Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a 2002 open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) in the United Kingdom and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and sixth original title overall. It debuted in North America on October 1, 2002 for the PlayStation 2 and was later ported to the Xbox, and Microsoft Windows in 2003. It was made available on Steam on January 4, 2008, and on the Mac App Store on August 25, 2011. Vice City was preceded by Grand Theft Auto III and followed by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Vice City draws much of its inspiration from 1980s American culture. Set in 1986 in Vice City, a fictional city modeled after Miami, the story revolves around psychotic Mafia hitman Tommy Vercetti, who was recently released from prison. After being involved in a drug deal gone wrong, Tommy seeks out those responsible while building a criminal empire and seizing power from other criminal organizations in the city. The game uses a tweaked version of the game engine used in Grand Theft Auto III and similarly presents a huge cityscape, fully populated with buildings, vehicles, and people. Like other games in the series, Vice City has elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features "open-world" gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience.
Upon its release, Vice City became the best-selling video game of 2002. In July 2006, Vice City was the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. Vice City also appeared on Japanese magazine Famitsu's readers' list of the favorite 100 videogames of 2006, the only fully Western title on the list. Following this success, Vice City saw releases in Europe, Australia and Japan, as well as a release for the PC. Rockstar Vienna also packaged the game with its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, and sold it as Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack for the Xbox. Vice City's setting is also revisited in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which serves as a prequel to events in Vice City.
Because Vice City was built upon Grand Theft Auto III, the game follows a largely similar gameplay design and interface with GTA III with several tweaks and improvements over its predecessor. The gameplay is very open-ended, a characteristic of the Grand Theft Auto franchise; although missions must be completed to complete the storyline and unlock new areas of the city, the player is able to drive around and visit different parts of the city at his/her leisure and otherwise, do whatever they wish if not currently in the middle of a mission. Various items such as hidden weapons and packages are also scattered throughout the landscape, as it has been with previous GTA titles.
Players can steal vehicles, (cars, boats, motorcycles, and even helicopters) partake in drive-by shootings, robberies, and generally create chaos. However, doing so tends to generate unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the police (or, in extreme cases, the FBI and even the National Guard). Police behavior is mostly similar to Grand Theft Auto III, although police units will now wield night sticks, deploy spike strips to puncture the tires of the player's car, as well as SWAT teams from flying police helicopters and the aforementioned undercover police units, à la-Miami Vice. Police attention can be neutralized in a variety of ways.
A new addition in the game is the ability of the player to purchase a number of properties distributed across the city. Some of these are additional hideouts (essentially locations where weapons can be collected and the game saved). There are also a variety of businesses called "assets" which the player can buy. These include a film studio, a dance club, a strip club, a taxi company, an "ice-cream delivery business" (acting as a front company), a boatyard, a printing works, and a car showroom. Each commercial property has a number of missions attached to it, such as eliminating the competition or stealing equipment. Once all the missions for a given property are complete, the property will begin to generate an ongoing income, which the increasingly prosperous Vercetti may periodically collect.
Various gangs make frequent appearances in the game, some of whom are integral to story events. These gangs typically have a positive or negative opinion of the player and act accordingly by following the player or shooting at him. Shootouts between members of rival gangs can occur spontaneously and several missions involve organized fights between opposing gangs.
Optional side-missions are once again included, giving the player the opportunity to make pizza deliveries, drive injured people to a hospital with an ambulance, extinguish fires with a fire truck, deliver passengers in a taxi, be a vigilante, using a police vehicle to kill criminals, and the ability to drive a bus, transporting fare-paying passengers. Monetary rewards and occasional gameplay advantages (e.g. increased health and armor capacity and infinite sprinting) are awarded for completing different difficulty levels of these activities. Different sums of money are awarded for landing trick jumps in motorcycles or fast cars depending on the number of flips and height achieved.