By Matthew Byrd

The legendary GTA 5's most impressive accomplishment may be steadily gaining popularity across three console generations. How did that happen?

Work on GTA 5 began shortly after GTA 4's release. Developer Rockstar envisioned a game that combined the best of their previous titles and addressed fan complaints.

More importantly, the GTA 5 team knew that they wanted the game to feature three playable protagonists. It was a dream of theirs that wasn't previously possible due to technical limitations.

GTA 5 was revealed in October 2011. This kicked off a prolonged marketing campaign that drove fans crazy. It was around this time many understood just how popular the GTA series had become.

The game was finally released in September 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The response was overwhelming as GTA 5 drew nearly universal acclaim from fans and critics.

More importantly, GTA 5 was instantly a sales success. It broke seven video game sales world records upon its release. In just three days, it reached over $1 billion in sales revenue.

GTA 5 was released just weeks before the PS4 and Xbox One which led many to expect a next-gen port of the title. What nobody expected was how different the 2014 PS4, Xbox One, and PC port would be.

Improved graphics, new songs, and an ambitious first-person view made millions purchase GTA 5 yet again. It felt more next-gen than most new next-gen games at that time.

If you're looking for the biggest reason for GTA 5's longevity, look no further than GTA Online: GTA 5's wildly popular online mode that fulfilled the dreams of millions of fans.

GTA Online has proven to be one of the most popular games of the live service era. Its constant updates and surprising role-playing scene have ensured it's the only game millions of GTA fans need.

GTA 5 Online's popularity is surely the reason why Microsoft and Sony promised fans a new version of GTA 5 will release on Xbox Series X/PS5 in 2021. It's one of the year's most anticipated releases.

Even the brilliant Red Dead Redemption 2 hasn't come close to replicating the success of GTA 5. It's proven to be a unique case of video game longevity that may never be topped.

What does the game's success mean for GTA 6? Rumors of a sequel have existed for years, but for now, Rockstar has few reasons to abandon GTA 5 anytime soon. It could end up stretching 4 generations.