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- Since the beginning but especially since well known songs featured in Vice City, the radio stations have been like real life stations, playing licensed music, with their own DJs, stories and details of events which can be seen taking place in the game universe, even having different shows at different times of the day. It's such a detailed world that it got its own trope page: GTA Radio.
- One of the radio adverts in Vice City is for 'Complete The Look', a clothing store that sells stereotypical 80's clothing. What clothing it advertises depends on what station you hear the advert on, with seven variations for each of the game's music playing stations.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V (but strangely not the other games), radio host comments will change based upon the weather (in the case of San Andreas) and time of day (in the case of GTA V). Some DJs in San Andreas will also remark on current game events, such as the riots that dominate Los Santos during the final stage of the game beyond the evolving news report segments.
- In IV, noting that many players were trying to identify the songs being played on the huge radio stations, Rockstar added "ZiT", an expy of smartphone music identification apps like Shazam and SoundCloud. (By V, though, they simply started listing the song with the radio station.)
- In V, Kenny Loggins has a unique line to say if "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" plays on a Saturday.
GTA III and GTA: Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto III:
- There is an enclosed area limited by four high walls. If you manage to jump over one (with the help of a tall vehicle, for example), you can read the text "You weren't supposed to be able get here you know" on one of the walls.
- One of the most famous features of the game, at least partly due to how often it was mentioned by Moral Guardians, was the fact that, if you employed the services of a prostitute and then killed her, you could get your money back.
- One mission has you following a target of interest as he gets driven around by a taxi. Normally, you are supposed to keep your distance or you will scare the target off. However, if you kill the cab driver and take his place (or ram the taxi out of the way with one of your own, or even just pull your own taxi into an empty spot in front of the other taxi), the target will get into your taxi and you are the one that drives him to his destination! You still have to kill him afterwards and he will still get spooked if you drive too recklessly.
- Another mission involves being the getaway driver of a bank robbery. If you reach the safehouse of the heist crew without being inside of a car - obviously, not the most common thing a player does in Grand Theft Auto - then you'll be belittled by a surprisingly rude help prompt saying "You need a getaway vehicle, Idiot!". If you're driving a bogstandard two-seater car instead of a sedan or a van with four seats, another humorous help prompt will notify that "They ain't sardines! Get some wheels with enough seats."
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City:
- If a pedestrian wearing roller skates traverses onto grass, they will trip over constantly until they gradually get back onto tarmac.
- During "The Party", if Tommy uses a motorbike to take Mercedes to the strip club, she will not ask about resting her hand in Tommy's lap.
- There's a sign atop a bridge saying, 'There are no easter eggs up here. Go away.'
- San Andreas also changes how CJ speaks based on his physical appearance. The developers knew some players would try to get CJ as fat as possible, so they have CJ speak alternate lines to any NPC he interacts with based on his weight (he'll say "Lunch money!" when he takes someone's money for example), or based on his clothes (dress in a suit and he'll say "Just cause I dress nice I can't bang, huh?" as he's stomping a pedestrian). He still speaks normally in cutscenes.
- Certain missions in San Andreas can't be started if CJ is too fat and you'll get a special cutscene telling you this. For instance, the mission Green Goo, which requires CJ to put on a jetpack, won't begin because the jetpack won't fit around him.
- Although if you unlock the jetpack for free roam by finishing the said mission or cheating, CJ can still wear them no matter how fat he is- the limitation is actually due to a pit in Area 69 where you can drop to, but not climb off unless you're fit enough.
- Additionally, there's an early mission that ends with Sweet calling CJ, telling him he's getting too skinny, and recommending a gym to go to so he can build muscle. If CJ gets fat before this mission, Sweet will be a lot more critical of CJ's physique and recommend the gym to lose weight. Additionally, Big Smoke will also chime in with a phone call of his own.
- "Stowaway" has you destroying a plane by planting C4 before jumping out with a parachute, and the plane can be destroyed by shooting it from the inside. Not only do you get a funny mission failed cutscene for jumping out the plane without a parachute, but if you happen to have a parachute before you start the mission, you can just shoot the plane and jump out before the explosion kills you, skipping most of the mission.
- Many areas have proper pathfinding for cars even if traffic never spawns there. Lose a wanted level in a place such as the San Fierro docks and you will see the police cars making their way back onto the main roads.
- If you go one dollar past $99,999,999, the money counter rolls over and adds another digit. The actual limit is $999,999,999.
