Grand Theft Auto V is one of the bestselling video games of all time. It’s been released on multiple console generations and its online multiplayer component, GTA Online, is still one of the biggest games in the world. But before all that, 12 years ago today, Rockstar Games blew people’s minds and got folks hyped with a single trailer that was less than 90 seconds long.
On November 2, 2011, Rockstar Games dropped the first trailer for its then-upcoming Grand Theft Auto sequel (see on Amazon). It had been three years since the debut of the series’ prior main entry, Grand Theft Auto IV (see on Amazon). People were excited, and once the trailer for GTA V hit, fans spent months digging through every frame of it, scrounging for any details they could.
Speculation ran wild after the trailer debuted. People suggested that the game would include a full real estate system based on a moment when someone puts a sold sign in a front yard. (It didn’t include any such system, though GTA Online did let players buy apartments.) Another popular theory among was the idea that the homeless man seen at the 58-second mark was actually a washed-up and down-on-his-luck Niko Belic from GTA IV. (Nope!)
The trailer also kickstarted a group of super fans to begin collectively mapping out the world of Grand Theft Auto V before its official release. Before the game launched, the final fan-created map based on trailers and screenshots was shockingly accurate. A similar effort is happening with GTA 6, as fans are using the leaked footage from last year to map out Vice City. And when we finally get a trailer for that game, fans will once again dig through each frame to find all the details they can. The more things change…
Let’s remember 2011
What was going on in 2011? Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Skyrim, Portal 2, and Mass Effect 2 launched that year to critical acclaim. Nintendo’s 3DS also landed on store shelves and Twitch, a website for streaming gameplay in front of an audience, was officially launched. Oh, and a certain article about the Joker dying was posted in 2011 on Kotaku.com. Remember that?
At the end of the year, Rockstar dropped a trailer for what would go on to become one of the most successful games ever created. Well…once it eventually came out.
See, while GTA V’s first trailer landed in late 2011, the game didn’t get released until after some delay in 2013. That’s quite a gap! At the time, I remember people being flabbergasted that it was going to be five years between mainline GTA installments. Before that, the longest gap was between GTA San Andreas and GTA IV, which was four years. Little did we know back then that a five-year gap between entries would be nothing compared to the decade-long wait for the next game in the series. While we wait for GTA VI’s first trailer, it’s fun to go back and see what so many of us were excited for 12 years ago today.