While introduced in the beginning of the series, only certain Grand Theft Auto games have official multiplayer features, and these are often limited in their usage. There have been numerous attempts by teams of fans to create multiplayer gameplay in GTA games, predominantly for those with no multiplayer support to begin with. Some of the modifications created by these teams have been critically acclaimed and have proved very successful.
Multiplayer was originally standard in the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto, although the process of creating and joining servers requires manual identification of the one's IP address and also those of the playmates. The choices of multiplayer modes in GTA is limited to only two: Cannonball run (a checkpoint race) and the traditional deathmatch. Having been based on GTA, the Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 mission packs employ the same multiplayer mechanisms, but allows the player to play multiplayer games in London, as well as Manchester for GTA London 1961.
The processes of creating and joining network games remained unchanged in the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 2, but the game comes with a more user-friendly, Windows-based "GTA2 Manager" to manage and join multiplayer games. GTA 2 features three different multiplayer modes, consisting of the existing deathmatch, as well as "Tag" (players chase one player labeled as "it"; whoever kills "it" becomes "it" in turn, becoming the hunted), and "Points" (where players attempt to rack up as much points or money in the same way they would in single player).
The PC version of Grand Theft Auto III was at one point going to contain a multiplayer mode, however Rockstar cancelled this during development. One can view textures related to multiplayer mode menu screens in the file models/menu.txd, using a TXD viewer. Additionally, strings found in the game's GXT files suggest some of the modes and options that would have been available. There is a video of the multiplayer menu here. The file american.gxt contains:
FEM_MAP - "Select Map" FEM_MP - "MULTIPLAYER" FEN_CON - "Connection" FEN_GAM - "Find Game" FEN_GNA - "Game Name:" FEN_NAM - "Name:" FEN_NCI - "NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET" FEN_NET - "Network" FEN_PLA - "Number of players:" FEN_PLC - "Player color" FEN_PLS - "Player settings" FEN_STA - "START GAME" FEN_TY0 - "Deathmatch" FEN_TY1 - "Deathmatch stealth" FEN_TY2 - "Team Deathmatch" FEN_TY3 - "Team Deathmatch stealth" FEN_TY4 - "Stash the cash" FEN_TY5 - "Capture the Flag" FEN_TY6 - "Rat Race" FEN_TY7 - "Domination"
GTA San Andreas co-op mode
The PS2 and Xbox versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured a co-op mode, which allowed 2 players to either 'free roam' or go on a 'rampage'. This feature was limited, in that both players had to stay within close proximity of one another. Also, some weapons, like the Sniper Rifle and the Rocket Launcher cannot be used in multiplayer.
GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA Vice City Stories
In 2005, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was released on the PSP and featured a multiplayer mode for up to 6 players through WiFi ad-hoc mode. A total of 7 modes of play were available. In 2006, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was released on the PSP with the same functionality as its predecessor, and an additional 3 modes of play available.
Grand Theft Auto IV contained the most developed implementation of multiplayer gaming in the GTA series before GTA Online was released. This has carried over into GTA IV's expansions, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.
The multiplayer, along with the online leaderboards, were removed from the PC "Complete Edition" updated version of the game on March 19, 2020, due to end of support of Microsoft's Games for Windows Live platform. Despite this, un-patched installations of the game still have multiplayer enabled.
GTA Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto Online is a multiplayer game title set in Southern San Andreas and the island of Cayo Perico in Colombia. In GTA Online, there are a category of multiplayer modes such as Race, Deathmatch, Mission, Parachuting and Survival. The players are able to purchase their own apartment or garages around San Andreas, including being able to purchase different types of vehicles. The game shares some achievements and mechanics originally from Grand Theft Auto V.
In GTA Online, multiplayer crews from Max Payne 3 can be carried over to GTA Online. GTA Online has multiplayer features linked to Rockstar's Social Club. It holds up to sixteen people on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and thirty players on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC versions.
Access to Grand Theft Auto Online is free with every retail copy of Grand Theft Auto V.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- During a co-op session, neither of the players are able to aim or fire the Rocket Launcher or Sniper Rifle, due to the fact that the camera normally goes into viewfinder mode whenever they aim either of these weapons during a normal singleplayer session.
- Furthermore, attempting to fire either of these weapons will result in the player repeatedly raising and lowering the weapon very quickly.
- If the 2nd player decapitates CJ with a Katana slice to the head, when CJ respawns back in singleplayer mode, he will not have a head, and the blood spurt animation will continue to come out of his neck. This effect will last for the rest of the singleplayer session, and his head will remain that way even during cutscenes.
- If both players are standing inside of a boat and engage in a "kiss", during the kissing sequence, one of the players will be invisible. After the sequence ends, that same player will appear at the bottom of that body of water, below the boat.
- If the second player tries using the Jetpack, his body may appear to be slightly deformed and unproportional. This is possibly due to the fact that the other character models must use a CJ-specific animation set when they use the Jetpack.