When Grand Theft Auto V was first released in September of 2013, no one could have anticipated just how huge of a cultural phenomenon it would go on to become. With a huge marketing budget and an incredible amount of hype, the game broke sales records to become the fastest-selling entertainment item in history, earning $800 million in its first day alone and $1 billion in its first three days on the market. Moreover, the game built up a huge fan community which to this day explores every nook and cranny of the fictional San Andreas city to find new tidbits of information and locations they may have overlooked.
Unsurprisingly for such a hugely impactful and detail-oriented game, Grand Theft Auto V has quite literally hundreds of interesting and shocking tidbits attached to it. These involve elements as far reaching as its production and its deleted content from earlier builds of the games well as its references to various forms of literature and its fan reactions. But considering that —by this point— we all probably know about the obvious Big Foot and alien easter eggs in the game, we’ve decided to dig a little deeper to provide you with a list of the top fifteen most shocking and unexpected facts we know about GTA V. Be sure to let us know your favourite in the comments section below!
15 A Mission Featuring Michael And Trevor As A Couple Was Voiced But Eventually Cut
Players of GTA V may have been somewhat confused as to why Wei Chang, a minor character in the game, believes that Michael and Trevor are lovers. His assumption seems to come out of nowhere and isn’t mentioned by any other characters in-game. However, it’s possible that his confusion may stem from a mission that was unfinished and unreleased in the final build of the game.
In the heist ‘The Sharmoota Job,’ Michael and Trevor would have played a heterosexual couple, with Trevor (of course) cross-dressing as a woman. The pair would have contacted a real estate agent and been shown around a house in a fancy neighbourhood, attempting to steal a safe, a horse, and —naturally— someone’s wife. News of the cut heist was found in audio files hidden in the game's code, which can be heard on YouTube. While you’re there, keep an ear out for Trevor’s reference to Michael as “Albert,” the character’s original name in early versions of the game.
14 Franklin Was Originally Meant To Be Killed For Good
This section will contain spoiler alerts for the game's ending, which can change dramatically depending on the player's decision. Players are given the choice to 'Kill Trevor,' 'Kill Michael,’ or have a 'Deathwish,' which ironically lets all three of the main playable characters live. On the first playthrough, you might have thought of these options as a somewhat odd offering given that Franklin is a playable character along with the other two but does not receive an option to die.
Well, in earlier versions of the game, players would indeed have had the option to murder Franklin as well. Code within the game reveals that ‘Deathwish’ would originally have killed Franklin off once and for all, although it’s not clear who would have been the one to do the deed. Even more surprisingly, killing Franklin would have put players in control of his onetime friend Lamar. While it would have been fun to play as Lamar, I wouldn’t have relished killing Franklin.
13 It Features A Rare Appearance From A Real Celebrity
Lazlow Jones may be known to gamers as the radio show host who has so far appeared in every GTA game since GTA III; but in real life, Jones is best known as the host of shows Technofile and The Lazlow Show. In GTA V, he appears not only on the show Chattersphere but also in person as the host of reality TV show Fame or Shame, which Michael’s daughter Tracey appears on. Needless to say, things don't go well for Lazlow, and he's chased and threatened by Michael and Trevor for his humiliation of Tracey.
Jones is only the second celebrity to have their likeness appear in the GTA franchise following Phil Collins. Collins appears in a subplot in Vice City where the player is asked to protect him from assassins. If successful, the player will be invited to a Collins concert where they’ll be allowed to watch a fully animated rendition of his one hit, ‘In the Air Tonight,’ which is possibly one of the weirdest scenes in the entire franchise.
12 Some Celebrity Lookalikes Became The Subject of Lawsuits
Upon release, GTA V was praised for its hyper-realistic recreation of the real world — but this has occasionally gone just a little too far. Back in 2013, the game was the subject of two lawsuits from celebrities, both of whom claimed that Rockstar had used their images without permission.
