Next week will see the highly anticipated release of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA5), on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
With pre-order sales of 2.5 million, Rockstar Games' latest offering looks set to become one of the best selling video games of recent times.
In the UK, eager fans will be able to get their hands on a copy from midnight on Tuesday morning as selected retailers including Game and HMV seek to capitalise on expected demand.
Set in the fictional city of Los Santos, GTA5's open world environment is described as "sprawling, satirical reimagining of Southern California".
It features fast cars, lovable rogues, perilous missions, and plenty of gunfights, all set to a vibrant and varied soundtrack as has come to be a trademark of the series.
A gameplay trailer released in July has received nearly 25 million views on Youtube:
For the first time, in a departure from its predecessors, instead of one lead protagonist, there are three playable characters; Michael, Franklin and Trevor, who join forces to carry out a series of missions.
Michael is a once successful bank robber and now less successful family man.
Franklin, is a hustler who is trying to escape his gangster life on the streets.
Last but not least is Trevor, a drug dealer, and former associate of Michael's, who always seems to find himself in trouble.
Players can switch in real-time between the characters during missions such as bank heists, which enables them to experience different perspectives and carry out varied tasks.
They can also explore their individual lives and go on solo adventures at other times.
GTA5: Facts, leaks and rumours:
- The game features the largest soundtrack the company has ever produced. Rockstar's sound supervisor told Rolling Stone magazine it contains 240 songs, 15 radio stations and two talk stations.
- A series of leaks on websites including NeoGaf and Reddit appear to show the GTA map is bigger than ever.
- Gameplay videos were leaked by gamers who had somehow got their hands on them. However, within hours YouTube and Rockstar Games were removing them as quickly as they were being uploaded.
- Grand Theft Auto Online multiplayer gaming will be launched in October, Rockstar has confirmed. It is rumoured to feature more than 500 missions.
The best-selling games of the GTA series
To date, the best-selling games of the Grand Theft Auto series are as follows:
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - 27.5 million
- Grand Theft Auto IV - 25 million
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - 17.5 million
- Grand Theft Auto III - 14.5 million