in a pastiche of Los Angeles, has too many to list here.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: New York is called Liberty City, New Jersey becomes Alderney, Miami becomes Vice City, Los Angeles becomes Los Santos, San Francisco becomes San Fierro, Las Vegas becomes Las Venturas, and California becomes San Andreas.
** ''[=GTA III=]''[='=]s Liberty City is loosely based in New York City, but includes elements of other American cities such as Los Angeles, UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}}, and UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}}, among others.
* NoDubForYou: A rare Western example. None of the games have non-English voice tracks, and when they are released internationally, they are subtitled instead of dubbed.
* NoNameGiven: The player character in ''III'', until ''San Andreas'' revealed his name to be Claude. Before that, he was often referred to as "Fido" [[FanNickname by fans]].
* NonLinearSequel: The first game in the ''GTA III'' canon to be released was chronologically the last game in the series, while the last game in that canon, ''Vice City Stories'', was chronologically the first.
* NotMyDriver
* NutritionalNightmare: The food in the game is incredibly unhealthy across the board, as befitting a parody of modern overstuffed America. In particular, Burger Shot stands out as openly advertising a ''6 pound'' burger designed to give you a heart attack, while in ''V'', the Ego Chaser energy bar has over 20,000 calories.
* OilSlick: Can be used in ''[=GTA2=]'' by the player to cause any vehicle make a sharp left or right turn, often crashing into a wall.
* OneManArmy: Getting your first 100 kills is easy, the first 1000 not too much harder unless you deliberately act the good citizen.
* OnlyInMiami: Vice City, baby.
* ParodyCommercial: Wouldn't be ''GTA'' without them.
* PoliceAreUseless: [[UpToEleven Are they ever]]! [[VillainProtagonist But you're certainly lucky they are.]] Gets hilarious if they manage to cause more destruction than you during chases.
* PoliceBrutality: Even without a wanted level, police would rather run you over instead of braking if you're in their way.
* PopTheTires: A possible tactic in the series since ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity''. In fact, CrazyPrepared players might just preemptively take out the tires of stationary vehicles near the mission to prevent their opponents to escape by driving them.
* ProductionThrowback: The signature "comic panel" cover art since ''III'' requires no introduction. Less known is the equivalently long-running practice of [[http://nl.wikigta.org/wiki/Artwork#Box_art featuring a helicopter on the upper left panel]], a tradition which ''Chinatown Wars''[='=] cover art has only recently broken out of (''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost and Damned]]''[='=]s group shot is exempted, and ''Advance'' [[FanonDiscontinuity doesn't count]]).
* PunchClockVillain: The player character.
* PunnyName: The series is loaded with places and vehicles which have names that are thinly veiled terms relating to sex. The tw@ internet cafe, Sanchez dirtbike, Camel's Toe casino...
* QuadDamage: Prevalent in early games. ''1'' has the Speed Up power-up, ''2'' has the Double Damage, Fast Reload, Invisibility and [=ElectroFingers=] power-ups (alongside the "[[InvincibilityPowerUp Invulnerability*]]" power-up), and ''III'' and ''Vice City'' has the adrenaline pill which [[BulletTime slows down time]] and make melee attacks ultra-powerful. For ''V'', trigger Trevor's special ability to increase your damage tolerance while dealing a lot more to your foes.
* RefugeInAudacity: The game is, obviously, a popular target for MoralGuardians because of the violence, the language and the sexuality. It largely escapes charges of racism or sexism or xenophobia by making sure no race, gender or nationality escapes the lampooning. Everyone is gleefully stereotyped.
* RewardingVandalism: In every game up to ''Vice City'', you get money for smashing up cars. (Not to mention just about every other illegal activity your character does.)\\
\\
With "Rampages" (and their forerunners, "Kill Frenzies"), the player is given a weapon with infinite ammo, a target and a time limit.
* RoadBlock: This can be found in some games, mainly ''Vice City'' (where the roads are blocked due to an hurricane threat) and ''San Andreas'' (where the roads are blocked due to an earthquake some time prior to the game events that has destroyed most bridges). In the former, it serves as an effective BrokenBridge, but in the latter, since your character can swim, there's also a BorderPatrol in the shape of a wanted level whenever you leaved the unlocked area.
