An announcement that a hot new installment to free-wheeling videogame Grand Theft Auto will hit streets by the middle of next year was made by Rockstar Games.
"Grand Theft Auto V" was billed by the New York City-based videogame publisher as the "largest and most ambitious" title to date in the franchise that has sold more than 114 million copies since its debut in 1997.
"Grand Theft Auto V builds on everything we've learned about open world gaming," said Rockstar founder Sam Houser.
Versions of "GTA V" for play on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 videogame consoles or personal computers powered by Windows software will launch worldwide sometime between March and July, according to Rockstar.
Fans will be able to pre-order the game beginning in November 5.
Unabashedly criminal Grand Theft Auto is heading for the virtual streets of Southern California.
"Grand Theft Auto V is another radical reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe," Houser said when plans for the game were announced a year ago.
Grand Theft Auto V is set in a fictional city of Los Santos based on real-world Los Angeles and its nearby hills and beaches.
The videogame franchise has won legions of fans and cadres of critics with game play in which triumph depends on acts such as carjacking, gambling and killing.
Play in Grand Theft Auto games has included simulated sex with prostitutes and drunken driving.
The franchise's appeal is fueled by captivating story lines and an open-world format that lets players go wherever they wish in game worlds.
Rockstar said that Grand Theft Auto V "focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar" in a re-imagined Southern California and promised "bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, and mission-based game play."
The game will also let people play with or against one another online.
Grand Theft Auto IV blew away videogame and Hollywood records by raking in an unprecedented 500 million dollars in the week after its release in April 2008.