The Grand Theft Auto franchise is perhaps one of the most famous (and infamous) series in gaming history. Since its humble beginnings on the PlayStation back in the late ’90s, the series has amassed a massive global fanbase and has garnered as much critical praise as it has media controversy. Grand Theft Auto 5 originally released in 2013, but has enjoyed consistent popularity thanks to re-releases and the absorbing GTA Online, which has attracted millions of users to log in and start building their own crime empires. Thanks to its evergreen sales, it’s also become one of the best selling video games ever made, coming in behind industry titans like Tetris, Minecraft, and (ahem) Wii Sports.
The world of GTA 5 is deep and complex with an incredible number of things to do and see. However, with so much going on, it can be easy to miss certain events, experiences, and secrets hidden away in the vast open world. Rockstar has a history of putting in crazy intricate details in their games that only the most hardcore and dedicated players amongst their fans have any hope of discovering, and GTA 5 is no exception. Here are 15 Things You NEVER Knew You Could Do In GTA 5.
15. Take selfies during cutscenes
One of the more consistently hilarious features in GTA 5 is the Snapmatic phone app that allows players to document anything they find in GTA‘s wilderness, be it a funny sign, a beautiful vista, Trevor wearing a dress or a snapshot of the absolute carnage they’ve just wreaked on the unsuspecting NPCs. However, what people may not know is that it’s possible to use the camera during the cinematic cutscenes.
If the player opens up Snapmatic just as a cutscene starts, your character can start taking screenshots and selfies of the unfolding action. Best of all, the scene will show Michael/Franklin/Trevor wielding their phone and intently looking at the screen, presumably only half-listening to the dialogue with all the enthusiasm of a disinterested teenager at a family gathering.
14. Find a frozen alien
GTA has had a strange preoccupation with all things extraterrestrial since the days of San Andreas. In the 2004 classic, if CJ visits Area 69, he’ll hear chatter about some aliens that have landed on Earth. Nine years later, it seems like they’ve made themselves right at home, though they may have taken a few missteps along the way.
In GTA 5‘s Prologue mission in North Yankton, it’s possible to veer off the snowy road and drive right onto a frozen lake. If you find the right spot, you can see the body of an alien creature trapped under the ice. This is super-easy to miss, but players who have already done the opening heist can revisit the area in the mission “Bury the Hatchet” later on in the game.
13. Go ghost hunting
With all the startlingly regular deaths that happen in Grand Theft Auto, it makes sense that more than a few ghosts would be floating around the world. There have been myths about spectres showing up in the games since the early days, but GTA 5 took things several steps further.
Some players have reported seeing mysterious plumes of black smoke, dubbed “phantoms” in certain areas, but the most interesting (and tangible) example is the Ghost of Mount Gordo. If the player hikes up Mount Gordo between 23:00 and midnight in-game, they’ll see the apparition of a woman. The spirit can’t be interacted with in any way, other than her disappearing when you get too close, but thanks to the scrawled “JOCK” on the rock below, internet sleuths have found out the woman’s identity – one Jolene Cranley-Evans, former wife to politician Jock Cranley. An article about her death can be found in the Senora Beach newspaper, which points the finger at the husband murdering his wife by pushing her over the edge of the cliff and getting away with it scot-free. Pleasant.
12. Dress up as other Rockstar Games characters
There are thousands of unique looks possible when it comes to customizing the three main characters. However, there are some particularly cheeky Easter eggs and references hidden in some of the outfits you can equip. Weirdly, Michael seems to get most of them.
As Michael, you can dress up in a suit very similar to Tommy Vercetti’s ’80s-tastic suit from GTA: Vice City. You can also find a garish Hawaiian shirt that looks exactly like the one Max Payne rocks in Max Payne 3. If you are planning to cosplay as everyone’s favorite bullet-time burnout, make sure to shave your head and have a beard for added authenticity. If you go into Vespucci Movie Masks at the beach, you can also find a mask that closely resembles the disguise worn by the terrifying and deranged psychopath Piggsy in Manhunt. Chainsaw (unfortunately) not included.
11. Find tons of references to other video games
For eagle-eyed fans, there are plenty of nods and references to not only Rockstar’s own back catalog, but other games in general. The CNT Network airs a reality show named “Rehab Island” with a logo that is a clear shout-out to the Dead Island series logo, only with the palm tree’s fronds replaced by a marijuana leaf.
