Follow TV Tropes


Grand Theft Auto V / Single Player Tropes E to M

Go To

General Tropes | Single Player Tropes 0 to D | Single Player Tropes E to M | Single Player Tropes N to Z | Grand Theft Auto Online Tropes

Return to the main page

  • 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 are not perfect, they are 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 is so worth it.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Playing past 100% Completion unlocks an entire subplot about FIB and government conspiracies about Flying Saucer cover-ups.
    • Achieving 100% Completion unlocks a bonus mission involving Bigfoot. However the mission doesn't trigger until a random number of in-game days pass (which could mean hours of post-game playing before it appears). Those who aren't aware of the mission can easily miss it by simply concluding their play and moving on to another game.
    • There are some easter eggs related to Rooster Teeth. They have custom-made patches that resemble the Achievement Hunter logo and sometimes a small dock will spawn four boats colored red, white, black, and yellow (the colors associated with the four main characters of Monty Oum's RWBY web series).
    • Unique to single player, if one visits a location on the north shore of the Alamo Sea, a man will spawn near a boat dock, tap dancing to a piece of music (and singing along). This is actually an avatar of Jesco White, one of the in-game radio hosts. (It is sometimes erroneously suggested that one has to drive clockwise around the sea to see this Easter egg. In fact he is always there and can be approached from any direction, including from the water.)
    • Advertisement:
    • In the next-gen version of the game, there are Peyote plants scattered around the map that you can eat. Doing so makes you hallucinate into a random animal, which you can roam the map with, including the ability to attack pedestrians and gain a wanted level. Collecting them all unlocks a unique additional plant that turns you into a Bigfoot.
    • Pressing a certain button on the controller (right-direction on the PS4, for example) will cause the player character to utter a greeting to the nearest pedestrian (or an insult in the case of Trevor). Sometimes the NPC will will stop and talk to the player for a few moments about their day (unique dialogue, not random conversation).
    • The mission "Minor Turbulence" ends with Trevor being forced to bail out of a crashing plane and therefore unable to obtain the loot he intended to steal. The game continues on without any further reference to this. However, if you remember exactly where the plan went down, you can actually return to the site later and dive into the water to find the wreckage and obtain loot.
  • 11th-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.
    • The RPG likewise doesn't appear until rather late, unless the player takes part in an optional side mission where one becomes available.
  • Empathic Environment: Much of the radio is keyed to play at specific times, and when driving character-specific cars. In most cases, they reflect the character's personalities. Franklin's radio station always stays in the same rap station he listened to. Michael's radio station starts with 80s Rock, but then moves to Newer and/or Standard Rock by the end. Trevor's radio station is the anti-government punk rock before switching to Rock Ballads and Love Rock when Patricia comes in that switches back to the anti-government punk rock by the Golden Ending with some lighter rock on the side. Special props to a specific song ("If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago) that plays when returning Patricia Madrazo and multiple times after that.
  • Empty Quiver: The Merryweather Heist involves stealing a nuclear device from a Merryweather testing site, or a freighter. Subverted, since Lester discovers Trevor’s plans to sell it to the Chengs and has it returned, since it would put Trevor and his associates on a government kill list.
  • Establishing Character Moment: A few for each of the main characters.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Every character can agree that, even though they are all conniving bastards that have killed and manipulated for selfish gain, at least they are not Trevor.
    Michael: You always liked gasoline, Trevor!
    Franklin: Man, that was your best fucking friend!
    Michael: Fuck you. You know what tough guy? It's... it's time you grow the fuck up. I mean, I admit I'm a bad piece of work. But that guy? That piece of shit! No boundaries. No sense of when to back off. No nothin'! Twenty-four seven insanity! Day in! Day out! All the time! Never regretted nothin'. Cared for nothin'. Well fuck him. I mean... there's got to be a limit, kid. Y'know? A point where even assholes like us say "enough is e-fucking-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 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?!"
    • He is also very protective of Michael's children. He immediately puts his plans for revenge against Michael on hold when he hears that Tracey De Santa is about to be humiliated on Fame or Shame. In addition, when Trevor hangs out with Jimmy De Santa, he will not (and cannot) take him to bars or strip clubs, and flat out refuses if Jimmy suggests either option.
