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.
|GTA 1 Era
|GTA 2 Era
|GTA III Era
|GTA IV Era
|GTA V Era
An "Era" refers to the series of games that follow a numbered game. So GTA III automatically starts the GTA III Era, and then all subsequent games are part of that era until GTA IV comes out. Likewise GTA V will start the GTA V Era for all subsequent games until we see GTA 6.
Helpfully, most things within an era are related (but not identical). This means that we see a lot of overlap in things like characters, vehicles, weapons, features and overall storyline. Even the map is often shared between multiple games within an era. Also, many things are referenced/mentioned through the era.
Eras can be grouped together into Universes. 1+2 eras are the 2D universe, III era is the 3D universe, and IV+V eras are the HD universe. These must be thought of as completely separate universes, completely separate pieces of work, where nothing in previous universes is true.
Universes are not very helpful for grouping games or for naming articles, because not many things are identical across an entire universe. GTA V will have different sets of locations, missions, characters, vehicles, weapons and features to the GTA IV Era, although some things will appear in both, and the previous era is still maintained to be 'true' in the new era.
There are a few things we need out of this discussion:
We need to decide which things have their own page, and which things are grouped. It seems that everyone is in agreement with this already (although the names are up for debate).
For example, there's not much benefit in having separate pages for "Liberty City in GTA III" and "Liberty City in GTA Liberty City Stories", because the cities are practically identical and all the information would be duplicated. It makes much more sense to have a single shared page, which we currently place at Liberty City in GTA III Era.
Equally, there's no point having separate pages for "Liberty City in GTA IV", "Liberty City in The Lost and Damned" and "Liberty City in The Ballad of Gay Tony" and "Liberty City in GTA Chinatown Wars", all with duplicated information. A single Liberty City in GTA IV Era works best.
However, for things such as missions, each game has its own set, so those should not be grouped (Missions in GTA III). However, there is benefit in having an additional page to explain where things overlap, such as Missions in GTA IV Era.
There are the following 4 options:
- Update our current system using the lowest-common-denominator system (create the page about 1 game if possible, otherwise use the era if possible, otherwise use the universe).
- Abandon the use of eras altogether, and instead just use game lists or ranges (eg "Wanted Level in GTA III - GTA Vice City Stories")?
- Switch entirely over to universes (e.g. use "in HD Universe" for all IV/V era pages). We would then need additional systems in place to work around the times when an entire-universe is too broad (eg Wanted Level in GTA IV Era.
- Use eras for physical things (locations, vehicles, weapons), whilst using universes for canon-relevant things (characters, businesses, missions, plots, storylines)
For reference, the GTA Wikia are slowly switching over to option 3, whilst Wikipedia use option 2.
Page Naming System
Once we've decided which system to use, the naming system should be straightforward to agree on.
Our standard convention (which has not yet been codified) is the "lowest common denominator" (1st option above)
- If the page covers one game, just name the game - Characters in GTA III
- if one page covers multiple games, use the era instead - Wanted Level in GTA III Era
- If one page covers multiple eras, use the universe instead - none exist yet, but I expect we might see titles like "Plot in HD Universe" or "Vehicle Manufacturers in HD Universe"
- If one page covers something that appears in a location that itself appears in multiple games/eras, then we extend it such as: Hospitals in Liberty City in GTA III Era
We also need to ensure we have a consistent approach to how to refer to multiple games in articles.
There are several situations these will occur in:
- Opening sentences
- Page sections ("In the GTA III Era, it's a sports car, but in the GTA IV and V eras, it's an SUV")
- Infoboxes & templates (Appears in: GTA III Era, GTA IV Era, GTA V Era)
For example, the Comet. The opening sentence shows it was introduced in GTA Vice City, then there are individual sections for the GTA III Era (3D Universe) and the IV+V eras (HD Universe). Those sections are currently named "GTA Vice City — GTA Vice City Stories" and "GTA IV — GTA V", using the option 2 system.
Discuss this on the Talk Page!