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GTA Wiki
GTA Wiki

Quotation.png Grand Theft Auto III Main Theme QuotationReverse.png

Grand Theft Auto series
chronology of events

2D Universe

1961London 1961
1969London 1969

3D Universe

1984Vice City Stories
1986Vice City
1992San Andreas

2D Universe

1997Grand Theft Auto

3D Universe

1998Liberty City Stories

2D Universe

1999Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

3D Universe

2001Grand Theft Auto III

HD Universe

2008Grand Theft Auto IV
         – The Lost and Damned
         – The Ballad of Gay Tony
2009Chinatown Wars

2D Universe

2013Grand Theft Auto 2 (Possible)

HD Universe

2013–presentGrand Theft Auto Online
2013Grand Theft Auto V

One of the most influential and successful games ever made.
— The New York Times

Grand Theft Auto III (also shortened into GTA III or GTA 3) is a 2001 action-adventure videogame developed by Rockstar North (then known as DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. It was originally released for the PlayStation 2 console, but also saw ports for the PC and Xbox.

Set in the fictional Liberty City in 2001, Grand Theft Auto III begins a new continuity separated from its predecessors. The game's narrative follows the adventures of Claude, a silent criminal who was betrayed by his girlfriend Catalina during a bank heist. Claude begins to work for different factions in the crime-riddled Liberty City, including the Mafia, Yakuza and corrupted figures.

Set in an open-world environment, Grand Theft Auto III is the first game in the series to be presented in a fully 3D world, shifting away from the top-down perspective that characterized previous games in the franchise. Development was handled by DMA Design, and it was the final game developed by the company before its rename into Rockstar North.

Grand Theft Auto III was universally acclaimed upon its release in October 2001. Critics praised the game for its presentation, game design, freedom, sound design and ambition, though it was a subject of controversy due to its violent nature. Multiple publications deemed it a revolutionary title for its advancements in game design and open-ended gameplay, and it was awarded a variety of end-year accolades. A commercial success, GTA 3 sold over 14 million copies.

In 2011, the game was re-released on iOS and Android devices for its 10-year anniversary under the title Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition. It was met with positive responses, with gaming publications praising its visuals, though criticism was directed at the port's controls.

On November 11, 2021, the game was re-released on 8th and 9th generation consoles for its 20-year anniversary under the title Grand Theft Auto III - The Definitive Edition, included in the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition bundle.


The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto III, Claude.

LIBERTY CITY, USA. The Worst Place in America.
You've been betrayed and left for dead. Now you're taking revenge, unless the city gets you first. Mob bosses need a favor, crooked cops need help and street gangs want you dead. You'll have to rob, steal and kill just to stay out of serious trouble. Anything can happen out here.
— From the official site

Chronologically following the events of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Catalina leaves with her boyfriend Claude to Liberty City. At the start of the game, the two are seen robbing a bank with Miguel, a Colombian Cartel member and their getaway driver, and another unnamed man. Amidst the chase, Catalina tells Claude that she is an ambitious girl and doesn't need him anymore, shooting him, killing the unnamed man, and leaving with Miguel and the money. Claude survives, and is arrested for the robbery. While crossing the Portland Island bridge in a police convoy, the Colombian Cartel ambushes them by blowing up the Callahan Bridge (isolating Portland from the rest of the city) and then kidnap an Old Oriental Gentleman. Claude and another prisoner named 8-Ball free themselves while the convoy is ambushed and leave.

8-Ball introduces Claude to Luigi Goterelli and Claude works for him to prove himself useful. Luigi orders him to drive Joey Leone's favorite prostitute, Misty, to Joey's Garage, and earns Joey's trust by performing missions against the Triads and the Forelli crime family. Joey introduces him to Toni Cipriani, who Claude begins working for to exact revenge on the Triads after a failed assault attempt in a laundry shop. After proving himself, Claude is introduced to Joey's father and the head of the Leone Family, Salvatore Leone. Claude is not powerful enough to stay for Joey, Toni, and Salvatore's meeting, so he is instructed to drive around Salvatore's trophy wife, Maria Latore, and saves her from a drug raid in a warehouse party she attended.

Salvatore begins trusting Claude, and confides in him that he believes that a bartender named Curly Bob is selling information about the Leone's to the Cartel in exchange for SPANK, an illegal drug. Claude follows Curly Bob and finds out that Catalina and Miguel are now leaders of the Cartel. Claude kills Curly Bob, but Catalina and Miguel escape. Salvatore has Claude, with the help of 8-Ball, blow up the Cartel Ship with their supply of SPANK.

