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Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in 2008, in a redesigned version of GTA 3’s Liberty City consisting of four districts, based on four of the districts of New York City: Broker (Brooklyn), Dukes (Queens), Bohan (The Bronx), and Algonquin (Manhattan). West to the city is the independent state of Alderney (Northern New Jersey). There are three minor islands present in the game: Charge Island (Randall’s Island), Colony Island (Roosevelt Island), and Happiness Island (Liberty Island). In the game, bridges are locked down due to a terrorist threat, and players are constantly pursued by police if the bridges are crossed, but the blockades are lifted as the story progresses, allowing the player to travel between the islands.

Grand Theft Auto IV is the first HD (High Definition) game in the GTA Series, resulting in it being in a completely different world to the PS2 GTA games. Previous characters from the SD (Standard Definition) PS2 games such as; Claude, CJ, Tommy and Rosenburg do not make any appearances as they initially don’t exist in the HD world, however throughout GTAIV there are little easter eggs about some of the previous characters.