An era is the term used unofficially to group similar Grand Theft Auto games released in succession.
An era can be thought of as a generation of GTA games, where each game within that era have a number of similarities. Games within an era generally have similar artistic styles, overlapping storylines and a range of content appearing in several of those games. An era can span many years with many games, or even just contain one game.
On Grand Theft Wiki, the name of the numbered game is the name we give to that era. So GTA IV started the GTA IV Era.
|GTA 1 Era||GTA 1 (PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color)|
|GTA 2 Era||GTA 2 (PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color)|
|GTA III Era||GTA III (PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac)|
GTA Vice City (PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac)
GTA San Andreas (PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac)
GTA Advance (Game Boy Advance)
GTA Liberty City Stories (PSP, PlayStation 2)
GTA Vice City Stories (PSP, PlayStation 2)
|GTA IV Era||GTA IV (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)|
|GTA V Era||GTA V (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)|
GTA Online (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Within a single era, games generally have a lot in common:
- Artistic style
- Overlapping storyline & characters
- Many overlapping brands, products, advertisements etc
- Locations (whether accessible or just mentioned)
- Vehicles and weapons
- Gameplay mechanics & features (such as Wanted Level)
However, many of these do vary between individual games (such as vehicles), whilst others exist across more than one era (such as Sprunk). However, games within an era still have much more in common than those in separate eras.
The gap between GTA III and GTA IV was almost 7 years, so the games within the GTA III Era varied greatly in technical quality and features. However, they still belong to the GTA III Era as the storylines are related, a number of characters overlap, and the general design of the game is similar (such as Wanted Level). GTA IV has no overlapping storyline and introduces different gameplay mechanics, although certain brands and many vehicles appear also in the new era.
Note that any games released late, or with a new version released after a new era has started (such as a Mac or mobile version), are still regarded as being part of the era they are most related to. The grouping of similar games is more important than strictly separating by release date.
It is known that Rockstar Games use this same grouping of games internally, but no official term (such as 'era' or 'generation') is known, and no grouping of the games is used on the box or in product descriptions.