The game features references to many real-life elements of the world, such as its cities, regions, and landmarks, with its plot heavily based on several real-life events in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, including the rivalry between real-life street gangs, the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, the LAPD Rampart scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Unlike its predecessor, San Andreas brought with it new elements of gameplay that would be later incorporated in future titles, including RPG-style mechanics, customization options with both clothing and vehicle appearances, a vast array of activities and mini-games, and the inclusion of gambling games.
Considered by many reviewers to be one of the greatest video games ever made, San Andreas received critical acclaim, with praise directed at its music, story and gameplay, and criticism for its graphics and some aspects of its controls. It was the best-selling video game of 2004, and with over 27.5 million copies sold worldwide as of 2011, it is the best-selling PlayStation 2 game and one of best-selling video games of all time. Like its predecessors, San Andreas is cited as a landmark in video games for its far-reaching influence within the industry. The game’s violence and sexual content was the source of much public concern and controversy. In particular, a player-made software patch, dubbed the “Hot Coffee mod”, unlocked a previously hidden sexual scene. A high-definition remastered version of the game was released for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2015. In June 2018, the game was added to the Xbox One Backward Compatible library. San Andreas has been ported to various other platforms and services, such as OS X, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Fire OS). The next main entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released in April 2008.