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2D Universe

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The 2D Universe or 2D Era is the first generation of the GTA Series, which featured a top-down perspective gameplay.

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), as well as being present in GTA 1 's expansion packs, 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.

Locations of the 2D Universe


London expansion packs


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)

Games in the 2D Universe


GTA 1 is set in 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

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 The temporal setting has been exploited through a number of cultural and historical references, including the appearance of a James Bond-like character and the usage of more or less authentic slang.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

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.


  • This era is the only one to include "not-American" cities (London and Manchester).

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