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Videogame: Grand Theft Auto V
In search of the almighty dollar.

Grand Theft Auto V is a game released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 17, 2013. The latest entry in Rockstar Games's Grand Theft Auto series, it is set in the Los Angeles pastiche of Los Santos and its surrounding countryside of Southern San Andreas based on Southern California. In a first for the series (unless you count Grand Theft Auto IV's Episodes from Liberty City adding in new characters), the game features three playable protagonists as opposed to just one; all from different backgrounds, they are (in order of unlock):

  • Franklin Clinton, an ex-gang banger in his twenties who works as a luxury car repo man, and lives with his aunt in Strawberrynote . He feels trapped in the ghetto by his friends, who in turn see him as having gone "soft" and unfaithful to his roots. He is described as "the young and capable one of the bunch." After a job repossessing the car of 20-year-old deadbeat Jimmy De Santa, Franklin meets the guy's father...
  • Michael De Santanote , a 48-year-old ex-bank robber who, after a job gone bad, decided to retire; disappearing into FIB's Witness Protection, he is now living in a mansion in Rockford Hillsnote  with his unfaithful wife Amanda and their disrespectful children Tracey and Jimmy. Try as he might, he's soon forced back into crime after his wife's cheating makes him step on the toes of very powerful criminals. Michael has a long history with...
  • Trevor Philips, an ex-military pilot permanently grounded for being mentally unstable; left without a job, he soon befriended Michael, which led them to be partners in crime. Unlike Michael, Trevor never retired, instead remaining a drug-abusing career-criminal, living out in a trailer in the small town of Sandy Shoresnote . Learning that Michael has been residing in the city nearby, he decides to track him down and partner up again.

Together, They Cause Crime. Players can switch between the three at any time once they meet the characters (with a few mission-related exceptions), and a major part of gameplay are heist missions in which all three characters take part. On the fly, the player can switch between, say, the guy taking hostages inside the store, the guy sniping cops outside, and the guy rappelling down the side of the building, while the game seamlessly takes over control of the character just vacated.

The first teaser trailer, released in November 2011, can be found here and a second trailer was released a year later in 2012, with three new trailers released on April 30, 2013. More info here.

Alongside GTA V, several weeks after release of the base game, the multiplayer component, Grand Theft Auto Online, launched. GTA Online is structured similarly to an MMORPG, with character customization, player housing, and a story to go with it. It promises to revolutionize multiplayer games in the same way that Grand Theft Auto III revolutionized single-player open world games. The gameplay trailer was released August 15, 2013 and can be seen here.

The release of GTA V was initially marked as the end of an era, with some calling it the final major release for the PS3 as Sony turned its attention to the next-gen PS 4. This impact has been lessened somewhat as major releases for the older console have continued into 2014.

Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online provide the following tropes:

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    General Tropes 
  • An Ass Kicking Christmas: The Action Prologue is set during Christmastime, as shown by the bank's lobby (the very first area you start in) being decked out for the occasion with lights and a tree. And Online celebrated Christmas by covering the entire map in snow and giving players access to Christmas-themed clothes and masks.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Averted more than usual, in that various citizens will now actually call the police on their own if they see you steal a car or stand near them for too long.
    • Park a cool car on the sidewalk and listen to some compliment it or pull out their phones to take a picture.
    • It's a lot easier to antagonize a citizen. Look at them the wrong way and they'll attack you.
    • Some citizens even seem to employ racial profiling; entering a convenience store as Franklin could result in someone attacking him or calling the cops, even if he hasn't done anything and isn't even armed.
  • Artifact Title: Downplayed, but believe it or not, definitely prevalent.
    • In the single player, all of the protagonists own an default vehicle (two in Franklin's case) that have above-average performance, a large number of customization options, and have the unique property of respawning at their garage when abandoned or even destroyed. While you can still steal vehicles, of course, you're generally encouraged to stick with the default vehicles.
    • This is even more prevalent in Online: like single-player, you can steal vehicles and put them in your garage to make them your own, but high-end vehicles (such as the super cars, the higher end sports cars, and some sports classics) require a purchase from the in-game Internet. Owned vehicles will reappear in your garage if abandoned, and if destroyed can be respawned for a fee. In addition, if cops happen to see you in a stolen vehicle (which thankfully happens rarely, due to a very low number of patrol cars) you'll be immediately issued a one-star wanted level. Stealing a car also has the possibility of a bounty being issued on you by the vehicle's previous owner. When you obtain a garage, you also get a mechanic who can deliver any owned vehicles to you.
  • Artificial Stupidity
    • An easy way to lose police helicopters is to go to the wind farm (the place with the giant windmills). The helicopters will stupidly follow you in, and will promptly be smashed to pieces by the blades on the windmills. If you picked a good pilot for the "Obvious" route of the final heist, they'll actually exploit this, flying into the turbines in an attempt to lose the helicopters (which works).
    • A well demonstrated case of enemies not detecting a fence in front of them in this Rooster Teeth video.
    • Passenger jets are programmed in the game to take off on a runaway without stopping, no matter what is blocking their path. Even if there is another passenger jet blocking its path, the jet will still run into it.
    • AI drivers can't seem to handle ramps well.
    • During normal play, if you speed into Fort Zancudo, the tank drivers display an almost uncanny level of accuracy, being able to nail your high-speed supercar without much trouble. However, during the Paleto Bay Heist, even with three of them coming after you, none of them can seem to hit a slow-moving bulldozer.
  • Artistic License - Military:
    • The soldiers in and around Fort Zancudo wear Army-style grey camouflage and the symbol of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division, but they often shout "Semper Fi" and call themselves Marinesnote . They also use the Assault Rifle weapon, modeled after the Type 56-2, a Chinese version of the AK-47. That's right, they're American soldiers who use Chinese knockoffs of Russian weapons.
    • The Rhino tank seems to be based on the German Leopard 2, instead of the American Abrams.
    • They also use the Crusader, a modified civilian jeep in desert camo based off the iconic Willys Jeep. The problem is that the US Army retired the Jeep in favor of the Humvee long ago (Merryweather also uses modified Mesas, but as a PMC instead of an official military, they get a pass). Especially confusing, as GTA already has a Hummer analogue (the Patriot) that has even been used as a military Light Utility Vehicle as far back as Vice City.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: As early as late 2013, the runoff to the 2014 midterm elections is already underway, so naturally we get web, radio and TV campaign ads from Jock Cranley (Republican) and Sue Murry (Democratic), candidates for governor of San Andreas, which, like John Hunter and Michael Graves before them, focused on attacking their respective opponents over explaining their own agendas (which are no better than their opponent's).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The high-end military hardware (the Rhino tank, Buzzard helicopter and LAZER jet) are all incredibly expensive pieces of kit that are hard to acquire and have no practical use beyond causing mayhem. In fact, it's actually quite hard to use the latter two, as the guided missiles often miss and lining up shots with the cannons is extremely difficult. This is somewhat mitigated in Online, however: once purchased, the Rhino and Buzzard are available for use in Missions, which in some particularly frustrating cases makes them a lot easier.
    • The Rat-Loader, a hard-to-find junker truck based on a 1930s round-nosed pickup, is highly sought after by players due to its wide array of outlandish, "rat-rod" style customization options. Performance-wise, though, it's the very definition of The Alleged Car: it suffers from massive understeer (especially at high speed), takes forever to reach its top speed, always has trouble starting up no matter what condition it's in, and always looks rusted out no matter which custom paint job is applied.
    • The minigun isn't quite what it used to be. While it can blow up vehicles, it doesn’t do so nearly as fast as the grenade launcher or RPG. It can't be fired from cover either, so you have to stand out in the open to use it, which is often a death sentence. Furthermore, it chews up ammo really fast, and while it's certainly lethal against people, it's really more overkill than anything. Other guns can kill just as well without nearly as many drawbacks.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Michael, having the most affluent lifestyle of the protagonists, has been depicted like this, several heists have the three protagonists don suits, and, naturally, a suit is an option for your Online character.
  • Bank Robbery: A major part of this game involves this trope. How you pull them off is up to you.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Zonah" is Hebrew for "prostitute".
    • In addition, many of the fake products featured in the game appear to be bilingual puns. For example, the beer Pißwasser (ß is pronounced s, wasser=water), or the effeminate male fashion Hommegina line (Homme=man).
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation/Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: For the first time averted regarding the Spanish translation of the game: Unlike previous games, when only English or European Spanish subtitles are provided, the Latin American version of the game uses this time the Latin American dialect, rather than the European one. This also creates another problem: The "Latin American" dialect turns out to be Mexican street slang (and that used in Mexico City, to boot), so non-Mexican Latino players had lot of problems trying to figure out all the slang.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Subverted. While shooting enemies leaves no visible wounds, they will leave pools of blood on the ground.
  • Border Patrol: There are sharks located around the edges of the map that will kill you if you swim too far out. If you try to fly or drive a boat to the edges of the map instead to bypass the sharks, once you reach a certain point your boat or plane will crash or stall and proceed to sink, leaving you surrounded by half a dozen or more sharks with no escape.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Carbine Rifle. Nothing fancy about it, but it has good firing rate and accuracy, can hold up to 60 rounds per magazine and has a very good zoom with the scope mod. In the single-player, you'll be using it for the majority of the game, as you unlock it upon completion of the first heist and its successor, the Advanced Rifle, isn't unlocked until after the final heist.
  • Broken Bridge. Finally averted. Although the two DL Cs for Grand Theft Auto IV likewise start with fully open maps (although this causes continuity issues with the main game), GTA V lets you explore the entire map from the moment you gain control of a character. Slightly backfired soon after the game's release when it was reported that many players spent days and even weeks simply exploring the map rather than actually playing the storyline part of the game.
  • Car Cushion: Averted to an extent. Fall from a high enough height onto a car and the impact will make the car explode.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Los Santos is an expy for Los Angeles, Alderney for New Jersey, and San Andreas for California. There are songs on the radio that mention California, Los Angeles Neighborhoods, and the song "Convoy" mentions the Jersey Shores.
  • Church of Happyology: The Epsilon Program, making its return from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, is seriously weird. Since the game is taking place in a Los Angeles Expy, it could be a Take That at The Church of Scientology itself.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Franklin is light green, Michael is light blue, Trevor is orange, and the multiplayer character is dark blue (the space was yellow during the two weeks before GTA Online went live).
  • Commonplace Rare: The Declasse Asea sedan. Logically it should be very common, being based off a Chevrolet Aveo/Dacia Logan but it doesn't spawn in the traffic at all — there are only two appearances of it in single player (and only one instance of its appearance lets you take it, if you miss it or destroy it it's Lost Forever) and it can be only obtained at the start of GTA Online (and chosen in sedan races). Averted as of the Business Update in March 2014, in which several cars previously unavailable for purchase, including the Asea, can be purchased from one of the two in-game dealerships.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard
    • Enemy NPCs are able to blindfire from cover and still be able to hit you at sniper rifle range. This can be especially annoying in Online, where it's not uncommon to be immediately gunned down the moment you step away from cover by NPCs who are a long distance away.
    • Aerial attackers are often also gifted with pilots who have discovered the secret to avoiding the wobble that plagues every helicopter the player flies.
    • Police Cruisers are able to chase you down and ram you spinning off the road even if you're driving in a Truffade Adder, the fastest car in the game (if you're driving in a straight line). Even more egregiously, if you come up behind one and try to pass, he'll match you turn for turn.
    • The same is true when you're being chased by gangs. Their clunky SU Vs and lowriders have no problem keeping up and ramming your supercar.
    • Police cars and helicopters spawn very quickly and can even do so with you just outside their visual range. You're going to have a hell of a time shaking them off at the higher wanted levels.
    • In concept, when you elude the authorities and get the Wanted Meter to start flashing, the cops have no idea where you are and will be on high alert as they patrol the area and look for you. In truth, they do know where you are and will circle straight to your position, going so far as to get out of their cars and walk into the alleyway, up the hill, or on top of the roof you just so happen to be hiding in, regardless if anyone actually saw you in the area.
    • Hell if spawning cops next to you doesn't work the police will sometimes be able to refresh the wanted level regardless if anyone could realistically see you (like if you were hiding underground where they typically don't follow you into) or in really infuriating cases if there aren't even people in the area at all. The chances of this happening increases as the wanted meter goes up which makes losing a five star wanted level impossible at times.
    • Flying the blimp (available as a DLC in some early promotions) has a major risk. Not only is it Made of Explodium, but if you fly over restricted airspace (specifically the military base), you will be warned to change course, as per usual, but a jet fighter will instantly spawn behind you and blow you out of the sky before you have a chance to react.
  • Continuity Nod: Works with Broad Strokes and Alternate Universe. There's enough nods to imply events similar to the 3D universe happened.
    • Radio host Lazlow more or less continues his downward slide from GTA IV, in which he appeared to be the only character who remembers some of the events that happened in the GTA III universe.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: The whole point of Ron's radio show.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Nervous Ron's show on Blaine County Talk Radio, which is less Alex Jones and more The X-Files with a bit of The Matrix.
  • Cool Plane: Planes (including fighter jets) make a return.
    • A flyable version of the blimp was made available as a DLC in some early promotions.
    • The Vestra which appears in both Online and Single Player after the Business Update. It's almost worth a million dollars in Online, but it's the fastest plane, even faster than the Luxor and has the agility of a Mallard, making it one of the better planes to own.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory
    • Play a rousing few hours of Grand Theft Auto IV and then switch to V. Call for a taxi, and curse in frustration as you accidentally jack the taxi when you meant to get in as a passenger.
    • Players used to the control scheme of the previous game may also run into trouble when trying to switch weapons or radio stations.
    • And unlike GTA IV, there appears to be no option for reverting to the GTA III-era control scheme, likely due to the addition of new controls such as a weapon wheel and character switching.
  • Darker and Edgier/Bloodier and Gorier: Surprisingly, yes, even much more than the last GTA IV episode (though still Lighter and Softer compared to IV). V has been characterized as the darkest entry in the series: white morality is almost nonexistent, protagonists and antagonists are straight villains, and several characters are psychos with a total Lack of Empathy, Trevor, Steve and Dreyfuss being the darkest and most disturbing, even by GTA standards. Not to mention that Rockstar has added extremely graphic content, including sexually explicit moments and extremely disturbing content, with the Cold-Blooded Torture scene being the most prominent.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist
    • Perhaps more than ever before. You don't lose any inventory, and just respawn at the nearest clinic minus a not-insignificant percentage of your cash (boo hoo). And with the cops more trigger-happy than ever, you may never even find out what happens when you get busted.
    • Also the creation of Lifeinvader, a parody of Facebook, which can be used to get in-game deals and bonuses.
  • Deep South:
    • Many of the residents of Blaine County speak with deep southern accents.
    • Lampshaded by a radio ad for an upcoming video game called Pride, Not Prejudice, a first-person shooter taking place in the South and employing every Southern stereotype this trope covers.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: This being a GTA game, it's part of a large sub page.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Supercars and high end sports cars tend to be this, due to the high speeds they can crash with relative ease and their somewhat low braking making it more likely that you'll stop by hitting, say, that wall in front of you or other drivers than the breaks doing their job. That said, if you can figure out when to apply the brakes such that you don't stop dead at the turn or miss it completely, they quickly become very worthwhile.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: As per series tradition. This time around, the player can pour a Vapor Trail of gasoline and watch the fireworks.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: The Altruists' web site is entirely in Morse code except for the title.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There is one where accessing the home page using the in-game browser causes it to close immediately, messing up the HUD and disabling access to most of the functions of the cell phone, including the internet. This makes it impossible to do the Epsilon missions and purchase vehicles and property in Online mode with that save.