    • During one mission, Trevor is ordered to kill a man he had been torturing for information, after the victim gave up the intel. That is too much, even for Trevor, so he helps the man escape instead. This is not even presented as an option for the player (as often killing or sparing an individual is left up to choice); Trevor just does this. Although it is more out of principle than morality, as he is not going to do what the crooked FIB agents tell him to if he can get away with it.
    • 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-so, because Franklin betrayed someone who was considered a father figure to him, and was arguably one of the only people who actually trusted him.
    • One of the "Strangers and Freaks" he gets to know is Josh Bernstein, a mediocre real estate broker who rewards Trevor's helpful efforts by letting him sleep with a woman. The second time Trevor sleeps with her, she 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.
    • Trevor outright says "You're horrible." to a hitchhiker who admits to having a drug-fuelled lesbian tryst at a party in the desert while her boyfriend was working long hours at his security job trying to support them both.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Downplayed compared to previous instalments, it takes real effort to damage a car in a crash now to the point where it will explode. However, they do still go up like fairly large bombs if you put enough bullets into them; at least one mission involving killer clowns can only be concluded by doing this.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The United States government is deeply corrupt when it is not incompetent, but it does not 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.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • The main storyline begins with a deconstruction. Once the Villain Protagonist duo has accomplished their initial goal of settling their debt to Madrazo — which happens very early in the plot — their only motivation for their continued crime spree is pure greed and self-interest... which also solves the problem of Gameplay and Story Segregation by demonstrating just who would casually run people over and steal cars without a shred of guilt.
    • The Rampages parody the trope. The player must kill as many of a certain character group (gang members, soldiers, etc.) before the time runs out, but unlike with earlier games in the series where the Rampage just starts up, this time they're reframed as Trevor having a psychotic episode, going on killing sprees over increasingly minor insults. This eventually climaxes in the fifth rampage with Trevor gunning down hipsters after confronting one wearing a "Yes, you are a motherfucker" T-shirt.
    • In general, the game plays with the trope just about every possible way before the end, with subversions, lampshades, straight examples, etc. The characters' motivations vary widely depending on the mission, from the comically thin (e.g. the aforementioned Rampages) to ones that are not excuses at all (e.g. a corrupt government agent forces you to do his dirty work).
    • Trevor's fury at Michael's betrayal often centres around the fate of their former crew-member, Brad...Except, if you achieve the Golden Ending and then have Michael, Trevor and Franklin hang out a few times, Trevor apologises to Michael for getting so angry about the whole thing, Michael and Trevor both admit that they thought Brad was a dick, and Trevor tells Franklin that he never really liked Brad and probably would have killed him eventually anyway. This renders a lot of the animosity between Trevor and Michael during the second half of the game pretty much moot.
  • 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. (Some of this may be unintentional, given that Trevor is an Ink-Suit Actor of the man who performs his voice.) A resemblance to Richard Nixon is also visible, and a stronger resemblance in both looks and personality to Waingro from Heat especially in the prologue mission.
    • 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 (except with the down-home folksiness replaced by Bob Ross's white-guy 'fro and aura of pleasant calm). 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.
    • The Epsilon Program is a thinly disguised parody of Scientology.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The game has several possible endgame options. One is for Franklin to kill Michael, and definitely counts as a face-heel turn given how the two men had bonded. Also, unlike killing Trevor, which could be justified given how unstable Trevor is, there is really no sound reason for Franklin to even want to kill Michael.
  • 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.
  • Fake Longevity: The first time you play a mission, there's no way to know the requirements for the gold and silver completion medals, meaning that unless you happen to fulfill the requirements by luck on the first playthrough (or have a game guide handy), you're going to have to replay each mission at least once if you want to score gold on each one. Fortunately, achieving gold or silver on missions is not required for 100% completion.
    • In the original build of the game, flying school is entirely optional. However in some updates of the game, Michael had to pass all of the lessons (Some of which are extremely difficult) with at least a Bronze medal to enable further storyline progression.
  • 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.
    • Lester in the hospital gown after the Merryweather Heist.
    • Trevor's wardrobe can include various women's sundresses that only reach down to his upper thigh. Should the player equip him with said sundress and proceed to jump and roll around, they will discover that he's not wearing anything underneath, and that Jiggle Physics are in full effect.
    • Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but while there are some very attractive female NPCs in the GTA world, especially around the beach areas, there are also some that to some may be less so, such as the game's depiction of female bodybuilders.
  • Fictional Social Network: LifeInvader, a parody of Facebook, which invites subscribers to 'stalk' each other's posts in the same manner as Facebook's 'Likes' system.
