Rockstar Games has earned its reputation for crafting some of the most intricate, expansive, and thrilling open-world action games in the gaming industry. While many know them for their Grand Theft Auto series, which revolves around car thefts and bank heists in fictional cities, Rockstar’s portfolio extends far beyond, including table tennis simulations and even Austin Powers tie-ins. In this article, we embark on a journey through Rockstar’s history to explore all the games they’ve released over the years.
The Roster: 47 Rockstar Games
In total, Rockstar Games has produced a staggering 47 games. The journey commenced in 1997, a year before the label officially formed under Take-Two Interactive. Although some of these games are widely celebrated, this list excludes downloadable content (DLC) and remastered versions, focusing instead on the core standalone releases.
Grand Theft Auto (1997)
Rockstar’s foundational game, Grand Theft Auto, introduced players to a top-down action world where they could forge their criminal legacy across fictional cities. This game laid the cornerstone for one of the gaming industry’s most influential franchises, Grand Theft Auto.
Wild Metal Country (1999)
Acting as a transitional offering, Wild Metal Country placed players in tanks, battling on hostile alien planets. Originally not published under the Rockstar banner, it later saw an official Rockstar release for the Dreamcast in 2004.
Monster Truck Madness 64 (1999)
Developed by Edge of Reality Games and published by Rockstar, Monster Truck Madness 64 allowed players to engage in high-octane races, pitting monstrous trucks against each other across various tracks.
Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)
The sequel to Grand Theft Auto, this game transported the action to the futuristic setting of Anywhere City. Players were tasked with building their criminal empires, evading law enforcement, and amassing wealth.
Earthworm Jim 3D (1999)
Developed by VIS Interactive and published in North America by Rockstar Games, Earthworm Jim 3D marked the third installment in the beloved Earthworm Jim franchise. It embraced 3D graphics, a departure from its 2D predecessors.
Thrasher Presents: Skate and Destroy (1999)
In the spirit of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Thrasher Presents: Skate and Destroy invited players to navigate 12 stages, working their way up the skateboarding world, emphasizing realistic physics and simulated gameplay.
Evel Knievel (1999)
Evel Knievel, a Gameboy Color title, cast players as the renowned stunt performer Evel Knievel, challenging them to conquer death-defying bike stunts across 20 thrilling levels.
Surfing H30 (2000)
Surfing H30, developed by Opus Corp and internationally published by Rockstar, immersed players in the world of competitive surfing. They aimed to amass high scores by performing stylish tricks and maneuvers.
Austin Powers: Oh, Behave! (2000)
Following Evel Knievel, Tarantula Studios ventured into the world of Austin Powers with “Austin Powers: Oh, Behave!” This collection of mini-games allowed players to step into the shoes of Austin Powers, reliving iconic moments from the films.
Austin Powers: Welcome to my Underground Lair! (2000)
Launching alongside “Oh, Behave!,” “Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair” mirrored its counterpart, with players assuming the role of Dr. Evil instead of Austin Powers. Despite the thematic differences, the two games shared similar gameplay mechanics.
Midnight Club: Street Racing (2000)
Marking one of Rockstar’s earliest collaborations with Angel Games (later renamed Rockstar San Diego), Midnight Club: Street Racing transported players to the bustling streets of London and New York. The game tasked them with competing in high-stakes street races in open-world maps.
Smuggler’s Run (2000)
Developed concurrently with Midnight Club: Street Racing, Angel Games’ Smuggler’s Run saw players controlling a smuggler as they evaded law enforcement and delivered contraband using dune buggies and trucks. The game’s success led to a sequel the following year.
Developed by Bungie West and published by Rockstar, Oni offered a futuristic sci-fi action experience with an anime-inspired art style. Players assumed the role of Konoko, a special agent who rebels against her corrupt superiors. The game focused on hand-to-hand combat and introduced ranged weapons later in the gameplay.
Max Payne (2001)
While technically published by Gathering of Developers, Remedy Entertainment collaborated with Rockstar to port Max Payne to various consoles. Players followed Max Payne’s quest for answers after his family’s tragic demise, employing the iconic bullet-time mechanic in gritty New York City streets. Max Payne laid the foundation for two sequels fully published by Rockstar.
The Italian Job (2001)
Adapting the iconic 1969 heist movie, Pixelogic’s The Italian Job initially had Sales Curve Interactive as its publisher in 2001. Rockstar later took over publishing duties in North America, re-releasing the game a year later. This open-world driving game allowed players to set up and execute the movie’s signature heist.
Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001)
Grand Theft Auto 3 marked a transformative moment for Rockstar, evolving from top-down gameplay to a 3D, third-person open-world shooter. Players embodied Claude, a revenge-driven criminal navigating the streets of Liberty City. This title revolutionized the franchise and paved the way for multiple major sequels, contributing to the popularity of open-world sandbox games.
Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory (2001)
The sequel to Angel Studios’ Smuggler’s Run, “Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory” offered players an extension of the original’s thrilling gameplay. As a smuggler, players sneaked cargo across three maps, this time with new and returning vehicles.
State of Emergency (2002)
“State of Emergency,” developed by VIS Entertainment, blended beat-’em-up brawler and third-person shooter elements. Players found themselves in a cartoonish world participating in violent riots, battling enemies, and completing missions using a wide array of weapons.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
The first follow-up to Grand Theft Auto 3, “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” unleashed the chaos of an open-world, 3D, and criminal-infested Vice City, reminiscent of Miami. Playing as Tommy Verceti, players navigated through the 80s underworld, tasked with infiltrating the crime scene following a botched drug deal.
Midnight Club 2 (2003)
Sequeling Rockstar San Diego’s street racing hit, “Midnight Club 2” presented players with new races across LA, Paris, and Tokyo. Notably, it introduced motorcycles, expanding on its predecessor.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003)
The sequel to Remedy Entertainment’s first Max Payne adventure saw Rockstar taking full publishing control. Players continued Max Payne’s story as he returned to the New York Police Department, encountering a new character, Mona Sax, in select missions.
“Manhunt,” created by Rockstar North, thrust players into the controversial world of James Earl Cash, a death row inmate forced to participate in gruesome snuff films to earn his freedom. The game focused heavily on stealth and brutal takedowns using makeshift weapons, igniting debates about violence in video games.
Red Dead Revolver (2004)
Rockstar San Diego’s “Red Dead Revolver” marked the genesis of the beloved Red Dead series. Players became bounty hunter Red in the American Frontier, challenging them to conquer enemies across a series of action-packed levels. Although distinct from its open-world successors, it offered intense arcade action.
Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004)
“Grand Theft Auto Advance” by Digital Advance reimagined the iconic open-world crime sandbox for the GameBoy Advance. Reverting to a top-down perspective, players assumed the role of Mike, a Liberty City criminal seeking vengeance for his partner’s death.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Simultaneously with GTA: Advance, “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” Rockstar North’s next mainline GTA entry, transported players to the sprawling world of former gangster CJ in Los Santos. With its expansive map, numerous missions, and a rich tapestry of crime families and chaos, it became an instant classic.
Midnight Club 3 (2005)
The third installment in Rockstar San Diego’s racing franchise, “Midnight Club 3” transported players to Atlanta, Detroit, and San Diego. The game expanded on its predecessor with more street races, customizable cars, and new parts to enhance the experience.
The Warriors (2005)
“The Warriors,” developed by Rockstar Toronto, acted as both a prequel and retelling of the 1979 classic action film. Players engaged in melee-based brawls, accompanying a group of street thugs fleeing to Coney Island while evading the police and violent gangs. The game delved into the backstory of the characters before the events of the movie.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
The second handheld spin-off in the Grand Theft Auto series, “Liberty City Stories” took the action to Sony’s PSP. Players followed Tony Cipriani, completing missions for Don Salvatore Leone and witnessing the rise of a criminal empire.
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (2006)
“Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis” represented a unique departure for a publisher renowned for its violent action games. Developed by Rockstar San Diego, this game offered a realistic simulation of table tennis, serving as a tech demo for the RAGE engine and featuring state-of-the-art graphics.
Known as “Canis Canem Edit” in Europe, “Bully,” developed by Rockstar Vancouver, transplanted the frenetic action of Grand Theft Auto into a high school setting. Players assumed the role of new student Jimmy Hopkins as he navigated the complexities of Bullsworth Academy, complete with classes, cliques to infiltrate, and an expansive storyline. Despite controversy surrounding its school setting, “Bully” emerged as a revered cult classic.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
The second PSP spin-off in the Grand Theft Auto series, “Vice City Stories,” developed by Rockstar North and Rockstar Leeds, served as a prequel to “Vice City.” Players followed ex-soldier Vic Vance as he forged his name in the streets of the iconic metropolis, delivering more open-world mayhem on Sony’s handheld device.