For his last mission, Salvatore asks Claude to get rid of a car filled with murder evidence. However, as Claude nears the car's location, Maria pages Claude, saying that the car is a trap, and to meet her at the docks. Should Claude enter the car, it will explode. At the docks, Maria admits that she lied to Salvatore and said she was having an affair with Claude, which caused his rage. Maria introduces him to a Yakuza leader Asuka Kasen and they move to Staunton Island to escape the Leone's.

Asuka wants Claude to prove that his ties with Leone's are completely broken by assassinating Salvatore as he is leaving Luigi's club. Claude works for Asuka against the Leone's and the police. She soon introduces Claude to her brother and waka-gashira Kenji Kasen and a corrupt cop Ray Machowski. Claude works for Kenji against the Yardies and the Cartel while he also works for Ray to keep his connections with the Yakuza secret by making him do his dirty work.

Ray introduces him to billionaire mogul Donald Love and Claude begins working for him. He rescues the Oriental Gentleman from the Cartel, after Love tells him that they are holding him hostage for a ransom. To lower the real estate price of the city, Claude starts a war between the Yakuza and the Cartel by running over Kenji with a Cartel vehicle. He also collects the packages from a plane hangar, however, the Cartel have taken it back to their construction site headquarters, and finds Miguel and Catalina there. Miguel attempts to negotiate with Claude, but Catalina shoots him in the back and escapes. Thinking that the Cartel killed her brother, Asuka arrives to assist Claude and tortures Miguel for information. After helping Love by providing a distraction, Claude returns to the penthouse and finds that he and the Oriental Gentleman have disappeared. He returns to the construction site and finds Asuka and Miguel both dead, with a note from Catalina saying she has kidnapped Maria and will kill her unless he brings $500,000 to the Cartel Mansion.

Upon arriving, it is revealed that the exchange was an ambush and Catalina takes Maria away in a helicopter and orders them to kill Claude. Claude escapes and follows the helicopter to the dam. Catalina flies away, leaving Maria on the dam with her men. Claude kills all the men and shoots down the helicopter, killing Catalina. Leaving the dam, Maria begins babbling, and after the screen fades to black, a gunshot is heard. It is unknown if Claude shot Maria or merely fired into the sky in order to shut her up.

Voice Cast


The game takes place in Liberty City, which is loosely based on a series of East Coast and mid-western cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, but without being any one in particular [1] There are different districts in Liberty City. It consists of three islands - Portland, Staunton Island, and Shoreside Vale. The three islands are comparatively similar to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, respectively. The city was meant to feature buildings modeled after the then World Trade Center, but last minute edits were made to the game to remove them after 9/11.


Main article: Portland

This is the first area the player will interact with in the game.

Here you will find the docks, the Red Light District, warehouses, factories, markets, garages as well as some useful suppliers. The area is populated with hookers, pimps, laborers, dockworkers, politicians and general scum. Crime is rife in Portland and it has a long history of Mafia control. But this is being challenged by the Triads. A bloody turf war has been underway for several months. A delightful district with something for everyone.
— The manual's description

This is the old industrial district, consisting largely of workmen in old cars, the Leones, Triads, and Diablos.

Staunton Island

Main article: Staunton Island

Staunton Island is the second of the three districts the player will see in the game.

This is the central business district. This is where all the big business takes place in Liberty City and is dominated by the rich, powerful and corporate. During the day the area is bustling with businessmen doing their 9-5 thing - insider trading, taking bribes and selling their grandmothers for ten bucks. At night it is dark, desolate and very dangerous.
— The manual's description

This is the business district. Lots of rich people can be found here, along with their nice cars. The resident gangs are the Yakuza, the Yardies, and Colombian Cartel.

Shoreside Vale

Main article: Shoreside Vale

This is where the ending of the game takes place.

Suburban bliss and tranquility Liberty City style. Home to many of Liberty City's more affluent gangsters, Liberty City's commuter-belt is a patchwork of swimming pools, picket fences, backyards, basketball nets, street gangs and five car garages. It's littered with ostentatious mansions paid for with blood money, protected by high security guards and gates to keep out gangs of bored teenagers looking for something to do to bring some excitement to their middle class existence. The designer dogs and the station wagons give a shallow serenity to suburbia, but don't be fooled. Violence and corruption are at the heart of every home.
— The manual's description

This is the suburban area of Liberty City. The wealthy live here, along with the middle-class residents and gangs. The Francis International Airport is also located here. The local gangs are the Southside Hoods and the Colombian Cartel.


It could be said that Grand Theft Auto III has the third least amount of influences in the entire GTA series, only having two, which is the movie GoodFellas and the classic TV show The Sopranos as most of the mafia theme in the game was influenced by the both the show and the movie.