- In the first mission, if you destroy the Ballas car, the cutscene with Sweet announcing their appearence will be omitted.
- One mission requires Carl to find an informant hiding in an abandoned village just west of the airfield. If Carl is spotted, the guy will try to make a getaway in a helicopter. If Carl doesn't manage to kill him, but does get to the other helicopter nearby, it's possible to chase the guy all the way to Las Venturas, where the guy meets some people in an underground carpark.
- Catalina's missions are set up in a way that lets you do them in any order you like. For example, the Dillimore gas station mission is not far from where you first meet her but you can do the Palomino bank mission first instead. The foresight part comes from CJ and Catalina's in-game dialogue, which is different depending on which one of her missions you did previously.
- When CJ goes to Jizzy B's club in "Ice Cold Killa", Jizzy B's Broadway will be outside. Whatever CJ does to the car will carry over to the subsequent chase. If CJ shoots out the tires, Jizzy B will have a harder time controlling the car. If CJ actually destroys the car, the chase will start with Jizzy B knocking a pizza delivery boy off of his scooter and stealing it.
- One of Mike Toreno's missions has CJ buying the abandoned airfield and taking flying lessons. The longer CJ waits between buying the airfield and taking the lessons, the more times Toreno will call him to remind him of his orders, getting progressively angrier each time.
- The mission where CJ rescues Maccer and Paul from the desert has them stop at a snake farm and run afoul of the proprietors. While the player's first instinct would likely be to kill them before proceeding, the game doesn't say to do this and CJ can just run back to the casino. If he does this, the snake farmers will chase them to the casino and then they'll have to kill them. (Yes, they. Maccer and Paul will fight the farmers as well.)
- Levelling up CJ's driving skill changes his car-driving animations after enough levelling. At the start, Carl will have both hands on the steering wheel and turn around to look behind him when reversing. After buffing his driving skill, he'll only have one hand on the wheel, and when reversing will simply glance up at his rear view mirror.
- In the PSP version of Liberty City Stories, there is a new sign in the alley from GTA III, with a goofy smiling face with outstretched arms, and the message "Hello again!" In the PS2 port of LCS, the sign reads "You just can't get enough of this alley, can you?"
- The Liberty City Stories side mission Karmageddon has you causing havoc by ramming into traffic with the fire truck. The game accounts for lots of things you can do to the cars, even ramming them into the water when there are only a few areas where that is practical.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV you get a mobile phone. If you're in a car listening to the radio when someone contacts you, the car speakers skip just before it rings, as often occurs in real life.
- The subway stations have performers at rush hour that you can tip. You can meet a girl on the in-game internet, and after your dates she will blog about them. You can even take the Roosevelt Island tram ride.
- Not to mention the meeting up with friends to play pool, go bowling, get drunk, even drive drunk which immediately prompts the cops to go after you and your character saying drunk driving might be a bad idea. When you haven't seen a friend in a while their dialogue will be different to if you see them often. In the expansions, you can play air hockey and go to the nightclub for drinking games.
- In the first Francis mission in Grand Theft Auto IV you are supposed to kill a man, take a flashdrive off his body, lose the police and deliver the flashdrive to Francis. However, as seen here at 13:08, if the target falls in the nearby water, he drowns and the mission succeeds immediately, with no need to deliver the evidence since, as far as the game's concerned, it's pretty well disposed of.
- There is even dialogue recorded and programmed to play for events that wouldn't happen normally; each friend can say different things no matter the occassion. Roman actually has dialogue for when he steals a car even though it would almost never happen by accident.
- Police will often be seen chasing and arresting NPCs on foot. If you park a police vehicle near an arrested NPC, the policeman will actually direct the criminal to the car before realising his mistake, giving you a wanted level.
- If a driver pulls away when a characternote is grabbing one of the car's door handles, they will ragdoll while continuing to hang onto the car. Assuming the character doesn't collide with other objects, they can be dragged for several seconds.
- A head-on collision with another car at high speed can occasionally send the other driver flying through their windshield. It can also happen to you, too.
- Following NPCs for long enough, or even just staring at them for too long, will result in the computer-controlled character noticing and making a remark of the "go away" variety.
- Eavesdropping on NPCs using cell phones, it's possible to follow complete conversations (they aren't just making random remarks). Also applies to V.