  • 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. The location of the fight, an active metal foundry, is coincidentally fitting to this trope.
  • Five-Man Band: Trevor Philips Industries/Enterprises
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • The first time Michael goes to see Lester, the latter 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 is one way to greet a friend one has not seen for nine years.
    • If the player selects the Unarmed option while driving a vehicle, the fire button will make your protagonist flip off passing motorists and pedestrians. Motorists and pedestrians will also flip the bird at the player if they are nearly hit or run over.
    • If one closely looks at the in-game internet, the link pointer actually has the middle finger taking the place of the index finger.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Michael had not destroyed part of Martin Madrazo's mistress' house, he would not have had to resort to the Vangelico heist to cover the damage, there would not have been a news report about it, and Trevor would have never seen him again because he wouldn't have seen Michael using near enough the same phrase as he did when he robbed the bank in North Yankton at the start of the game. And while Michael and Franklin may likely still have been roped into doing jobs for Steve and Devin, they wouldn't have done them with Trevor.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Franklin is Phlegmatic, Lester is Sanguine, Trevor is Choleric, and Michael is Melancholic.
    • Phlegmatic: Franklin is fairly quiet and reserved compared to the rest of the group, but he is still reasonably sociable and willing to work with others. He is also constantly trying to keep the group from tearing itself apart.
    • Sanguine: Lester is the de facto leader of the group and is the one who writes up all the plans. He also constantly reaches out to others and, as seen in Online, is more sociable than one might think.
    • Choleric: Trevor is an Ax-Crazy lunatic who shoots first and asks questions later. He's also by far the most impulsive and unpredictable member of the group.
    • Melancholic: Michael is the most pessimistic and jaded member of the group, and is also the one who is the least willing to work with others.
  • 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.
  • Friendship Moment: Michael and Franklin have been getting along quite well, with Franklin helping Michael out with some problems and Michael taking him under his wing and getting his foot in the heisting door. But at the end of "Dead Man Walking", Michael meets with Franklin and urges him to leave town so he won't get dragged into Michael's troubles with Trevor and the FIB. But Franklin insists on staying, because Michael did a lot for him, and the way he sees it, the least he can do is help Michael. This really solidifies their relationship and loyalty to one another ( unless you choose the B ending, anyway).
  • 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.
    • There is a restaurant in Vinewood with a mock saucer stuck in its roof.
    • A collection side-mission involving Franklin requires him to collect pieces of a UFO that exploded over the state (this is also referenced in a news report).
    • After being drugged by his son, Michael experiences a hallucination in which he imagines being abducted by a flying saucer.
    • An optional "strangers and freaks" encounter ends up with Michael, under the influence of potent marijuana, hallucinating an attack by aliens in a city park. However, Michael can actually be killed if the "hallucinatory" flying saucer actually sucks him up into the air.
  • 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. That said, at least Franklin recognizes that it's only by his own efforts that he can manage to save himself, while Tanisha assumes that simply marrying a rich and successful man is enough, even at the cost of her own self-worth.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the prologue, after Trevor shoots a guard that was holding Michael at gunpoint, he quips "Let's go! There'll be time for grieving later!", to which Michael replies "Yeah, you got that right". this already hints that the North Yankton job was a setup, as Trevor would indeed spend many long years grieving for Michael after his supposed death.
    • 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. Lester then offers two smaller alternatives in the form of either a nearby jewelry store, or a bank up in Paleto Bay. Michael picks the jewelry store, but when they need to acquire a lot of money for an FIB operation about halfway through the game, guess how they get it? Yep, by robbing the Paleto Bay bank.
    • 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.
    • Going on Weasel News after destroying the deck of Martin Madrazo's house will have Weasel News briefly talking about two vigilantes calling themselves the "Civil Border Patrol" who crack down on illegal immigrants. They are among the Strangers and Freaks Trevor can meet.
    • Many radio updates mention stories that do not affect the main plot until later. The FIB/IAA rivalry for example is mentioned in the very first news broadcast despite not becoming important until the second act.
    • When Trevor accidentally kills Mr K (during a Non Standard Game Over, of course), Haines is furious on Trevor and calls him a liability. Later, Haines and Norton order Franklin to kill Trevor due to the latter's recklessness.
