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In Liberty City, Niko Bellic, an Eastern European, arrives to meet his cousin Roman. Niko comes to Liberty City to pursue the American Dream, and to search for the man who betrayed his unit in a war fifteen years prior. After his arrival, however, Niko quickly learns that Roman's tales of riches and luxury were lies concealing struggles with gambling debts and loansharks, and that Roman lives in a dirty apartment rather than a mansion.
Niko defends Roman from his loansharks several times, eventually killing Vlad Glebov, Roman's Russian loanshark. Niko was forced to work for Vlad due to Roman's debts but Niko killed Vlad because he found out that Vlad slept with Roman's girlfriend, Mallory. After Vlad's murder, Niko and Roman are kidnapped by members of the Liberty City Bratva on order of Mikhail Faustin and his associate, Dimitri Rascalov. Faustin, not bothered by the murder of Vlad, hires Niko. Niko quickly learns that Faustin is a psychopath when he orders him to kill the son of Kenny Petrović, the most powerful man in the Liberty City Bratva. Dimitri then orders Niko to assassinate Faustin, and when Niko meets with Dimitri to collect on the assassination, Dimitri betrays him. When Niko meets Dimitri, Dimitri brings his friend Bulgarin who claims that Niko stole from him. Niko denies the allegation saying that a cargo ship that he was transporting for Bulgarin sank and that he nearly drowned while swimming to shore.
Immediately afterwards, Niko and Roman are forced to escape to Bohan when their apartment and taxi company are destroyed in arson attacks by Dimitri's men. However, things go poorly in Bohan: one of the drug deals that Niko works on turns out to be a sting and another is busted. After the latter incident, Niko's current girlfriend Michelle then reveals that she works for a government agency and entraps Niko into working for her agency, known only by its cover: United Liberty Paper. Niko kills several known or suspected terrorists for the agency in exchange for the file of the numerous crimes the police have on him and the promise of assistance in finding the traitor of his unit.
With the assistance of United Liberty Paper, Niko eventually tracks down the man responsible for his unit's betrayal: Darko Brevic; the player chooses Darko's fate. Having dealt with his past, Niko is summoned by Jimmy Pegorino, who demands one final favour after many favours: to help with an extremely lucrative deal on heroin in collusion with Dimitri Rascalov.
The story then features two possible endings depending on the choice made by the player at this point in the game: to strike a Deal with Dimitri or exact Revenge on him. If the player chooses to go through with the Deal, Niko soon finds out that Dimitri took the heroin for himself, which endangers and angers Niko. Later, Roman is set to marry Mallory. At the wedding, an assassin sent by Dimitri kills Roman with a stray bullet as Niko disarms and kills him. A devastated and vengeful Niko later tracks down Dimitri and Pegorino, witnesses the former kill the latter, before chasing and killing Dimitri.
If the player chooses to extract Revenge, Niko ambushes Dimitri and executes him. In the aftermath, Roman's wedding takes place, but Pegorino, furious after Niko's betrayal, commits a drive-by shooting outside the church. He targets Niko, but ends up killing Niko's girlfriend Kate. Niko soon tracks down, chases, and kills Pegorino, who had become hated and targeted by the entire underworld of Liberty City.
Grand Theft Auto, abbreviated to GTA, is a video game series created by David Jones and Mike Dailly, then later by brothers Dan and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. The name of the series is derived from "grand theft auto", a term referring to motor vehicle theft.
The series is set in fictional locales heavily modelled on American cities, while an expansion for the original was based in London. Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities, all consisting of action-adventure, driving, third-person shooting, occasional role-playing, stealth, and racing elements. The subject of the games is usually a comedic satire of American culture, but the series 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 his organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress.
Video game developer DMA Design began the series in 1997, and it currently has ten stand-alone games and four expansion packs. The third chronological title, Grand Theft Auto III, was widely acclaimed, as it brought the series to a 3D setting and more immersive experience, and is considered a landmark title that has subsequently influenced many other open world action games and led to the label "Grand Theft Auto clone" on similar games. Subsequent titles would follow and build upon the concept established in Grand Theft Auto III. Film and music veterans have voiced characters, including Michael Madsen, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Danny Trejo, Gary Busey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Debi Mazar, Jenna Jameson, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia, Ricky Gervais, Andy Dick, Debbie Harry, Kyle MacLachlan, Phil Collins and Peter Fonda. The series has been critically acclaimed and commercially successful, having sold more than 150 million units, as of September 2013.