All video games have a history... a history of rumors and official statements, of leaks, of screenshots, of trailers and other things that excite us, confuse us or do both. So how do we get from the smallest hint of a new game to the real thing? What's the journey?
Today, we're debuting something a little different: a
Kotaku Timeline—a timeline that tells the tale of the public emergence of the biggest, most interesting video games. The first game we're giving this treatment to may well be the biggest game of 2013: Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V. We'll be updating it in the months to come, through the release of the game and beyond.
You could say that people have been expecting a
GTA V as far back as when GTA sequels first had numbers in their titles. But the first hints... the first rumors that seemed to have at least some possibility of truth behind them, hit in 2009. And so that's when our timeline begins...
October 28—First GTA V-related clues found... (or so we thought.)
12:27pm—GTA IV add-on might be teasing GTA V's location
An ad featured in the
GTA IV addon The Ballad of Gay Tony, which is a parody of the 2009 film New York, I Love You, seems to signal that GTA is leaving the New York-inspired Liberty City of GTA IV. There is much debate in the GTA community over whether this is a genuine hint or simply a joke.
12:30pm—Fans find possible hint of a character who might be in GTA V . Maybe. Kind of.
Another possible clue spotted: during the end credits of
GTA IV's The Ballad of Gay Tony, the character Packie McReary takes a taxi to Francis International Airport. The theory is that he's en route to the sequel.
November 15— GTA V hinted by Rockstar lead Dan Houser
Newspaper: "The script he will end up co-writing will run to around 1,000 pages, nearly ten times as much as a feature film."
March 5—Industry expert predicts a pre-E3 GTA V announcement
Financial analyst Mike Hickey: "We believe there is building suspension for a pre-E3 announcement, although we expect nothing from Rockstar at this year's official E3 event." (Note that this will happen again and again.)
May 4—'Leaked' pre-E3 document mentions Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 2
Because, you know, people just leave that kind of thing out there. Well, at least we can all laugh at it now.
July 27— GTA V is set in Los Angeles! Probably
GTAV.net: "...an independent source had informed them that Rockstar is definitely researching locations "around Hollywood... and the surrounding area."
A report (
if you can call it that
) today on
Grand Theft Auto V
will be set in Hollywood. Later,
reports that Rockstar is, indeed, doing research around Hollywood.
February 26—New theory: StopPayingYourMortgage.net = GTA V-related website
A bunch of URLs registered by Rockstar-owning publisher Take-Two—among them gems like CashforDeadDreams.com and SixFigureTemps.com—suggest Rockstar wants to satirize the recession this time around. Except maybe at the time of writing there'd still be nothing interesting on these sites.
March 7—Possible codename for GTA V: Rush
Google search wizard
manages to dig up some interesting casting details about an upcoming Rockstar title. (Superannuation later lands
March 29—Take-Two starts hiring voice talent, likely for GTA V
Rockstar announces a casting call for characters that would fit perfectly into any
GTA title—including one with the same name as a pedophilic radio host from GTA IV. Coincidence?
May 26— GTA V set to be unveiled in 2012?
Take-Two: "...we have a very strong pipeline of titles in development."
In a quarterly financial briefing, while talking about the 2013 fiscal year, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick hints that something big is coming.
June 21— GTA V in 2012? You're damn... right?
Gamespot: "The sources said a 2012 release was "pretty likely," adding that the game's scale was vast."
October 11—Rockstar gives "big shout" to their GTA fans
Given that Sam Houser being heard saying "Good day" so quickly that it might have sounded like "GTA" could constitute a
update for news-starved fans, the fact that Rockstar gives a shoutout to the
during a Max Payne 3 Q&A
on their very own
is kind of a big deal. Kind of.
October 25—It's real. GTA V to be revealed in one week!
7:15am—Rockstar says the GTA V debut trailer will arrive next week
The debut trailer is scheduled for November 2. Only Rockstar would dare to run a trailer for an upcoming game during the heavy fall release season and know full well that, on that day, no big fall games will matter.
11:00am—GTA V will make or break consoles
Kotaku: "Rockstar doesn't need anyone. Everyone else who makes video game platforms needs Rockstar."
Kotaku explores the implications GTA V's release could hold for various game platforms.
1:00pm—Are these the best cities for GTA V?
We analyze possible locations for the new
4:20pm—Well, that didn't take long! GTA V to be set in Los Angeles/Los Santos
Sources familiar with the game confirm long-standing rumors that
GTA V is, indeed, set in a fictional version of Los Angeles—and one tosses in a tantalizing bonus claim that the game will have multiple protagonists.
