(Redirected from Grand Theft Auto III Era)

The GTA III Era refers to six Grand Theft Auto games released from Grand Theft Auto III, and before Grand Theft Auto IV. This is also known as the third generation of GTA games, which were released between 2001 and 2006. The 3D Universe refers to the GTA III Era only.

These games are unofficially grouped together into the GTA III Era because they have interlinking characters, locations and storylines; and share features and an aesthetic style that are not present in different eras. The games cover a 17-year time frame from 1984 to 2001, and are known for evoking the sights and sounds of their particular eras.

The six games in the GTA III Era are (in order of release, not storyline chronology): GTA III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Advance, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.

The GTA IV Era, which followed with the 2008 release of GTA IV, is considered to take place in a different continuity to the GTA III games, although there remained some subtle carryover between the two, most notably the radio character Lazlow, who makes references to events and locations in the GTA III Era on his radio station Integrity 2.0. Some "location footage" from GTA: San Andreas is also incorporated into GTA IV's in-game TV programming.

2D Universe
GTA 1 Era GTA 1 (PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color)
GTA London 1969 (expansion pack) (PlayStation, PC)
GTA London 1961 (expansion pack) (PC)
GTA 2 Era GTA 2 (PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color)
3D Universe
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)
HD Universe
GTA IV Era GTA IV (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
-The Lost and Damned (expansion pack) (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
-The Ballad of Gay Tony (expansion pack) (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

GTA Chinatown Wars (Nintendo DS, PSP, iOS)

GTA V Era GTA V (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
GTA Online (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
GTA VI Era GTA 6 (unconfirmed)

GTA III Era Information


This table displays all GTA III Era games, sorted by release date. This table can also be sorted by setting date or sales.

Cover Art Game image Game Year Released Year Set Platform Developers Sales
Grand Theft Auto III 2001 2001 PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac DMA Design, Rockstar Vienna 15 million
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 2002 1986 PS2, PC, Xbox, Mac Rockstar North, Rockstar Vienna 17.5 million
Grand Theft Auto Advance 2004 2000 Game Boy Advance Digital Eclipse 100,000
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 2004 1992 PS2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac Rockstar North 22.50 million
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories 2005 1998 PSP, PS2 Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North 10 million
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories 2006 1984 PSP, PS2 Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North 5 million

Description of the games

Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III (2001) was set in fictional Liberty City (based on the east coast of America) in 2001. This game brought a third-person view to the series, rather than the traditional top-down view of earlier titles (although the view is still made available as an optional camera angle). Graphics were also updated with a new 3D game engine. While not the first of its kind, the gameplay engine had expanded the explorable world, doing away with a traditional game structure where the player faces a "boss" at the end of the level and moves onto a new level, opting instead for more realistic mission-based approach. Multiplayer was discarded (third party mods were later released, allowing for multiplayer gameplay) but GTA III improved in many other areas such as voice-acting and storyline (before, there was speech only in short animated cutscenes between levels, other communication was simply subtitles running on the bottom of the screen). Pop culture also is cemented into GTA III, drawing many aspects and ideas from popular films and shows such as Scarface, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.

Grand Theft Auto III sold very well and became the first blockbuster game in the series, setting the precedent for subsequent GTA titles to be very successful. GTA III also attracted heavy criticism for its violence against police and its indifference to innocent bystanders, making future games in the GTA series synonymous with violence. Following the success of GTA III, the rest of the games in the GTA III Era are stand-alone prequels, as all take place before GTA III chronologically.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), was set in 1986 in Vice City. Influences for the game include movies such as Scarface, Carlito's Way and the TV series Miami Vice. In fact, the entire basic storyline of the game is an homage to Scarface, including the climactic gun-fight in the main character's mansion at the end. GTA Vice City was an improvement on the scale of GTA III, although featured very little in the way of terrain.

Grand Theft Auto Advance

Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004), originally intended to be a top-down conversion of GTA III for the Game Boy Advance, it ended up becoming its own completely original adventure, set roughly a year before GTA III. The game was set in Liberty City again. This game contradicts GTA III in parts, and GTA III seems to ignore it.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) was set in 1992 in the fictional state of San Andreas consisting of three cities: Los Santos (Los Angeles), San Fierro (San Francisco), and Las Venturas (Las Vegas). The player is also able to return to Liberty City during one mission. Inspiration came from movies such as Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society, and early 90s west coast gangsta rap culture and groups such as N.W.A.

GTA San Andreas expanded on previous RPG elements, adding the ability to dress the player's character, exercise, and tattoo him. These elements also have an effect on gameplay as other characters would comment on the player character's physique or clothes. The character could also swim (something missing from previous games).

GTA San Andreas also attracted heavy controversy when it was discovered that a sex minigame that was cut from the game could be enabled (See Hot Coffee). As a result, GTA San Andreas was pulled from a number of retail outlets and was re-rated from "M" (Mature) to "AO" (Adults Only) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) - the first game in the series to be given an AO rating. Rockstar has since released an edited version of the game for the PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2, and has reclaimed the "M" rating.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005), a PlayStation Portable GTA III prequel set in 1998 Liberty City. A PlayStation 2 port was released by Rockstar Games on June 6, 2006. The game a direct prequel to GTA III being set only three years before and involving the same characters and a storyline further linking the events of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to GTA III. This marked the first time the GTA III-era games had returned to a previous location for a complete game (a location in Liberty City was featured in one San Andreas mission), and this gave players familiar with GTA III the unusual experience of being able to explore a familiar game map, but with a number of minor and major differences due to the game being set several years earlier than GTA III.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006), the second PlayStation Portable game, was released on October 31, 2006 and set in 1984 Vice City; chronologically, this was the earliest of the GTA III era games, and once again allowed players familiar with the Vice City map from a chance to explore a known city with numerous differences due to the different time frame; this particular game is also known for evoking the look and feel of the Miami Vice TV series. A PlayStation 2 port was released by Rockstar on March 6, 2007. This is the final game of GTA III Era.


All six games in the GTA III Era are set in three main fictional locations, based on real places in the USA:

Locations in GTA III Era
Image Map Name Counterparty Appearance (s)
Liberty City New York City
  • GTA Advance
  • GTA Liberty City Stories

Minor appearances:

  • GTA San Andreas
  • GTA Vice City
Vice City Miami
  • GTA Vice City
  • GTA Vice City Stories
San Andreas California and Nevada
  • GTA San Andreas


  • GTA III Era was the era that has lasted the longest and collected more sales than any other era, totalling approximately 93.1 million sales in six years.
  • Either an exterior or interior of Liberty City appears in some form all the GTA III era games except for GTA Vice City Stories, where it is at least referenced.
  • The Introduction in GTA San Andreas features numerous cutscenes which feature areas of Liberty City. Also, in one mission, Carl Johnson flies back to Liberty City to do a hit on some Forelli Family members in Marco's Bistro. This was the first time the player was given a chance to revisit an earlier location, although without cheating the ability to explore was non-existent. After the release of GTA:SA, the remaining games in the GTA III era were set in previously established cities using identical game maps that were modified to reflect the different time periods in which the games were set.
  • The Exchange and The Sicilian Gambit share many traits. You have to follow the main antagonist to a remote location, rescue a hostage and shoot down the enemy's helicopter to kill them and end the mission.
  • Also, Keep Your Friends Close... and Last Stand feature many traits as well. Both involve executing two people who were once your friends, both involve to murder a number of gansters to get to the main execution and both have something to do with Ricardo Diaz and his mansion.

See also