The first of these lawsuits came from Karen Gravano, one of the starring women on TV show Mob Wives and daughter of the controversial mob kingpin Sammy the Bull. In her suit, Gravano claimed that Rockstar used both her image and life story as inspiration for the character of Antonia, believing that the developers owed her $40 million. Then, several months later, former child star Lindsay Lohan filed suit after taking issue with the character of Lacey who she believed looked like her. Thankfully for fans of these series, both of these lawsuits were dismissed in 2016.
11 The Voice Actors Got A Little Too Method
You might have thought that voice actors for video games was an easy job, involving sitting around all day and being paid to read off a script. Think again. Both Steven Ogg (who voiced Trevor) and Ned Luke (who voiced Michael) went full on method actor for their performances in GTA V, thanks in large part to the developer's suggestion to have their parts motion captured.
For his part, Ogg apparently enjoyed reading some of his lines wearing nothing but underwear in order to get into character. On the other hand, Luke actually gained 25 pounds of weight to play his, allowing him to inhabit the infamous dad bode which Michael shows off. While their techniques did lead to some impressive performances, it’s interesting to consider just how the motion capture technology would have worked around one skinny man in his underwear and one overweight shirtless man interacting with each other.
10 Rockstar Stole Music From A Rapper
While there’s plenty of talk about controversy in the GTA series, it's rare that Rockstar is actually called out for straight up breaking the law. This did happen back in 2013, however, when hip-hop artist Daz Dillinger claimed that two songs he produced were used on the games West Coast Classic radio station without permission.
‘C-Walk’ by Kurupt and ‘Nothin’ But The Cavi Hit’ by Mack 10 and Tha Dogg Pound’ are both featured in the game, but were never officially authorized by Dillinger. According to him, Rockstar did make him an offer for the songs - $4 271 for both - but he turned them down. When Rockstar used the music regardless, he said they’d either need to make him a “better offer,” or “recall and destroy all unsold copies of the game.”
9 The San Andreas Map Is Bigger Than The Entire Island Of Manhattan
It may come as no surprise that GTA V’s map is the largest of any Rockstar games maps so far. It tops the size of all other games in the GTA series (beating out GTA IV which previously had the largest in-world location) as well as games such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne.
What might be more shocking is the fact that GTA V’s map seems to actually be larger than the maps of several real world locations. Reddit user fakeittilyoumakeit made several comparison photos compositing the map of San Andreas over cities such as Toronto, San Francisco, and London. While the comparisons are fan-made and thus perhaps not 100% accurate, the comparison between San Andreas and Manhattan does seem more than fair, and just goes to show the sheer magnitude of Rockstar’s creation. You do have to wonder how they’ll ever beat that if and when GTA VI comes out.
8 The Stereotyped Female Characters Got The Game Pulled Off Shelves
Women have always been represented controversially in GTA, and the fifth game in the series was no exception. In his review of the game, Dave Cook stated that women in the game were either there to be “rescued, shouted at, fucked, to be seen fucking, put up with, killed, heard prattling away like dullards on their mobile phones or shopping." And he wasn’t alone, with many other reviewers making similar statements.
Due to the controversy, the Australian branch of Target was later put under pressure to remove GTA V from their shelves. They not only received customer complaints about the game’s “depictions of violence against women,” but they were sent a petition to stop the game from being sold at all with over 40 000 signatures. Target’s corporate affairs manager Jim Cooper said that he made the decision to remove the game after “extensive community and customer concern about the game.”
7 The Moon Is Seen As An Enemy
Since GTA III, there’s been a running gag in the series that players can shoot a sniper rifle at the moon for an interesting effect. It’s unsure if the easter egg actually began as an intentional gag or if it was just a glitch that went unfixed, but it's been a mainstay ever since the move to the 3D generation despite any lack of narrative function and no reference in the games at all.
The moon reappears in GTA V, and now even has a rotating cycle which means it might be full one day and half the other. But the easter egg remains. Players can shoot at the moon to cause it to change size instantaneously, getting larger and larger before eventually returning to its original size.
6 The Game Is Linked To Red Dead Redemption
Grand Theft Auto’s developer Rockstar Games is known not only for that GTA, but also for Red Dead Redemption, one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2010. Despite that, there’s been very little crossover between the two franchises, with the only reference to RDD in the GTA series so far coming in the form of an easily missed book.
