The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, driving, and occasional role-playing, stealth and racing elements and has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The
antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organization, or who has the most impact impeding their progress.
DMA Design began the series in 1997, and it currently has nine stand-alone games with two expansion packs for the original and two expansion packs released for the latest console
installment, Grand Theft Auto IV. Film veterans such as Michael Madsen, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Gary Busey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia, Kyle MacLachlan and Peter Fonda have all voiced major characters in many installments in the series. The name of the series and its games are derived from grand theft auto, a term referring to motor vehicle theft.