If you make your way to a junkyard in Paleto Bay, you can find a generator that has a very similar paintjob to Borderlands’ hyperactive mascot robot Claptrap. As both games are owned by the same publisher, it seems likely that it’s a direct reference to the gun-stuffed anarchic shooter. There’s a great Dark Souls nod in the form of a mission objective called “Praise the Sun”, and fans of Sonic the Hedgehog should check out the “Supersonic” business in Downtown Los Santos. Their motto? “The Ultra Fast Ring Delivery Service”. If that isn’t an homage to Sega’s blue blur, we don’t know what is.
10. Find monkey graffiti all over town
GTA 5‘s map is densely packed with things to do and innocent pedestrians to run over, so when players found a message on the ground next to a freeway in Strawberry, it makes sense that they’d follow the graffiti’s message to “Turn Back”.
If you do just that and go back on yourself and follow a path across a road, you’ll eventually be greeted with a message that says “Nothing Here”. That was all she wrote for last gen players, but in the Enhanced versions of the game, this was updated with a small monkey logo and the message “Sorry I lied”. This turned out to be another mission where you have to hunt and photograph similar monkey heads all across the map. Once you’ve snapped all 50 and a picture of the artist, you’ll get a text thanking you for your participation in the marketing for the movie “Space Monkey 3D” and get a number of monkey outfits and a customized Go Go Space Monkey Blista Compact car as a reward. Hooray?
9. Find out Niko Bellic’s fate
GTA IV protagonist Niko Bellic had a rough time before he came to America and he found himself sucked back into the murky world of crime and violence soon after arriving on Liberty City’s shores. As possibly the most sympathetic lead character in a GTA game, it’s natural to want to know what happened to him after the credits rolled.
In GTA 5, Lester mentions an Eastern European who made waves in Liberty City, but remarks that he’s gone quiet. If you meet Bellic ally Patrick “Packie” McReary later on in the game, he states that he believes Niko’s dead, but a glance at Niko’s LifeInvader page would seem to confirm he’s alive and well. Not only that, but so is his bowling loving cousin Roman. If this info is accurate, it would also make GTA IV‘s “Revenge” ending the canonical one.
8. Dive for hidden wrecks
The underwater world of GTA 5 is almost as interesting and diverse as it is topside. While you can indulge in regular everyday activities like swimming, diving, and knifing sharks, things really start to open up once you get access to the submersible vehicle and are able to explore some of the ocean’s hidden depths.
If you dive in the right places, you can find all sorts of sunken treasures. There are a few wrecked airplanes, a massive cargo ship, a nuclear submarine, a scuttled tank, and even a UFO to find. By far the best thing is that if the player is exploring the eastern Pacific Ocean, they can stumble across a familiar-looking hatch, with a rectangular window in it. This seems to be a reference to the TV show Lost, but that isn’t the end of it. If you get close enough, you can hear an audible tapping sound. This was later found out to be a Tap code and translates as “Hey, you never call, how’d you fancy going bowling?”, a fantastic reference to Roman Bellic, Niko’s needy cousin from GTA IV who always calls you up wanting to hang out. Talk about attention to detail!
7. Stumble into No Country for Old Men
If you ever wanted to feel like you were in a Coen Brothers movie, Rockstar has got you covered. One of the random events that can happen in the world of GTA 5 is a failed drug deal. You encounter a bunch of stopped trucks with blaring horns and dead bodies strewn about the place, both of the human and dog variety.
If that wasn’t enough of a reference to the drug deal gone bad from the excellent No Country for Old Men, if you head down the hill, you find a wounded survivor and a flashing silver case. He warns you not to take the case, but if you pick it up, you’ll find yourself with $25,000 in your back pocket. Once you grab the case, people end up chasing you to get to the money, and you’ll have to fight them off to prevent another time-wasting trip to the hospital.
6. Watch two women recreate the ending of Thelma & Louise
The Coen Brothers aren’t the only directors whose work gets a nod in GTA 5. Fans of Ridley Scott’s 1991 crime drama Thelma & Louise, starring Susan Surandon and Geena Davis, may want to head near the Sandy Shores Airfield in the evening for an awesome nod to the seminal movie.
If you’re around a nearby cliff at 7 pm, you’ll see two women in a convertible being chased by cops. If you manage to get close enough, you’ll see two guitars and sombreros in the back seat too. Rather than giving themselves up to the approaching police, they slam the pedal to the metal and barrel over the cliff edge to their certain doom. While the movie ends more poetically, with the car freezing in midair before the credits roll, the GTA recreation ends rather predictably, with the car and the women smashing into the rocks below (unless you intervene). It’s a great reference to an equally great movie.
