Grand Theft Auto V arrived in stores at the beginning of the week in a flurry of excitement and anticipation for the latest instalment of the controversial game series. It took just three days for the game to take in $1 billion, easily justifying it's label as the most expensive game of all time, and was released to nothing but rave reviews, but what is it that makes GTA such a popular title?

GTA 5 Trevor
The game features three playable characters, and a vast, roam-able map

"Grand Theft Auto V, the critically acclaimed latest release from the iconic interactive entertainment series, has achieved worldwide retail sales of more than one billion dollars during its first three days on sale, according to company estimates," a statement from Take-Two Interactive Software read. "We believe this marks the fastest that any entertainment property, including video games and feature films, has reached this significant milestone."

This doesn't explain the reason behind it's success, but in the statement there is a tone of 'expectations met' as Take-Two and RockStar Games did everything they could to ensure everyone who would be interested was aware that the game was on it's way and that it would be more than worth the five-year wait. In those five year, the game's developers pulled out all the stops to ensure that players weren't just involving themselves in another game, but were entering a whole new world of challenges and a mode of escapism like no other game experience before. What marks GTA5 ahead of other games, including it's predecessors, is it's huge platform for players to explore, mixed alongside an engaging and entertaining storyline.

The marketing team behind the game shouldn't go without mention, and when it comes to promoting an 18 certificate game that regularly garners criticism for it's depiction of violence and crime, their achievements shouldn't go without mention. They managed to induce a feeling of anticipation hardly seen for a game release, and did it all without the help of television commercials. Of course, releasing the game at the beginning of autumn wil have been a move that worked in the games' favour. With the nights growing longer and days colder, more and more people will look to spend their free time inside, and what better way to spend that time than stalking the streets of the fictional Los Santos, stealing cars and killing cops?

In the face of controversy and some media backlash, the game has elevated the GTA series into modern folklore and is more of an iconic name than it has ever been. 15 years since the first title was release on the Playstation, the game is now a cultural icon and, in many respects, a British institution (the games are developed in Edinburgh). The controversy won't go away over-night, but the world-wide love affair with the game will always overcome the wave of negativity thrust it's way.

It is the most successful entertainment release of all time