Join us all month as our staff looks back at the most influential games of the past decade. This is not a list of our favourite games but rather a look back at the games that left the biggest impact in the last ten years on an artistic and cultural level. After careful consideration, we narrowed it down to ten games that have most defined, influenced and shaped the industry as we know it.
There is no video game franchise that has taken the world by storm quite like Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto. Since the very first game way back in 1997, the series has become a cultural phenomenon as well as being a huge commercial and critical success. The fifth installment in the series was Grand Theft Auto V, released in September of 2013. There is no doubt that this game was one of the biggest of the last decade.
Grand Theft Auto V is the seventh game in the main series of GTA titles and it became something of a revolution for the series. For the first time, it focused on three protagonists — Michael, Trevor, and Franklin — rather than just the one. The player can switch freely between them. The characters all have different personalities and skills and their missions overlap in terms of the story. A first-person perspective was also added to the game later which was a first for the series. One of the most exciting new features was just how big and varied the game world is. Jam-packed with side missions, weird stranger encounters and various activities that range from base jumping to hunting, there is such an array of stuff to do that you can easily find yourself spending multiple hours in the virtual world. Why would you actually go golfing when you can just stay inside and golf in the GTA world? At least that way you can hit your competitors with a golf cart afterward and not get arrested.
As well as the main single-player campaign, Grand Theft Auto Online was also included in the game. Releasing two weeks after the main game, the online mode is still incredibly popular today due to its open-ended nature and the sheer level of customization options, missions, races and general fun frivolity to engage in. Despite technical issues here and there — particularly when it was first released — the continuing popularity of the online mode is a testament to the staying power of the GTA franchise as a whole.
Grand Theft Auto V completely smashed various world records upon release, including seven Guinness World Records. It is not only legendary in the gaming world but its various controversies and unwavering successes have led to news reports, documentaries and a plethora of awards. The title is infamous as a game but also as a media form in general, being one of the fastest-selling entertainment properties ever. It managed to beat out several big-budget movies to win this title. Grand Theft Auto V continued the legacy of the Grand Theft Auto series but also propelled it even further than expected. It dominated the games charts and is still known as one of the best-selling video games of all time. Not only that, but it is actually a really good, engaging game too, which is always a bonus. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most important games of the decade not only for its successes in the field of gaming but also due to its influence on pop culture as a whole. It will no doubt continue to influence and entertain for many years to come.