- Unlike the GTA III era when everything is open 24/7, there are a few cases where businesses are not open during certain hours of the day, most notably the fancy car dealership downtown. If there happen to be NPCs inside the dealership when it closes, they actually end up trapped inside.
- During Roman's Sorrow, you are told to go to your apartment first before going to the cab depot, but you can visit the two in either order, and dialogue will change accordingly.
- During the mission "Final Interview", the intended path is to shoot your target, then fight your way out of the front of the building. There are two ways to bypass this. First, by using a knife, your kill is considered silent and you won't receive the cutscene where a worker runs into the room and calls the cops. Second, if you do decide to go loud, there's nothing stopping you from jumping out the window, avoiding the need to fight your way through the lobby.
- In The Lost And Damned mission "Roman's Holiday", you can complete the mission the normal way by making a long drive from the gambling den to the warehouse with Roman. Or you can just call his taxi firm whose number is given away in a blink-and-miss-it line in a cutscene and have Roman drive to you.
- Killing a person in a car makes them fall and hold down the horn or gas pedal. Aiming at a person in a car makes them hold their hands up and either get out of the car or attempt to drive away.
- Street Vendors have propane tanks in their stalls that will explode if you hit them. To go further, only the hot dog and hamburger stands have propane tanks in them, the nut stalls do not.
- In The Lost and Damned Clay can still equip an Assault Shotgun if you take him to enough gang wars even if you don't have it unlocked yet. However to prevent players from getting the weapon early if Clay dies with the Assault Shotgun out it won't become a drop for you to pick up until you complete the required mission.
- One late-game mission requires the player to kill a target who rides in a convoy. If you are good enough friends with Packie, you can rig his car with a bomb before even starting the mission, as his car is near the mission starting point. The bomb won't despawn if you start a mission, allowing instant completion. The target even stops at gas station, making one wonder if R* made his route this tactic in mind.
- Some missions will start with an objective saying "Get into a vehicle". If you get in a boat, the objective will change to "Get in a vehicle other than a boat".
- During your second encounter with Eddie Low, the intention is to obviously kill him before he kills you, but if a cop comes by and you lure him into attacking the cop without taking his knife, the cop unloads on him rather than the usual arresting procedure to be sure he's dead just the same.
- Calling ZiT while in a Mr Tasty that's playing one of its jingles will result in said jingle being identified. Identifying the GTA IV theme even restores your health meter to full.
GTA V - Story Missions
- Dialogue between characters will frequently change to reflect on which missions you have actually completed. For instance, if you decide to do some Sequence Breaking on a Sniping Mission as Trevor and shoot some guards before Ron warns you about them, Trevor will mention having cleared the area already. Similarly, if you decide to hang out with one of the other player characters, their banter changes depending on where you're at in the story, and there's at least one or two throwaway lines for each activity and unique to each character combination.
- Heists also have varying dialogue depending on which crew members you selected, and it all sounds natural, completely averting Mad Libs Dialogue. One of the most impressive throwaway lines has to be during the "smart" version of The Jewel Store Job, which begins with Franklin climbing to the roof and throwing sleeping gas into the ventilation system. On the off-chance that you visited Ammu-Nation and purchased grenades or sticky bombs, Michael will call you over the radio reminding you to switch grenade types. It might have been Annoying Video-Game Helper material if it didn't show such impressive attention to detail.
- One of Trevor's missions for Josh requires him to use a jerry can that is provided at the beginning of the mission. If you already have a full jerry can, Trevor will compliment himself for being "one step ahead". If you don't have enough gas to use, Josh will mention that he has more in his car.
- During the mission "Reuniting the Family" Jimmy will mention that Amanda cheated on Michael with "the guy on Vespucci Beach who thinks he's Jesus." If you go down to Vespucci Beach you can actually meet the guy. His name is Jesse.
- In one story mode mission, Mike shoots out an airplane's engine while Trevor chases the disabled plane on an ATV. The route the plane takes will go very close to Trevor's own home. If you detour slightly and drive past Ron's house, Trevor will yell at him as you pass.
Trevor: Ron! You'd better be working!!!
- During By The Book, Steve, Trevor and Mr K's dialogue will change depending on which torture instruments you do or do not use and in which order. Mr K also has two voice tracks for the scene that includes clear and slurred speech depending on whether you pull out his tooth or not. Also, letting Mr. K die by not injecting him with adrenaline will lead to a special cutscene.
