The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or his organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress.

Film and music veterans have voiced characters, including Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L.

The name of the series references the term used in the US for motor vehicle theft.

The 2005 game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto III, while the 2006 game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is a prequel to Vice City; both games were later ported to the Play Station 2.

In 2009, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released for the Nintendo DS, and later ported to the Play Station Portable.

Grand Theft Auto, the first game in the series, was released for Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS in October 1997, ported to the Play Station in 1998 and the Game Boy Color in 1999.

Grand Theft Auto 2 was released in 1999 for Microsoft Windows, later receiving ports on the Play Station, Dreamcast and Game Boy Color.

The Play Station 2 also featured three instalments of the main series, all of which have been re-released on several platforms; a deal between Take-Two Interactive and Sony Computer Entertainment resulted in their timed exclusivity on the Play Station 2, before receiving ports to Microsoft Windows and the Xbox.

The 2001 title Grand Theft Auto III moved away from the two-dimension (2D) graphics used in the first two games to three-dimension (3D) computer graphics; the game features polygonal characters on pre-rendered backgrounds.

Grand Theft Auto Advance, released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, featured a top-down perspective.

Three games were released for the Play Station Portable.

The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game.

The series also has elements of the earlier beat 'em up games from the 16-bit era.

It was released on 29 October 2009 for the Xbox 360 and on 13 April 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Play Station 3.