Upon release, Grand Theft Auto III was met with near-unanimous critical acclaim. Various critics praised the game for its story, gameplay, and the near unlimited freedom gain to the player; GTA III was touted as revolutionary by several game review websites and publications.

GTA III holds a 97/100 on Metacritic, making it (along with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3) the highest rated PlayStation 2 game on the website. The game holds a 95% on GameRankings, making it the highest rated PlayStation 2 game on the website, as well the second highest rated game of its year, behind Halo.

IGN heavily praised the game, giving it a 9.6/10, calling it "a massive scale operation that just gets better and better as players dig into it, even though it gets ridiculously difficult at points." Eurogamer gave the game a perfect 10, calling it "A luscious, sprawling epic of a game and one of the most complete experiences I have ever encountered. If this is what I've waited a year to see on my PS2, then I would have waited ten. Magnificent". gave the game an A+, saying "The best game of the year? Maybe the best game ever".

GameSpot gave the game a 9.6/10. stating "While the violent nature of the game will surely turn some people off and kids simply shouldn't be allowed anywhere near it, GTA III is, quite simply, an incredible experience that shouldn't be missed by anyone mature enough to handle it". Game Informer gave it a 9.5/10, stating "The environments of Liberty City are stunning in scope and detail, dwarfing anything I've ever seen, and your choices are endless". GameSpy awarded the game with 9.4/10 stating "A fantastically designed and fun game that's one of the most absorbing, entertaining titles released in a while. It gets better and better with every single day, as you continue discovering new little features here and there. ". Game Revolution gave the game a perfect score, stating "Just about the best game yet released on the system and one of the most impressive console titles we've ever seen. And I ain't blowing smoke up your tailpipe". GamePro gave the game a 5/5, stating "Greatly improved in GTA III is the stunning visual and sound package." GamesRadar gave the game a perfect 10, stating "Almost immediately after your first play you'll realize that underneath the cloak of controversy that will forever shadow GTA3 sits a truly special, groundbreaking and brilliant game. You'll love it."

Edge was less favorable, rating the game 8/10.

The PC version of the game received less positive, yet strong, reception. The PC version has been criticized for performance problems, especially in light of the much smoother performance of Vice City. This was due to technical issues. IGN gave the PC version a 9.4/10, while GameSpot gave it a 9.3/10.


GTA III emerged with an US$49.95 price, becoming the #1 selling game of 2001 in the United States. The game was later discounted to the price of $19 after becoming one of Sony's "Greatest Hits". The game has become the second most best-selling game of 2002, behind its sequel, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. As of March 26, 2008, Grand Theft Auto III has sold 14.5 million units according to Take-Two Interactive.

GTA III is the fifth best-selling game of the series, behind Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.


10th Anniversary Edition


The 10th Anniversary Edition was announced by Rockstar Games during October 2011. The edition was released for mobile phones and tablets, such as iPod, iPhone and Android. The game was released in fall 2011.

A limited edition of Claude action figure was available for pre-order for $149.99; only 1,500 pieces were made.

The iOS version of GTA III has received favorable reception, with IGN rewarding it with a 7.5/10.

The Definitive Edition

Grand Theft Auto III - The Definitive Edition.

The Definitive Edition was announced by Rockstar on October 8th, 2021, as part of the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition pack. The edition was released on November 11, 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC; and will be released in 2022 for Apple iOS and Android.

The edition features across-the-board upgrades including graphical improvements and modern gameplay enhancements, while still maintaining the classic look and feel of its original version.

9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Grand Theft Auto III was changed significantly due to the real-world 9/11 terrorist attacks. The game was originally intended to be released on October 3, 2001, however the release was pushed back three weeks, until the 22nd, while Rockstar combed through the game's files.[2] Dan Houser claimed that the main reason the game's release was postponed was due to how close Rockstar Games's head office was to the World Trade Center, and work that had to be done was made impossible due to the circumstances during that period. Dan also claims that, at the time, he came close to cancelling the game's release altogether due to the circumstances; "This beautiful city has been attacked, and now we're making a violent crime drama set in a city that's not unlike New York City". Despite this, he claims that it was his duty to release the game, especially considering how close they have come to releasing it.

Several changes were made to the game, however Rockstar claims that the changes made to the game only make it about 1% different.[3] For example, the Police car and Enforcer's color scheme which resembled those of the NYPD's in the early 2000s was changed to an entirely new black and white color scheme, similar to Californian-style police vehicle color schemes. Several aspects of the map were changed, including entire skyscrapers removed due to any possible resemblance of the World Trade Center buildings. The Airtrain at Francis International Airport was made un-solid, to prevent the player from firing rocket launchers at it, and aircraft flight paths that flew through the city were changed. One mission was removed from the game as it referenced terrorism. Certain radio and pedestrian dialogue was also removed.

