Year released: 2001
An argument could be made for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as the PS2's first great system seller, but Grand Theft Auto III, released a month earlier in the U.S., is probably the most influential to future game development. It popularized the open-world 3D sandbox that, until then, had proven such a technological strain.
It also pushed buttons in the public consciousness that fuels the censorious to this day. A constant Fox baiter, GTA III was the first entry in the series to really take a knifey stab at making fun of the very same outrage it provoked from the media old guard, particularly with the tongue-in-cheek radio banter and quick-fix commercial promises of in-game station Chatterbox.