To coincide with the newly-revealed release date for Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, today also happens to be the 20th anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III. The game was originally released on October 22, 2001, and came to PlayStation 2 before later being ported to a number of different platforms over the years. And while it might not be the most beloved entry in the long-running open-world franchise, by all accounts, it's absolutely the most influential.
In a general sense, Grand Theft Auto III was the game in the series that set the stage for everything that was to come. Not only were Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas modeled in the same style as GTA III, but every ensuing entry that came after it was built off of this same formula. Even looking outside of the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA III was also one of the first true 3D open-world games and helped establish the framework that many developers would end up using in the years to come.
Speaking more to how important Grand Theft Auto III was to the studio, Rockstar Games' co-studio head, Aaron Garbut, today released a statement talking about the game's legacy on its 20th anniversary. "GTAIII helped clarify our approach to making games, and it's something that has stuck with us in every game we make, from GTAIII through to GTAV, the Red Dead Redemption series and everything else: we are focused on building worlds – and on making these worlds as believable, detailed, interesting, varied and alive as possible," Garbut said. "We want to make worlds that you feel like you are living in, that feel dynamic and filled with other characters. Where it's not just a façade that comes alive around you and for you, but as real a place as we can manage, and one that is filled with stories, characters, events and fun, interesting things to do."
Do you have fond memories of playing Grand Theft Auto III for yourself? And are you going to revisit it next month when Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition releases on November 11? Let me know either down in the comments or shoot me a message on Twitter at @MooreMan12.