Grand Theft Auto III (abbreviated as GTA III or GTA3) is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and video game developed by DMA Design (now Rockstar North), and published by Rockstar Games. It is the first 3D title in the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series and the third original title overall. It was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2 video game console, May 2002 for Windows-based personal computers, and in November 2003 for the Xbox video game console. The game was preceded by Grand Theft Auto 2 and succeeded by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
The game centres on a nameless criminal who was betrayed by his girlfriend in a bank heist, and is required to work his way up the crime ladder of the city before confronting her. Like its predecessors, GTA III implements sandbox-like gameplay, where the player is given the freedom to explore a large city, complete missions, commit criminal acts, or complete side missions.
The game's concept and gameplay, coupled with the use of a three dimensional game engine for the first time in the series, contributed to Grand Theft Auto III's positive reception upon its release; it quickly became 2001's top selling video game and is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. GTA III's success was a significant factor in the series' subsequent popularity; as of 2008, five GTA prequels set before events in GTA III have been released. GTA III's violent and sexual content has also been the source of moral panic and controversy.