The state is located in the Midwest.
In time order, it is the first location explorable to the player in the HD Universe, with the Prologue being set in 2004, four years before the story of Grand Theft Auto IV. However, unlike Los Santos and Blaine County, North Yankton does not allow players to roam around the whole map, as attempting to do so will result in mission failure. This is because the rest of the map doesn't physically exist and several areas are not rendered, being replaced by background textures.
Roads and rails are legal within Cavalry Boulevard, but as the player drives further away, the road/rail starts to miss textures and ends in boundaries that will fall beyond this point. Trees are also missing textures, except the closest ones, and some are placed over the roads. Missing terrains are at least the same, with fake fences rounding large portions of the map.
All objects, such stop signs, trashcans and fences are unbreakable compared to the Los Santos counterparts. This due to the fact that North Yankton doesn't allow the player to explore. In addition, train signs are made with permanent warning lights on, even in Online pre-patch. However, the crossing bells can only be heard during missions.
North Yankton is so far the only location in the Grand Theft Auto series that is completely landlocked.
Events of Grand Theft Auto V
In 2004, nine years before the main events of GTA V, Michael Townley, Trevor Philips, and Brad Snider robbed a bank in Ludendorff. The North Yankton State Patrol swarmed the scene and chased the three men as they tried to escape to their getaway helicopter. The SUV they were riding in was hit by a train and ruined, so the trio escaped on foot to their destination. A sniper (Dave Norton) hiding around a corner, attempted to kill Trevor and Brad. However, he only managed to shoot Brad but was unable to shoot Trevor in time. He also "shot" Michael (in reality, Dave simply feigned a shot on Michael). Trevor is forced to fend off the approaching police by himself, and runs away from some armed pursuing locals. A funeral for Michael is then shown at a cemetery, while Michael watches on from a distance and flicks away his cigarette.
Sometime between 2004 and 2013, Michael and his family, who had assumed new identities, and Trevor had all moved to San Andreas state.
North Yankton is visited again in 2013 during the mission Bury the Hatchet by Trevor, who was determined to find out who was really buried in Michael's pretend grave after the bank robbery, despite Michael's attempts to talk him out of it. Michael followed him in an attempt to stop him. Trevor's suspicions were eventually confirmed when he discovers that the person who was buried in the grave was none other than he and Michael's old friend, Brad. After discovering Brad's corpse in the grave, the two were attacked by Triads who were hunting for Trevor; Trevor escaped from the cemetery, leaving Michael to fight the Triads alone. Michael fights his way through the Triads, but he is captured when he reaches his car, which had been immobilized by Trevor.
The police seen in Ludendorff are State Police, evidenced by text on the cars. As of 2004, the state police drive white Police Roadcruisers with two stripes down the side and "STATE PATROL" next to the front door, similar to that of a North Dakota state police car, with the police emblem engraved on the front doors. They also use Police Ranchers with the same livery. Due to the snowy weather, the cars are fitted with snow chains on the tires to allow for better traction on the road. The cars also have a snow-covered texture. State troopers wear black coats over white shirts with black ties, and light brown pants and can sometimes be seen wearing winter hats.
Numerous snowy vehicles can be seen driving around North Yankton at the times it is visited. These vehicles are only ever seen during the two missions they appear in (where more variations are seen in the second of the two missions), and are scripted only to appear during the mission. As such, the vehicles will not be seen driving around if the map is reached outside of the missions.
If the player was to gain a wanted level while in North Yankton reached with the use of glitches or mods, police vehicles will spawn on and follow the roads as normal, as the roads feature their own paths for the missions. This is because LSPD spawned in a wanted level are not restricted to Los Santos, and are simply spawned on any roads belonging to Los Santos, which is also why normal cars do not appear in North Yankton off-mission. This means North Yankton's road paths are linked to Los Santos's.
North Yankton may be based upon the state of North Dakota. Very little is known about the state, however, the small town of Ludendorff is located in the state, a city based on Fargo, North Dakota and Bismarck, North Dakota. The state's name is derived from the Yankton Tribe of the Sioux Native Americans. This is similar to how North Dakota is named after the Dakota Tribe of American Indians. The state itself may be named after Yankton, South Dakota, which was the capital of the Dakota Territory until it was split into the present day North and South Dakota. Dependence on state law enforcement, opposed to city police or county sheriffs, may be inspired by the state of Alaska's Unorganized Borough.
- North Yankton is unique to the series in the sense that it is the first ever location featured that is not a new rendition of a place from a previous universe.
- North Yankton's license plates have a red stripe on the top with "YANKTON" written in white text, based on 2001-2006 South Dakota license plates.
- There was a glitch to get into North Yankton in GTA Online. This glitch is very similar to the glitch on getting to Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It was patched in update 1.10, removing the ability to explore North Yankton online. When the glitch was still capable of being exploited in GTA Online, a portion of the map was located near the Port of Los Santos.
- A postcard for North Yankton can be seen on the official GTA V website in the Los Santos and Blaine County travelogue, as well as inside Michael's mansion.
- There is an easter egg in North Yankton. Under the train bridge, there is an alien frozen inside the river. This exists in both Prologue and Bury the Hatchet.
- On May 22nd, 2015, Ned Luke (Michael De Santa’s voice actor) made a Facebook post that says "Maybe it's time for a visit...Maybe...", and featured North Yankton amongst a number of cities both from the real world and from the GTA Series as a possible place for the protagonists to visit, though most likely for the enhanced version only.