The 3D Universe refers to six Grand Theft Auto games, grouped together because they have interlinking characters, locations and storylines. This is also known as the third generation of GTA games released from 2001 to 2006.
Chronological Release List
- Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
- Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004)
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
Chronological Plot List
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (1984)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (1986)
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (1992)
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (1998)
- Grand Theft Auto: Advance (2000)
- Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Games in the 3D Universe
Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto III (2001) was set in fictional Liberty City (based roughly on New York City) in 2001. This game brought a third-person view to the series, rather than the traditional top-down view of earlier titles (although the view is still made available as an optional camera angle). Graphics were also updated with a new 3D game engine. While not the first of its kind, the gameplay engine had expanded the explorable world, doing away with a traditional game structure where the player faces a "boss" at the end of the level and moves onto a new level, opting instead for more realistic mission-based approach. Multiplayer was discarded (third party mods were later released, allowing for multiplayer gameplay) but GTA III improved in many other areas such as voice-acting and storyline (before, there was speech only in short animated cutscenes between levels, other communication was simply subtitles running on the bottom of the screen). Pop culture also is cemented into GTA III, drawing many aspects and ideas from popular films and shows such as Scarface, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
Grand Theft Auto III sold very well and became the first blockbuster game in the series, setting the precedent for subsequent GTA titles to be very successful. GTA III also attracted heavy criticism for its violence against police and its indifference to innocent bystanders, making future games in the GTA series synonymous with violence. Following the success of GTA III, the rest of the games in the GTA III Era are stand-alone prequels, as all take place before GTA III chronologically.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), was set in fictional Vice City (based on Miami) in 1986. Influences for the game include movies such as Scarface, Carlito's Way and the TV series Miami Vice. In fact, the entire basic storyline of the game is an homage to Scarface, including the climactic gun-fight in the main character's mansion at the end. GTA Vice City was an improvement on the scale of GTA III, although featured very little in the way of terrain.
Grand Theft Auto Advance
Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004), originally intended to be a top-down conversion of GTA III for the Game Boy Advance, it ended up becoming its own completely original adventure, set roughly a year before GTA III. The game was set in Liberty City again. This game contradicts GTA III in parts, and GTA III seems to ignore it.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) was set in 1992 in the fictional state of San Andreas (based on California and Nevada) consisting of three cities: Los Santos (Los Angeles), San Fierro (San Francisco), and Las Venturas (Las Vegas). The player is also able to return to Liberty City during one mission. Inspiration came from movies such as Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society, and early 90s west coast gangsta rap culture and groups such as N.W.A.
GTA San Andreas expanded on previous RPG elements, adding the ability to dress the player's character, exercise, and tattoo him. These elements also have an effect on gameplay as other characters would comment on the player character's physique or clothes. The character could also swim (something missing from previous games).
GTA San Andreas also attracted heavy controversy when it was discovered that a sex minigame that was cut from the game could be enabled (See Hot Coffee). As a result, GTA San Andreas was pulled from a number of retail outlets and was re-rated from "M" (Mature) to "AO" (Adults Only) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) - the first game in the series to be given an AO rating. Rockstar has since released an edited version of the game for the PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2, and has reclaimed the "M" rating.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005), a PlayStation Portable GTA III prequel set in 1998 Liberty City. A PlayStation 2 port was released by Rockstar Games on June 6, 2006. The game is a direct prequel to GTA III being set only three years before and involving the same characters and a storyline further linking the events of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to GTA III.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006), the second PlayStation Portable game, was released on October 31, 2006 and set in 1984 Vice City. A PlayStation 2 port was released by Rockstar on March 6, 2007. And is the final game of GTA III Era.
- Liberty City, either an exterior or interior appears in some form all the 3D Era games except for Vice City Stories, where it is at least referenced.
- The Introduction in GTA San Andreas features numerous cutscenes which feature areas of Liberty City. Also, in one mission, Carl Johnson flies back to Liberty City to do a hit on some Forelli Family members in Marco's Bistro.
- The 3D Era is so far the best-selling era in the whole GTA franchise with over a total of 75.1 million sales.
- In almost all 3D Era games, the cars have a clutch system by pressing the brake and accelerator simutaneously (as in doing a burnout) while the car is in motion. When you press them, the car seems to be rolling without engine power. (Except GTA III)
- Drifting is easier on 3D Era rather in HD Era. For the same time, you can do a Gymkhana easier in 3D Era.
- All vehiches in this era can be easily pushed by the player.
- Timeline of Grand Theft Auto III canon
- Characters in GTA III Era
- Tallest Buildings in GTA III Era
- GTA III Era Character Deaths
- GTA IV Era