    • When Michael and Lester talk about Trevor during the first heist set up, one of the possible fates Michael suggests is "anonymous charred remains by the roadside". This is exactly what becomes of Trevor during Ending A. Similarly, when Michael insists on bringing the untested Franklin into the jewelry store heist, Lester quips that it's "your funeral". In Ending B, Michael is betrayed and killed by none other than Franklin.
    • When Michael and Franklin are confronting Kyle Chavis about having sex with Amanda, Kyle yells "Sometimes it's got to get worse to get better". Midway through the game, Amanda leaves Michael and takes the kids with her because Michael's activities have gotten out of hand. Then they get back together because they are trapped in Los Santos and they need each other because they are the only ones who understand each other.
  • Forged Message: Trevor has been keeping contact with Brad via email while the latter is in prison for their botched heist. It's later revealed that Brad died in the shootout following the heist and the guy he's actually been emailing is FIB agent Dave.
  • Freudian Trio
    • Trevor: impulsive and hedonistic (Id)
    • Franklin: grounded and rational (Superego)
    • Michael: balanced (Ego)
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There is a glitch involving dying after finishing a Stunt Jump, Under the Bridge, or Knife Flight, but before it registers on-screen, that can make it impossible to replay missions and thus earn Gold rankings on the affected save file (you just get stuck in an infinite loop of trying to save the restart point, and cancelling it renders your character completely immobile until you reload). This is especially possible with the last of the three, so if you get credit for a Knife Flight without it appearing on the screen and you haven't gotten Gold on every mission yet, you're better off just reloading and trying it again... assuming you did a manual save beforehand.
  • Game Hunting Mechanic: Trevor Philips can hunt in the Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness and earning money by fulfilling challenges about the manner of killing game or photographies to be sent to a friend.
  • 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 relied more on Reward from Nowhere, as described in the Deconstructed Trope entry, 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.
    • In-game, two real minutes equate to one GTA hour. This leads to some discrepancies. For example, story-wise, Trevor and Michael live hours away from each other in different parts of the state and several times it is implied that Michael has never visited Blaine County and Trevor has rarely if ever visited Los Santos. Gameplay-wise, they live mere minutes drive away from each other, and by the time they meet up in the story, the player will have likely used both characters to thoroughly explore the game map.
      • This leads to the odd situation when casing the Bank in Paleto Bay, where the cops take at least one real-life minute to arrive when the alarm goes off, which Lester states is too tight a window to make a clean getaway. Just to be clear, if the game followed its own time structure, that would give Michael and co. roughly half an hour to escape.
    • In the opening cutscene of "Dead Man Walking", Michael tells Dave that Trevor showed up "a couple days ago", even if you went straight from "Fame or Shame" (in which Trevor reunites with Michael) to "Dead Man Walking" within the same in-game day. And many players likely did, as "Fame or Shame" ends with Michael calling Dave, and Dave telling him to meet with him ASAP.
    • In one mission Trevor is able to leap from a train bridge into the river far below and survive. Try that outside of a mission and you die.
    • In one of the earliest missions you are followed by 2 cars with gunmen. At this point it's very much possible to just kill the 8 gunmen with ease, but in the cut scene after that, 2 similar gunmen make Michael immediately submit and receive an beating for no reason other than to advance the story.
  • 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).
  • Gender-Blender Name: During "Friends Reunited", Trevor relates his own backstory to Wade, which also involved Michael. Within his recount, Trevor renames his younger self as "Trisha" and Michael as "Michelle", both very feminine names. Trevor still keeps referring to the two characters as men, however, befuddling Wade.
    Wade: "Michelle" sure is a funny name for a boy.
  • 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 is 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 cannot 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 is ready to let them go. The logo for Jack's show even mimics the logo for The Expendables. Ouch!
    • And let us not even start on Lazlow's issues.
  • Golden Ending: As mentioned elsewhere, if you choose ending "C: Death Wish", not only do Michael, Franklin and Trevor finally mend their broken friendship, but also help each other take out their enemies — Steve, Cheng, Stretch and Devin. The player also retains access to all recreational activities, friendship outings and non-storyline side missions that may otherwise be denied with the other two endings.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Michael takes Franklin under his wing and becomes his mentor. However, if you take ending B, Michael's Toxic Friend Influence pretty much remade him in Franklin; Franklin takes him out to get the feds off his back, and even uses the exact same reasons as he did when he betrayed his gang 9 years earlier.
