The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series is a staple of gaming culture, featuring iconic characters and unforgettable stories. Let's rank all 11 protagonists from the history of this popular franchise.

11. Claude Speed (Grand Theft Auto III)

An enigmatic figure in the franchise, Claude Speed is a mute protagonist whose lack of dialogue adds mystery to his character. His loyalty and determination to seek vengeance against Catalina make him a respectable anti-hero; however, compared to other protagonists in the series, his limited emotional depth places him at the bottom of our list.

10. Mike (Grand Theft Auto: Advance)

Exclusive to the Game Boy Advance version of GTA, Mike is driven by his pursuit of vengeance for his murdered friend Vinnie. His hate-fueled mission lends needed depth to his character, but he still lacks well-developed traits that only console versions could provide.

9. Huang Lee (Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars)

As an ambitious young Triad member from Liberty City, Huang Lee's difficult relationship with his wealthy family sets up an intriguing narrative backdrop. While Chinatown Wars is primarily known for its top-down gameplay on mobile devices, Huang Lee stands out for seeking revenge and bringing honor back to his family name.

Johnny Klebitz gta

8. Johnny Klebitz (Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned)

A biker gang member with unbreakable loyalty towards The Lost MC in Liberty City, Johnny Klebitz undergoes significant personal struggles throughout The Lost and Damned DLC storyline. He faces heartache and betrayal on various fronts but remains fiercely dedicated to his biker family until the end.

7. Luis Fernando Lopez (Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony)

Luis Fernando Lopez, the central figure of The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC, is a loyal bodyguard and business associate to nightclub owner "Gay" Tony Prince. Driven by loyalty, ambition, and a sense of duty towards Tony, Luis navigates Liberty City's nightclub scene while encountering familiar faces from the base game of GTA IV.

6. Victor Vance (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories)

Vic Vance is a former soldier who becomes involved in Vice City's criminal underworld in order to support his impoverished family. Through drug trafficking and gang wars, Vic endures personal sacrifices for the well-being of his family members—creating an engaging narrative as he takes control over Vice City's drug empires.

Carl CJ Johnson Grand Theft Auto

5. The Journey of Carl "CJ" Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)

CJ remains one of GTA's most beloved characters due to his compelling journey back to Los Santos after five years away from home. Taking on multiple criminal organizations and corrupt law enforcement in pursuit of vengeance for his mother's murder, CJ's powerful bond with his siblings and loyalty to Grove Street families make him an engaging protagonist.

4. Tommy Vercetti: Rise of a Kingpin (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)

Vice City's Tommy Vercetti is a quintessential 1980s icon who rises up as the city's kingpin while solving the mystery surrounding a drug deal gone wrong. Inspired by Al Pacino's Scarface character Tony Montana, Vercetti becomes an encapsulation and critique of America’s decade-long obsession with consumerism and excess.

3. Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)

An Eastern European immigrant searching for the American Dream, Niko Bellic is one of GTA's most relatable protagonists. With a dark past tied to his time as a soldier during the Yugoslav Wars, he navigates Liberty City's criminal underworld, making friends and enemies along the way as he uncovers the truth about those who betrayed him.

Franklin Clinton Grand Theft Auto

2. Franklin Clinton (Grand Theft Auto V)

Ambitious and determined to escape the life of crime that holds back his childhood friends, Franklin Clinton becomes involved with dangerous criminals in pursuit of riches and success. His exceptional driving skills and charming personality make Franklin a sure standout among GTA V’s three protagonists.

1. Michael De Santa (Grand Theft Auto V)

A retired bank robber forced back into his old ways due to a botched heist in North Yankton, Michael De Santa is a dynamic character who comes alive through his unstable family life and declining physical prowess, which mirrors his inner turmoil. As both mentor and father figure to Franklin, Michael serves as the backbone for Grand Theft Auto V’s narrative, becoming one of gaming's most memorable characters.

In conclusion, each protagonist from the Grand Theft Auto series brings their own unique qualities to their respective games. Over time, these characters have evolved to become complex individuals with engaging narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide – a testament to Rockstar Games' brilliant storytelling abilities within this ever-evolving series.