The game's Boxart was changed, too. The original artwork was replaced with an entirely new style of artwork, which is still used to this day - comprising of sections displaying individual pieces of artwork from the game, spread around the box, and the Grand Theft Auto wordmark situated in the center of the box. The original artwork was still used for the European release of the game.


Date Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result
24 March 2001 2nd Annual Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year Grand Theft Auto III Won
December 2001 GameSpot Game of the Year 2001 Awards Game of the Year Grand Theft Auto III Won
December 2001 GameSpot Game of the Year 2001 Awards Best PlayStation 2 Game Grand Theft Auto III Won
December 2001 GameSpot Game of the Year 2001 Awards Best Action Game Grand Theft Auto III Won
December 2001 GameSpot Game of the Year 2001 Awards Most Innovative Grand Theft Auto III Won
2001 GameSpy Game of the Year Awards 2001 Game of the Year Grand Theft Auto III Won
2001 GameSpy Game of the Year Awards 2001 Best PlayStation 2 Game Grand Theft Auto III Won
2001 GameSpy Game of the Year Awards 2001 Most Offensive Grand Theft Auto III Won
2001 GameSpy Game of the Year Awards 2001 Best Use of Radio Grand Theft Auto III Won
2001 GameSpy Game of the Year Awards 2001 Best Artifical Intelligence Grand Theft Auto III Tied 1st
14 January 2002 IGN's Best of 2001 Best PlayStation 2 Game Grand Theft Auto III Won
14 January 2002 IGN's Best of 2001 Best Action Game Grand Theft Auto III Won

Alternate Artwork

In some PAL territories, Grand Theft Auto III was released with different cover artwork, despite there being no major differences in the game itself. Below are examples of several box arts.



The Definitive Edition
Original Versions


See more, Artworks in GTA III


Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Trailer



  • Grand Theft Auto III was the first Grand Theft Auto title to feature a first-person perspective, when looking around, aiming the M16 or the Sniper Rifle, and when driving.
  • This is the only game in the 3D Universe to include the ability to switch to a top-down camera view in third-person perspective.
  • This game is unique for being the only game in the series where the deuteragonist, tritagonist, and main antagonist are all females.
  • This is the last game from the main series to have the box-art not be a collage of the game's artworks (though only for Europe (excluding Germany), Australia, and New Zealand).
  • Some early copies of Grand Theft Auto III still feature the logo of DMA Design, the original name of Rockstar North, during the opening credits.
  • This is the only game in the 3D Universe to be set during the same year of its release.
  • The cash in Grand Theft Auto III is multiplied ten times compared to the succeeding titles in the series. This is evident when the cost of healthcare and Pay 'n' Spray stations are compared, which both cost $1000 in Grand Theft Auto III but only $100 in later games, and the reward for collecting Hidden Packages, which are worth $1000 each in Grand Theft Auto III, but only $100 in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and onwards.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, when the player bumps into cars, there is a small variable cash bonus, like in previous Grand Theft Auto games. Destroying a vehicle gives the player a bigger bonus.
  • Grand Theft Auto III is the only game in the series where the Pay 'n' Spray and Ammu-Nation icons are not displayed on the radar during regular free-roam.
  • Rockstar celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the game's release by releasing several Grand Theft Auto III themed toys, as well as porting the game to mobile devices.
  • It was rumored that many features of the game were scrapped after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, Rockstar denied this and claimed that only about 1% of the game was changed. A reference to terrorists was removed, and a few cosmetic details like cars and certain civilian comments were changed. A major change was a remix of the US packaging, which would eventually become Rockstar's signature style.[4]
  • This is the only game in the 3D Universe where the "Mission Passed" jingle is not derived from the main theme of the game.
  • A port was in development for the Sega Dreamcast, but due to the interest in the console steadily declining, the Dreamcast version was scrapped and never released, making Grand Theft Auto 2 the only game in the GTA series to be released on the console.
  • This is the first game in the Grand Theft Auto series to feature the motion blur effect "trails".
  • Grand Theft Auto III was released on the same day as the PlayStation port of Grand Theft Auto 2, just 2 years later.
  • There was originally going to be a cheat to urinate on walls, as seen in some cheat code books, but it doesn't appear to work if the player attempts to use the cheat code. It was most likely scrapped.
  • Grand Theft Auto III was initially banned in South Korea through the Korea Media Rating Board, but the 10th Anniversary version is available for purchase, even with localization. This is because rating games through KMRB was replaced by rating games through the Game Rating Board, its subsidiary, in which GTA III was subsequently lifted.
    • This makes it the very first 3D Universe game to be officially translated into Korean.

See Also

Further Reading

Official Site

External links