  • Game Within a Game: The tennis and golf games are more sophisticated than a standard minigame. Come because it's a good way to boost your strength, stay because it's quite engrossing. And they can be played over and over, as long as you have the money.
  • Gatling Good: The minigun (albeit a more realistic version) reappears, after being absent from IV.
  • Gender Flip: GTAV features female cops for the first time in the series, though usually they're only found hanging around hospitals and police stations.
  • Genius Programming: The game is described as being an absolute marvel of game programming, considering how much content they managed to pack into a eight-year-old system.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: As per usual for GTA, there's an insane amount of collectibles that need to be tracked down in order to reach 100% completion. Unlike GTA IV, though, which offered a whole lot of nothing for the effort, getting 100% completion in GTA V unlocks an exclusive mission.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: In addition to the FIB from IV, there's also the IAA serving as a stand-in for the CIA, apparently carrying on an Interservice Rivalry with the FIB.
  • Guide Dang It: Due to the size of the map, walkthroughs or other guides are pretty much the only way of finding the locations where some of the random events/encounters may take place, especially those that may result in valuable crew members being added, unless the player is willing to aimlessly drive up and down every street on the map hoping for something to happen.
    • A guide is definitely required for locating weapon, armor and collectible pick-up locations.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Buzzard helicopter from The Ballad of Gay Tony reappears, and there's also the LAZER jet.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Averted, finally. After being only featured as a radio voice (and real-life behind-the-scenes script writer) since GTA III, Lazlow finally appears on screen as part of a mission.
  • Holler Button/I Shall Taunt You: If you enter a car without a weapon equipped, pressing the drive-by button will cause your character to flip the bird at anyone passing by. In single player, pressing right on the D-Pad will also make your character speak to NPCs near them, with unique dialogue depending on the NPC you're speaking to.
  • Hollywood California
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: In the proud GTA tradition. To make weapon selection less tedious, a Red Dead Redemption-style weapon wheel has been added.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Annoyingly, enemies seems to possess this. Many a player has been iced from dozens of feet away by a Mook with a basic pistol.
    • The player also has this to a certain extent, with the aiming reticle tending to lock onto people easily.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Incredibly, despite all the improvements in gameplay and improved abilities, the player still encounters ludicrously low obstacles all over the place that cannot be simply hopped over.
  • Joke Weapon: While its amusing to see someone die from tear gas it takes way too long for the gas to deploy to cause death. It is also very obvious so it gives plenty heads up for would be victims to get away. If you want to flush someone out of cover you're better off using something less obvious like a grenade or faster like a sticky bomb.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: Actually averted for once. The woman on the phone on the cover and in game artwork is a stripper who is inconsequential to the plot, but at least she exists in the game. The lady cop arresting the Love Fist fan are the only two characters in artwork who do not appear in the game.
    • According to the GTA wiki, the lady cop appears in Online as the target of an assassination mission. Perhaps as a Stealth Pun, her surname is "Vasquez".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Often when the player crashes a vehicle into something, the protagonist will complain ("My car!" etc.) Some of these complaints are clearly directed at the player. On the other hand, the protagonists will also compliment the player if he/she executes some fancy driving and avoids hitting anything.
  • Limited Loadout: Gloriously averted. You can carry any weapon in any category all at the same time.
  • Made of Explodium: If the Jerry Can catches fire while being held, it will make a powerful explosion somehow.
    • The DLC blimp. One hit from enemy aircraft fire and boom.
  • Made of Plasticine: NPCs that are not hostile Mooks or the police can't seem to handle head-on collisions when driving, even from certain hits that wouldn't damage the protagonists.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Most of the single-player heists have the protagonists donning masks for them. Online takes it a step further: you can equip and remove masks on the fly. If you remove your mask while wanted by police, you'll even lose a wanted star.
  • Mayan Doomsday: Referenced by Ron in BCTR's "Blaine County Radio Community Hour" replay, stating they are less than three months away from that event, clearly dating the replay to originate from around September 2012.
  • The New Tens: This game is the series' period piece for the early 2010s, as did the IV saga for the late 2000s. The game takes place during an economic downturn, where class divisions are stark. By this time, smartphones have also become prolific, with Michael, Trevor and Franklin using expies of the iPhone, Nokia Lumia, and Samsung Galaxy, respectively. Finally, in-game media takes into account the recent surge of interest in gender equality and gay rights, legalization of marijuana, and a lot of people discuss misogyny one way or another, especially on the radio (and this being the ludicrous GTA Radio, a lot of people argue in favor of it, of course).
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Outside of the mission "Derailed", you cannot stop a moving train. No matter how many tanks or dump trucks are used to block the tunnel it goes through, the train will plow right through them.
    • It can even take serveral sticky bombs and RPGs! This can be averted, though, with some well placed stickies.
  • Offscreen Inertia: The other two you aren't in control of tend to do their own thing. So you can switch from Michael in his house to Franklin playing with Chop to Trevor throwing someone off a bridge. They also change clothes if you don't switch to them for a while, which is a rather subtle way of giving you a sense of them being "alive".
  • Player Generated Economy: Through the BAWSAQ stock market, handled by the Rockstar Social Club. If a lot of players are buying weapons from Ammu-Nation, or clothes from a particular shop, then their stocks will rise. This is also one of the few examples of it being used in a single-player game (along with multiplayer).
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. Most characters stutter, correct themselves, or repeat what they say while talking.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • If not approached with care, the stock market is a very easy way to lose money.
    • Jump at a wall while sprinting. Unlike in IV, your character won't suddenly switch to an animation of them climbing up the wall: they'll jump right into it, fall over, and take minor damage.
  • Regenerating Health: Only up to 50% of your character's health regenerates. After that you'll need to find health kits (or other methods) to restore the rest.
  • RPG Elements: Skills return from San Andreas, albeit in a much improved form.
  • Rule of Cool: The major upgrades from IV include this, from being able to swim underwater to sliding across the hood of a car.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The most damaging shotgun, and has the added benefit of being able to be fired from motorbikes, but has a ludicrously short range.
  • Scenery Porn: From the numerous skyscrapers of Los Santos to the vast countryside, this game is a feast for the eyes. Head up to the Vinewood sign (especially at night, when everything's all lit up) or to the top of Mt. Chiliad, and just sit back and enjoy the amazing draw distance.
    • There's even an in-game tour bus you can hop aboard to see the landmarks of Vinewood (including a fantastic ground-level view of the sign). It serves no game purpose; it's just there.
    • Some versions of the game come with a DLC download of a pilotable blimp. Once you learn (often the hard way) which areas not to fly over, it can be used to enjoy the scenery from above.
  • Sequel Escalation: Rockstar has described the map as being bigger than those of San Andreas, IV and Red Dead Redemption put together, and then some to spare. On top of having a full-sized city, the game also features the surrounding countryside (much as was done with San Andreas). The primary difference is that there's just one very big urban area instead of three; no San Francisco or Las Vegas analogues.
    • New side activities include scuba diving, buying stocks, customizing cars to your liking, riding on ATV's, tennis, biking, etc.
    • The multiplayer has escalated too. In addition to the usual death matches and races IV had, V will let players buy things with their hard earned cash much like in the single player campaign such as a place to call their own. Players can also join gangs or form their own much like in Max Payne 3's multiplayer.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Jack Howitzer Is Jack Howitzer In Jack Howitzer.
  • Short Range Shotgun: Averted and played straight. The Sawed-Off Shotgun is crazy deadly at close range, but significantly less so further away. The Pump Shotgun and Assault Shotgun are slightly less damaging, but have great range - not quite as good as the assault rifles, though.
  • Soft Water: This clip spectacularly illustrates this trope's aversion.
  • Super Cell Reception: Your smartphone will work perfectly anywhere on the map, including subway tunnels, remote country roads surrounded by hills, the top of the tallest mountain in the state, or even in a submarine deep underwater.
  • Take Cover: A much improved cover system from IV returns.
  • Take That: Every website, show, movie, poster, commercial, not-plot-important line, and comment on the radio is an unfriendly dig or parody of something.
    Weazel News: Confirming Your Prejudices!
    • The Republican Space Rangers return, once again keeping future America safe from encroaching feel-good socialism by becoming part of the "Coffee Grinder" political movement. They also gain a limousine-liberal counterpart in "Impotent Rage", a smug Ted Baxter-type superhero who angrily derides those he disagrees with for being Neanderthals and brutes, yet solves all his problems with violence.
    • The official website's travelogue for the Los Santos area contains a slide advertising the city's healthcare. It notes that "Thanks to recent legislation, if you receive something as harmless as a scratch or as serious as a bullet wound, any of our state certified medical centers will patch you up and make sure the healthy bill is picked up by taxpayers", a possible take that at Obamacare.
    • While Blaine Country Talk Radio's Duane Earl is more of a general parody of conservative radio personalities (he usually sounds more like Ghost than Rush), the cooking program "Bless Your Heart" and its hostess Bobbi June are very obvious digs at celebrity chef Paula Deen.
    • A parody of Facebook called Lifeinvader, whose founder and CEO, Jay Norris, is a thin mix between Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, who brags about how he has gotten rich on getting millions of people to voluntarily give up their private information. In the single-player, one of the early missions has you blowing his head off on live TV with a bomb in a cell phone.
    • An internet advertisement for a book that is totally not Fifty Shades Of Gray titled "Chains of Intimacy", that is soon to be a motion picture. The blurb reads as follows:
      Imagine if feminism never happened. Imagine a woman treated like a doormat covered with DNA. Imagine sex where she has to go to the hospital.
    • MyRoom, a very detailed website in Grand Theft Auto IV has now virtually shut down because no one is going there anymore. What happened? Lifeinvader happened.
    • A lot of things in the game is a complete jab at pop culture staples, right from gamer's teabagging, to movies being green-screened more and more.
    • Since this is a Hollywood California Expy, several potshots are aimed at paper-thin parodies of celebrities, and the Strawman News Media reporting about their lives. For example, MC Clip, a rapper who was reported to have held a 3-hour concert where he only spent 30 minutes actually performing, while he spent the other two-and-a-half hours preaching about how he’s the most important American icon of the present, is pretty much a Composite Character of many modern rappers who frequently rant about how important they are.
    • During one side mission, Michael smokes a joint of marijuana given to him by a legalization activist. His subsequent hallucination has him fighting aliens with a minigun in a purple haze, a likely reference to the purple-themed, alien-including Saints Row Third (Saints Row IV came out a month before GTA V). Made even funnier considering the marked gameplay similarities between GTA and the Saints Row series.
    • Beverly is a Take That towards paparazzi and gossip journalists like Perez Hilton, who are obsessed with finding out every single detail of celebrities(even if it's through illegal means) and invading their private lives all for the purpose of "juicy" exclusive stories. Franklin calls Beverly out on this, asking him why he care so much what celebrities do in their own time and saying as much that it's none of their business.
    • One news story on the radio talks about Los Santos' new "red and white" tram system costing billions of dollars and shutting down busy streets for years. This is a not-so-subtle dig at Edinburgh's trams, which held up a number of busy streets, including Leith Walk, where Rockstar North's offices are located.
    • Michael says that First-Person Shooter games are "all the same."
  • Threatening Shark: Among other animals, sharks appear in the game, and are quite dangerous if encountered.
  • Too Fast to Stop: A lot of the vehicles with high top speeds, but low traction and braking fall into this category. Most vehicles can be modded, but there is a limit to how much every model can be improved. The expensive Super vehicles, like the Cheetah, Entity, and Adder, as well as super-fast motorcycles like the Bati and Akuma, can have their amazing speed rendered completely useless as you skid, slide, and slam into everything in sight. Acquiring the aforementioned mods, and lowering the suspension will help somewhat, but players still need to be careful with elevation changes, because nothing can help you once you're airborne.note 
  • Took a Level in Badass: The cops in the previous game frequently got attacked for their almost hilariously bad AI. This game's cops are far more aggressive, make far more impossibly good shots, and are much better at hounding you.
  • Wanted Meter: Going up to five stars instead of the traditional six. The system has been improved over IV, making the police search area less rigid and harder to evade, and giving the player new options - for instance, changing cars without the police seeing will allow you to drive right through the vision range doing anything that wouldn't get you one star normally. Until they find where you dumped the old car, anyway, at which point they get really jumpy.
    • You can even avoid line of sight with a little luck on a moving freeway if the police are moving on the opposite side from you and you can keep a semi truck or bus or other large vehicle between you and their sight line. Line of sight avoidance also works with parking garages.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: It's GTA, of course. The sandboxing is taken to a new level, with a slew of incidental side missions and random encounters to find. It's also the first non-DLC console GTA to not have a Broken Bridge in the single-player, so the complete map is open from the start.

    Single-Player Tropes A - D 
  • 100% Completion: There's a series of Easter Eggs the player can begin to unravel after they've achieved 100% Completion. By studying the clues, the player can find at least four different flying saucers scattered around the game world.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Occasionally when switching to Trevor, he can be seen having an orgasm over a toilet bowl before unceremoniously wiping his fingers on the door frame.
    • Switching to Michael occasionally results in him walking into his bedroom and catching his wife going to town with a "personal massager."
  • Aborted Arc: During one mission, Trevor hijacks a cargo plane full of weapons with the intention of selling them to one of his contacts. The plane is shot down by the airforce and goes down into the Alamo Seanote . Ron mentions that if Trevor can get some diving equipment, he could salvage the cargo, but Trevor only mentions that that will take time and that they'll have to cancel the immediate deal. No mention of salvaging the cargo is ever made again.
    • It's not a main mission, but you can steal a boat with scuba gear and dive down to the crashed plane. It contains weapons that periodically respawn.
  • Action Prologue: The opening of the game takes place during a Bank Robbery in North Yankton, where you play as Michael during a basic tutorial and then switch to Trevor, who has a high-powered assault rifle with lots of ammo. After you switch to Franklin (a character not involved in the bank robbery), it takes a while again before you can get that kind of weaponry. However, it is not a Cold Open, as it explains how Trevor became so unhinged and how Michael faked his death.
  • Against the Setting Sun: The ending for Option C has the characters part ways, until the next heist anyway, while the sun is setting in the background.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: One character notes that Trevor's mental state probably stems from mommy issues, to which he urgently changes the subject. Shown to be (probably) true when Trevor's mother shows up in a epilogue mission, where Trevor runs an errand for her and visibly has a borderline phobia of her.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: A new major feature of the game. Instead of playing as a single protagonist throughout the experience, you switch between three different characters at the press of a button. Each character has their own unique strengths, attributes and storylines that all intertwine.
    • It's also subverted in the tutorial, where you play as two faceless goons in a Bank Robbery who turn out to be Michael and Trevor.
    • For several missions, you can look from Chop's point of view. Chop being a dog, however, all the player can actually do is see what he sees.
  • Anger Born of Worry: It's heavily implied that at least part of the reason Michael's family give him so much shit for his actions is because they're afraid he'll end up getting himself killed.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Michael's house gets attacked by Merryweather mercs in the mission "Meltdown".
