Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (abbreviated as GTA: SA) is a sandbox-style action-adventure computer and video game developed by Rockstar North. It is the third 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, the fifth original console release and eighth game overall. Originally released for the PlayStation 2 in October 2004, the game has since been ported to the Xbox and Microsoft Windows, and has received wide acclaim and high sales figures on all three platforms, and is the highest selling game of all time on PlayStation 2 so far. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was succeeded by Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and was preceded by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
The game is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, comprising three metropolitan cities. Set in March 1992, San Andreas revolves around the gang member Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home from Liberty City to Los Santos after learning of his mother's murder. CJ finds his old friends and family in disarray. Over the course of the game, CJ gradually unravels the plot behind his mother's murder while exploring his own business ventures. Like other games in the series, San Andreas is composed of elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features "open-world" gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience. The game adds several features, such as car customization, and character personalization.
Much like the previous entries in the Grand Theft Auto series, San Andreas's critical and commercial success has not been without controversy. The most notable controversy was over the explicit "Hot Coffee" sex minigame found on the Microsoft Windows game, which was disabled but left within the game's code. Its discovery led San Andreas to be re-rated briefly as an adult game and pulled from retailers' shelves. After the Hot Coffee minigame code was removed, the game was re-rated as M again. But nonetheless, covert sexual references still remain.