Manhunt 2 (2007)
Handing the reins to Rockstar London, Rockstar commissioned a sequel to the controversial stealth-focused action game, “Manhunt.” “Manhunt 2” introduced new protagonists, Daniel Lamb and Leo Kaspar, allowing players to assume the roles of both characters as they struggled to survive a disturbing series of snuff films.
Grand Theft Auto 4 (2008)
The first Grand Theft Auto installment on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, “Grand Theft Auto 4” by Rockstar North revisited the iconic setting of Liberty City. Players took on the role of Niko Bellic, tasked with finding fortune and revenge in the sprawling metropolis, ascending through the ranks of the criminal underworld. It would later yield two standalone expansions.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles (2008)
With “Grand Theft Auto 4” embracing new console technology, Rockstar San Diego released the fourth installment of its Midnight Club series. “Midnight Club: Los Angeles” saw players rise from novice to racing legend, cruising through the sunny streets of LA.
Grand Theft Auto 4: The Lost and Damned (2009)
The first of two major expansions for “Grand Theft Auto 4,” Rockstar North explored Johnny Klebitz’s story, a leader of The Lost MC motorcycle gang introduced in the game’s main campaign. “The Lost and Damned” introduced new storylines and side activities, further immersing players in the world of The Lost MC.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009)
In another handheld collaboration between Rockstar North and Rockstar Leeds, “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars” brought the world of GTA to the Nintendo DS. Returning to the top-down style of the early Grand Theft Auto games, players assumed the role of Huang Lee, helping the Triads become a dominant force in Liberty City.
In 2009, Rockstar Leeds, known for their involvement in Grand Theft Auto ports, decided to embark on a new venture. They veered away from the well-trodden path of crime-ridden cityscapes and introduced “Beaterator.” This unique creation allowed players to explore their musical talents with a music mixer designed for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). Players could craft their own tracks and, more excitingly, share their creations with friends through various modes. Later, “Beaterator” also found its way to iOS devices, broadening its reach.
Grand Theft Auto 4: The Ballad of Gay Tony – 2009
“The Ballad of Gay Tony,” released in the same year, marked the final expansion for the critically acclaimed “Grand Theft Auto 4.” Developed by Rockstar North, this expansion shifted its focus from the game’s central character, Niko Bellic, to Luis Lopez. Players delved into the vibrant nightlife of Liberty City’s club scene, assisting Gay Tony in confronting debt collectors, rival gangs, and adversaries. “The Ballad of Gay Tony” artfully intertwined its narrative with the main campaign, offering a satisfying conclusion to multiple story arcs.
Red Dead Redemption – 2010
Following their earlier work on “Red Dead Revolver,” Rockstar San Diego rekindled their love for the Wild West with “Red Dead Redemption” in 2010. This masterpiece stands as one of Rockstar’s most revered titles, immersing players in the tale of John Marston, a former outlaw tasked with hunting down his former gang members who left him for dead. The game unfolds against the backdrop of the fading American Frontier and the vast expanses of Mexico. Players engaged in thrilling shootouts, took on notorious outlaws, and lived the ultimate cowboy fantasy.
“Red Dead Redemption” soared to instant classic status, becoming a vital pillar of Rockstar’s gaming portfolio. It was lauded for its poignant storytelling, satirical depiction of the American West, and heart-pounding action sequences.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare – 2010
In a spooky twist, Rockstar San Diego revisited the Wild West in the same year with “Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.” Just in time for Halloween, this expansion transformed the American West into a zombie-infested wasteland. The story took a surreal turn, as John Marston returned from his mission just as an undead plague swept through the land. This expansion allowed players to reunite with familiar characters from the main campaign, challenging them to vanquish iconic enemies, battle hordes of zombies, and confront mythical creatures.
Critically acclaimed, “Undead Nightmare” stands as one of the finest DLCs ever released, offering an entertaining and surprisingly substantial side campaign.
L.A. Noire – 2011
In 2011, Rockstar ventured into the realm of detective games by collaborating with Team Bondi to publish “L.A. Noire.” This immersive experience thrust players into the shoes of LAPD officer Detective Cole Phelps. The game presented a richly detailed depiction of 1940s Los Angeles, where players unraveled mysteries, interrogated witnesses, and pursued criminals. A groundbreaking aspect of “L.A. Noire” was its use of cutting-edge motion capture technology, setting a new standard at the time and capturing the intricacies of facial expressions for enhanced realism.
