Rockstar Games has made some great sandbox games, but which is the biggest one they’ve made so far?
Developers and marketers have both tried to make sure their games are worth the price, even if their plans haven’t always been the best. With microtransactions, season passes, etc., some people will try to milk their audience like an overeager farmer. But in general, they have tried to make the base game worth the suggested retail price by adding side quests, minigames, extra challenges, awards, and other things that make the game longer.
The sandbox games made by Rockstar Games are especially well-known. But how long does it take them to really beat? Some players stop playing after the main story is done, while others want to beat the game all the way through. So, this list will rank the length of Rockstar’s games by using HowLongtoBeat.com’s All Styles measure, which takes into account both casual players and completionists to get a good idea of how long the game is.
Grand Theft Auto 3
The game that changed everything came first. GTA3 changed the series from a top-down, 2D game that had to pay newspapers for controversial press to a 3D game that didn’t have to try to shock and impress people. The game made Liberty City so real that it was THE reason to get a PS2 when it came out.
They’d also have plenty of time to see what it had to offer. On average, it takes 19 and a half hours to finish GTA3, and 15 of those hours are spent just on the main story. The rest of the time is spent with side tasks for the main character, Claude, or with the player taking on the LCPD in a tank. Either go big or stay small.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Those who liked GTA3 also liked GTA: Vice City. Its plot was like a dark version of Miami Vice, with a beach city in the 1980s and music from that time. What could be better than turning on some Hall & Oates and then speeding onto a street full of PIGs? At 23 hours, it was also a bit longer than GTA3.
The late Ray Liotta’s acting as the player character Tommy Vercetti makes the 18-hour main story fun to play. But still, it’s the extra things to do and new places that keep people coming back. Also, you can drive 120 different land, sea, and air vehicles and try out 40 different tools, such as guns, grenades, swords, and chainsaws. Most likely, they’ll work longer than those normal hours.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Before they worked on the Red Dead series, Rockstar San Diego made a set of open-world racing games called Midnight Club. MC: Los Angeles was supposed to be the biggest in the series, with 10 different kinds of races, 58 cars (including DLC), and an L.A map that was bigger than all the maps from the other games put together.
On average, it takes 27 hours of digital rubber to get around the City of Angels. Rockstar San Diego really wanted to keep players busy with all the races, cars, prizes, special moves, and other things. But, surprisingly, HowLongtoBeat.com says that there is still a game in the series that is 9 hours longer than MC: L.A.
L.A Noire: The Complete Edition
Before that game comes out, Rockstar’s next longest game will still be set in Los Angeles, but instead of street racing, it will be about solving crimes. L.A. Noire was made by Team Bondi before they gave Rockstar the rights to publish it, but they got help from various Rockstar studios during its long, difficult development. In 2006, Rockstar joined the project, and the final game was released in 2011.
Now, the Remastered version based on the game’s Complete Edition is easy to find. The main story cases, street crimes, achievements, and other things, plus the extra DLC cases and goodies, add up to 30 and a half hours of sleuthing, shooting, following, and reading strange face expressions. Even if players only played the main story, it would still take 25 hours, which is longer than the first GTA games.
Red Dead Redemption
Poor Red Dead Revolver. It wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t very interesting or long, either. The average amount of time it took to finish HowLongtoBeat was 7 12 hours. Still, that would be a better way to spend an evening than, say, the first Street Fighter. But, just like Capcom’s battle, Red Dead’s sequel really saved the game.
When it came out, Red Dead Redemption was called the best open-world game ever made. Which is mostly because of how beautifully and brutally it shows the Wild West, how smooth and quick it is to play, and how interesting its story is. At 24 and a half hours, the game is just an hour and a half longer than GTA: Vice City. But if you add the Undead Nightmare update, you can ride horses, shoot guns, and try to figure out who the Strange Man is for a total of 33 12 hours.
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
This seems strange. Even though MC:3 DUB used older hardware than MC: L.A. and had smaller areas and less stuff overall. HowLongtoBeat said it was the longest of the Midnight Club games at 36 hours. This doesn’t even count the Remix Edition, which had an extra map in Tokyo but was only 25 12 hours long.
If you tried to beat both games’ main and extra material. You’d be racing through cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and others for a day and a half. Why is it so long? There are still a lot of cars to get, change, and race through the city streets. Backrooms game’s career mode says that if you finish 40 races, you are about 19% done. At that rate, it might be the only driving game people need.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Many people still think that GTA: SA, with its 90s hip-hop action, is Scotland’s best game. Some people like GTA: Vice City’s bright cheese better. There’s no question that GTA: SA is the bigger game. Instead of making a copy of New York or Miami. It makes copies of large parts of California and Nevada and calls them “San Andreas.”
Players are drawn back into the gang life in Los Santos (L.A.), San Fiero (San Francisco), Las Venturas (Las Vegas), and everywhere else. Overall, there are 42 hours of gameplay between the main story, side tasks, and just following the damn train. It could take even longer if players had to do the Supply Lines tasks in their original, broken form.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Spiritually, all that time spent in San Andreas could have been for nothing. Since players can find and kill CJ in GTA5, which brings the series back to Los Santos. The most recent game in the series turned 10 in 2023, but it has stayed alive for the past 10 years thanks to multiple ports, updates, and a nearly constant stream of material for the Online Mode.
Michael, Franklin, and Trevor’s stories might as well be window dressing next to fans’ custom figures playing golf or bingo between heists. If Rockstar ever figures out how to put the whole game on VR devices. They will have made something like the Holodeck from Star Trek. The 44 hours of GTA5 are probably more fun with a joystick, computer, and mouse than with a headset and a first-person view.
Grand Theft Auto 4: The Complete Edition
If GTA5 is so big and has so much to do, why is it still shorter than GTA4? At first, players didn’t want to play GTA4 because of its sad characters and setting. It’s not enough to stop it from being one of the most popular games ever. But the new serious tone did cause some players to switch to games like Saints Row 2 that were more fun to play.
Or, at the very least, they would keep watching until they got more interesting side material like The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. With all of this material and the fact that it was the first GTA game to have an online mode. The Complete Edition was the longest GTA game ever at 49 12 hours. But it’s not the longest game ever made by Rockstar. That means…
Red Dead Redemption 2
No game is worth working 100-hour “crunch” weeks or unpaid, forced overtime. Still, the result was that both reviewers and fans called Red Dead Redemption 2 the best open-world game ever, better than the first game. Others didn’t like it as much, because they thought John Marston’s story was much better than Arthur Morgan’s. Which was about the end of the Wild West and the beginning of the 20th century.
Still, the game was just as fun as it had always been. The world was bigger, there were more moves to choose from, taking care of horses became more complicated. And there were a lot of events and minigames to try out. With Red Dead Online, the first online game in the series. Players have 76 and a half hours of cowboy fun ahead of them. Don’t try to do it all at once.