October 26—A look into the GTA V logo's history
that the "FIVE" at the end of the game's logo is lifted from old U.S. paper currency. But what does it all mean?
October 31—Tributes to the upcoming GTA V trailer
1:30am—A Liberty City walkathon, in honor of GTA V
The announcement of
Grand Theft Auto V
's trailer coming out inspires Youtube user
to record this lovely tour of
11:40am—Here's the new GTA V trailer, NMA style
The Taiwanese group
Next Media Animation
show us what they think the new
teaser will look like.
November 2—The first GTA V trailer has arrived!
11:00am—To get ready for the new one, we remember how we were introduced to GTA IV
We talk about how the first trailer for
GTA IV depicted the game we all know and love.
12:00pm—Here's GTA V's first official trailer
GTA V trailer has landed! It features a man talking about retiring to the city, overlaid over a montage of scenes from the game.
12:14pm-The GTA V trailer song is Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake by The Small Faces
Kotaku does a little detective work and finds out which song was playing in the background during the new trailer.
1:20pm—The GTA V trailer has loads of cool stuff in it
We comb through the new trailer, picking out various interesting tidbits and analyzing them.
November 3—Discussion of the first GTA V trailer
3:00am—Was that Ray Liotta narrating the GTA V trailer? 'fraid not
that the voice actor of
GTA: Vice City
's lead character wasn't doing the voice in the new
11:20am—What if we run over a dog in GTA V?
Commenter Nostrapadamous, after seeing the dogs present in the trailer, delves into the matter of virtual animal abuse (accidental or otherwise).
1:20pm—Will GTA V feature old GTA characters?
1:57pm—Rockstar releases GTA V statement
Rockstar: "Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California."
Rockstar Games officially announces
GTA V on their Newswire.
November 4—Here's GTA V's first very own rap
Rapper Dan Bull writes a song in reaction to the new
GTA V trailer.
November 14—Can this man be the star of GTA V?
looks into the rumor that the man narrating the GTA V trailer was voiced by none other than
November 25—The trailer, recreated in GTA IV
A youtuber recreates the
GTA V trailer in GTA IV.
December 15—It's time for a female hero in GTA!
Kotaku looks at historical representations of female criminals in the media, and speculates on how well Rockstar would handle writing one.
February 13—More GTA V details in a few months
Rockstar: "...expect that we'll be talking much more about
GTAV starting at some point in a few months' time."
Rockstar confirms that there will be no
GTA V-related news for a while—at least until after Max Payne 3's spring release.
March 6—Could Mafia II developers be working on GTA V?
VG247 discusses a rumor
that 2K Czech, the people responsible for
, might be working with Rockstar on
March 22— GTA V's multiplayer will feature "crews"
Houser: "...by creating crews through Social Club, the crews that you create in
Max Payne 3 will be ready and available for you to play in Grand Theft Auto V from day one."
In an interview with
, Dan Houser reveals that
will support the new Crew system for multiplayer, which debuts with
Max Payne 3
April 12—CJ won't be returning in GTA V
In a tweet, Young Maylay, Carl Johnson's voice actor, confirms that he won't be returning to voice the protagonist of
San Andreas in GTA V.
April 13—Fans map Los Santos onto Google Maps
While waiting for updates on their most anticipated game, the folks over at
a Google Map of Los Angeles
with the real life versions of locations pulled from the the
May 27—An old-school GTA V trailer remake
GTAV.net community member recreates the GTA V trailer (again), this time using San Andreas.
May 28—A possible GTA V easter egg in Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3
stumbles upon several photos which seem to depict planes featured in the
May 29—Five things GTA V should lift from Max Payne 3
We, after having a go at
Max Payne 3, talk about which parts of the game should Rockstar use to improve GTA V.
August 3— GTA V goes viral
August 9—The GTA V fans' next target: Battlefield 3
They did it again!
Battlefield 3 is the latest game to get the GTA V trailer treatment.
August 20—Fact: you can fly planes in GTA V
October 11—We might be getting a release date for GTA V
that he's at Rockstar HQ, checking out a playable build of the game—which means there's definitely some news coming soon.
October 18—Got ideas for GTA V's multiplayer? Tell Rockstar! Rockstar asks their fans
what they'd like to see in
October 24—Tired of screenshots? Here's some kickass GTA V concept art
October 27—Hey, we've got a release date! Probably!
October 30—The confirmations just keep coming!
8:39am—Game gives confirmation, then quickly changes its mind
In a tweet
screencapped by IGN
, the UK retailer confirms the recently leaked release date for
, obviously, wasn't willing to keep the tweet around for too long.