While it garnered praise for its technical marvels, “L.A. Noire” has also become an enduring part of internet meme culture in the years following its release.
Max Payne 3 – 2012
In 2012, Rockstar Games took the reins of the iconic “Max Payne” franchise from Remedy Entertainment and launched “Max Payne 3.” This time, the gritty narrative shifted from the dimly lit streets of New York to the sun-drenched vistas of Brazil. The titular protagonist, Max Payne, underwent a transformation as he shed his iconic look and delved into a darker, more somber storyline.
The game’s comic book aesthetics made way for a tale of money, murder, and shadowy dealings. Max tracked down two missing women amid a whirlwind of hyper-violent gunfights and emotionally charged monologues. While “Max Payne 3” presented a departure from the series’ previous entries, it quickly gained a cult following.
Grand Theft Auto 5 – 2013
“Grand Theft Auto 5,” released in 2013, stands as one of Rockstar’s most triumphant achievements. Not only is it the pinnacle of Rockstar North’s efforts, but it also ranks among the most successful media products ever created. Launched at the close of the Xbox 360 and PS3 console generation, “GTA 5” provided players with a triple protagonist experience, enabling them to assume the roles of Franklin, Michael, and Trevor—three career criminals uniting to execute elaborate heists across the sprawling metropolis of Los Santos.
This open-world extravaganza gave players the unprecedented ability to seamlessly switch between the three protagonists, offering chaos on an unparalleled scale. The game introduced an intricately detailed city teeming with criminal opportunities, missions, and a vast virtual world. Its enduring popularity continues, with thousands of players immersing themselves in its world daily.
Grand Theft Auto Online – 2013
Initially part of “Grand Theft Auto 5,” “Grand Theft Auto Online” eventually evolved into a standalone experience in 2022. This online platform provides a live-service interpretation of the GTA universe. Players are set loose in Los Santos, where they can create chaos with friends, engage in missions, participate in PvP matches, and compete in races. The online world allows players to level up their avatars, ascending the ranks of the city’s criminal underworld.
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files – 2017
“L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files,” released in 2017, takes players back to the enthralling world of L.A. Noire, but this time, in a more immersive form. This rendition allows players to put on a VR headset and dive into seven of the most memorable cases from the original game. With full immersion in the virtual world, players can interact with clues, interrogate witnesses, and make arrests.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – 2018
A sequel to the highly-praised “Red Dead Redemption,” “Red Dead Redemption 2” made its debut in 2018. Serving as a prequel to the original game, it unraveled the story of Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang just before its disbandment. Players took on the role of outlaw Arthur Morgan, immersing themselves in one of Rockstar’s most intricate storytelling experiences. The narrative wove a compelling tale of greed, brotherhood, and betrayal against the backdrop of the American Frontier.
“Red Dead Redemption 2” earned accolades for its meticulous attention to detail in its vast open-world environment and its exceptional storytelling.
Red Dead Online – 2018
Much like “Grand Theft Auto Online,” “Red Dead Online” emerged as a standalone experience after the release of “Red Dead Redemption 2.” Here, players could craft their own outlaws and set forth to explore the untamed frontiers, join gangs, and undertake missions while leveling up their cowboy characters and outfitting them with new gear.
Upcoming Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games has two highly anticipated projects in the pipeline, generating excitement among gamers. Firstly, “Grand Theft Auto 6,” the next installment in the iconic franchise, has been officially confirmed by Rockstar, signaling active development. The publisher made this announcement through a press release, affirming that the next chapter in the “Grand Theft Auto” series is well underway.
Additionally, fans of the “Max Payne” series have reason to celebrate as Remedy Entertainment, the original creators, have joined forces with Rockstar Games to remake the classic titles, “Max Payne” and “Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne.” This collaboration is poised to breathe new life into the beloved games, enhancing graphics and gameplay for both veterans and newcomers to the series.
Grand Theft Auto 6 – Release Date: To Be Determined
Rockstar Games has officially revealed that the next chapter of the Grand Theft Auto franchise will get a trailer this December for Grand Theft Auto 6 !
Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne Remakes – Release Date: To Be Determined
Rockstar Games, with its rich history of groundbreaking titles and the promise of exciting new releases, continues to be a driving force in the world of gaming. As players eagerly anticipate the arrival of “Grand Theft Auto 6” and the revitalized “Max Payne” classics, Rockstar’s legacy as a pioneer in the gaming industry remains firmly intact.
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