  • Arc Words: "Social Darwinism".
    • Lester is first to say it, saying that sabotaging Jay Norris is putting is putting the "Darwin back in Social Darwinism".
    • Trevor later says that the world needs more guys like him, because "shit would get done" and the world would be "Darwinian".
    • Devin Weston describes himself as a "Darwinian" sort of guy.
    • A voice ad on GTA Radio is for something called "Darwinian Yoga".
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Trevor: Let me just ask you something, something I've been thinking about. Up in North Yankton... exactly who was buried in your place?
  • Ascended Meme: Some times when switching over to Trevor, he will be chasing random persons on scooters with a scooter of his own while shouting: "We are scooter brothers! Scooooooooter brothers, yeah!", which is a reference to Brad Simons' (4PP) most infamous video; literally almost every line in the video is repeated by Trevor.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you fail a mission or a mission checkpoint three times, the game will give you the option to skip it.
    • The checkpoints themselves; past GTA games required the player to restart from the beginning. GTA V seems to have placed more frequent checkpoints within missions.
    • If you arrive at a mission location at the wrong time of day, the game will fast forward the time then start the mission.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Depending on which ending you choose.
    • Ending A — Trevor's death. On one hand, one might not feel so bad about killing Trevor considering some of his actions... on the other hand, being burnt alive, screaming his head off, is a horrible way to go even for him. That Trevor's implied to be more surprised and hurt by Franklin's betrayal than anything else is rather heartbreaking on its own, because he clearly trusted him completely.
    • Ending B — Michael's death. From his distraught voice as he screams how Franklin was like a son to him, to the shot of his corpse on the ground and Franklin looking like he's just fighting back tears when he sees what he's done.
    • Averted, however, with Ending C, as two of your targets are reprehensible beyond repair — an FIB agent so sociopathic Trevor jumped on the chance to snipe him when the chance arose, and a corrupt businessman who sics bloodthirsty mercenaries onto anyone he doesn't like.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The targets of the assassination missions, according to Lester. He may have not been exaggerating too much. One of them, a miserly billionaire who takes the bus every day to save money, steals some poor schmoe's bike to ride to work when he thinks the fares have been raised to $1.50.
    • Most of the hitchhikers are incredibly annoying and/or terrible people. So annoying that if you're picking them up as Trevor, you probably won't feel bad for dropping them off at the Altruist cult spot in the mountains for whatever it is they do up there (Trevor is unsure whether his "friends on the mountain" are just reforming the people he drops off or straight up eats them, but he's not too picky as long as they keep giving him money).
    • Jokingly exploited by Trevor in the mission "Minor Turbulence", who mentions to Ron it's okay to steal a cargo plane of Merryweather weapons because they were likely being shipped to an African warlord or something of the sort.
    • The Rampage groups often are the first to pick fights with Trevor.
  • As the Good Book Says:
    Michael: It's a foolish man who builds his house on the sand, baby!
    Franklin: I don't think my boy Matthew was thinking trucks when he wrote that shit.
  • Atomic F-Bomb/Cluster F-Bomb: The protagonists and many supporting characters drop the f-bomb loud and often.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: You'll hear the words "millennial", "entitled", "ironic" and "hipster" a lot. Often in the same breath.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Michael's family - he hates his son's laziness, he hates his daughter and wife's bitchiness... They agree to attend a therapy session with Michael and when that doesn't work, Michael and Amanda simply come to terms with each other on the ride home.
    • During "The Third Way" (Ending C), despite Michael and Trevor being this close to killing each other earlier, Michael becomes really worried when Trevor goes silent on the comm.
    • If you opt to kill Michael, he gets a call from his wife, saying his daughter just made it into college. While you're trying to kill him. Ouch.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: It's possible to purchase the golf course for the staggering sum of one hundred and fifty million dollars. If you actually manage to do it, all it does is generate a small amount of revenue per week and allows you to play golf for free.
    • There are a lot of Cool Cars in the game, like the Cheetah, Entity, Adder, and Z-Type. However, only one of them the Adder spawns down the street from Michael's house at a specific time; other than this, they can only be purchased for extremely high amounts of money. But unlike aircraft, boats, and tanks, purchased cars don't respawn when lost or destroyed, unless one counts the impound fee if the player didn't jack others cars and lose them before they retrieve it.
    • The Lazer jet is fast, but it handles like a brick, making it extremely hard to line up cannon shots or even get a missile lock when dogfighting. The four-star wanted level it incurs can also last a very long time, because the new wanted system will spawn police helicopters in front of your jet as you fly.
  • Back for the Dead: Johnny Klebitz, Terry Thorpe, Clay Simons, Rocco Pelosi, and The Contact return from IV just long enough to be killed off (though the latter is optional).
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: One of the options for carrying out the "Bureau Raid" mission is an extended, literal example, wherein Michael impersonates a janitor to plant incendiary bombs inside the FIB building, then leads the rest of the crew in disguised as firefighters after the bombs go off to retrieve a hard drive loaded with incriminating evidence.
    • The "subtle" approach for "The Big Score" also counts, as it involves Michael and Trevor impersonating Union Depository guards in order to remove gold from the vault.
  • Because I'm Good At It: Michael and Trevor both use this excuse for their criminal lifestyle. The difference is that the former bemoans the fact that crime is the only thing he knows how to do well, while the latter is content and proud to have something he can excel at. A conversation with Jimmy reveals that this is also true of Franklin, who says that stealing things is all he's ever been good at.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Trevor a motherfucker. And that's just the most obvious one he has.
    • Do not sleep with Michael's wife. Michael can sleep around all he wants, but if he finds you sleeping with his wife, he'll tear down your house, even if it isn't actually your house (oops).
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the "Kill Michael" ending, after Michael is thrown off the water tower, Franklin has the choice to let him fall or to pull him up. If Franklin tries to pull him up, Michael headbutts him and falls to his death. Given that Devin Weston and Steve Haines, who have access to an army of Federal agents and military contractors, ordered the hit on him, Michael is implied to know he is going to die either way.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Stretch, Wei Cheng, Devin Weston and Steve Haines. They all get confronted in the C ending.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One mission is a gigantic Take That to Facebook, and yet the game itself has a big tab for Facebook connectivity. Let's hope they have a sense of humor.
  • Black Comedy Rape: When staying with Wade's cousin, Floyd, Trevor is called out by him for putting a bra and underwear on a teddy bear before using a knife to cut a sex hole into it. Before he made an eye-socket to screw.
    • Also, should the player jump to Trevor while he's in Floyd's apartment, he sometimes sits up in a bed containing Floyd; since Floyd cries about cheating on his girlfriend, but is also sobbing in the fetal position, it'd dubious as to what has specifically upset him.
    • A random encounter involves stopping to help a broke down van; it's a trap, with the driver taking whichever character started the encounter down with a stun gun while saying how "close" they're going to get. They wake up in his underwear hours later, on the train tracks as a train is hurtling towards them.
      Trevor: (upon waking up) "Oh no, not this again..."
    • When you watch Jimmy play Righteous Slaughter, one of the possible death screens is of an enemy humping the player's dead corpse.
  • Book Ends: The game's story kicks in when you control Franklin, then you become reacquainted with Michael and Trevor. In Ending C, they leave the sunset-bathed Paleto Cove in the order they're introduced.
    • Trevor's first mission is titled "Mr. Philips". If endings B and C are chosen, a post-game mission featuring his mother will become available, titled "Mrs. Philips".
    • One of Franklin's random encounters, an adrenaline junkie named Dom, is first met when a dog tells you about him forgetting to use his parachute after a high jump. His last mission features similar circumstances, and you even meet the dog again. This one involves basejumping off the Land Act Dam, albeit without a parachute.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Purchasing the Golf Club for one hundred and fifty million dollars. The return investment is terrible, and if you have enough money to buy it, you probably have more than you'll ever need for the rest of the game.
    • The three cinemas as well to a lesser extent, they cost 10 million, 20 million and 30 million for a grand total of $60M altogether and like the Golf Club, give you very little return investment for much you put into them.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the "Stag Do Running Man" random event you find a guy tied to post in just his underwear. He has trouble recalling the bachelor party that led him to that predicament, but he thinks there was a stripper there. Or a midget. Or a stripper midget. He's not sure.
  • Broken Bridge: Averted. Unlike past main entries in the series, the entire map is open from the start. What limits your exploration is simply the fact that initially, you don't have a reason to explore past the big city.
    • However, there is a period about halfway through the game when Trevor and Michael are exiled to Blaine County and will be pursued by a relentless Border Patrol if they enter Los Santos proper.
  • Bullet Time: Michael's special ability allows him to use it in combat, while Franklin's allows him to use it when driving cars.
  • But Thou Must: Your first job, after the playable prologue, has you working as a legitimate repo man. So you just need to drive carefully and get the car back to the dealer in good condition, right? Nope. If you don't participate in the race with your colleague and he gets too far ahead of you it's game over time. Other than for purposes of your grade, it doesn't matter how many counts of vehicular homicide you commit or how banged up the car gets. The game forces you to act like an idiot.
    • Also, you must end up torturing Mr. K for information on a target Michael must assassinate. Even if you are aware of the target's traits (bearded, left-handed chain smoker), killing them without confirmation from Trevor will fail the mission.
  • Call Back:
    • Early on, when planning a heist, Lester will mention an Eastern European who made waves in Liberty City's criminal underworld before suddenly going quiet.
    • In-game radio will mention a civil war within The Lost MC back in 2008 that nearly destroyed the club.
    • One news report discusses Brucie Kibbutz from IV, revealing his bull shark testosterone product was a success — and it unsurprisingly makes everyone as aggressive, hormonal and insecure as him.
    • Marnie, one of the random characters you can encounter in IV, shows up as a member of the Epsilon program.
    • One celebrity name mentioned in IV is Samantha Muldoon, known mainly for adopting lots and lots of children. This time around, she's underwent a Genre Shift to country pop.
    • You can possibly find someone in the strip club wearing a track jacket that says "Hopkins" on it.
    • Also there's Poppy Mitchell, one of several celebrities Luis had to help out in The Ballad of Gay Tony. Here, Franklin has to help some paparazzo catch Poppy receiving anal sex or getting arrested for drunk driving. Which is particularly humorous when you remember that Poppy told Luis that her agent was forcing her to clean up her act.
    • And then there's Al Di Napoli. Trevor helps two old English people track down and abduct Al. And then in the follow-up mission, Trevor drives around with Al in the trunk. You either eventually release Al to pocket some money... or take him to some railroad tracks and let an oncoming train kill him.
    • The Truffade Z-Type will be a surprise call back for GTA 2 players. For those who are unaware, it was the gang car used by the Zaibatsu Corporation, a corrupt pharmaceutical company who offered the player jobs throughout the game.
    • One of the main protagonists is a black gangbanger who hails from a green-colored gang named "Families" and has two allies in his storyline, one of whom betrays him for a rival purple-wearing gang called the Ballas. The main antagonist is a corrupt authority figure who forces the protagonist(s) to work for him in clearing up his illegal activities. Now, when were we last in Los Santos?
    • Remember the Bigfoot myths from San Andreas? After obtaining 100% in the game, a hunter will inform the player about a Sasquatch lurking around the countryside and implores you to hunt it down. Granted, it wasn't actually a Bigfoot. Better yet, this mission can only be completed by Franklin, who in some ways is CJ's Spiritual Successor.
      • Also, the hunter looks similar to the same Sasquatch hunter from Red Dead Redemption, with more modern clothing. He states that he has been hunting it down for 9 years, which is the gap between San Andreas (2004) and V (2013).
    • In III, Freddy, a disturbed British man, would call Lazlow's radio show saying he needs a nanny. In the in-game movie "The Loneliest Robot in Great Britain", the robot's boss has a breakdown and says "Tell me nanny loves me! Tell me nanny loves me more than Freddy!"
    • In a nod to the game he originally appeared in, the mission in which you kill Rocco is called "The Ballad of Rocco".
      • Similarly, the Gold achievement in "Mr. Phillips" for killing Terry and Clay is called "Lost and Damned".
  • The Cameo
    • When discussing potential thugs for a heist, Lester mentions a notable Eurasian in Liberty City, but remembers he eventually left the business. It's also possible to see Niko's Life Invader profile from Jimmy's laptop.
    • Patrick McReary appears in an early random event robbing a store with an accomplice but without a getaway car. If Franklin successfully helps them, Patrick shares some of the money and can be used later on as a heist crew member.
    • Expanding on the Lost MC mention, Trevor's début mission has him dealing with Johnny Klebitz himself. Trevor promptly settles his dispute with Johnny by beating him and stomping on his head until his dies, before killing any Lost MC bikers that don't flee the city.
    • Karen ("Michelle") has a short but memorable cameo as the female IAA agent who threatens to shove a flashlight up Mr. K's ass in the Three's Company mission.
    • The UL Paper contact from IV appears twice.
    • Rocco Pelosi returns from The Ballad of Gay Tony. This time around, he gets killed off (by Michael).
    • During the mission "Hood Safari" you can see three guys who look like CJ, Sweet and Cesar riding bicycles.
  • Canada, Eh?: Trevor is revealed to be Canadian. It later crops up as the cause of "Rampage 4":
    Soldier 1: Oh, I'm sorry, you're clearly a tourist. From our friends up north, eh? Aboot?
    Trevor: We don't even say it like that!
    Soldier 1: There's a moose loose aboot the hoot!
    Soldier 2: Fuck off you hoser, eh?
    Soldier 1: Eh, what's that aboot?
    Trevor: [pulls a weapon] FOR FUCK'S SAKES!!! It's a faint fucking accent!!! You can barely even tell!!!
  • Cats Are Mean: Cougars prowl the countryside, just like in Red Dead Redemption. If you're in a vehicle, they're pretty harmless, and will probably run from you. If you're on foot, however... just make sure you're armed before venturing into the wilderness.
  • Central Theme: Several.
    • Money: Word of God says that "pursuit of the almighty dollar" is the game's central theme, and wanted to capture the feel of a post-recession world and its obsession with debt and reclaiming wealth.
    • Heists: After getting positive feedback on the heist mission in IV, Rockstar decided to make it a central part of the gameplay in this game.
    • Intersecting plots: Fans really liked how the three Grand Theft Auto IV games told the same story, from three different POVs. So, the developers took that to the next logical step by putting all three POVs in one game.
    • Where Are They Now: They were interested in exploring what happens to GTA characters after the game is over. Michael, Trevor, and Johnny all emphasize this.
    • Loyalty: The source of inner turmoil for all the protagonists is traced back to this. Michael is torn up for turning on his friends nine years ago (despite futile attempts at justifying it). Trevor, for all his flaws, values it above all else and is angry at Michael for his previous betrayal. Franklin's loyalty to the hood is challenged by his friends due to simply wanting more out of life, and his own loyalty to it is diminishing in turn. And the Golden Ending is achieved when Franklin remains loyal to both Mike and Trevor, even if it means bringing down the wrath of the FIB and Merryweather upon him. In turn Trevor reaffirms his friendship with Michael, who decides to atone for his past treachery by helping them both.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Union Depository. It's where Franklin and Lamar finish their race in the first mission. Lester later names it as a possible heist he and Michael can undertake and it indeed becomes the site of the last heist in the game.
    • Michael has a Chekhov's Catchphrase: "You forget thousands of things everyday... make sure this is one of them."
