Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 action-adventure game developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games. It is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series since 1999's Grand Theft Auto 2. Set within the fictional Liberty City (loosely based on New York City), the story follows a silent protagonist, Claude, who, after being betrayed and left for dead by his girlfriend during a robbery, embarks on a quest for revenge that leads him to become entangled in a world of crime, drugs, gang warfare, and corruption. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. The open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main islands.
Development was shared between DMA Design, based in Edinburgh, and Rockstar, based in New York City. Much of the development involved transforming popular elements from the Grand Theft Auto series into a fully 3D world for the first time. The game was delayed following the September 11 attacks to allow the team to change references and gameplay deemed inappropriate. It was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2, in May 2002 for Microsoft Windows, and in October 2003 for the Xbox.
Grand Theft Auto III received critical acclaim, with praise particularly directed at its concept and gameplay. However, the game also generated controversy, with criticism directed at its depictions of violence and sex. It became the best-selling video game of 2001, and has sold over 14.5 million copies since. Considered by many critics as one of the most significant titles of the sixth generation of video games and a landmark game in the open world concept, it is often listed among the greatest video games. It won several year-end accolades, including Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications. Since its release, it has received ports to many different gaming platforms. An enhanced version of the game was released on mobile platforms in 2011, for the game's tenth anniversary. Its successor, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, was released in October 2002, and two prequels, Advance and Liberty City Stories, were released in 2004 and 2005, respectively.