London is a fictionalized city in the Grand Theft Auto World, based on the real-life capital city of the same name in the United Kingdom. It is featured as the main game world / map of Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and Grand Theft Auto: London 1961. Despite only appearing in the two expansion packs, London and its surrounding areas are mentioned numerous times in the 3D Universe and HD Universe games, implying that the city does exist in the two game universes.
To date, London and Manchester (also located in England, United Kingdom) have been the only real-life cities to be used in a GTA game, as all others (with the exception of Anywhere City) have been fictional cities based on real American cities. Other real cities, however, have been mentioned.
The game map is based on Central London, although of course heavily condensed and mostly geographically inaccurate. The city is divided into north and south by the River Thames, which cuts through the center of the map; flowing from the bottom left up to the middle and out to the central right. The river is crossable by several road bridges and passenger walkways. Law enforcement is carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service.
The temporal setting has been exploited through a number of cultural and historical references, including 1960s architecture, 1960s traffic, the appearance of a James Bond-like character and the use of relatively accurate and authentic slang. In addition, the cars drive on the left-hand side of the road, as is the case in Britain, the pound replaces the dollar as currency, and authentic London place names are used.
In total there are 14 different areas of the map. These include:
- The "Square Mile" financial district of central London is simply referred to as "City" in-game, as it often is in the real-world. In-game, also as in real-life, it is located central to the map, north of the River Thames. To the South is the river, Soho borders to the West, Angel to the North, and Bow and Mile End to the East.
- Hyde Park is located at the north-western corner of the map, bordering (north-south) Camden Town, Soho, Westminster, and Chelsea. Although there are small areas of greenery scattered around the map, Hyde Park is one of two actual parks in the map, and the only one of significant size; the other being a very small park in Battersea. Hyde Park is verdant, wooded in areas and has a large lake and a small lake.
- Camden Town is located in the north-western part of the map, east of Hyde Park, west of Angel, and north of Soho. Camden Town is based on the real-life Camden Town and Camden Market.
- The "Angel" district is located central-north of the map, above City. To the east is Camden Town and to the west is Mile End. Angel is presumably based on the real-life Angel, located in the borough of Islington on the northern fringes of Central London.
- Mile End is located in the north-eastern area of the map, bordered to the west by Angel and to the south by Bow. It is based on the real-world Mile End in the East End of London.
- Bow is located on the eastern edge of the map, in the center. Bow is north of the river, bordered to the west by City and to the north by Mile End. It is based on the real-world Bow in the East End of London.
- Soho is located in the north-west of the map, bordered to the north by Camden Town, to the east by City, to the west by Hyde Park, and to the south by Westminster. Soho is based on Soho, the area of London well-known for its nightlife. In the game it also the location of many bars and clubs, one of which is owned by Jack Parkinson, the biggest nightclub owner in the city.
- Westminster is located central-west on the map, north of the river. It is bordered to the south by the River Thames, to the west by Chelsea, and the north by Soho. It is based on Westminster, the center of the British government.
- Chelsea is located on the west edge of the map, in the center, and north of the river. It is bordered to the South by the River Thames, to the East by Westminster, and to the North by Hyde Park. It is based on Chelsea.
- The area features a Hospital, presumably based on what was then the St Stephen's Hospital.
- Camberwell is located in the south-east corner of the map, bordered to the north by Bermondsey and to the west by Brixton.
- Bermondsey is located to the east of the map; south of the river, and bordered by Southwark to the west, and Camberwell to the south.
- Both a spray shop and vehicle import crane are located near the river, at the South end of the Tower Bridge.
- Brixton is on the south end of the map, bordered by Battersea to the west, Camberwell to the east, and Southwark to the north.
- Two bomb shops and a Hospital are located here.
- Southwark is located centrally and south of the river, bordered to the north and west by the river; Bermondsey is to the east and Brixton to the south.
- A spray shop is located here.
- Battersea is located in the south-west corner of the map, south of the river and bordered to the east by Brixton. Battersea is the smallest area of the map, although it contains two landmarks; Battersea Power Station and the relatively small Battersea Park, which contains a boating lake.
A large number of famous landmarks from the real-life London have their own renditions in GTA: London. These include:
- Jehad's Department Store in Camden Town (based on Harrods and destroyed in the game)
- Piccadilly Circus at the conjunction of Soho, Camden Town, City and Angel.
- Tower of London in Bow
- Tower Bridge connecting Bow and Bermondsey
- Buckingham Palace in Westminster
- Westminster Abbey
- Palace of Westminster/Big Ben
- Trafalgar Square in Westminster
- National Gallery in Westminster
- Battersea Power Station (destroyed in the game)
- Battersea Park, a relatively small park in Battersea with a boating lake.
- St. James's Square, a very small suburban park/green in Soho.
- The Serpentine Lake is featured in the "Hyde Park" area. Apart from the River Thames, the Serpentine is the biggest body of water in the game. It is in a different direction to it's real-life equivalent (instead of mostly West-East it is more at a 90-degree angle), wider and shorter than in real-life; the lake/river takes the the form of erect male genitalia on the game map (similar to Cock Rock in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas). There is a also a smaller round lake to the South of the Serpentine.
- Ever since its initial appearance, London has been a popular and much-speculated location, and some fans have expressed a desire to see a new game in the series set in the city itself or in a city based on London.
- In 2013 there were rumors in the video game community of a possible remake of GTA: London 1969, or London featuring in a future HD Universe game set in the UK. Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser (a Brit himself and writer of the GTA: London games) said that he would like to see a Rockstar game set in London with a British bent. Houser later downplayed the rumors in interviews saying that although the GTA: London games were right for the 2D Universe a remake is unlikely, and the HD Universe is likely to stay in the United States of America.