The HD Universe (also known as HD era and formerly the Grand Theft Auto IV Era) is the third canonical universe of Grand Theft Auto series, after the 2D Universe and the 3D universe.

The HD universe was introduced in 2008 with the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, and is named for the high definition graphics the game featured. The game was followed by two DLC packs called The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, both occur in the same time as GTA IV, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, which is set one year later with a stand-alone story; all games were released in 2009.

The universe was known as the GTA IV Era until the announcement of Grand Theft Auto V, which revealed that games within the series are set in different universe based on their graphics (2D, 3D and HD), contrary to the previous belief that each "numbered" title started a new era.

Locations in the HD Universe

State of Liberty

State of Alderney

State of San Andreas

State of Florida

State of North Yankton


Chronological release list

Games in the HD Universe

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) is set in Liberty City in 2008. It was the first GTA game to be released simultaneously for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. In August 2008, Rockstar announced that they were going to publish GTA IV for PC. GTA IV's game engine is the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (also known as RAGE) used in Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis and the Euphoria physics engine. The game takes place in a redesigned Liberty City that very closely resembles New York City, much more than previous renditions. The protagonist is Niko Bellic, a 30 year old war veteran from the Balkans.

Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned

The Lost and Damned (2009) is the first of the two episodes for GTA IV. The DLC version of TLAD requires the original GTA IV to play and is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It is included in Episodes from Liberty City, which does not require GTA IV. TLAD's storyline runs alongside the main GTA IV storyline and the protagonist is Johnny Klebitz, Vice President of the Alderney Chapter of The Lost Brotherhood.

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony

The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009) is the second episode released for GTA IV. Like TLAD, the DLC version requires the original GTA IV to play, but it is also included in the standalone Episodes From Liberty City. TBoGT's storyline also ties in with the main GTA IV storyline, as well as TLAD. The protagonist is Luis Fernando Lopez, and the story follows him and his boss Gay Tony, who is losing his proprietorship in his clubs in the city. This game completes this time period of the HD Era.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009) is set in Liberty City based on the GTA IV rendition, in the year 2009. It is the first Grand Theft Auto game to be released on the Nintendo DS, and was announced at the E3 Nintendo Press Conference on July 15, 2008. This game has several new features, such as touch screen mini-games. It is also available on the Sony PSP and Apple iPhone/iPod Touch. The PSP version features drastically improved graphics.

The game focuses on the Triads, and protagonist Huang Lee, the twenty-five year old nephew of Lee Family head Wu Lee. The game's storyline does not intertwine with those of GTA IV and its episodes, nor is it part of the trinity that connects them.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V (2013) is set in the state of San Andreas. It’s the first game in the HD Universe not to be set in Liberty City. The protagonists are Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Phillips. GTA V was announced in October 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. GTA V is the largest by land area in the series.


  • All of the protagonists can swim.
  • Until GTA V, every game in the HD Era has featured Liberty City as a playable location. GTA IV, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony also feature Alderney, while Chinatown Wars does not.
  • Excluding GTA V, Departure Time is the only mission you go inside a plane.
  • The Game's logo (GTA) has been updated to look more detailed since GTA IV.
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