Rockstar not only recreated the 2D universe of the previous games in 3D, but the developers also came up with a new standard for the North American box art. For each title after Grand Theft Auto III, the cover art would focus on characters and various staples from the game.
The mosaic-like designs consistently portray a number of recurring elements that we've collected below:
1. With the exception of Chinatown Wars, there's always a helicopter in the top left.
2. You can likely find a motorcycle in the top right.
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3. There's always an attractive female on the box, often wearing a swimsuit.
4. Besides helicopters and motorcycles, one of the coolest, fastest cars from the game has to be shown somewhere on the box.
5. One of the featured characters should be packing heat.
6. There's always a tough guy on the top-center spot facing forward.
7. You can almost always find someone rocking shades.
8. Most of the covers have 9 different panes on them. Grand Theft Auto III leads with 12 panes, while Vice City Stories only has 7.
I may have missed the story but has Dan Houser remarked on why this was bestowed a number instead of simply being another iteration in the current generation? Right now this seems similar to the jump from Vice City to San Andreas and I'm curious as to the naming decision.