The 3D Universe (previously known as the Grand Theft Auto III era) refers to the six Grand Theft Auto games, grouped together because they have interlinking characters, locations and storylines. This is also known as the second 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 3D Universe 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 Vice City in 1984 . A PlayStation 2 port was released by Rockstar on March 6, 2007. This was the last game in the 3D Universe to be released.
- Liberty City appears in all 3D Universe games in some form, except for Vice City Stories, where it does not appear and is not mentioned by any of the main characters.
- GTA III is the only game in the 3D Universe to be set in the same year as the game was released.
- 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 perform an attack on some Forelli Family members in Marco's Bistro.
- Drifting seems to be easier in 3D Universe rather in HD Universe. In addition, doing Gymkhana is also easier in the 3D Universe.
- All vehicles in this universe can be easily pushed by the player character.
- All road vehicles in the 3D Universe have a speed limit of 150 mph (241 km/h).
- Grand Theft Auto III is the first 3D Universe game to be released and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is the last. Chronologically, however, Vice City Stories is the first game (1984) and Grand Theft Auto III is the last (2001).
- Every 3D Universe game has been released on either a handheld system or mobile devices.
- GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, and Liberty City Stories were remade for iOS and Android, with much improved graphics.
- GTA Advance is exclusive to the Game Boy Advance.
- Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories originated on the PSP and were ported to the PS2. Liberty City Stories was also remade for iOS.
- Carl Johnson and Victor Vance are the only protagonists in this universe who can swim.
- Marco's Bistro is the only place of the 3D Universe that appears in every game, except Vice City Stories.
- Timeline (3D Universe)
- Characters in 3D Universe
- Tallest Buildings in 3D Universe
- Character Deaths (3D Universe)
- HD Universe