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Regardless of the character's personality, you can use the random events to help dozens of people out of particularly hairy situations. These may include purse-snatchings, kidnappings, and even being buried alive. You can subvert this by keeping the money, turning over the hostages to cannibals, or just killing them all.
    • Trevor, notably, is the only one who can do the worst of these actions.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Averted. Both the FBI and the CIA's stand-ins the FIB and the IAA and their agents waste tons of money and put America in danger to justify getting more funding and furthering their careers.
  • Click Hello/Danger Takes a Backseat: While Franklin is repoing Jimmy's SUV, Michael, who had been hiding in the backseat to get away from the family, presses a gun to his head.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: One of Michael and Trevor's missions involves a controversial torture mission. You have the option of smashing the hostage with a wrench, pulling a tooth with pliers, electrocuting him, or water-boarding him with gasoline.
  • Comically Small Bribe: When Trevor shows up at Franklin's house at the beginning of "Hood Safari," he breaks up the argument between Franklin and Denise by sweet-talking the latter and giving her some money to "get [herself] something nice." It's seven dollars. Denise is not amused.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: The Z-type car costs a whopping 10 million dollars to buy and while its performance is good, its real purpose is to show how rich you are.
  • Continuity Nod: Lester mentions "some Eastern European guy" who made waves in Liberty City's crime world, but also mentions that he has been quiet for years. If you hire Packie for the Paleto score, he'll talk about how he robbed the Bank of Liberty wth Niko, but theorizes that he's probably dead by now.
    • Willie a former member of Love Fist, is one of the targets of a Strangers and Freaks mission for Trevor.
    • Franklin and Lamar ponder what could have happened to the Grove Street Families after a botched drug deal with the Ballas.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Trevor and Michael both moved to San Andreas sometime after the prologue, and are in fact less than ten miles apart in gameplay. It's less contrived in-story, however, where they live hours away from each other.
  • Country Matters: The word "cunt" is used a number of times in the story (a notable example was when Trevor stomps Johnny to death, yelling the word four times in succession). Given the prominent use of certain other words in the game, it's not really that surprising.
  • The Crime Job: The Jewel Store Job.
  • Cult: There's a bunch in this game. Michael has a long and involved series of complicated missions where he gets inducted into the Epsilon Program (he's mostly following along just to see where it'll go). Trevor can deliver hitchhikers to the "Altruist" cult at the top of a secluded mountain. There is the unrelated "Children of the Mountain" cult that has left weird clues in hidden spots. The "Cult Watch" web page in the in-game internet also lists the ersatz Facebook "Lifeinvader" as a cult!
  • Cutting the Knot: Michael draws the ire of a couple of drug dealers after he disrupts their yacht party to remove Tracey from it. The game then sets up for a extended Chase Scene, but it is actually a valid response to just have Michael straight up shoot and kill the drug dealers, but doing this scares the hell out of the Tracy who accuses her father (and by extension the player) of being a complete psycho.
    • The entire Paleto Bay heist is this: Since the bank being hit is holding the money swindled by the towns corrupt police force, they have a vested interest in defending the bank from would-be robbers. The banks security system is far more advanced than what a rural, small-town bank would normally have. Should the alarm be triggered, even without signs of escalation such as "shots fired", the dirty cops will send a four-car response team with a 60 second reaction time. They also install roadblocks and checkpoints for even a false alarm. Avoiding the security system would be impossible, disabling it would cost more than the entire take, and slipping out before the police arrive and stealthily evading them is out of the question entirely. They instead opt to take the police head on, boosting bomb-suits, LMG's and a minigun, and mowing down the entire corrupt police force, as well as their corrupt army reinforcements.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All three protagonists are all equally snarky in different ways.
    • Michael could easily rival Niko in the snark department as well. Even when he loses his temper, he still makes sarcastic comments while yelling. Trevor and Amanda call him out on it.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Since this is social commentary, the protagonists here embody the typical GTA players' mindsets, with a far more realistic take on their characters as a whole.
    • Michael is the traditional GTA protagonist who has already won. Having "beaten the game," so to speak, he's decided to get out, settle down and raise a family, but he finds "normal" life boring, so he finds excuses (like his wife's wasteful lifestyle) to go back to the one thing he knows how to do - free roaming, drive-by crime sprees.
    • Johnny Klebitz serves a similar purpose, though he's something of a foil for Michael, as he too won "the game", but all it got him was meth addiction and a violent death.
    • Trevor is a representation of people who ignore the game's storylines and play them for what they're most infamous for. Meaning, Video Game Cruelty Potential is embodied by him more than anything else, and it's not a nice thing to see.
    • Franklin appears to be the classic GTA protagonist wanting to better his lot in life. However, unlike past characters, he's trying to get out of the gang lifestyle, rather than delve deeper into it, though by going professional.
    • Lamar represents the other side of the classic GTA Protagonist. He goes into situations guns-a-blazing, accepting "missions" from anyone in hopes of getting a payday and is constantly set up.
    • Meanwhile, Jimmy parodies the real life of many GTA fans. (Though, his favorite game is "Not-Call-of-Duty". )
    • Most of the game itself deconstructs the Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster trope. Unlike previous games, very few missions actually get you any money. Sometimes it's because you did something that isn't inherently profitable, sometimes it's a moneymaking venture that gets botched, sometimes you're blackmailed into doing others' dirty work, and sometimes your bosses just won't pay you because they know they can get away with it. The only way to produce any real cash is via heists... and not even all of those will pan out.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Trevor makes sexual advances on several men through the course of the story and has an obvious fetish for mature women.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Several missions require you to use a specific vehicle then destroy it at the end.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The prologue mission takes place during the holiday season (though not necessarily on Christmas itself), judging by the presence of a Christmas tree and decorations in the bank Trevor and Michael rob. No characters point this out. Considering that this was a bank robbery though, it seems much more justified.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: The Ballas are nowhere near as threatening as they were in San Andreas, with more focus put on the FIB and Merryweather as the main opposing factions.
  • Dirty Cop: The local law enforcement in Blaine County extorts money from the pot farmers, whore houses, and meth labs in the area. One of the heists involves robbing the bank where the dirty money is stashed.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Assault Submachine Gun is immediately free at Ammu-Nation to anyone anyone who linked their PSN or Xbox Live Game Account to their Rockstar Social Account. Not only is the Assault SMG the best SMG in the game, all the upgrades that come with it are all free.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Trevor's rampage missions. They usually begin with armed assholes making fun of him and, due to his being Ax-Crazy, results in him murdering them and any backup that arrives.
    • Michael's response to finding his wife in bed with her tennis coach is to destroy what he thinks is his house.
  • Downer Ending: The outcomes of Endings A and B are considerably bleaker than Ending C. One of the protagonists dies, the relationship between the ones that survive completely shatters, the villains of the game get away with all their crimes, and it's only a matter of time before they come gunning for the main characters again.
    • Combining with Distant Finale, this applies to The Lost and Damned; seeing the last of Johnny's chapter become nothing but trailer-trash meth-heads is bad enough before Johnny himself is killed by Trevor. Making this even worse is the fact that in the following mission, where Trevor bombs the gang's trailer park base, you can overhear a few bikers talking about how inferior of a leader they thought Johnny was compared to Billy Grey, not believing he was a rat.
    • Also the end of "Did Someone Say Yoga?" Jimmy has drugged his dad and Amanda has moved out his family, leaving him alone. Fortunately for him it gets better by "Reuniting the Family".
  • Down LA Drain: "The Jewel Store Job" has the player escape the cops through the sewers and onto the Los Santos River.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Whilst numerous villains are seen up to the ending, Devin and the FIB end up turning against Michael and Trevor respectively, finally reaching "Dragon" status when they demand Franklin kill the respective protagonist.
  • The Dreaded: The trio becomes this at the end of game if Ending C is chosen. After killing Devin, Donald, CEO of Merryweather, mails them, begging them to leave his company in peace in exchange for a standing order to stay away from the trio for the rest of their lives.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Alan McClean, a former U.S. Marine, right-wing fanaticnote  and author of the Old-Testament-style parenting handbook "Hitting Kids Works Wonders". There's also a boot camp in the works, where undisciplined sons can be sent to receive ritualized abuse at the hands of him and their own fathers.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Endings A and B, wherein Franklin picks the contract on either Michael (for Devin) or Trevor (for the FIB); it either results in Michael falling to his death, or Trevor getting covered in gasoline and being set aflame.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Meth, naturally, is shown to have destroyed the lives of every character it touches, but marijuana also gets this treatment, causing Michael and Trevor to hallucinate and turning Franklin into a self-loathing mess.
    • That said, Michael's alien-attack hallucination probably qualifies as a lampshading due to the situation being so ridiculous.
  • Dynamic Entry: The counterpart to the Optional Stealth heists is usually this, wherein the characters simply barge in theatrically.
    • Also appears in attack form too, as pressing attack after jumping makes the character ragdoll through the air, injuring both the player and anyone they land on.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Michael's. His primary communication with Amanda consists chiefly of expletives, Tracey doesn't respect him, and Jimmy spends most of his time in his room smoking weed and playing video games.

    Single-Player Tropes E - N 
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Options A & B. Franklin kills either Michael or Trevor, causing them to be Killed Off for Real; you can't continue playing as them again, nor can you get them back to finish their stories. To top it all off, if you decide to kill Michael, you lose his share of the gold money; Lester gives it to Michael's family. If Trevor dies instead, his share is split between Michael and Franklin.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The best ending is Option C, which requires surviving a difficult three-way firefight against Merryweather mercenaries and corrupt FIB agents. The three protagonists manage to tie up all loose ends, and while they aren't perfect, they're more or less settled that they're stuck with each other for other heists in the future. Deathwish is the most difficult of the three missions, but it's so worth it.
  • Easter Egg: Playing past 100% Completion unlocks an entire subplot about FIB and government conspiracies about Flying Saucer cover-ups.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The advanced rifle is a ridiculously good weapon that does not become available to purchase until the single player campaign is nearly over.
  • Establishing Character Moment: A few for each of the main characters.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Every character can agree that, even though they're all conniving bastards that have killed and manipulated for selfish gain, at least they're not Trevor.
    Michael: "There's gotta be a limit, kid. Y'know, a point where even assholes like us say, 'Enough is e-fuckin'-nough.' Human. Stew. That's my limit. I know that now."
    • Even Trevor has some form of moral boundary, in particular when it comes to women. He spares a torture victim from killing and gives him a lift to the airport, and falls in love with the abused wife of a Mexican crimelord — who reciprocates.
      Trevor: "You think it's clever to disrespect women?"
      Wade: "Disrespect? What? I wasn't disrespectin'; I was just sayin' we should kill 'er."
      Trevor: "You called her a bitch! Ain't you got a mother?!"
    • Should Franklin choose to kill Michael, Trevor will be furious with him over his choice, not only because Franklin just killed his best friend, but also, and arguably more because Franklin betrayed Michael, who was considered a father figure to Franklin and arguably one of the only people who actually trusted him.
      • In addition, one of the "Strangers and Freaks" he gets to know is Josh, a mediocre real estate broker who rewards Trevor's helpful efforts by letting him sleep with several women. The second one Trevor sleeps with is revealed afterwards by Josh to be his wife, after which Trevor spends the next few minutes debating himself over the moral repercussions of what he just did.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The United States government is deeply corrupt when it isn't incompetent, but it doesn't recognize Epsilon as a proper religion and hence retracted its tax-exempt status.
  • Evil Genius: Lester Crest, an incredibly talented hacker and planner who uses his skills to assassinate certain Corrupt Corporate Executives, manipulate the stock market, and come up with heists within a matter of days.
  • Evil vs. Evil: At the end of the day, the protagonists really can't claim much in the way of moral superiority over the members of the Big Bad Ensemble, at least not nearly enough to make it a case of Grey and Black Morality.
    • On one side you've got a trio of unrepentant criminals who kill and steal for their own benefit. On the other side you've got a corrupt, murdering government agent and a billionaire who commands a private army with a record of human rights abuses.
  • Expy: Trevor is a dead ringer for Jack Nicholson, with a slight resemblance and several of his mannerisms, and is similar to Jack Torrance. Taken further with a jacket exclusive to Trevor, which is the same jacket that Nicholson wore in The Shining.
    • Michael is a middle-aged, white thug unable to escape his awful past, and even has the unique power of Bullet Time, all just like other Rockstar protagonist Max Payne. Of course, if you think it's a bit of a stretch, you could always give him the exact same shaved hair, beard, sunglasses, and Hawaiian shirt from Max Payne 3.
      • He also looks and sounds almost exactly like Frank West.
      • A middle-aged, chubby criminal visiting a shrink who lives in a lavish house with gold digger wife, fat lazy son and smart-yet-often-dull daughter who all hate him? Ever since the first trailer, Michael seemed awfully akin to Tony Soprano. Even his house layout is very similar.
    • Lester has much in common with Kelso from Heat, both being physically disabled, but brilliant men who help other professional crooks plan heists.
    • Jesse for Jesus Christ. He initially just looks and sounds like a long-haired, bearded stoner, but his lines are modern phrasings of Christ's life and parables from the Bible. Visually, he is identical to most modern depictions of Christ (except for his blue jeans and conspicuous crucifix).
    • Peter Dreyfuss is an aging film director who is infamous for his drug use and his lust for young girls. He is likely based on Roman Polanski.
    • Jay Norris, the CEO of LifeInvader, appears to be a cross between Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
    • Dr. Isiah Friedlander, Michael's therapist, seems to be one for Dr. Phil McGraw. His final session with Michael even has him confessing that he has an upcoming TV talk show and he plans to use his sessions with Michael as a selling point.
  • Fan Disservice: During one of Trevor's missions from Floyd's apartment, Trevor demands that Floyd drop his pants. Floyd refuses and Trevor drops his, exposing his bare rear end. When he bends down to pick them back up, you can clearly see his genitals dangling between his legs.
    • And Lester in the hospital gown after the Merryweather Heist.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In "Minor Turbulence", it's (unsurprisingly, really) impossible to complete the plan as conceived by Trevor. The cargo plane will be shot down, and you'll have to bail out without the loot. However, it's possible to retrieve what you wanted from the wreckage later, so it's not a complete waste.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Michael and Trevor start to patch things up in Ending C after they fight side-by-side against an overwhelming force of corrupt FIB agents and Merryweather mercenaries.
  • Five-Bad Band: Trevor Philips Industries/Enterprises
  • Flipping the Bird: The first time Michael goes to see Lester, Lester watches him through a security camera. Michael flips it off with both hands and says "Fuck you, Lester. You gonna let me in or what?" Well that's one way to greet a friend you haven't seen for nine years.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In-Universe. If you pick a driver with good "Vehicle Choice" skill on a particular heist which involves heavy collateral damage, he'll arrive in an ambulance. This initially confuses the crew, until they realize that an emergency vehicle can get in and out of the scene unnoticed and is fast and durable to boot. Michael compliments the driver on their choice.
  • Flying Saucer: The game's signature Easter Egg. There are tons of them, with some of them hidden through very obscure clues, and only available if you acquire 100% Completion.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Merryweather. A harmless-sounding organization that uses deadly force when screwed with.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The Chinese gangsters, witnessing Trevor and Michael's frequent arguing, assume they're actually a bickering gay couple.