- During Trevor's hunting minigame, you take pictures of your kills with Trevor's phone. You're supposed to send them to Cletus, but you can actually send them to any of Trevor's contacts. This results with some amusing replies.
Michael: Could you be any more of a redneck?
Michael: Thanks, but I'm more of a medium rare kind of guy.
Michael: Glad to see you have so much time on your hands.
Franklin: Is there anything you won't shoot?
Franklin: Why u sending me photos of dead animals?
Franklin: I hope u gonna eat that.
Jimmy: Politically correct as ever, Uncle Trevor.
Lamar: I only smoke homies with 2 legs.
Tao Cheng: WTF? Is this some kind of threat?
Dave: That one I can't arrest you for.
Wade: One for the wall!
Ron: Y u no take me hunting Trevor?
Devin Weston: That's not how you alpha-male a vegan.
Nigel Thornhill: Now if we could just get a photo of you WITH the dead animal, Jock? Mrs. Thornhill would be so happy.
Patrica Madrazo: carino you're so unpredictable xx
Various contacts: Dude, seriously.
Various contacts: Is that what I think it is?
Various contacts: What the fuck, Trevor!?
- Cletus himself has a few unique responses if you send him a picture of a dead person.
Cletus: Jeessus Trevor that is definitely no elk.
Cletus: Why are you sending me snuff?
- In the mission where Trevor heads to Los Santos, just before then he detours with Wade to a trailer park to mop up the remainder of the Lost. It is scripted to start raining as you near the trailer park, and if you're in a car without a roof, when the latter asks what the stop is, he'll complain about getting wet. If the car has a roof, he'll omit his complaint and simply ask what the stop is.
- In the mission "Hood Safari," Trevor, Franklin and Lamar are escaping from the police on Seasharks, and the suggestion is made to split up since it'll be easier to lose the cops. The "Dev team" part comes in that you can not only choose to escape with one of the other characters, but they have specific dialogue to reflect this.
- In the same mission, if the player uses a sniper rifle during the shootout on Grove Street, Lamar will make unique comments.
- In an Easter Egg, the Grove Street gang is pedalling away as Franklin, Lamar and Trevor arrive at the dealer's house. If you hurry, and enter Grove Street from the other end, you can actually hit them with your car. You can then pick up the ~$200 they had on them.
- If you use a cheat code from GTA IV, you get... dial-up modem noise.
- During the Deathwish ending, Trevor is supposed to kill Steve Haines by shooting him in the head with a sniper rifle, causing the cameraman who works for him to Freak Out at what just happened. However, if the player decides to blow Steve up with an RPG instead, a unique cutscene will show the rocket heading towards him, and subsequently ending him. The cameraman also doesn't say anything afterwards, due to being caught in the blast.
- In Friend Request, when watching the final assassination of Jay Norris over the TV, the player can turn down the TV volume before calling him. The response and explosion can both be heard over the cellphone.
- Crystal Maze has a special aerial Establishing Shot of the O'Neils Farm if Trevor arrives there by plane.
- If Franklin ignores Michael's instructions to drive into Simeon's car dealer store and instead just leaves the area (or drives around randomly), Michael will comment on Franklin's stupidity and promptly knock him out, failing the mission.
- After Trevor murders Johnny Klebitz, Ashley will fall to her knees and cry over his corpse; you're actually given the option to kill her too. If you do, Wade will bring it up as you leave to confront the Lost.
- Later in the mission, Trevor confronts Ortega (leader of the Aztecas) and executes him. Or rather, you could execute him, or you could choose to just walk away and spare his life. If you do, he'll appear later when the Aztecas attack Chef's meth lab, and this time he must be killed.
- In "The Wrap Up", Trevor appears on a vantage point, giving sniper support to Michael and Dave. While controlling him, you can go down to the courtyard where Michael and Dave are and join them, and some Merryweather mercs will spawn along the way for just the occasion. Trevor can go to the parking lot as well (while AI-controlled, he will follow them), and Michael, if AI-controlled, will get into a Dominator and drive off. As Trevor, you will still be chased by the Merryweather chopper, but he has no lines. In Morningwood, Michael will be waiting for you, whereas normally, Trevor would be waiting.
- In "The Paleto Score Setup", Michael is required to trip the bank's alarm by shooting it. If Michael doesn't have any guns in his inventory, you'll get a special objective to pick one up at the nearby ammu-nation. Additionally, you're unable to run out of money until you buy a gun you can use.
