GTA 3 laid the foundations of what the Grand Theft Auto titles are today as it revolutionized the gaming market with its graphics and gameplay. There are several other major reasons why it paved the path for future games in the series, as well as other open-world titles. The game was a star performer when it was released in 2001, as it outsold its predecessors by a significant margin.
Some major aspects of Grand Theft Auto 3 make it such an iconic video game that a lot of people remember to this day. The success of the title was not just because of the 3D graphics or the enhanced gameplay but a culmination of several factors that blended perfectly.
This article will highlight five big variables that contributed to the success of the game and how they changed Grand Theft Auto titles forever.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer’s opinions.
5 reasons why GTA 3 was a revolutionary title way back in the 2000s
1) The detailed graphics
The games released in the early 2000s had a huge imapct on the video game industry as the graphics were improving and gameplay features were constantly evolving. Rockstar Games didn’t want to be left behind, and GTA 3 inovated in some key areas. For instance, the fully rendered 3D world and detailed character models were a big deal when GTA 3 was launched in 2001. These were enhanced many years later in the Definitive Edition of the game.
Before GTA 3, all the Grand Theft Auto titles were in 2D, with mostly static backdrops and pixelated characters. GTA marked a stark departure from the franchise’s formula, so fans were thrilled to experience the detailed and interactive world of the game. The natural and indoor lighting was also immaculate, giving the title a unique aesthetic for the time.
2) Interactive open-world map
GTA 3 offers a relatively large open-world map that is both detailed and interactive. This means that players can watch and interact with NPCs and various other objects present in the world.
Filling the map with NPCs was a huge step for Rockstar Games because butchering the nonplayable characters is a favorite pastime of almost everybody who plays the GTA titles. They also make the game feel more dynamic and realistic.
If the rumors are true, then Grand Theft Auto 6 is expected to have an even more advanced AI system, and some leakers have claimed that there will be several buildings that can be entered.
3) Iconic songs and radio stations
Driving a car across the city becomes even more enjoyable with some sweet tunes playing through the radio. GTA 3 has iconic songs like Change by Connor & Jay and I’m the King by Royce Da 5’9, which made the game memorable.
It was a revolutionary step for Rockstar Games to add the radio station feature to the game. This allowed players to switch to a different song or listen to various RJs while driving a vehicle in the game’s open world, making the experience more realistic.
4) Focus on the story
Even with all the gameplay gimmicks and features, Grand Theft Auto 3 never lost sight of the main objective—giving players a memorable story. This is one of the biggest reasons why so many people still remember Claude despite him not having any audible dialogue in the game.
The game has a deep story about betrayal and revenge as our silent protagonist goes through mission after mission to achieve his final goal. During this time, he engages with the mafia as well as the law enforcement, who are constantly on his trail. The impactful narrative was a big surprise for fans since they didn’t expect much from the story.
5) It made virtual violence acceptable
A lot of other video games tried to dump violence into their titles, which backfired pretty badly back in the day. However, there were titles like Mortal Kombat that found success in this endeavor. GTA 3’s success opened a path for Rockstar to get more creative and push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in a video game.
While the game did receive a lot of backlash, sales continued to soar as most gamers found the virtual violence quite fun. This also made other developers realize that games for mature audiences could find success if the gameplay was fun, the story was impactful, and the characters were charismatic.
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