The Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most popular franchises in gaming. According to Gamespot, the series has now shipped 125 million units to date.

The figure was announced by Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick during the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference. There was no further information about which game in the series sold how many copies, but the company has confirmed that Grand Theft Auto IV alone shipped 25 million units.

Zelnick has also said that the success of the GTA series comes from its unique release schedule. The series doesn't follow a proper release schedule like Activision's yearly Call of Duty games, and instead follows its own schedule. GTA V is set to release in 2013, after 2008's GTA IV. Zelnick has stated that the company is going to turn the GTA franchise into a yearly series.

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Will not have an annual release cycle

“It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently,” he said. He used the example of Black Ops II, which didn't perform as well as last year's Modern Warfare 3.

“That's never been the case with one of ours,” he said. “Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall.”

Earlier this month, a number of new features of GTA V were revealed. Rockstar is now promising greater mission variety in GTA V. One of the biggest complaints faced by GTA IV was that most of the missions consisted of driving to a location, killing your target, driving back to a safe location, and repeat. According to Rockstar, some missions in GTA V will feature one playable character, while others will feature two or three. The game will also follow an Ocean's Eleven-type progression, where a lot of missions will be preparing for and pulling off complex heists.

The game will also feature a new inventory system. At the moment, each character has his own inventory and money, but the developers have explained that this is something the company normally addresses later in the development cycle, so the system could see a change before the game's release.

When asked if features from the previous games will be making a come back, such as underwater areas, the developers said that GTA V will have a lot of underwater areas to explore. The developers have also mentioned that none of the characters from GTA III, Vice City, or San Andreas will be making an appearance, but characters from GTA IV might visit the city.

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