"...the “universes” are the worlds interpreted at different definitions, 2d, 3d and high definition..."
―Rockstar Games during a GTA III Q&A

GTA Universes are the different fictional "universes" that GTA games are set in. They are different from eras in the sense that a game is in the same era as the most recent numbered game (ex. GTA San Andreas and GTA Vice City are in the same era as GTA III) while universes are the different sequences of events that have happened in the games. The universes are named based on the visual quality in which the game is played. They are separated based on the same principle and the events that have taken place in the universe.

There are currently three universes in the GTA series:

  • 2D Universe
  • 3D Universe
  • High Definition (HD) Universe

2D Universe

There are a total of four games (including two DLC's) that take place in the 2-D Universe:

Screenshot from GTA 2

This universe gave people a 2-Dimensional world with an up-down view.

3D Universe

The 3D Universe includes a total of six games:
San Fierro Overview

San Fierro, San Andreas in GTA: San Andreas

This universe has more games than any of the other universes. It has also sold more copies (over 57 million) than the others. GTA III introduced a breakthrough in gaming by giving people a third person view of a 3D world that they could explore, a feature included in every subsequent GTA game.

Non-GTA games in this universe

  • Bully
  • Manhunt
  • Manhunt 2

High Definition Universe

The High Definition Universe is the most recent GTA universe in the series.
LC Montage

Liberty City in GTA IV

So far it includes six games (including DLCs):

This universe is the has the best visual quality of the three. Its timeline of events and setting varies greatly from the 3D Universe. Liberty City in this universe is more detailed and much larger than Liberty City in the previous universe. Los Santos is also larger and the environment around it is more vast.