  • Good Feels Good: Returning a mugging victim's wallet never fails to put a big, warm smile on the face of Franklin or Michael, proud that they could save someone else's day. Trevor gets a grin too, but given his serious case of resting angry face, it's a very cold one.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • When Trevor stomps Johnny Klebitz to death, we do not actually see his foot connect, but the sound effects and the shot of Johnny's busted head afterwards do not leave much to the imagination. Averted soon after when Trevor is shown pulling a piece of Johnny's brain off the sole of his shoe.
    • Later in the game, 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. There's also blood splattered on the kitchen window, suggesting whatever Trevor did to them was very messy.
  • Groin Attack: Invoked by Taliana in the Roof Entry version of the Bureau Raid, where she threatens to remove the penis of any of the crew members if they blow their cover while escaping.
  • 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 phone 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.
      • No 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, among other collection missions.note 
      • If you do not research various online walkthroughs and play guides, there's no way to otherwise discover that Chop can be used to help locate most of the on-land collectibles.
    • 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.
      • The final Epsilon mission, "Unknowing the Truth", has two different paths you can take which lead to two different rewards for all the time and money Michael has invested into the cult so far; one is a rusty tractor, and the other is a little over two million dollars. You'll only get the latter if you disobey the on-screen instructions to deliver the car full of money you're driving to Cris Formage's helicopter and instead steal it for yourself. In almost any other mission in the game, going off-script results in an immediate "mission failed" screen and a restart, so you'll have no reason to think that doing anything other than what the game tells you to do is possible, much less desirable.
      • And no matter which route you take, there is a collection sidequest afterwards that involves finding ten pieces of the Epsilon Tract scattered throughout San Andreas, with cryptic riddles being your only help locating them. While some of the riddles can be fairly helpful in finding their respective pieces, others make absolutely no sense and/or do nothing to narrow down your options (such as one riddle that points you towards a random mansion in Los Santos, of which there are literally hundreds). The worst part is that unlike similar collection sidequests, not even the Rockstar Social Club will help you locate them, and using Chop is impractical since, after each piece is collected, you'll have to switch back to Michael in order to receive the next clue. Good luck!
    • Most of the Random encounters have fairly trivial rewards such as a small amount of money or 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. Good luck recruiting Packie McReary for your heists if he dies.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: Part of the "Subtle" option for the Union Depository heist.
  • HA HA HA—No: If you kill Trevor during a friend activity or otherwise outside a mission, he sends you a text:
    Trevor: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! pay my hospital charges.
  • Handshake Substitute: Michael and Franklin always exchange fist bumps whenever they greet or depart.
  • Harmful to Hitchhikers: You can do this while playing as Trevor. If he encounters someone lost in the wild, he can deliver them to the Altruist cult to be eaten.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: After killing a seemingly endless barrage of Triads during his return to North Yankton, Michael still ends up getting kidnapped.
  • 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.
    • Trevor sometimes plays with this. If you switch into him at one point you might even encounter in snuggling up with a male friend in a bed! (But only because he's playing with the guy's mind.)
  • Hood Hornament: Trevor can add a pair of horns to his signature cars hood, or its roof (or both), which fits well with his rebellious lifestyle and his love for living in the desert.
  • 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 would wear pasties. It is 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. (Ironically, however, unlike GTA San Andreas, which had multiple strip clubs to visit, there's only one in GTA V).
    • Prostitute interactions are particularly more explicit than earlier games (particularly in the dialogue).
    • Thanks to improvements in graphic and character design, there are a lot more physically attractive male and female non-player characters (especially near the beach) than in previous games. Sapphire, a particularly attractively designed stripper (and optional "booty call") by 2014 was on the verge of becoming a meme with a number of videos in her honor appearing on YouTube.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Downplayed, as players are no longer able to eat at food stands nor at fast food joints as drinks and snacks from convenience stores restores your health now.
  • Idiot Ball: During the "Meltdown" mission late in the game, Weston appears and idiotically makes a comment about Amanda and Tracey being "stuck at home" to Michael and Jimmy. If he had just kept quiet, the Merryweather mercenaries he had sent after them would have succeeded in killing the women, as Weston had intended. As it was, Michael and Jimmy were able to rush home and, if you pass the mission, they manage to rescue their family, take out the mercenaries and, if you make Franklin choose the Deathwish ending (ending C), this is one of the reasons why Weston is killed. So in a way, Weston's comment led almost directly to his own demise.
