GTA 4: Here Is When & Where the Game Takes Place

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The Grand Theft Auto franchise features a massive range of content for players to enjoy, enhanced by a rich storyline spanning many years. Considering just how many installations the GTA saga has released, many fans are curious to know exactly when and where GTA 4 takes place.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • GTA 4 takes place in Liberty City, situated in the United States, between April and September 2008 – which places the game somewhere between Spring and Autumn.
  • However, some fans still believe that the game was designed to be set around the time of the original release date in October 2007, which would have instead placed it somewhere between Autumn and Spring from late 2007 into early 2008.

GTA 4 Within the GTA Timeline

There have been numerous GTA releases over the past couple of decades, with the initial GTA title, GTA: Vice City, released in 1986. Since then, the saga has seen a range of new additions to the mix, being split into titles that fall under the 2D, 3D, and 4D universes, and they all add more context to the saga’s ever-growing premise.

By the time GTA 4 was released in 2008, formally known as GTA IV, the overall Grand Theft Auto timeline had already begun to split into two separate fictional universes – the 3D universe and the HD universe. That being said, a range of aspects and details still remained with the release of GTA 4, including city names, celebrities, GTA radio stations, as well as certain gameplay features.

GTA 4 features an Eastern European protagonist named Nico Bellic, and it marked the beginning of a brand new era for the GTA franchise. To top it off, Rockstar Games also took the liberty of adding in a few iconic easter eggs for avid GTA fans and gamers alike in order to spruce up the overall feel of the gameplay experience while paying homage to previous installations.

When Does GTA 4 Take Place?

Following the entire GTA storyline can be relatively challenging for many players, especially considering the time skip between each installation. Many fans have questioned when and where different titles take place as well as how they tie into each other, such as the case when comparing the timelines for GTA V and GTA Online, and the same can be said for GTA 4.

The official description of GTA 4 states that it takes place between April and September of 2008, the very same year of the game’s release, meaning the game would have taken place between Spring and Autumn. But, some fans still speculate that this could be slightly off, primarily based on details seen within the game’s environment about weather patterns and seasonal changes.

GTA 4 was initially scheduled for release towards the end of 2007, sometime in October, which would have placed the game between Autumn and Spring instead. While the difference may be hard to spot in-game, some fans have noted a series of environmental or weather factors that do not quite fit into the idea of GTA 4 starting off in Spring.

Some fans have pointed out that the trees seen around the city resemble those seen in the real world as the seasons transition into Autumn – at least, in terms of their overall appearance and range of brown, orange, or yellowish hues. These aesthetics are remarkably similar to those seen in New York City in the real world, as seen below, thanks to fans on GTA Forums.

new york autumn

What’s been noted in the comparison between New York City, as seen above, and the plant life seen in GTA 4, as seen below, is that they do not appear to be completely brown – instead, the foliage appears to be starting to turn brown, while other trees still remain green. These environmental aspects would indicate that the game may have been planned to take place at the beginning of Autumn.

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Pedestrians and NPCs also appear to be wrapped up in clothing suited for cold weather, topped off with low temperatures that are visibly apparent based on the player’s ability to see their own breath at times. The weather in GTA 4 is also notably grey and cloudy, with frequent rainfall and only a few peeks of sunshine here and there.

However, the sun still appears to rise quite early and go down relatively late in-game, indicating that it may not occur within Autumn’s heart. Some fans feel that these comparisons may be taking it too far, as the game’s environments may not always be accurate to the tee – still, many fans believe that the GTA prides itself on real-world accuracy, meaning these connections could be quite relevant in the overall timeline’s analysis.

It’s also been speculated that the entire plot likely occurs within the span of around three months, which is supported by the fact that a celebrity named Cloe Parker has a three-month-old child, which was outlined by extensive coverage of her pregnancy in tabloids. In the real world, the real New York City that the city is based on would start to see snowfall around mid-November, but it never snows in the game which means that the premise would have likely come to an end before then.

Based on these observations, many fans still believe that the game was designed to be set in early Autumn, 2007, after which it would transition to Spring 2008 over time. However, the official release has stated that it takes place in 2008, with Nico Bellic arriving in Liberty City in 2008, so the majority of fans choose to believe the latter.

The timeline of GTA 4 also intersects with some other titles, specifically The Ballad of Gay Tony, which features numerous references to events that took place in GTA IV. A Weazel News segment on the radio also states that the events in Paper Trail and Entourage were about one month apart, confirming that the entire game takes place within the span of only a few months.

Where Does GTA 4 Take Place?

GTA 4 takes place in Liberty City, situated in the United States, as it follows Nico Bellic searching for a better life – only to find himself wrapped up in the criminal affairs of those who live in Liberty City. New York City is definitely viewed as the inspiration for Liberty City, although there are still numerous differences in terms of the buildings, structures, and overall environment.

That’s everything there is to know about when and where GTA 4 takes place, with images and stats thanks to the GTA Wiki. Although following the entire GTA storyline can feel complex, the premise generally follows a linear timeline – with locations and timing usually based on the year of each title’s release.

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