Community:Discussions/Eras and Universes

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Introduction

There have been many discussions over the years about whether Eras are the best way to group GTA games. With the announcement that Rockstar use Universes to separate their canon, this has fuelled the debate. This discussion will attempt to come to a logical conclusion and consensus about how to group and refer to GTA games.

2D Universe 3D Universe HD Universe
GTA 1 Era GTA 2 Era GTA III Era GTA IV Era GTA V Era

Universes

The GTA series is broken down into three separate Universes - 2D, 3D and HD. These can be perceived as three separate sets of mythology, almost three separate game series with little in common.

To a character living in the HD universe, the stories, characters and locations in the 3D universe never existed, they are just stories. That's why Liberty City in the HD Universe can be completely rebuilt from scratch, nothing like in the 3D Universe.

Some things do persist across universes - such as brands, weapons and vehicles - but these could be easily explained as just being a copy, rather than a single company actually running operations in the 3 separate eras.

Universes are how Rockstar Games view the game universes. They use it to explain how things can be re-created different across universes. However, Universes are not visible on the packaging or mentioned in-game or even on the Rockstar website - they are more of a technical detail and internal explanation, not a grouping of products.

Eras

As well as universes, the games in the GTA series can be further grouped up. Eras are a logical system we use to group games

For example, the 5 games released after GTA III share much in common with it. They have a similar visual style and gameplay, whilst many storylines and characters appear in multiple games.

Eras are entirely based on the game number. GTA III automatically starts the GTA III Era, then all subsequent games are part of that era until the release of GTA IV created a new one.

Eras are useful because they group very very closely-related games. Many things appear in multiple games within an era - particularly in te GTA IV Era where all four games are set in the same city and have a single interlinking story (rather than just a character performing a cameo). Using eras, we can refer to XYZ in GTA IV Era to refer to all 4 games.

The Options

Boiling this down to the very core of the issue, there are four options we have:

Option Explanation Pros Cons
Do not group games Always list every game separately. Technically, the most accurate option This will result in massive, confusing and unreadable lists all over the site. Page titles would have to be "XYZ in GTA III, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA Vice City Stories".
Group games by order Say which range of games something appears in, such as "XYZ in GTA III - GTA Vice City Stories" Accurate, and shorter than not grouping at all Referring to sets requires the reader to fully remember the order of release for all GTA games. For example, "GTA IV - The Ballad of Gay Tony", does that include GTA Chinatown Wars? Will we expect everyone to know that?
Just use Universes Refer to things as being "in the HD Universe" Uses Rockstar's internal grouping system This is not very specific, and could be confusing where things occur in only part of the universe (i.e. one game or one era).
Just use Eras As we currently do, just say "in GTA III Era" The system currently in use. Fairly simple to refer to the official universe groupings as "in the GTA 1 and 2 Eras" Does not reflect the official canon universes
Use both Eras & Universes List+name things as being in the GTA IV Era, whilst also using universes to explain things Gives us the most flexibility, whilst allowing us to be 100% accurate and easily understood Requires a little bit of understanding from users, but very easy once understood

Discussion

What are your thoughts on using Eras to list and group articles (as we currently do), whilst using Universes to explain canon storylines?

Discuss this on the Talk Page!