    • Possibly, Weston was just goading Michael to rush into the house so that Merryweather could ambush and kill him. But in that case, he seems to not realize that Michael is a One-Man Army.
  • I Have a Family: If you are 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 Have This Friend...: Michael tries to discuss the intense psychopathy of Trevor with Dr. Friedlander by introducing him as a hypothetical associate, "Tony", before he is reminded that he already mentioned Trevor in-depth in a previous session.
  • 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. Sometimes, when switching to Trevor, he wake up saying that he needs to find a hiker to eat.
    • 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.
  • Immune to Drugs: Trevor. While every other methamphetamine user in the entire game is ruined, mentally and physically by their addiction to the substance, Trevor seems to positively thrive on the stuff.
    • Played for laughs when Franklin encounters Barry: While Michael and Trevor are sent into horrific, drug-induced hallucinations after smoking some of Barry's weed, Franklin does not even get a mild buzz and actually chastises Barry for wasting his time.
  • Improbably Cool Car: While Michael's luxury sedan and Trevor's repurposed military truck are justified for their characters, Franklin's modern muscle car based on the 2011 Dodge Charger is a bit less explicable, especially as he is otherwise portrayed as being poor early in the game. Possibly explained by Simeon giving it to him rather than a pay check for a difficult repo job.
  • Improbable Hairstyle Sequence: A new feature in this game is the ability for the protagonists to visit barber shops to change their hairstyle. And it doesn't matter what their previous hair style is, anything is possible. They can even enter the shop clean-shaven and practically bald, and come out with a beard and a head full of hair.
  • 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 is 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.
  • Informed Flaw: Other characters refer to Michael as "fat" about 7,000 times, but the character artwork doesn't really reflect it. He simply doesn't look particularly overweight. Amanda also accuses him of sleeping with prostitutes 'a lot,' and we never actually see him do that, though it's possible that occurred before the game's time frame (of course, during the game Michael can optionally do just that).
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Several characters are modeled closely after their voice actor. It is especially prominent with the player characters, due to the fact the actors performed most of the motion capture themselves. This is particularly noticeable when characters from Grand Theft Auto IV appear, as ink suit actors were not employed, and as such the characters look less realistic when seen side by side with the GTA V characters.
  • Improvised Weapon: When Weston sends Merryweather after Michael's family, Jimmy is able to knock one of them out with his bong.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • After the Vangelico Heist/Jewel Store Job, Trevor becomes available as a GPS marker, leading you to the DeSanta residence well before Franklin even knows he exists.
    • If a particularly observant player checks the 100% checklist on the Rockstar Social Club page, they might notice that none of the objectives that require Michael or Trevor are required for 100% Completion. A decision that makes sense if the player was, say, given the option to kill one of them and Rockstar didn't want 100% to be Permanently Missable Content.
  • 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 cannot run anymore." Franklin uses the same metaphor after killing Michael in Ending B.
    • If you are reckless playing as Michael, during one of his phone sessions he will complain that things get "right on top of me." Jimmy later uses the same excuse when apologizing for spiking Michael's drink with sedatives. It is a subtle touch that implies Michael's issues are familial and due to how he was raised, and that his kids will take the same path if he isn't careful.
    • When Michael is fighting his way out of the morgue in "Dead Man Walking", one of the Enemy Chatter lines from the IAA mooks is "This is for the greater good!". When you're raiding an IAA lab in "Monkey Business", Michael may say "This is for the greater good...allegedly".
    • And of course, the epic one that caps off Ending C.
      Weston: So are you gonna, A. Listen to some fifty grand a year pension hunter, or B. A billionaire? Who even the president lets finger his wife. Or C? Try and be really stupid and save those two idiot mentors of yours and have everybody in the Goddamn state crawling up your ass. A, B or C? Time's ticking pal, beep, beep, beep and your answer is?
      [several hundred dead bad guys and one annihilated Big Bad Ensemble later, Franklin has Devin tied up in the trunk of a car and completely at his mercy]
      Franklin: Hey, my bad, homie. I picked C, ain't that a bitch?
  • 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-a sufficiently wounded enemy will writhe around a bit before expiring, though sometimes they'll squeeze off a few rounds before they die.
    • Played completely straight with any headshot, however. INCLUDING those inflicted on the player characters, regardless of armor. This includes being launched from a car and hitting your head hard enough, or nose diving off a sufficiently high building.