- At the beginning of the Subtle approach for "The Big Score", Trevor and Michael will talk about the crew for the heist (specifically, the first Gunman). Their dialogue will change depending on if it's the players first time using that Gunman, if they've used them on one or more heists before, or if they've been taken on all heists where crew members are available. Similarly, the Gunman's own dialogue will be different, depending on what specific heists they have been brought along on.
- In what is definitely a bad example of this trope, the game has some clever ways of preventing the player from going Off the Rails during certain missions.
- During the mission "Father/Son" the truck being chased is scripted to get away. As if making the truck indestructible and making it drastically speed up when overtaken wasn't enough, any grenades/sticky bombs thrown during the chase will not explode!
- Similarly, if you started "Predator" as Frankin, the O'Neil's SUV is indestructible until it crashes into the canyon. Realistically speaking, Franklin could've outright prevented the subsequent Sniping Mission via a well placed sticky bomb.
- During the beginning of the mission "The Wrap Up" a helicopter is scripted to crash into the walkway leading to the staircase that Dave runs down, preventing Michael from following him. If the player somehow manages to destroy the helicopter before it crashes and runs down the stairs, they will instantly die when they reach the bottom for no reason!
GTA V - Freeroam
- If Michael misses a therapy session, then the therapist will call Michael and the player will be forced to have the conversation over the phone. Also, the contents of the session are dependent on how Michael is played. For example, if the player keeps Michael away from prostitutes and the strip club then Michael will express no lecherous issues to the therapist. This is averted later in the story though where his kids will chastise him for being unfaithful even if the player had never cheated while playing as Michael. The last comment of each therapy is dependent on the last crime Michael had commited.
- The fact that you can run into another playable character on the game map off-mission should count. Doing so triggers a conversation similar to what happens when you call someone to hang out. You can also "kill" the character note , though they will only be considered "injured". If you die after doing this, you will both respawn in a hospital and will text each other on the incident. For instance, if Trevor "kills" another character, he will remark on how said character is so hard to kill. However, the character who murdered the other character will be forced to pay their medical bill.
- Stick too close to another protagonist off-mission (as in walk too close to them for a long time), they will become annoyed with your stalking. Continue after being warned, they will knock you on your ass, instantly sending you to a hospital.
- If you kill Amanda, Jimmy, Tracey or anyone one of his friends as Michael, he'll freak out. Fortunately for him, they'll just end up in the hospital and send him the bill. The same applies with Ron if Trevor accidentally kills him... although Trevor doesn't care as much except telling the player it was their fault for running Ron over. Ron will send him the bill anyway since he's in deep debt. Franklin's reaction is a simple precision F or S strike, wondering how a pro driver like him could hit someone like that. Trevor's response is the funniest though...
- The Altruist Cult will almost always welcome Trevor into their little abode (unless he attacks). Going there as Michael or Franklin results in them immediately attacking. If Trevor delivers a victim for the cult for the fourth time and slaughters all of them after they turn on him, nobody will be in the village from then on and the cult theme will no longer play.
- Ballas gangsters will not only insult Franklin for being part of the Families, but also Michael and Trevor if either of them wears green.
- As Trevor, people can call the cops on you and get you a wanted star just because you're wearing a dress if you hang around them long enough to allow them to.
- As Michael or Franklin, press right on the D-Pad (console) or 'E' (PC) while on foot and near pedestrians; your character will give a friendly greeting. However, doing this as Trevor makes him lash out an insult at them. The foresight part is that exactly what he says depends on who he's speaking to. (Specifically, fat people, poor people, senior citizens, gang members, cops and hipsters.)
- If you do this repeatedly on a particular NPC, they will react by either running away or attacking Trevor, again depending on who you throw insults at.
- There are small windows of opportunity throughout the story where Michael, Franklin or Trevor can call people on their contacts list to engage in conversation. An example of such a small window is when the player first gains control over Michael. Before returning home after forcing Franklin to crash into Simeons store, Michael can call Dave Norton. This is before Dave is even introduced in the story!
- Whenever Trevor, Franklin, or the Online protagonist aims the Micro SMG without a scope when out of cover, they will fire it from the hip, but if it does have a scope, they will unfold the stock and aim down the sight. Michael, on the other hand, will always properly aim down the sight, even if the weapon doesn't have a scope. This also happens with the two machine guns.
GTA V and GTA Online - Freeroam