  • Foil: Tanisha to Franklin. Both of them want to get out of the hood life. However, Tanisha wants to get out because she's sick of the gangster lifestyle, while Franklin just wants to get out of the hood because he's the one pulling the weight out of all his fellow thugs. He wants a competent crew.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Franklin's first mission has him and Lamar briefly driving through the Union Depository, which is the setting for the game's biggest and most climactic heist. Similarly, when Michael reunites with Lester at the beginning of the game to discuss locations for a new heist, Lester's first recommendation is the Union Depository, but Michael winces and says he had a much smaller job in mind.
    • If you bother watching the TV you can watch Steve Haines' show long before he makes an appearance in the main story. Furthermore, if you call Dave Norton shortly after taking control of Michael for the first time, Dave will mention that he has a new supervisor - Steve.
    • In the mission "Caida Libre", Trevor will say that he misses Blaine County (which he's tearing through on a dirtbike in hot pursuit of a crashing plane) and that he wants Michael to come visit him. Michael declines, but little does he know that at the end of the mission, Trevor will kidnap Patrica Madrazo, getting both him and Michael on Martin Madrazo's bad side and forcing them to lay low in... yep, you guessed it, Blaine County. In Trevor's trailer home, even.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Michael is melancholic with shades of choleric, Franklin is phlegmatic, Trevor is definitely choleric, and Lester is leukine.
  • Freudian Trio
    • Trevor: impulsive and hedonistic (Id)
    • Michael: older and wiser (Superego)
    • Franklin: balanced (Ego)
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The heist mechanics are much more consistent and developed than in previous games. Every action you take during a heist and every decision you make prior to the heist (such as who to bring with you) has tangible consequences. Compare that to, say, the heist in Vice City, where the player must complete nearly a half a dozen missions to recruit the heist crew...only to see the majority of them do exactly jack squat once the heist proper begins.
    • For better or worse, the game's payment mechanic is also a lot more consistent with the plot this time around. Whereas earlier games in the series would have the Player Character receive money at the end of virtually any mission, even when there was no in-universe justification for it (e.g., GTA 4's infamous "Snow Storm" mission), as described in Deconstructed Trope above, it is now entirely possible (and fairly likely!) for the player to receive no payment at all from completing a mission.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the "subtle" version of the Vangelico heist, the whole point of dressing the crew up like exterminators is to avoid drawing attention with the gas masks they wear. Then they hop out of the van openly carrying assault rifles…
    • Story-wise, Trevor and Michael live hours away from each other in different parts of the state. Gameplay-wise, they live mere miles away from each other.
  • Gameplay Grading: Much like TBOGT, the player's performance is evaluated at the end of each mission, medals are awarded to the player, based on how well they did during each mission (bronze, silver and gold).
  • Genius Cripple: Due to a wasting disease, Lester requires a wheelchair or a cane just to get around. It doesn't affect his intelligence, however.
  • Glory Days: The recurring theme is meta-textually about the series itself as much as it is about the characters. Michael especially is longing for the glory days since retired life is suiting him terribly, and this theme extends to the other in-game media too, like the internet. There's a web page about nostalgia for old movies (even admitting how terribly racist and misogynistic they are, they're still just better) and Jack Howitzer, the kooky actor who can't tell reality from fantasy, has a reality show built around how much time he spends wandering around howling about how the eighties can't end until he's ready to let them go. The logo for Jack's show even mimics the logo for The Expendables. Ouch!
  • Golden Ending: As mentioned below, if you choose "C: Death Wish", not only does Michael, Franklin and Trevor finally mend their broken friendship, but also help each other take out their enemies — Steve, Cheng, Stretch and Devin.
  • Grey and Black Morality: Michael's family life in a nutshell. They criticize him for being a distant husband and father, a womanizer, a drunk, a murderer and a thief, whose reckless actions will inevitably get himself and all of them killed. But Amanda is no better of a mother to the children than Michael is a father, and neither Jimmy or Tracey are remotely receptive to Michael's attempts to bond with them. Amanda cheats at least as much as Michael does, mostly with people Michael is paying to spend time with her, and Tracey's an amateur porn star. Jimmy, the only one who isn't promiscuous, is not due to lack of trying, and is a chronic masturbater. All three of them drink at least as heavily as he does, and on top of that, they indulge in other addictions; Jimmy and Tracy both smoke weed, and Tracy and Amanda both abuse prescription drugs. Jimmy and Tracy also both engage in reckless behavior that nearly gets them killed over the course of the game, and both Jimmy and Amanda engage in theft. The only — only — aspect in which his family holds the moral high ground over Michael is that he is, indeed, a murderer, but as he's quick to point out, none of them complain about the money his criminal activities earn him. note 
    • This extends to the antagonists as well. Neither of the three protagonists (especially Trevor) qualify as saints, but compared to the people they are often up against, Haines and Devin in particular, they might as well be.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • There is no hint of how to increase Chop's happiness meter in-game, or even mention of there not being a way. Just a vague mention of a smartphone or tablet app.
    • The stock market's fluctuations are arcane. You can get tips from the news on the radio and the internet to help you out with what's probably going to rise, but it's a little confusing to track the rates at which stocks rise and fall.
      • Don't have access to the internet or forgot to invest in BAWSAQ stocks before doing Lester's missions? Better yet, do invest in the stock market, but do the missions too early, when you don't have a lot of cash to invest? Good luck scraping together the $150 mil you need to buy the golf course.
    • Finding all 50 scraps of paper to figure out Leonora Johnson's murderer, as well as finding all 50 spaceship parts for Franklin's Omega side mission.note 
    • The Epsilon missions. Starting them requires you to visit a specific website as Michael (which is given no prompt and isn't always listed on the main page). One mission in particular requires you to steal five extremely rare vehicles, which can be very time-consuming if you don't know where they spawn. And the missions can be buggy; if the player does certain things, then the entire chain of missions could end up Unwinnable by Mistake.
    • Most of the Random encounters have fairly trivial rewards such as a small amount of money or a a new suit. However, there are a few random events such as helping out Heist members that are very cost effective consistently or helping out a businessman who gives you a stock trading tip off. These can be extremely lucrative when used correctly, but good luck finding them when their location is never pointed out and they're not guaranteed to spawn there when you pass by.
      • And, while some random events respawn occasionally, some are believed to only be offered once, and if you kill the wrong person, or simply miss the mission, that's it. ( The GTA V forums are filled with debates over whether the encounter that introduces GTA IV character Packie Mc Creary to the game is a one-time event or not; some players report that it respawns, while others have reported playing the game for weeks on end without it triggering again - or even for the first time.)
  • Handshake Substitute: Michael and Franklin always exchange fist bumps whenever they greet or depart.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Michael and Trevor, in a Like an Old Married Couple kind of way. Lamar teases Trevor about sounding like an jilted ex-girlfriend, and later the Triads kidnap Michael because they think he is Trevor's boyfriend.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The car dealership Franklin works for, whose owner is a sleazy Armenian guy who pressures yuppies into buying expensive cars clearly beyond their purchasing power, then sends Franklin to take them back when the payments stop coming in. His favorite method of disarming marks by guilt trip is accusing everyone that they're racist against him (he even tries this once while being beaten up) and he's a bit of a huckster to his own employees, too, showering them with faint praise and insincere motivational speeches.
  • Hotter and Sexier: During private dances, strippers are completely topless, unlike in previous games, where they'd wear pasties. It's also possible to seduce the strippers and take them home, in stark contrast to Grand Theft Auto IV, where Niko would comment on how pathetic and frustrated he was for visiting strip clubs in the first place.
  • I Have a Family: If you're playing as Franklin and you hang out with Trevor after Ending C, Trevor gives this as the reason he could never go through with killing Michael.
  • I'm a Humanitarian
    • Trevor is implied to indulge in this from time to time. A stew he offers Michael has an eyelid floating in it. He does throw up violently after eating it, so it was probably down to another of his drug/alcohol/rage induced episodes more than them actually enjoying it.
    • The Altruist Cult is this by its beliefs, preferring to eat people born after the Baby Boomer Generation. They abduct Trevor after he delivers another person to eat for the fourth time and attempt to sacrifice and eat him.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: The Taser. Available about halfway through the plot, it's a cheap, infinite-ammo pistol that can One-Hit Kill anyone with a hit anywhere.note  The only reasons it isn't the best weapon available are due to its very limited range and recharge requirement. The decidedly less subtle minigun and Assault Shotgun may also qualify, as they also become available midway through the story and can tear through vast numbers of mooks easily.
    • Vehicle-wise, the Rhino tank is this to the Lazer fighter jet - it's never called for during the story, but instead of having to steal it, it can be purchased online for 3 million dollars, easily doable with the payout from the final heist, or you could scrap together the cash the hard way through grinding the stock market and properties and have the cash before finishing the story.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Lazer fighter jet. Never flown by the protagonists during the story, it requires an attack on the local Air Force base to obtain.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Several characters are modeled closely after their voice actor. It is especially prominent with the player characters.
  • Ironic Echo: Ending A: "You always liked gasoline, Trevor!"
    • When Michael is trying to defend his choice of betraying Brad and Trevor back in the day, he describes the situation as being like "running... and then your legs, they just give and you can't run anymore." Franklin uses the same metaphor after killing Michael in Ending B.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Used in the TV spot:
    Michael: We're all professionals, we all know the score. We're gonna move quick, and we're gonna keep cool.
    (Cut to Trevor prying a briefcase from Michael's hands.)
    Trevor: My job, my score, get your own!
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted; as in real life, you can still be killed even by severely wounded enemies, who will often sit up and squeeze off several more shots before finally expiring.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Probably one of the most irresponsible in history is played out between the IAA and the FIB.
  • Just Plane Wrong: In "Minor Turbulence," Trevor is somehow able to take his cropduster to the same height as a cargo jet. Real-life cropdusters don't have the performance to reach the heights typically flown by jets. Oh, and he somehow manages to stay conscious when in real life he would pass out from hypoxia due to the open cockpit exposing him to the stratosphere.
    • In "Caida Libre," when Javier Madrazo's private jet is going down, the pilot says he is ditching. In real life, the term "ditching" is used for emergency landings in water, yet Javier's jet touches down on land.
  • Karmic Jackpot: One of the random encounters involves someone having their bike stolen from them. You can leave it, get the bike and take it for yourself, or give the bike back. Initially, this doesn't yield a reward... Until you receive an e-mail from the victim, who was the owner of a major corporation, and has only repaid that character with $1,000,000 in that company's stock.
  • Kick the Dog
    • Once again players have free reign, which can include unprovoked assaults on civilians. Additionally, this notably extends to animals, as players can harm or even kill animals, including Chop the dog. Unsurprisingly, PETA had a problem with that.
    • In a non-player example, we have Jimmy. He ends up drugging his own father in order to mug and carjack him, all because he wants to elope with his cheating mother and asshole sister.
    • Trevor's Establishing Character Moment is a Kick the Dog moment, when he stomps Johnny Klebitz to death.
  • Killed Off for Real: Either Michael or Trevor in endings A & B respectively, causing them to become unplayable save for replaying old missions or starting entirely over.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "I barely exist outside this store," says the Ammu-Nation guy.
    • Michael tells his psychiatrist, "One minute I'm one person, and the next I'm another person."
    • When Michael is leading against his son in the bike rice (mash a button to move faster), he will sometimes say "you're not Button Mashing now" in regard to his gaming habits.
  • Level Grinding: Whilst each character is balanced for different skills, it's possible to grind challenges to decrease their shortcomings (such as using the shooting range to increase accuracy or the flight school for flight control).
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the Darker and Edgier path that followed the company in Vice City Stories and the IV saga, this sequel has been designed with a conscious push for less cynicism.note 
    • The game might be seen as a Reconstruction of Lighter and Softer. While the protagonists are among the least sympathetic in GTA history (Trevor especially is one of the darkest characters Rockstar has produced), GTAV brings back a sense of fun, wackiness, and hijinks that was missing from GTAIV, such as over the top heists, earning your happy-ish gangster ending, and goofy Easter eggs such aliens, bigfoot, and jetpacks.
  • Like a Son to Me: Michael and Franklin have this sort of relationship. Michael sees Franklin as the son he always wanted, respectful, dedicated and eager to prove himself. Rather than the lazy, whiny, Never My Fault son he has.
    • Franklin in turn treats Michael as a sort of father figure in the absence of the one he never knew. Admiring the man's skills and willing to prove himself to the man who will help him get ahead in life.
  • Limited Wardrobe: While this has been averted for player characters in most of the games since Vice City, this game marks the first aversion of this trope to NPCs in the series. The same characters are often seen with different outfits on, both in artwork and trailers. It's also inverted for the player characters, too; switch to one after not seeing them for a while, and they might have changed outfits on their own time.
  • Long List: A caller on Blaine County Community Radio lists all the objects that he's storing in his ass. It sounds plausible at first, but he just keeps going.
  • Ludicrous Gibs
    • Molly Schulz, Devin Weston's lawyer, dies from being sucked into a plane engine and leaves a massive splatter on the floor as a result.
    • One of the Triads can be sent into the meat grinder in the slaughterhouse when Franklin is rescuing Michael.
  • Made of Iron: Taken to absurd levels with Trevor's special ability. With it, he can survive attacks that would normally kill the protagonist in one hit ranging from mauls by mountain lions to multiple head on explosions that send him flying away.
  • Magikarp Power: Of the unlock-able heist crew members you unlock, Rickie has cruddy hacking stats gives you barely enough of a window to complete the job if you take him on the Vangelico Heist. However, his cut starts and stays low and he'll get better with each heist, meaning you can have a rather decent hacker by the later jobs who works for peanuts.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: To an extent with Trevor. Whilst you only get explicit shots of his butt, one mission has him creeping out Floyd by removing his pants; the shot remains behind him, but when Trevor squats to lower and raise his pants, you get a glimpse of his genitals through his legs.
    • There is a hippie commune in the Chiliad mountains. If you walk around the fort wall you can get in. If you go to a ledge on the far end of the camp you find a completely naked older man. Yes you see it all. And it is indeed as creepy and funny as it sounds.
    • One random encounter in Blaine County has you rescue a woman from being abducted by a group of redneck rapists... that don't wear pants.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: there is a "Freaks" mission that Michael can take on where he comes across a man trying to get marijuana legalized in San Andreas, and keeps insisting Michael, a man who typically only smokes cigars, to try his "home grown" joint. Upon reluctantly doing so, Michael suddenly goes into a bad trip where he is shooting aliens with a minigun (which is fully playable). After the trip ends Michael tells the marijuana guy to screw off and says he'll never try a joint ever again. The same thing happens to Trevor as well, only with clowns instead of aliens. Franklin however is unaffected since he's already a habitual pot smoker.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Played straight with the Golden Retriever in Franklin's side missions. Franklin finds the dog barking at him for help, and while it starts as a funny Lassie parody, it starts getting creepy when Franklin understands complete sentences speculating about human morality and civic duty from the Dog's barking. When Franklin asks the man the dog led him to about the dog, they say there wasn't any dog that found them at all. Later on in Mary-Ann's triathalon mission the same Golden Retriever appears for a brief moment before its owner asks Franklin where it ran off to. Whether it was a hallucination or some supernatural being is left up in the air.
