The state is located in the Midwest.
Chronologically, it is the first location accessible to the player in the HD Universe, with the Prologue being set in 2004, four years before the story of Grand Theft Auto IV. However, only a small section of North Yankton is accessible, specifically the region around the town of Ludendorff, as deviating from the game's pre-determined route will result in mission failure. This is because the rest of the map doesn't physically exist and several areas are not rendered, being replaced by background textures.
The main road in Ludendorff is Cavalry Boulevard, which has a railway line running across it, but if the player deviates from the road, the roads and rails will also begin to lose textures. Trees are also missing textures, except the closest ones, and some are placed over the roads. Missing terrains are at least the same, with fake fences rounding large portions of the map.
All objects, such stop signs, trashcans and fences are unbreakable compared to their Los Santos counterparts. This is due to the fact that North Yankton doesn't allow the player to explore. In addition, the warning lights on the railroad crossings always flash.
North Yankton is so far the only location in the Grand Theft Auto series that is completely landlocked.
Events of Grand Theft Auto V
In 2004, nine years before the main events of GTA V, Michael Townley, Trevor Philips, and Brad Snider robbed a bank in Ludendorff. The North Yankton State Patrol swarmed the scene and chased the three men as they tried to escape to their getaway helicopter. The SUV they were riding in was hit by a train and was disabled, so the trio escaped on foot to their destination. A sniper, Dave Norton, hid around a corner and, attempted to kill Trevor and Brad. However, he only managed to kill Brad but was unable to kill Trevor in time. He also shot Michael (in reality, Dave simply feigned a shot on Michael). Trevor is forced to fend off the approaching police by himself before fleeing. A funeral for Michael is then shown at a cemetery, while Michael watches on from a distance and flicks away his cigarette.
Sometime between 2004 and 2013, Michael and his family, who had assumed new identities, and Trevor had all moved to San Andreas state.
North Yankton is visited again in 2013 during the mission Bury the Hatchet by Trevor, who was determined to find out who was really buried in Michael's grave after the bank robbery, despite Michael's attempts to talk him out of it. Michael followed him in an attempt to stop him. Trevor arrives at the cemetery and exhumes the grave, and his suspicions are confirmed when he opens the coffin and finds Brad Snider's body inside. Following this, the two were attacked by Triads who were hunting for Trevor; Trevor escaped from the cemetery, leaving Michael to fight the Triads alone. Michael fights his way through the Triads, but he is captured when he reaches his Asea, due to it being immobilized by Trevor.
The police seen in Ludendorff are State Police, evidenced by text on the cars. As of 2004, the state police drive white Police Roadcruisers with two stripes down the side and "STATE PATROL" next to the front door, similar to that of a North Dakota state police car, with the police emblem engraved on the front doors. They also use Police Ranchers with the same livery. Due to the snowy weather, the cars are fitted with snow chains on the tires to allow for better traction on the road. The cars also have a snow-covered texture. State troopers wear black coats over white shirts with black ties, and light brown pants and can sometimes be seen wearing winter hats.
Numerous snowy vehicles can be seen driving around North Yankton at the times it is visited. These vehicles are only ever seen during the two missions they appear in (where more variations are seen in the second of the two missions), and are scripted only to appear during the mission. As such, the vehicles will not be seen driving around if the map is reached outside of the missions.
If the player was to gain a wanted level while in North Yankton reached with the use of glitches or mods, police vehicles will spawn on and follow the roads as normal, as the roads feature their own paths for the missions. This is because LSPD spawned in a wanted level are not restricted to Los Santos, and are simply spawned on any roads belonging to Los Santos, which is also why normal cars do not appear in North Yankton off-mission. This means North Yankton's road paths are linked to Los Santos's.
North Yankton may be based upon the state of North Dakota. Very little is known about the state, however, the small town of Ludendorff is located in the state, a city based on Fargo, North Dakota and Bismarck, North Dakota. The state's name is derived from the Yankton Tribe of the Sioux Native Americans. This is similar to how North Dakota is named after the Dakota Tribe of American Indians. The state itself may be named after Yankton, South Dakota, which was the capital of the Dakota Territory until it was split into the present day North and South Dakota. There is a South Yankton in Nebraska, right across the Missouri River from Yankton, S.D.
- North Yankton is unique to the series in the sense that it is the first ever location featured that is not a new rendition of a place from a previous universe.
- It also stands with Anywhere City from Grand Theft Auto 2 as the only two playable locations in the series without a known counterpart in another universe. It should be noted that London has not returned either, but it does exist in the 3D and HD Universes, as it has been mentioned in future titles.
- North Yankton's license plates have a red stripe on the top with "YANKTON" written in white text, based on 2001-2006 South Dakota license plates.
- There was a glitch to get into North Yankton in GTA Online. This glitch is very similar to the glitch on getting to Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It was patched in update 1.10, removing the ability to explore North Yankton online. When the glitch was still capable of being exploited in GTA Online, a portion of the map was located near the Port of Los Santos.
- A postcard for North Yankton can be seen on the official Grand Theft Auto V website in the Los Santos and Blaine County travelogue, as well as inside Michael's mansion.
- There is an easter egg in North Yankton. Under the train bridge, there is an alien frozen inside the river. This exists in both Prologue and Bury the Hatchet.
- On May 22nd, 2015, Ned Luke (Michael De Santa’s voice actor) made a Facebook post that says "Maybe it's time for a visit...Maybe...", and featured North Yankton amongst a number of cities both from the real world and from the GTA Series as a possible place for the protagonists to visit, though most likely for the enhanced version only.
- The map of North Yankton is actually placed east of San Andreas in-game when playing Prologue or Bury the Hatchet. In the PC version, after the crew escapes in the Rancher XL in Prologue, the player can use trainers to play as Brad (they cannot use Michael or Trevor as they will fail for abandoning the route), then spawn a plane and fly to San Andreas.