5. Have a close encounter
There’s still plenty to keep the player entertained after completing the single player campaign 100%, but one of the best things to do is hunt down some UFOs. Once the game has been fully completed, several different types of alien spacecraft show up.
Some of them are the classic flying saucer shape, with FIB markings, suggesting that they’ve either escaped from government imprisonment and bear the markings, the agency has reverse engineered their own craft, or the FIB have taken the saucers for their own purposes. The other type looks like a stealth fighter with black panels and a more angular look. Unfortunately, there’s no way of interacting with the craft, as they’re immune to damage and more specialized weapons can’t lock on. This also means no joyriding in them, which is a massive shame. However, if you happen to be playing on PC, there’s a mod to do just that (isn’t there always?)
4. Annoy the other lead characters
There’s clearly been a ton of effort made to make GTA 5‘s Los Santos feel like a living, breathing world. This level of detail includes the lead three characters themselves, who have lives outside of the story missions. It’s even possible to find them strutting around in the open world.
If you follow them (or more accurately, stalk them) they’ll start getting irritated and warn you to back off. If you persist, they eventually lose their cool and knock you out in one blow, leading to the oh-so-familiar “Wasted” screen. If you ever find yourself near one of Michael/Trevor/Franklin’s houses, it’s always fun to spray a few bullets or fire off a few rockets to get an irate phone call from the homeowner telling you to stop. It’s good to know that Rockstar catered to the troll in all of us.
3. Explore a creepy abandoned mine and solve a murder
The “Murder Mystery” mission is perhaps one of the easiest to miss because of the requirements needed to activate it (at least on consoles). Firstly, you have to have played GTA 5 on the Xbox 360 or PS3 prior to picking up the Enhanced edition for the Xbox One or PS4. Secondly, only Michael De Santa can complete the mission, and thirdly, it’s hidden very well indeed.
There’s no message informing the player about the mission. You have to find four cryptic messages in Los Santos that clue you in to a murder of someone connected to the film industry. The second clue is a woman’s body with a concrete block on her feet at the bottom of the ocean, just off the coast of Fort Zancudo. The third and final clue is a letter left on Solomon Quincy’s desk, in which Fred Quincy confesses to the murder of his associate Isaac and his secretary. If you explore Great Chapparall, you’ll come across a closed-off mine. Blowing the door up will allow you to access the mine, and you’ll find poor old Isaac next to a film reel of his. Some players have reported hearing ghostly footsteps in this area, but nothing’s been confirmed as of yet.
2. Investigate a serial killer
If all that talk of a juicy murder sounded like fun to you, then perhaps digging into Los Santos’ serial murderer the Infinity Killer will be to your liking. In perhaps one of the creepiest hidden secrets, players can start to unravel the so-called “Infinity murders” in which 8 random people were abducted and murdered by a psychopath named Merle Abrahams.
Players have to follow a breadcrumb trail of cryptic nursery rhymes that give clues to the next piece of the puzzle. You can visit Abrahams’ house only to find it a charred and burnt-out wreck, set on fire by the neighbors. After deciphering the clues, you can find the 8 bodies wrapped in plastic on the seabed, scattered around a small group of islands in Paleto Bay. Finding the bodies doesn’t seem to impact the story or give you anything special, but if you want to get your morbid on, you know where to look.
1. Fight Teen Wolf as Bigfoot
If ever you needed proof that Rockstar put an insane amount of detail into their games, you need look no further than what they did with the addition of Bigfoot to GTA 5. Bigfoot had been rumored to be in GTA games before, but it was a myth before Rockstar added him in a game patch in 2015. This eventually led to one of the most in-depth video game Easter eggs ever, in which the loveable sasquatch took on a werewolf in a battle for the ages.
To get that far, the player must find seven golden peyotes and take them at very specific times and weather conditions to proceed. Providing everything has been done correctly and in the correct order, the trail will eventually lead to an airplane graveyard where the player takes on a werewolf that looks similar to Michael J. Fox’s basketball playing lupine in Teen Wolf. If you win the fight, you unlock the werewolf for use in the game’s Director Mode. It’s a crazily in-depth Easter egg, but no less than Rockstar’s dedicated fans would expect from them.
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