    • Played with in the case of Bigfoot. When you complete "The Last One" mission, you find that the sasquatch you've been hunting is just a guy in a costume. However, in the "Predator" story mission, you can briefly see Bigfoot through thermal vision for a few seconds before it vanishes out of sight. Was that Bigfoot the same nut in the costume? A trick of the eyes? Or did you just catch a glimpse of the genuine article?
  • Mexican Standoff: Up to Eleven. The confrontation at the Kortz Center is insane. You have Michael and Dave, Steve and Andreas, the FIB, the IAA, Merryweather Mercs, a friggin gunship, and eventually Trevor all pointing guns at each other. Allegiances also change on a whim, with Andreas turning on Steve, and Trevor barely managing to hold back the urge to shoot Dave.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Michael and Trevor by Lazlow, and later some Chinese gangsters.
    • Trevor's own mother seemed to perceive her son as being homosexual, if "Mrs. Philips" is anything to go by (she hoped for such a thing, in fact, believing it would make him more devoted to her). One walkthrough lampshades this by having Trevor enter the trailer wearing nothing but a filthy sundress.
    • As a result of Franklin being seen suddenly hanging out with Michael, a wealthy older Caucasian man, there's a rumor going around his neighborhood that Franklin's become a "rent boy" to make ends meet.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The three main characters assumes this pose, with Michael being "hear no evil", Trevor being "see no evil", and Franklin being "speak no evil", in response to being told that the government in the GTA world is (gasp!) corrupt!
  • Monster Clown: Encountered by Trevor in one of the side-missions during a Mushroom Samba.
  • Mood Whiplash: Immediately after the grim torture sequence in "By the Book", the following mission features Michael doing Wii Fit-esque yoga poses on the patio with Amanda and her trainer, while tranquil Eastern music plays in the background. Justified, as sometimes one needs a little break from all that violence.
  • Mook Horror Show: The slaughterhouse level, as multiple mooks happen to fall into blades and grinders. One guy even buys it by falling into a vat of acid.
  • Morton's Fork: Whilst heists tend to give the option of either a stealthy approach or a direct approach, they almost always result in a loud, lengthy chase sequence at the end. The FIB HQ mission is this in trumps, as both sneaking and using disguises result in you getting found out and chased for most of the mission.
  • Mugging the Monster: Aside from a handful of times it happens in the actual story, several random events involve the trio getting mugged and dealing with it accordingly.
  • Multiple Endings: Three endings are available, depending on what choice Franklin makes from the options that Devin has proposed:
    • A: Killing Trevor. Frank calls Trevor, but as with Michael, ends up chasing him. Michael agrees to put down Trevor for good, and they chase him down to an oil field, with Michael crashing Trevor into a gas tank, covering him in gasoline. Franklin puts him down, but the shot causes Trevor to catch on fire and burn to death.
    • B: Killing Michael. Franklin calls Michael to meet up with him, culminating in a chase. The chase ends with them both on a high platform with Michael hanging from Franklin's hand. The player can choose to save him or drop him. Either way Michael falls to his death. The mission ends with Frank quoting Mike from a previous mission.
    • C: Death Wish, in which Franklin gets the gang together and ties up each of their own loose ends, including Devin.
  • Mundane Utility: Michael's Bullet Time ability can also be used to close pop-up windows much faster in one mission.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Despite being noticeably buffer, Franklin has a lower starting Strength stat than Trevor, who has muscle but not as much as Franklin.
  • Mushroom Samba: Michael and Trevor have particularly hilarious ones after smoking a marijuana legalization activist's homegrown sample. Franklin, being a regular smoker, isn't affected at all — he even calls it "weak".
    • Michael has a much more involved and even more trippy experience after getting tricked into drinking a drink spiked with ketamine.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Franklin's neighborhood gangs, the Chamberlain Hill, Forum Drive, and Crystal Heights Families wear green, and are the 'HD Era' successor to San Andreas Grove Street Families.
    • Remember Jock Cranley, professional Vinewood stuntman and star of the hit 1980s TV series Stuntman, who did an anti-drug PSA in Vice City Stories? Well, he's back, and he's running for governor of San Andreas.
    • Moorehead Rides Again!, the 1940s private eye radio drama from Vice City Stories, returns as a TV cartoon in the style of the late '50s/early '60s.
    • One of Franklin's missions has him involved in a shootout with the Ballas on Grove Street.
      • Speaking of Grove Street, it's under control by the Ballas in this continuity.
      • On that note, you'll occasionally hear NPC's on the street talking about "OG Johnson".
    • During Franklin and Michael's first mission together, Franklin comments that he thought they could "hang out, throw some darts, have drinks...", both activities featured in GTAIV's notoriously unpopular friendship missions.
    • In the "C" ending, a car is pushed off a cliff, landing upside down, directly on its roof. After a few seconds, the car explodes. This is a reference to the PS2-era games, where cars would explode upon being upside down for several seconds.
    • This time, Sasquatch is in the game. And so is a Samara rip-off, among other supernatural occurrences.
    • If you call Tracey after her Fame or Shame audition, in her voice message she refers to herself as "Tracey Suxxx".
    • Franklin owns a Shepard Fairey-style poster of Madd Dogg.
    • OG Loc, Kent Paul, Candy Suxxx and Donald Love all have stars on the Vinewood Walk of Fame.
    • A Bugatti Type 57-C car is called the Z-Type.
    • In a covert reference to Vice City, Trevor gives an absolutely bizarre giggle when looking over their uniforms for the armored truck heist.
    • The opening scene in "Mr. Phillips" has Trevor stomping on Johnny Klebitz's head in a way very similar to the stomp attack in Grand Theft Auto III and the rest of that GTA era.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Solomon Richards references this during his first meeting with Michael. He has his own saying: Never work with actors or directors.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Going by calendars found in several missions, the game takes place over the course of several months, starting in August (a month before the game's release date) and ending in November of 2013.
  • Nice to the Waiter: You can make Michael greet his maid and gardener when they are around.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted; Nervous Ron mentions seeing a man (whom Trevor presumably killed moments earlier) void his bowels. Trevor comments that it happens to everyone.
    • If you kill a driver as Michael and then jack the car, sometimes he'll say "I hope you didn't shit yourself!"
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, the mission "By The Book" opens with Trevor squatting behind a dumpster and taking a rather noisy shit.
    • Chop also tends to poop if left alone for a while.
    • The in-game TV Show "Republican Space Rangers" has an episode that ends with one of the Rangers taking a rather huge shit on a small replica of the U.S. Capital.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The blonde, bikini-clad girl on the cover and in some of the advertisements is a dead ringer for Kate Upton.
    • Cheng, Jr. is a Ken Jeong lookalike, apparently based on Mr. Chow from The Hangover.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In "Eye In The Sky," if you decide to spare Chad Mulligan while stealing his car, he calls the cops, giving the player a two-star wanted level.
  • Not Enough to Bury
    • Devin's legal secretary, Molly, by means of Turbine Blender. All that's left is a hand and scraps of flesh.
    • Defied by Chef when he recounts his first hit with Trevor. They managed to bury what's left of the gold salesman they robbed after hacking him apart.

    Single-Player Tropes O - Z 
  • Oddly Small Organization:
    • Franklin's green-wearing CGF gang is scattered and leaderless. It's so broken-up that Lamar says that they ought to start their own gang (consisting of two guys named after Forum Street).
    • "Trevor Philips Industries"note  consists of Trevor, Ron, Wade, Chef, and whoever else he can bully into working with him at the moment. Yet he expects to fully take over all the drug and gun running in Blaine County. It's no wonder that his main competition, The Lost MC and the Aztecas, can't take him seriously at all (until after he's killed them all personally).
  • Oedipus Complex: Trevor. Just don't call him a "motherfucker."
    Trevor: [Enraged] It's not legally "fucking" if you do not penetrate!
  • Off Screen Villainy: Aside from their aggressive use of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, we never really see any evidence to support Steve Haines' claims about the IAA's villainy.
  • Oh Crap: The reaction from the Blaine County Sheriff when Michael, Trevor, and their accomplice walk out of the bank wearing bomb suits and carrying Heavy Machine Guns (in Trevor's case, a minigun) is just priceless.
    "Sweet... mother of... shit!"
  • Opponent Switch: A unique case in that it's not a single fight, but the entire climax is resolved this way. To boost their chances, the trio decide to each go after the antagonist they least personally know, which Michael going after Stretch and the Ballas for Franklin, Franklin going after Wei Cheng and the Triad for Trevor, and Trevor going after both Steve Haines and Devin Weston for Michael.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Like other Grand Theft Auto games, the player can pick up prostitutes and have sex with them. Additionally, being successful during the lap dance minigame at the strip club often results in the stripper inviting the player over to her house for a booty call. As a bonus, having sex with a prostitute not only replenishes your health, it also improves your character's stamina stat.
  • Optional Stealth: Sneaking around and giving guys a "Hey, You!" Haymaker is a part of many missions now. This even extends to heists, which come with the options of this or going in loud.
    • The game allows this most of the way through save for one heist, which always ends up loud. The FIB raid ends with you trapped inside a skyscraper and fleeing into the streets — regardless of your approach choice, the only differences (save for the outfits) mean either a "survive for 2 minutes" objective or getting separated from the group.
  • Ordered Apology: One of Michael's missions has him helping out a producer he's a fan of rough up his current director and lead actor over a contract dispute. Just for fun, Michael forces the director to apologize for being difficult.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Would you believe a wild-eyed psychopath with meth-induced facial scabs and a neck tattoo reading "CUT HERE" would be working as a highway patrolman, or a security guard? Lampshaded in the "subtle" version of the UD robbery, where the bank manager takes a very long time staring at Trevor's fake ID badge before finally waving him through.
  • Parking Problems: There's a very subtle joke involving this. The lead up to the "Obvious" method of the Big Score requires you to find a getaway vehicle and park it in a certain parking garage. The marker for the spot is over a handicapped parking space. In fact, given the position of the marker relative to how you enter the garage, it's very likely you'll end up parking the vehicle across two handicapped spaces.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Trevor and Michael go through this in the game's final act when Trevor discovers that Brad has been dead all along and that it's his body in Michael's grave. Trevor is enraged at the revelation and he and Michael come close to killing each other over it a couple of times. If option C is chosen at the end of the game the two men will reconcile.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: During the shootout at the Ludendorff cemetery, the Chinese gangsters (who have mistaken Michael for Trevor's gay lover) keep shouting that they know he is "weak and feminine."
  • Poor Communication Kills: A literal case in "Legal Troubles". Devin Weston wants to sell Solomon's studio and shut down his film so he can build condos, Molly takes the physical copy of the film and Michael chases after her since it's the only copy. Or so he thinks. After Michael chases Molly into an airport hangar and she gets sucked into a turbine engine, Michael takes the film back and gets a call from Solomon, who informs him that he has digital backup copies of the film. Michael is surprised by this, and Solomon tells him that he assumed Michael knew, but the way Solomon reacted to the physical copy being taken certainly made it look like it was the only copy. Solomon could have saved Michael a lot of trouble by clarifying that and sparing him the guilt of indirectly causing Molly's death.
  • Post-Mortem One-Liner: Should Franklin decide to kill Dreyfuss, he mutters, "Say hello to Leonora, motherfucker."
  • Potty Failure: The opening sequence of Impotent Rage ends with the title character grabbing an old lady who's squirming desperately until she shits all over the screen.
  • The Power of Friendship: Ending C. Despite the great risk to his life, Franklin decides to save his mentors, Michael and Trevor, with some backup from Lamar. Trevor reaffirms his friendship with Michael, who in turn makes up for betraying him and Brad nine years ago by helping him fend off the FIB and Merryweather, before the trio split up to take out their antagonists. This reaches its logical conclusion when they of them push together Devin's car (with him on the trunk) off the cliffside of Paleto Cove.
  • Power Trio: The three protagonists.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Pretty much a hallmark of the GTA series. It is also possible for the player to lampshade this based on making optional choices. For example, it is possible for Michael to have sex with one or more strippers or a hooker (certain strippers can even be recruited for "booty call" availability), and then immediately proceed into the mission in which his Berserk Button is pushed when he discovers his wife has been sleeping with the tennis coach, causing him to commit actions that push the plotline into full gear.
  • Pulling The Thread: See Wham Line below.
  • Punny Name: The town the Cold Open takes place in is called Ludendorff. Most probably named after this guy, a German WW1 General and a supporter of Hitler.
    • Since North Yankton (the state it's in) is based on North Dakota, that would make it the equivalent of Bismarck.
    • The Los Santos soccer team is called The Benders; "bender" is British slang for homosexuals, equivalent to "faggot" in America.
    • In one that was likely intentional in-universe, one of the purchasable properties is a gay bar called Pitchers. This refers both to the pitchers drinks are served in, and slang for a gay male who penetrates instead of being penetrated (the catcher, as it were).
    • The in-game equivalent of NASDAQ is called BAWSAQ, which is derived from the Scottish slang word "bawsack", meaning ballbag or testicles in general. Rockstar North are, of course, based in Edinburgh.
    • How about the female athlete's brand of exercise wear, Pro Laps? It's a pun for a medical condition.
  • Random Event: Returning to a character after a long period increases the chances there'll be something happening. Also, don't expect an explanation as to how they got there beyond a few clues and a comment. For example, it's entirely possible to find Trevor either: A) demanding a body-builder prove he doesn't stuff his leotard crotch; or B) drunken and falling asleep on a rooftop without a ladder.
    • Or Trevor waking up on a beach, with a bunch of dead bodies, in his underwear and hung over.
    • Or Trevor in the middle of a high-speed chase with a two-star wanted level, screaming, "It was self-defense!"
    • Or Trevor chasing after a man in a burning car while apologizing for trying to show him "His thingy".
    • That said, a lot of the in progress random events for characters other than Trevor are more slice-of-life events: Franklin playing fetch with Chop, or drinking a soda, or cleaning his car, Michael getting bored with watching TV, or enchanted by watching the ocean from the pier... or either of them just stuck in Los Santos traffic.
      • Michael can sometimes be found in a park, speaking to someone who has apparently raised concern about his smoking habits.
      Michael: If I were you, I'd be concerned about more immediate causes of death. Go the fuck away.
      • Or possibly speaking to a state trooper who just wants him to smoke somewhere else.
      Michael: Oh, you are concerned about the fire hazard? How about I find out where you live and burn your fucking house down?!
  • Reunion Revenge: Subverted to hell and back. After a lengthy mission where Trevor relocates to Los Santos and swears to find Michael, Michael's missions take the center, giving hints that he's going to slip up again and encounter Trevor. Come to his first mission after Trevor moves, which seems like a normal family situation where he has to save the day. Cue Trevor standing non-chalantly standing in the hallway and cracking jokes to the whole family, followed by a mission of the two working together to kick a sleazy producer's ass.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Given out like candy.
    • Michael's family trades these with each other in virtually every scene together. But the Master is Jimmy, who is very self-aware of most of his own failings and issues, but twists them all with "armchair" psychology so that they somehow come back to blaming his father.
    • Trevor and Michael trade these constantly after their reunion, with Trevor showing contempt for Michael's cushy lifestyle post-retirement and Michael being disgusted by every facet of Trevor's. At one point, Trevor flat out calls Michael a failure as a husband and father, and Michael dissects Trevor's habits and classifies him as a "proto-hipster" (the hipster that all hipsters aspire to be), knowing that Trevor hates hipsters (because hipsters would never admit that they were).