* RocketJump: The "Rhino boost" in ''III'', ''Vice City'', and the ''Stories'' games is a variation on this. When driving the Rhino tank, you can turn the turret around so that it is pointed behind you. The recoil created by firing the cannon provides you with a speed boost, which easily turns one of the slowest vehicles in the game into one of the fastest. Combine that with the fact that any vehicle that the Rhino so much as bumps into explodes, as well as the vehicle's {{Nigh Invulnerabl|e}}ity (it takes innumerable rocket hits to finally destroy it), and the Rhino practically becomes a GameBreaker. ''San Andreas'' {{nerf}}ed this ability, though it came back in the later ''Stories'' games.
* RuleOfFun: The protagonists ''never'' run into bumper-to-bumper gridlock that would prevent progress. Ever.
* RunningGag: Repeated references to the number [[http://grandtheftwiki.com/69 69]].
* TheScapegoat: Seems to have replaced ''Doom'' and ''Mortal Kombat'' as this for teen violence.
* SequenceBreaking: The fans have come up with several ways you can get into the initially blocked off sections of the city in ''III'' and ''Vice City''.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Usually played straight. In every game from ''III'' to ''Vice City Stories'', if you picked up a prostitute, the only sign that they were having sex was the car rocking; if you changed the camera angles, all you saw was the protagonist and the hooker sitting next to each other. In ''San Andreas'' and ''IV'', whenever the protagonist has an OptionalSexualEncounter with one of his girlfriends, the camera is outside with the player overhearing the action. However, there are some notable aversions. When you pick up a prostitute in ''IV'', you can swivel the camera around and see ''exactly'' what she's doing. And in ''San Andreas'', one player found and unlocked the code which allows the player to actually participate in the sex, causing a firestorm of moral outrage. (And selling another EleventyZillion copies.)
* ShoutOut: Mainly to classic crime films, like ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'', ''Film/{{Goodfellas}}'' and ''Film/BoyzNTheHood''. The games also occasionally make offhand mentions to Carcer City, where ''VideoGame/{{Manhunt}}'', another Rockstar game, was set.
* SilentProtagonist: Claude from ''III''. This is [[LampshadeHanging naturally lampshaded]] during his cameo in ''San Andreas''.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Pretty far on the cynical end, especially in ''IV''.
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness: The series has gone up and down like a yoyo. The first several games were pretty silly, ''GTA III'' crept a little towards the serious, ''Vice City'' was big silly fun, ''San Andreas'' mixed both to great effect and ''GTA IV'' was very serious and dark. ''The Lost and Damned'' became [[UpToEleven even darker and more depressing,]] while ''The Ballad of Gay Tony'' was more lighthearted. The next game, ''GTA V,'' is set to be centered on the economy and be a lighter shade of seriousness than IV.
* SloMoBigAir: In ''III'' and onward, this happens when you hit a stunt ramp at top speed. ''IV'' allows this at any moment, provided you're in the (nigh-unusable) cinematic camera.
* SoftWater: Any game where the protagonist doesn't have SuperDrowningSkills. If only they averted this...
* SpiritualSuccessor: The 3D games are this to ''BodyHarvest'', DMA Design/Rockstar North's previous 3D open-world game.
* StrawmanPolitical: Rockstar uses this against ''both'' sides, having liberal and conservative strawmen bashing each other on the radio, although the right does seem to get the worst of it. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment And that's all we're saying on that subject.]]
* SuperDrowningSkills: Until ''San Andreas''.
* TakeOverTheCity: In each game you're defeating every possible opposing faction. Though Tommy Vercetti in ''Vice City'' is perhaps the straightest example of actively aiming for this goal.
* TakeThat: The games are filled with Take Thats against other open-world titles. For example, in ''III'', one mission had you killing an undercover cop named Tanner, who is said to be useless outside of his car -- a reference to ''{{Driver}} 2'', which was trashed for its on-foot controls. ''San Andreas'', meanwhile, had a billboard reading "''[[TrueCrimeStreetsOfLA True Grime]]''," and a scene with a security guard playing a video game console and proceeding to insult "Refractions" for making such a bad game (''Driv3r''). "Tanner, you suck ass!"
** Also, the War Memorial in ''San Andreas'' has, at the very top, "R.I.P Opposition 1997-2004".
* TankGoodness: Many players never bothered with the plot, instead using the "summon tank" cheat code and going on a rampage around the town.
* TheTaxi
* ThirdIs3D
* TimedMission
* TooDumbToLive: Many [=NPCs=] in this series arguably qualify, though how much is due to deliberate portrayal and how much due to ArtificialStupidity is unclear.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: Appears as bad guys in ''III'' and ''LCS'', and as allies in ''San Andreas''. They are the main focus of ''ChinatownWars''.
* UltraSuperDeathGoreFestChainsawer3000: This game probably spawned more examples of this trope than any other.