12:09pm—Now it's really official
Rockstar: "Starting next week November 5, 2012,
Grand Theft Auto V will become available for pre-order everywhere."
November 1—Storms and posters, oh my!
7:09pm—Sandy delays the new trailer
Rockstar: "Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy has derailed our plans somewhat, but we will have something to show soon."
It seems that
is not the only one in trouble. Rockstar, on their
tells their fans
that the second
trailer isn't coming as soon as they've hoped.
10:27pm—Feast your eyes on these amazing HD posters
November 2—A look back at the characters of GTA
Kotaku reminisces about the heroes and villains of GTA—and also tries to spot patterns in their design.
November 5—The next GTA V trailer is coming soon
November 8—New details emerge
6:40am—GTA V to star an "East Coast gangster"
According to CVG
, our brand new protagonist is an ex-gangster trying to escape his past. Since we're talking about a
game here, it's pretty likely he doesn't succeed—at least at first.
12:00pm—GTA V to star not one, but three characters!
, here are the main characters of the next
3:10pm—GTA V's gonna be HUGE!
Kotaku: "There's wilderness, a military base, and even an ocean floor to explore underwater."
Game Informer's cover story reveals a myriad of facts about the new GTA. Kotaku has a roundup.
9:00pm—A musical (r)evolution
GTA titles but like some other Rockstar titles, GTA Vwill feature an original score. Can it surpass the previous games' radio stations?
9:30pm—The previous games were kinda big, too
If it takes six and a half hours to speedrun
GTA III, how long will it take for GTA V?
11:00pm—Having trouble picturing how big GTA V is? Here's some help
tries to estimate the game world's actual size.
November 9—A little bit of this, a little bit of that
Houser: "I think it's fair to say that [our games] are set in a world that is a satire of American media culture."
Dan Houser talks about what inspired
November 12—Let's talk characters and setting
8:03am—Here we go again! New GTA V shots released
, here's a brand new batch of screenshots. We finally get a closer look at the new protagonists.
9:30am—Big, but not too big
Houser: "We wanted to make a big place, as much as anything, to allow you to fly."
Dan Houser steps in to reassure fans: the game's
won't be its downfall.
November 14—It's trailer day!
7:00am—The eastern perspective
explains to Famitsu
why they didn't want to wait until the next console generation to release
11:00am—GTA V trailer, take two
Here it is, as Rockstar promised: the second
GTA V trailer.
11:35am—Forget the Small Faces, here's some Stevie Wonder
Just like last year
is quick to identify the song behind the new trailer. Do
have a skeleton in your closet?
4:15pm—How excited are you? Nope, not excited enough
Is it possible to literally go bonkers for video games? Shanko Shizz shows us that the answer is yes.
5:30pm—Then and now
We know that
will look better than
has the answer
November 15—Reactions to the second trailer
1:30am—Here's tribute number one
Russian artist and
GTA fan Ilya V. Boykov offers his own stylish take on the second GTA V trailer.
5:00pm—Here's what the community has to say (it's not pretty)
does everyone a huge favor (if you can call it that) by collecting the best of the best
November 18—Trailer two, recreated in GTA IV
A youtuber recreates the second
November 26—Some fanart to go with all the other tributes
November 27—The people have spoken, and they want GTA V on PC
A few disgruntled fans, upon discovering no solid evidence of a PC version being released,
created a petition
. Now, online petitions are a dime a dozen and they're rarely effective, but ye gods, has this one gotten
December 5—Hey, look, it's Lego City: Undercover! Wait a minute...
GTA fan and LEGO aficionado recreates the first GTA V trailer in LEGO.
December 13—After nine years, San Andreas looks better than ever
Rockstar24 shows us
how much the world—
world—has changed in nine years.
December 19—Who the heck is OG Solo?
The voice actor for one of
December 24—Rockstar's Christmas gift: GTA V shots for everyone!
Rockstar spreads some holiday cheer with fighter planes, sharks and rottweilers.
December 28—You know what we need? More trailer remakes!
One YouTube user has a little bit of fun with the characters from
January 7—A little something to decorate your desktop with
Rockstar celebrates the new year by handing out a bunch of
concept art wallpapers.
January 26—Gamestop hijinks reveal more concept art
January 31—Something gained, something lost
"Today, we have an official release date to share with you:
Grand Theft Auto V will arrive in stores on September 17, 2013."
Rockstar, after a long wait,
finally reveals GTA V's
release date—but, as it turns out, there will be a delay.
February 28—The real locations behind the game
correspondent explores the real-world locations behind the game's screenshots.
2013. September 17.
open world action-adventure