If the player enters Franklin's Vinewood Hills house later in the game, they'll find a bookcase in the living room. Zooming in on the books will reveal a title called Red Dead, which is an obvious reference to Rockstar’s second most famous franchise. The author of the book is even listed as J. Marston, which could reference John Marston, RDD’s main character. More likely though, the author of the book is Jack Marston, John’s son who has a penchant for books and even plans to write one himself one day.
5 There’s An Event Referencing No Country For Old Men
If you’ve explored the base of Mount Chiliad in San Andreas, you might have taken part in a rare special event called ‘Deal Gone Wrong.’ Passing several cars, you may stumble across the aftermath of a failed drug deal. Here you’ll find a lone survivor of the disaster, dying from bullet wounds as he clutches onto a silver briefcase. While he offers the player the briefcase, he warns that if you take the money, you will be followed by its rightful owners. The case will contain a tidy $25 000 but will also find you pursed by a group of drug dealers you’ll have to kill if you want to keep the money.
The plot of this event will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever read Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, or seen its 2007 film adaptation. That work features an almost identical plot, although the chase by the drug dealers goes on for a lot longer.
4 Each Of The Main Characters Is Based After Player Types
The three main playable characters in GTA are an interesting bunch whose vastly different personalities lead to some pretty intense conflicts throughout the game. But what’s most interesting about their personalities is that each one was modeled by Rockstar on a different kind of GTA player.
First off there’s Michael, an over the hill retired criminal who’s trying to forget about the past. He represents players who are already familiar with the GTA formula and who are just enjoying the open world. Then there’s Franklin, the young upstart just getting into the shady side of the business. He reflects newcomers to the series who are eager to learn more about the game. Finally, there’s Trevor, the crazed addict who still holds grudges about the past. He symbolizes the more destructive player who takes advantage of the game's freedom to cause as much chaos as possible.
3 A Huge Amount Of People Called In Sick To Buy The Game Early
The launch of GTA V was an unprecedented event in the world of gaming, with experts putting the game’s release on the same level as the launch of titles such as Harry Potter and Twilight. Thousands of fans queued for a copy of the game up to 24 hours before its release, leading gaming stores to open their doors at midnight just to sell the game; while others took the entire day off work just to pick it up on the day of release.
According to a survey by IGN, a whopping 46% of gamers said that they had already planned to take the day of the game’s release, September 16th, 2013, off as annual leave. A surprising 19% of fans said that they would call in sick to work just to pick it up. And only 35% of the gamers surveyed said that they would be happy to wait to play the game. Let’s just hope that no one's bosses found out about their role in the survey.
2 The Amount Of Swear Words Is Absolutely Bonkers
This one may not actually come as too much of a shock for longtime GTA players, but the innocent among us still familiarizing themselves with the series may be surprised when they find this out. Grand Theft Auto V has over 1000 uses of the ‘f-word’ and ‘c-word’ - and that’s not even mentioning other swear words that are used more liberally.
The tally was counted in a video by YouTuber TheMediocreScot, and it’s even more surprising when you take into account the strict rules they placed on their study. TheMediocreScot included only audible, clear, and spoken dialogue, and rejected any dialogue from NPC’s which could be repeated at will. Most impressively, they counted only words from the script of the main story - which, if you’ve played GTA V, you’ll know counts for only a small portion of the games full experience. No wonder it got such a mature rating.
1 GTA V Is The Most Expensive Video Game Ever Created
One of the most shocking things about Grand Theft Auto V on a first playthrough is its sheer scope and ambition. The world map is ridiculously large, and fully populated by dozens of fun activities such as fishing, sailing, bowling, and parachuting just to name a few. But all that fun came at a cost: GTA V was not just one of the most fun video games to ever be made, but also the most expensive.
The game cost a hefty $137 million to create, and a pretty astounding $128 million to market, leading to a total of a cool $265 million all up. That said, the investment was more than warranted, with the game making $1 billion in its first three days alone. It should also be noted that when adjusted for inflation, GTA V is bumped down a spot on the list. The game would have cost $272 million to create in 2017, compared with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which would have cost $279 million.