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The 2D Universe is the world where the 2D era, the first generation of the GTA Series which featured a top-down perspective gameplay, takes place. In spite of its name, the graphics of this era are partially 3D. Differently from the following two universes, the plot relation between its different games is not clear.
The 2D Universe was introduced in 1997 by the first game of the series, Grand Theft Auto 1 (the official name is Grand Theft Auto, but the "1" serves to distinguish the game from the series). It was followed by its expansions GTA London 1961 and GTA London 1969 and finally Grand Theft Auto 2 before being retired with the introduction of the 3D Universe in GTA III.
The 2D Universe is set in three American cities (Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City), two British cities (London and Manchester) and a city with unknown location (Anywhere City). The first game of the series allowed the player to choose among multiple protagonists to live the story, including female ones. The presence of non-American playable locations and non-male protagonists are so far unique to this universe.
Chronological release list
- Grand Theft Auto 1 (October 1997)
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (April 1999)
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (June 1999)
- Grand Theft Auto 2 (October 1999)
Chronological plot list
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 (1961)
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1969)
- Grand Theft Auto 1 (1997)
- Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999/2013)
Games in the 2D Universe
GTA 1 is set in the cities of Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City in 1997. These renditions of the cities are vastly different from their more well-known counterparts in the 3D Era. In the game, the player can choose from one of eight protagonists, and even change their names. It begins with only one level to choose from.
London 1969 is the first expansion pack, to the original Grand Theft Auto. As the name implies, the game takes place in London in the year 1969. The player once again enters the role of a criminal looking to work his or her way up the career ladder of organized crime. The temporal setting has been exploited through a number of cultural and historical references, including the appearance of a James Bond-like character and the usage of more or less authentic slang. In addition, the cars drive on the left side of the road, as is the case in Britain.
London 1961 is a freely distributed mission pack, also known as an expansion pack, to the original Grand Theft Auto and London 1969 - requiring both to play. Just as the first mission pack did, London 1961 uses same game engine as the original Grand Theft Auto 1. The game takes place in London in the year eight years before the events of London 1969. The mission pack as implied includes new missions, 22 new vehicles, one new cutscene, and a new multiplayer deathmatch map based upon the UK city of Manchester.
GTA 2 was the first title in the series to adopt early 3D graphics technology present on the PlayStation and some PCs. While the gameplay did not shift to the third-person perspective, as did Grand Theft Auto III with its full 3D environment, it utilised 3D graphics hardware/software to improve the visual quality.