Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is coming to PSP later this year, Rockstar Games announced today. It will be available on UMD and as a download from PSN this spring (northern "fall").

With a Metacritic score of 94, Chinatown Wars is the highest rated game available for the Nintendo DS. Yet it has been a flop in terms of retail sales, reaching only about half a million copies sold in the six months since its release. (If half a million sounds respectable, bear in mind that Nintendogs has sold over 22 million.)

Considering the different audiences that the two handheld platforms attract, bringing Chinatown Wars to PSP could well make a lot of sense. The two previous GTA games for PSP, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories, were the highest selling games on the platform.

“Rockstar’s work with the GTA series has been an enormous part of the success of PlayStation platforms," said Jack Tretton, chief of Sony Computer Entertainment America. “We’re excited to welcome the critically acclaimed Chinatown Wars to the outstanding line-up of great games headed to the PSP platform this fall.”

The PSP release of Chinatown Wars will be specifically built for the PSP platform with upscaled widescreen graphics and enhanced lighting and animation, plus all-new story missions. It is in development at Rockstar Leeds in collaboration with Rockstar North.

“We’re proud to extend this truly unique handheld Grand Theft Auto experience to PSP and offer a downloadable version of Chinatown Wars for PSPgo,” said Rockstar founder Sam Houser. “Rockstar Leeds has shown incredible talent in creating games that raise the bar in terms of depth and innovation on portables, and with Chinatown Wars we have a rich, fast-paced, and incredibly addictive entry into the series.”