    • The three protagonists give one to Devin Weston in the Golden Ending, just before pushing him off a cliff in the trunk of a car.
    • Also, the Logger beer commercial is one of these to the viewer.
      "Pablo Rapazar makes $28 million a year. Duane Aller makes $35 million a year. You make $10 an hour."
    • Franklin delivers one to Michael at the beginning of the "loud" version of "The Bureau Raid," to Michael and Trevor at the beginning of "The Paleto Score," and to Michael, Trevor, and Lester at the end of the "subtle" version of "The Big Score."
  • Ret Irony: One random event involves a construction worker on the phone talking about how he only has a day before retirement. Cue pipes falling off a crane, trapping him in his truck and triggering a gas explosion. Thankfully you can save him.
  • Right Through the Wall: When switching to Michael at night and walking upstairs in his house, his daughter can occasionally be heard having loud sex in her room.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Government surveillance factors heavily into a few missions (one where you use a police chopper to eavesdrop on civilians, and another where you break into the FIB headquarters to steal dossiers from their network), notable given that the exposure of Prism brought government surveillance to the forefront of the public consciousness not long before the game's release.
    • Think the Paleto Bay Heist is way over the top and could never happen in real life? It's actually not dissimilar from the 1997 North Hollywood Shootout.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After defeating a small army of Merryweather Security mercenaries and FIB Agents in "The Third Way", the protagonists decide to tie up all loose ends by assassinating all of the game's major antagonists in a brief period of time. Michael kills Stretch, Trevor kills Steve Haines, and Franklin kills Wei Cheng. Trevor then kidnaps Devin Weston and the three protagonists give him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before locking him in the trunk of a car and pushing it off a cliff.
  • Rubber Band A.I.: A minor case with Franklin's street-racing side missions. If the runner-up isn't far behind you as you're at the home stretch, you might be surprised to be suddenly beaten in a photo finish. On the other hand, if you crash early in the race, as long as you're trying to catch up, the AI cars might slow down accordingly.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In-game, there's quite a few nods to The Illuminati - Ron and Chef represent the paranoid Conspiracy Theorist viewpoint, what with their ramblings about government mind control drugs and Annunaki, whereas the newly successful Franklin is referred to by multiple characters as "Illuminati" in the context of urban black slang popularized by rappers like Killer Mikenote .
  • Sadistic Choice: Invoked both in-universe and out-of-universe with the final decision of the game. From Franklin's POV, an extremely powerful and well-connected villain just directed him to betray and kill one of his closest and most reliable partners, but he has to pick which. From the player's POV, that choice remains, but there's another side to it. If you take into account the Third Option, you can either go after the Big Bad Ensemble or give a Karmic Death to one of the Villain Protagonists. You can't do both; someone is going to get away scot-free.
  • Scripted Event: Of the good variety. Picking certain people for heists, increasing your skills when asked, picking up loot shares from downed allies, and numerous other factors can influence conversation between characters.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest: A non-comedic example in Molly concerning Devin. She gets extremely touchy when Franklin calls her out on it, especially since it's very obvious that Devin doesn't really care about her that much.
  • Shaggy Dog Story:
    • Most of Trevor's most spectacular thefts end with him empty-handed, for one reason or another.
    • Franklin's series of missions for Barry ends with Barry's "smoke-in" being called off on account of him having smoked all the weed and forgotten about it.
    • The entire "Legal Trouble" mission is revealed to have been totally pointless, since Solomon Richards has lots of extra copies of his film on reserve.
    • The entire game becomes this for Franklin, if he chooses either A & B. In both endings, it's heavily implied he cuts off contact with the survivors and goes back to his old life, thus making the story a moot point.
  • Shout-Out:
    • As early as the second trailer, Rockstar was teasing the inclusion of a car based off a very familiar classic British grand tourer.
    • The cars in the franchise have always been "close" to some kind of real life vehicle, but this game takes the word "close" and "trademark infringement" to within a razor's edge. Almost every car can be easily recognized as a very specific real world car in both model and year with very minor adjustments having been done to stay away from trademark law suits.
    • One man is seen walking the streets carrying a sign saying "Down With This Sort Of Thing!"
    • Blaine County local Cletus is certainly a slack-jawed yokel.
    • The weird way Lamar says "nigga" at the end of his "Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful" rant comes from Friday.
    • Many of the street names are subtle references, such as Cholla Springs Ave. in Sandy Shores and Joad Lane in, appropriately enough, Grapeseed.
    • One of the highways (The one that passes the docks on the way to the airport) is called the Elysian Fields Freeway.
    • Trevor can buy a jacketnote  exclusive to him that heavily resembles The Driver's jacket, the only difference being that it has a crab emblem on the back instead of a scorpion.
    • One of the shirts available for Michael to buy is the infamous parrot-print aloha shirt from Max Payne 3.
    • An entire heist is copied from the introduction of Heat, right down to the details: the protagonists wear masks and overalls; the target is a high security truck; the plan involves intercepting the truck by blocking its path before t-boning it; and they even blow the truck doors with charges, deafening a guard who curses them. When planning the mission, one of the gold requirements, "Cliché", requires choosing the hockey masks worn in the movie.
    • The Paleto Bay Bank Robbery is heavily based on the bank robbery from the same film, complete with Michael and the hired gun dressing up in suits and ski masks like De Niro's crew and the robbery being followed by a massive, rolling shootout.
    • One of the random events that can be found out in the countryside is the aftermath of a shootout, with dead and dying bodies lying among a circle of cars, and a briefcase full of money. Taking the money can lead to being chased down by goons, though thankfully there's no Anton Chigurh to contend with.
    • You can buy a suppressor for the shotgun, and it has the exact same sound effect as it did in No Country for Old Men.
    • Another Coen Brothers tribute - the foggy, snow-driven intro, especially the final shot, may be a reference to Fargo's similar scenes of frozen wasteland.
    • The mission where Jay Norris is assassinated by phone bomb is identical to one of the murders from Law Abiding Citizen.
    • Michael pulls a house off a cliffside by hooking up the support beams to a pickup truck, much like Riggs in Lethal Weapon 2.
    • Trevor opts to hide the Chinese drug dealer, Cheng, Jr., and his interpreter in an ice box when his meth-cooking lab comes under attack.
    • One of the routes of the final heist takes a bit of inspiration from The Italian Job. The target? Gold. The means of acquisition? Armored cars and control of traffic patterns. The getaway vehicles? A customized fleet of distinctive automobiles, albeit Bravado Gauntlets rather than Mini Coopers. Also the cars are modified to handle the load just like the movie.
    • The other route in the Final Heist is copied line for line from the villains' plan in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Cause a distraction with some fake terrorism while drilling into the Union Repository's vault through the subway.
    • The closing line of the game? In Ending C, Michael notes "Tell you what, T... I'm getting too old for this nonsense..."
    • In order to get 100% on the mission “Derailed”, you must land on top of a train using the first jump. Said requirement is called “Better Than CJ”, in reference to the infamous “All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!” line from the "Wrong Side Of The Tracks" mission in San Andreas.
    • In one mission Franklin has to steal a car for Devin Weston off a movie set. Not only can Franklin steal an actor's tuxedo to reach the car easier, but the car contains gadgets and resembles an Aston Martin. It even turns out to have a passenger eject button.
    • In Sandy Shores, there's a piece of graffiti that says Beam Me Up.
    • In the garage were you deliver the stolen cars for Weston, is a wall that has a list of target cars written on it that only shows up under UV light like in Gone In 60 Seconds.
    • When talking about their first score, Michael mentions that his first score was in Carcer City.
    • The Playboy Mansion can be found in-game in Rockford Hills northwest of Michael's house. If you go to the backyard pool area (which also contains the famous grotto) during the nighttime you will find a bunch of people having a party which includes several topless women. If you use your character's cell phone camera to take pictures of the topless women they will call you a creep and their boyfriends will attack you.
    • On West Coast Talk Radio's "Chakra Attack", the host rants about a a sensor that can detect aliens in the ceiling and let you know if they're going to drop down and whoop some human ass".
    • A human-made flying saucer had the line "Segregate and Rearrange" written on it.
    • One of the checkmarks needed for getting a gold medal on "Did Someone Say Yoga" is called "Praise the Sun." One of the poses you have to strike when doing yoga in turn matches the Sunlight Warriors' trademark gesture.
    • A Strangers and Freaks mission requires Franklin to jump off a dam to get a gold medal. The checkmark for doing it is called "Leap of Faith".
    • One of the clothing options for Trevor includes a red jacket over a dark flannel shirt. The jacket is called the Overlooked Red Blouson. You could also find an axe lodged in a door inside of Floyd's apartment!
    • In one of the random encounters, the player give a ride to a lady escaping from a forced wedding. The groom begins pursuing them, and she shouts "I'm done!" at him. He responds with "You're done when I say you're done!"
    • One of the areas in Los Santos is called Cypress Flats.
    • In Los Santos' docks, you can find a pear with four boats. In order, they are colored red, white, black, and yellow.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The reason why Tanisha doesn't want to settle down with Franklin.
  • Signature Move: Each character has their own certain animations, skill specializations, and their own special move; however, the skills can all be increased as necessary:
    • Franklin has higher stamina and driving, and can use Bullet Time in cars and motorcycles. When carjacking, he throws them out the vehicle. He's also quickest to break into locked vehicles, jimmying the lock and hotwiring so quickly bystanders won't even call the cops unless the alarm goes off.
    • Michael has higher stealth and shooting, and can use Bullet Time when shooting. When carjacking, he threatens them out. When stealing locked cars, he looks in the window to check the lock, then tries to be subtle about breaking the window.
    • Trevor has higher strength and flying, and can become enraged when shooting to gets a higher pain threshold and deal more damage. When carjacking, he assaults the occupant. He always goes straight for the door handle on parked cars, and if he finds it locked, openly smashes the window before slightly struggling to hotwire, taking the longest overall.
  • Sixth Ranger: In Option C, Lamar assists the crew in the Foundry shoot-out.
  • Slice of Life: The character swapping feature allows players to witness some aspects of the main characters' lives when not using them, such as Franklin buying weed, Michael and Jimmy getting home after a bike ride, and Trevor waking up in his underwear, on the beach, surrounded by dead bodies.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • A nameless security guard that's encountered on the first heist. Michael gives him his Catch Phrase: "You forget a thousand things everyday. Make sure this is one of them." When the guard recites this quote on the news, it serves to tip Trevor off that Michael is still alive.
    • Brad is hardly on-screen (alive) but his death and burial in Mike's grave is the major source of tension between Trevor and Michael and, until Trevor discovers that he's dead, his assumed incarceration is one of Trevor's main motivators. It also leads to the stand-off in New Yankton and Mike's subsequent capture by the Chinese.
    • Kyle Chavis the tennis coach disappears from the story after an early mission. However, by sleeping with Amanda and inciting Michael's wrath, he pretty much sets off the chain of events that put the plot into motion.
  • Smash Cut/Smash to Black/Gory Discretion Shot: Used for drama. When Debra comes back into Floyd's life, they both insult Trevor and Debra ends up pointing a gun at him. Cue Trevor saying "You people are not very fucking nice." A few seconds of black screen later, Trevor walks out of the house, covered in blood.
  • Spanner in the Works: Invoked. In Option C they even lampshade it.
    I picked C! Ain't that a bitch.
  • The Social Darwinist: Noted by Trevor:
    Trevor: This is why this country is screwed! There's not enough [people like me], there's too many [people like you]!
    Michael: [scoffs] Yeah, a country of you's — that's just what this world needs.
    Trevor: Shit would get done! It would be Darwinian!
    • Lester also states that "It's time to put the Darwinism back in Social Darwinism" at the the start of a mission to assassinate Jay Norris.
    • Devin Weston also describes himself as a Darwinian type of person when he first meets the group. Ironically, Trevor is the one to hate him instantly.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Michael grabs Tracy in this area with one arm and holds a guy's neck with the other while getting off a yacht.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: You can pick up a lot of details on the side characters by reading their comments on Life Invader.
  • "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: The C Ending. Played with somewhat in that at least one of the victims knows his murderer (but is not aware of it about to be committed — specifically the murder of Haines by Trevor).
  • Stupid Crooks:
    • Franklin's 'hood associates are dumb. Really dumb. If he wasn't pulling their dead weight, they'd all be in jail or full of bullets. They embrace their idiocy, too. Notably, they all call him soft after he disappears from the 'hood after his first heist, despite the fact it earned him more money than all their shenanigans put together, for less strife overall, and the reason he's been absent is getting to live in a very ritzy tax dump property to legitimize his windfall.
    • Some of the low-level crew members are definitely this, but at least they're cheap. Packie is first seen screaming at his partner about being so stupid that he couldn't even get a getaway car for a drug-store robbery. Thank God he's much better on the actual heists.
  • Stylistic Suck: You get to go to the movies and see Meltdown, the film that Michael helped get made. It really is a piece of shit.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Johnny Klebitz, the protagonist of The Lost and Damned episode of GTA IV appears as soon as we're introduced to Trevor - and gets killed by him, no less.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The radio often plays music relevant to the scenes going on at the time - sometimes a Theme Music Power-Up when the characters are doing something badass, sometimes just plain oddly underscoring tunes: like Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", while Trevor brings Patricia back to her husband, or The Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces Sometimes", after Michael and Trevor have totally broken apart and Franklin is trying to decide who to trust. There's also The Alan Parson Project's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" playing after Trevor puts Devin Westin in the trunk of his car in the Option C ending.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: As expensive as Michael's mansion looks, it doesn't appear to have any sort of security system. Both Franklin and Trevor are able to gain unannounced access to the interior of the house without much effort. This also explains how Merryweather could easily infiltrate Michael's house later in the game.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Franklin is constantly subjected to this by his friends for trying to find a more productive criminal career, no matter how willing he is to still help them with their problems.
  • A Taste of Power: The prologue mission where you play as Michael and Trevor equipped with Carbine Rifles, which you won't unlock again until after the first heist.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Michael and Trevor, especially during the last heist, when what remained of their friendship has all but dissolved.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Trevor manages to piss off a group of Triads at the beginning of his story after they screw each other out a few business deals. Later, the Triads kidnap Michael to get to Trevor, necessitating a rescue by Franklin.
  • True Companions: Trevor feels that he, Brad, and Michael were this back when they were a team, and holds the concept of being loyal to your friends to the bitter end very highly. It's particularly why he and Michael's relationship is so strained now, as he feels the latter betrayed the friendship they had when Michael faked his own death and retired from the game. Ending C of the game effectively solidifies all three protagonists as this.
  • Trunk Shot: One piece of artwork.
    • The shot appears during the last mission in the game, if the player chose ending C.
  • Trust Building Blunder: The "Children of the Mountain" website has one anecdote about this. This is what they have to say:
    When I attended that seminar and we did the thing where you are blindfolded and have to fall backwards and your teammates are supposed to catch you, I learned a lot - especially when they didn't catch me and I got a concussion and learned to never trust anyone, only myself.
  • Turbine Blender: Michael, chasing Molly for the movie reel, pursues until she runs into the path of a jet engine, reducing her to chunky goo.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • There are optional tow truck missions where you have to save a car that's stuck on train tracks. This is a pain in the ass because you need to drive in front of the car, lower the hook, and back up squarely until the hook is attached, and then drive away ASAP before the train hits it... Or you can just push the car out of the way with the tow truck first. This won't fail the mission, and it's a hell of a lot faster.