* UnitsNotToScale: Every now and then in the GTAIII era, you'll walk past a storefront with doors either too tiny or a little too big for the character scale. These storefronts are simply filler they didn't have time to scale.
* UniversalDriversLicense: Mostly averted in ''III'', where the only vehicles available were automobiles and boats (and one plane that Claude can't get in the air[[note]]can, but requires extreme skill[[/note]]). Played straight, however, in ''Vice City'', ''San Andreas'' and ''Liberty City Stories'', where you had common thugs/mobsters hijacking airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles, and even [[spoiler:''jetpacks'']]. Somewhat justified in ''Vice City Stories'' and ''IV'', where the protagonists have military experience and have probably learned how to fly helicopters. Also somewhat justified in ''San Andreas'' as far as aircraft; pilot training is a later-game mandatory mission. Also justified by the fact that you have to gain skill with various vehicles before you can drive them competently.
** Heh, well in the real world no, the average military member doesn't just have "learn to pilot a helicopter" as part of their military requirements. Its a very specalized skill (and almost always an officer specialty, Vic and Niko were enlisted). However this being the world of GTA...
* ViceCity: The TropeNamer.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential Really, it's what the games are all about.
** The crowner, however, may be a mission in ''San Andreas'' where you have to dump a foreman in a hole and bury him ''alive under cement''. While he's in the ''port-a-potty''. The reason? [[spoiler:He had been catcalling CJ's sister Kendl, and she didn't like it]]. Despite this, you're usually not ''encouraged'' to kill innocents, though.
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' now extends the cruelty to animals, where you have the option of running them over with a vehicle if shooting doesn't cut it.
* VideoGameCrueltyPunishment: That doesn't mean that ''anything'' goes, however. Start killing a bunch of civilians and they'll eventually send ''tanks'' after you, although it would take a long time to get to that level of law enforcement aggressiveness. Killing cops or any other person of law enforcement shoots up your wanted meter tons faster than killing innocent people.
** In ''Liberty City Stories'', the cops were much more aggressive, with fast police cars (often four at a time) that would ram you constantly, spike strips every ten seconds, and deliberate aiming at the tires (which greatly decreased your car's performance). If any cop managed to get next to your vehicle door, you were insta-busted.
* VideogameFlamethrowersSuck: This depends on the game. In the PSX titles, flamethrowers compensate for their short range with their OneHitKill properties -- basically, once you're on fire, there's no putting it out. Later games have reduced the flamethrower's effectiveness; In ''Vice City Stories'', a boss character more or less signs his own death warrant by wielding one.
* VideoGameTime: There's a timescale for days and nights and the passage of time in later games, but for timed missions they revert to timing with real time so they give you three minutes to drive to such and such place and this three minutes takes the equivalent of three hours.
* VillainProtagonist: One of the main reasons for the series' original controversy. In later games, however, Rockstar began to favour [[AntiHero anti-heroes]].
* ViolentGlaswegian: The developers of the games, Rockstar North, are from Edinburgh. They were previously DMA Designs based in Dundee.
* VivaLasVegas: The city of Las Venturas in ''San Andreas'' is all about this trope, with most of the missions revolving around the Triad-run Four Dragons Casino and the Mafia-run Caligula's Palace.
* WarOnCops: Depending on your wanted level, you could have a legion of cops (with SWAT and even the military) chasing you down. Of course, you have the option to fight them all with no restraints.
* [[WeAllLiveInAmerica We All Live in the United Kingdom]]: The games are filled with references to British (particularly Scottish) places, and British slang is sometimes heard coming from the mouths of the American characters.
** ''III'' and ''LCS'' have TheYardies existing in the New York pastiche of Liberty City, despite being a primarily British criminal trope.
** The games have signs reading "Maximum headroom X meters", while the American phrasing would be "Maximum clearance".
** In ''V'', the pop music station Non Stop Pop FM features tracks by Mis-Teeq, N-Joi, Modjo, and All Saints, all of whom were successful in the UK but fairly unknown in the US, despite the station being based in a pastiche of Los Angeles.
* WideOpenSandbox: While not the TropeMaker, it is the TropeCodifier, to the point where the term "''GTA'' clone" or "''GTA'' [[XMeetsY meets X]]" was used to describe any open-world game in the early-mid '00s (much like "''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' clone" for [[FirstPersonShooter first-person shooters]] in TheNineties).
* WretchedHive
* {{Yakuza}}: Appears in ''[=GTA2=]'' and ''Liberty City Stories'', and features heavily in the plot of ''III'' and ''Chinatown''.
* YouAllLookFamiliar
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