      • You can also tow antagonizing vehicles, pretty much bringing any vehicular combat to an abrupt end.
    • A fast way to lose the cops is to switch vehicles or change clothes (without them seeing you do it). Even if you get spotted in their field of vision, they will ignore you. However, if they find your old car, they'll spot you no matter what you're driving.
    • Convenience store clerks will recognize you if you try to rob them more than once and sometimes will have the cops lying in wait for you... unless you wear a mask they haven't seen before.
    • Taking off or putting on a mask while out of sight will instantly drop a Wanted Level by one star.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Michael's family at first, though they do get better later on.
  • The Unreveal: You never do find out who (or what) Josh Bernstein's "wife" is since you end up killing him in your final mission with him after he turns on Trevor.
  • Unexpected Character: A variation: seeing Lazlow on-screen, in the flesh.
    • Also, Trevor showing up during "The Wrap Up".
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: While these were present in IV, they're being much improved for V, allowing characters to additionally roll from cover to cover.
  • Vandalism Backfire: This is what starts the first major conflict in the game. Michael and Franklin chase after a tennis instructor who was sleeping with Amanda. They find him in a house on stilts, and Michael uses a truck to tear it down. But it turns out he was just hiding there. The house actually belongs to a notorious criminal.
  • Vapor Trail: Players can do this in-game, strategically pouring the gasoline themselves.
  • Variable Mix: The mission-specific music tends to build up track by track the further in the mission you get.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Several times you may see a random pedestrian getting their wallet or car stolen. You can take the thief out and keep the stolen item for yourself, or you can actually return it to the victim. Even Evil Has Standards in this case, and yes, that does include Trevor, who'll even admit to being disgusted in a thief's pettiness if you do so.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are story missions that give you the choice, or you can just run around town wreaking havoc on everyone unlucky enough to be near you. In-universe, Trevor seems to enjoy this more than anything, even firing off jokes whenever the player kills someone.
    • And inverted, surprisingly. While not quite Video Game Caring Potential, at times you'll come across people in need of help, such as mugging, purse snatching, even store robbing. While you can just ignore them, or even kill the robbers and take their steal for yourself, it's also possible to instead hand it back to them, earning a small reward but resulting in a minor heartwarming moment where the person you've helped becomes a mess of thank-you's.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you choose to kill either Michael or Trevor, "hanging out" will pretty much be over for you, since the survivor cuts off contact with Franklin, Michael's family does the same, and Lamar goes into hiding from Stretch. Even worse, certain "hanging out" activities are required, so if you don't remember to do them before you do the deed? No 100% Completion for you!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Peter Dreyfuss has one of these when Franklin confronts him over the brutal murder of Leonora Johnson.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Possibly the only antagonistic force to make our sociopathic trio look good by comparison. The Merryweather Company ships classified nuclear superweapons through the port of Los Santos with very little security or oversight, and doesn't require any sort of government approval to act as as a personal army for its CEO. The public sector, on the other hand, isn't much better. The FIB and IAA compete to kidnap, torture, and assassinate any suspected Islamic terrorists (Read: Brown People) on American soil while turning a blind eye to much of the wanton chaos committed by the protagonists.
  • We All Live in America: A minor example. Trevor's first mission has him tracking the local chapter of The Lost biker gang. When you get close to their bar, Ron will will say "They're meant to be at this bar". "Meant to be" being an alternate way of saying "are" in the UK, where Rockstar is based, but it's not a phrase you'd likely hear an American saying.
    • On the Non Stop Pop station, the DJ at one point refer to the Turn of the Millennium as "The Noughties" which is a term used in the UK and Australia, but not much in America due to the word "nought" fading from American English, which means, to American ears, it sounds more like "The Naughties".
  • Wham Line: For fans of GTA Radio, this line regarding the host of Fame or Shame, who appears in person soon afterwards.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: What happened to the tennis coach that was sleeping with Amanda? After Michael destroys Martin's house thinking it's his, he's just kind of forgotten. Also, what about Michael's boat?
    • The tennis instructor (Kyle Chavis) may be gone storywise, but he still pops up on LifeInvader. By the end of the game, he's chased out of Los Santos after being caught with another man's wife.
    • Unless you choose Option C, Trevor's beef with the Chinese gang will go unresolved, as will Stretch's story. Option C resolves both of these issues, as well as giving a better ending to the FIB/Devin story.
  • What the Hell, Hero?/What the Hell, Player?: When Franklin is given the choice to either off Michael or Trevor, both give Franklin a "What the heck?"-speech, although Michael is much more understandable, since he made Franklin go from being a simple repo-man to what he has become now. Trevor's more pissed about being betrayed once again by someone he trusts, especially when Michael shows up to help Franklin off him, although Michael reasons why Trevor should be killed.
    • The inverse also applies. In Ending A, Michael berates Franklin for showing too much mercy to Trevor, but his criticism is brief. In Ending B, Trevor is furious that Franklin is going to kill his own mentor and father figure, betraying the only man that ever showed him respect; he severs his ties with Franklin from then on.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • Franklin's friends are shit. Lamar is even dumber (and more Trigger Happy) than Ryder, Stretch seems to think that doing jail time somehow gives him seniority (not to mention that he's actually in cahoots with the Ballas), and Tonya is a flirty washed-up crackhead who keeps cajoling Franklin into covering her even lamer boyfriend JB's tow truck shifts for no pay because the latter is in bed smoking. Of course, every time Franklin says he wants to do something more profitable and than this, they all sneer at him and say he's getting all uppity and acting like he's too good for them. Let's face it, he is.
    • The mutual relationship between Michael and Trevor: Michael sees Trevor as an Omnicidal Maniac, while Trevor sees Michael as a Dirty Coward.
  • The Worf Effect: Trevor effortlessly killing Johnny Klebitz, who was possibly the toughest GTA protagonist, and the former Liberty City Chapter of the Lost MC in his opening mission demonstrates exactly why he is The Dreaded.
    • Worf Had a Meth Addiction: Johnny's meth addiction had taken a visible toll on him both physically and mentally, most tellingly, he's unable to look at Trevor in the eye when confronted face to face.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: This is the final fate of Ferdinand Kerimov. Once his torture is over, Trevor brings him to the airport and urges him to get out of the country. Since the government expects him to be dead, Mr. K now has to disappear off the grid and leave his family behind.
  • Your Cheating Heart: A subplot involving Michael and his wife.

    Grand Theft Auto Online Tropes 
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Online Los Santos has tons of crap to do at any time, and you can find yourself caught up in someone else's adventure at any time. Walk down a particular block and you'll find a squad of cops chasing another player, a shoot out between players, an impromptu drag race, or a heist in progress. If you choose, you can even play favorites—for example, involving yourself in a police chase by ramming the cops of the escapee's trail or screwing the other player over just for the hell of it.
    • Rockstar themselves have said Online aims to revolutionize online multiplayer gaming the same way Grand Theft Auto III revolutionized single player games!
  • Already Met Everyone: Familiar people show up for the "first" time in this story such as Lamar, Lester, Trevor, Simeon, etc.
  • American Dream: There's an achievement for it, obtained by owning an apartment, garage, and an insured vehicle.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different/Another Side, Another Story: The story of Online follows your silent custom character in events that happen a few months before the single player storyline.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: When leveling up, cosmetic items, such as various outfits, hats, and haircuts will be unlocked.
  • Anti-Grinding: Robbing stores too often causes the wanted level for each robbery to gradually rise. Likewise, after selling a stolen car to a mod shop, they won't accept any more for a period of time.
    • They quickly patched being able to immediately replay the same job request over and over after some players grinded their way to earning the most expensive apartment.
  • Aesop: Having your character smoke will damage your health a tiny bit, much like Metal Gear Solid.
  • Ascended Meme: A "shed" was seen by fans in many pre-release screenshots and some trailers, prompting players to speculate what could be inside it. While it turns out it was actually a cable car station, the parachuting mission involving diving off it is called "The Shed".
  • Beach Episode: The free Beach Bum update, adding a number of beach-themed clothing, vehicles, and Jobs.
  • Boom, Headshot: Killing an enemy with a head shot results in the player immediately gaining 25 reputation points.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory/Microtransactions: In-game money can be purchased for real money. This is, however, somewhat balanced out: you still have to reach a certain level before you can purchase and use some items.
  • But Thou Must: In the mission "Diamonds are for Trevor", you have to make your escape with Trevor's boat, even when you could take a helicopter or any other faster, much better transport.
  • Butt Monkey: An entire faction gets this. The Lost must have fallen severely out of favor with the Plot Gods, because they are a constant and recurring target for various quest givers (Trevor especially).
  • Capture the Flag: Added to the game sometime after release. In a recent update, players can make their own CTF missions with the Mission creator tool
  • Cash Gate: Subverted. The game will keep telling you to get an apartment or garage, but it's possible to reach the highest level in the game without having one. It does make it difficult or impossible to get certain things, like cars you only can purchase through the Internet namely any high end or luxurious sports cars you can't merely steal off the streets and take to a mod shop to buy insurance.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: The multiplayer missions. Some of them tend to be quite lengthy, and have all of them have no checkpoints at all. Do a mission where you must ambush a drug deal, go to the mountains, hack the computer, and then run to the other side of town to ambush more Mooks at the airfield? Failing will be quite devestating.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tolerated, if not flat out encouraged by the game mechanics. Some jobs allow the person who completes it to keep all the cash for themselves, players can rob each other for money, and can put a bounty on each other. Of course, you Troll, you can just do it just to piss people off, too. If you get too carried away, you will be labeled a "Bad Sport".
  • Cool Car: Many of the fancier rides in the game such as the Infernus, Entity XF, Cheetah, Turismo, etc are these. Unlike single player, you unfortunately can't just steal them off the streets and take them to your garage or to LS Customs for modification. You have to save up your money and then purchase them off the ingame website Legendary Motor
  • Cooperative Multiplayer: In addition to deathmatches and other standard multiplayer modes, you can plot your own heists, stick ups, and other missions with friends. Interestingly, the person who actually grabs the money is the one who decides the payout between the other members of your crew, so it's possible to take all of it for yourself and completely screw everyone else over.
  • Crapsack World: Even more so than regular single player mode to the point where you can find multiple NOOSE teams trying to take down other mass-murdering online players all over San Andreas.
  • Double Unlock: You have to reach a certain level to unlock some items, and then you have to buy the item with in-game currency.
  • Experience Points: Successfully completing missions, pulling off robberies, winning races, and other activities will earn you Reputation Points that allow your character to increase in rank and unlock better weapons, vehicles, and other purchasable items.
  • Expy: The online character never speaks much like Claude from GTA 3.
  • Game-Breaking Bug
    • In the days after launch, the overloaded Rockstar cloud servers began to break down and prevent players from accessing their created characters. Players were instead given an innocuous prompt to start a session with a new, generic character, not realizing that this would overwrite all previous online character data and reset their progress. Rockstar was forced to put out a PSA warning against the generic-character feature before patching the whole thing out.
    • The servers themselves are a continuing problem; Rockstar released a large sum of money to all Online players as an apology for the server woes early in release, but they missed the original stated date by several weeks because they were worried the servers would nullify the deposits.
    • The original update that added Online Mode caused a little-known bug for a number of unlucky players who found their single-player games utterly broken, with all mission hubs inaccessible and progress rendered impossible as a result. Recent additional updates have corrected this bug but those affected must still replay from the beginning to get their progress back.
    • There's currently a money hack running rampant that allows players to attain billions of GTA dollars from store robberies and bounties. The hack is so easy to do that some players believe it to be a honey pot.
    • When the Capture the Flag game mode was first released, players discovered that hovering over the capture point in a helicopter with the objective in tow resulted in millions of experience points per hour. Rockstar responded by removing every CTF map containing a helicopter.
  • Griefer: With a name like Grand Theft Auto Online, its to be expected that other players will try to wreck your shit for the lulz factor at any given moment. Obnoxious players in particular (preferably with a high bounty on their heads) will often patrol the streets of Los Santos in a Rhino Tank blowing up anything that moves land or sky. Unless you have an RPG, expect to get killed repeatedly even if you are just minding your own business and have no intention of trying to kill said griefer.
    • You can also be said griefer if you so choose though ironically repeating said behavior will likely put you in the "bad sport" lobby complete with a dunce cap!
  • Heroic Mime: Zigzagged. The multiplayer protagonist doesn't speak during the cutscenes, for obvious reasons. But they can "speak" during gameplay if the player talks through a mic, complete with generic mouth flaps.
  • Hold the Line: The Survival missions in Online require the players to hold off 10 increasingly difficult waves of computer-controlled enemies.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Whether they're shooting at you from a moving vehicle while your behind cover, or from a chopper about 200 feet in the air, the enemy NPC's WILL end you.
  • Level Editor: A relatively simplistic one, called the "Content Creator", was launched soon after the game, allowing players to create their own deathmatches and races, some of which may be "Rockstar Verified". It's currently in beta, but later updates will expand on it.
    • Recently, the game has updated itself to include the ability to make your own Capture missions.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Just like in the main game, you can visit the Vanilla Unicorn. Unlike the main game, the girls keep their tops on during private dances. A female protagonist will also shower with a bikini top on, which is odd considering due to camera angles you only ever see a character's back when showering.
    • Bizarrely, Online does still contain nudity; if you go to the Playboy mansion lookalike, you can encounter a woman wearing nothing but her bikini bottoms.
      • For a while at least, there was a glitch a player could do to make their female character appear topless!
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Like in single player, you can pick up hookers. Unlike in single player, they have a strange habit of running screaming from your car after you're done. You can also get the numbers from the girls at the Vanilla Unicorn once you've gotten an apartment, but they'll only answer if you've got a particularly high end apartment. And then subverted; turns out they're just there to give you a free private dance with constant touching.
  • The Power of Friendship: It's more profitable to tackle missions as a team than alone. Not only are they easier to accomplish, you get twenty percent more EXP for completing them as a team, and you get even more for doing them with members of your Crew. Of course, just watch out for that "Disorder" mentioned above.
  • Shout-Out: In the Grand Theft Auto Online missions titled "Meth'd Up" and "Crank Up The Volume", you have to steal a recreational vehicle that is being used as a mobile meth lab. Truth in Television, by the way; mobile methlabs are a popular method of avoiding the cops.
    • When creating your character, you have the option to choose what your parents and grandparents from both sides look like, which deter on your own looks. You can even choose to have a special dad, instead of a customized dad. And who is that dad? John Marston from Red Dead Redemption.
    • One of the suits from the Valentine's Day Massacre DLC looks a lot like the "Golden Boy" suit from L.A. Noire
  • Something Completely Different: In the meta sense; virtually every character in the single player story, and especially the three protagonists, are deconstructions of the standard GTA game protagonist. The online protagonist, however, is the standard GTA protagonist played completely straight.
  • Troll: You can be an uber dick to other players if you so choose given the name of the game. i.e grab a random car off the streets or one of your fancy rides (that has insurance for obvious reasons), drive to the nearest LS Customs, order an ignition bomb, park it outside the entrance to said mod shop to where its impossible to enter it without moving the blocking vehicle and wait for an unsuspecting player to try and move it out the way.

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