    • Also played straight with sniper rifles, both the basic sniper rifle and Heavy Sniper will kill an enemy in one shot to the head or torso.
  • 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.
    • In "Bury the Hatchet", Trevor's light propeller-driven plane somehow manages to beat the jet airliner Michael is riding in to North Yankton.
    • The Titan, based on the real life C130 Hercules, is described on the game's website where you can purchase it as a 4 engine turboprop. However when you start one up it sounds like a piston engined prop aircraft. Real turboprops do not sound like that when powering up.
    • In general, if you damage one of the engines on a multi-engined aircraft, the other engine will eventually start to malfunction too. This is extremely rare in real life unless losing one engine forces the pilot to push the remaining engine too hard, or if the event that caused the aircraft to lose one engine in the first place damaged the other one as well.
  • 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 does not 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 $100,000 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 race (mash a button to move faster), he will sometimes say "you're not Button Mashing now" in regard to his gaming habits.
    • Once Wade takes up permanent residence in Vanilla Unicorn, one of his lines of random dialogue is "They only play like, six songs in here. It's kinda making me crazy."
    • While driving if you narrowly avoid colliding with something or actually do hit something, the active character will usually shout angrily. Sometimes it is directed at other drivers. Sometimes it is clearly directed at you.
    • Some of the radio adverts for the (fictional) game Righteous Slaughter spoof the idea of game sequels.
    • If you pick Ending C, Franklin will end up telling Devin Weston, "My bad, homie. I picked C. Ain't that a bitch?"
    • In the new added segment of Blaine County Radio Community Hour, one caller mentions snow in Los Santos, a nod to Rockstar's Holiday events, which cover the entire game map with snow (though only in 'Online') and "the ability to be somebody else at the press of a button", a nod to the character switch mechanic.
  • 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). A couple of optional missions - most notably one where Michael is forced to walk or run for 5 in-game miles uninterrupted - accomplish the same thing for some stats
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. Compared to the Darker and Edgier path that followed the company in Grand Theft Auto IV, this sequel has been designed with a conscious push for less cynicism, EXCEPT for a mission involving torture that is rather disturbing to be a participant of.
  • 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.
    • Daughter variant: Trevor is protective of Michael's daughter.
  • Likes Older Women: Trevor has a stated preference for the older ladies, most particularly the gangster's wife, and he also continually flirts with the bail bondswoman he works for.
  • 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.
  • Losing Horns: The type B losing horn is offered as an optional car horn in Los Santos Customs for owners of the 8th gen version.
  • Low Clearance: Some overpasses have signs displaying the clearance height, with an obvious dent in them where tall vehicles have hit them.
  • 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.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: Late in the story the Ballas kidnap Lamar at a lumber mill out in a rural area of the map and Franklin, Michael and Trevor have to save him by storming the place and getting into a massive firefight with them.
  • 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.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Due to the dissonance between the usually light-hearted story and how wounds show and stay longer on the character's bodies, this leads to situations where a bloodied Franklin, Michael, or Trevor doing casual conversations.
  • 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 finding two men committing incest inside their RV. They both don't wear pants.
  • Male Gaze: Leave any of the protagonists idle around for about 30 seconds and the camera will switch from third person to a cinematic first person POV. If a female NPC happens to walk by anywhere near them while this mode is active, the camera will immediately focus on and follow her until she moves out of sight or another woman comes near.
  • Mamet Speak: The dialogue consists of quick, snappy queues where characters will often interrupt each other and stutter their words. Everyone speaks in their own specific form of jargon, and as to be expected the swear counter is through the roof.
  • Marathon Level: This trope is taken literally with several actual marathons that can be experienced as optional activities, most infamously the Alamo Sea-to-Los Santos race which requires players to mash their controller buttons for at least a half hour, with no break (other than pausing the game). You start by swimming almost the entire length of the Alamo Sea, then going on an epic-length bike race, and the finally a long run on foot through the streets of Los Santos. You literally feel like you've run a marathon by the end.
    • Two of the Epsilon Project side-missions are also of epic length. One requires Michael to wear a pair of robes for 10 in-game days (requiring either a lot of patience or the player skipping time by having Michael go to sleep 40 times - saving the game and coming back is no guarantee of success as if the game causes Michael to change clothes the clock is reset. Later, Michael has to run/walk the equivalent of 5 in-game miles within a confined area.
  • 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 will never try a joint ever again. Trevor is also offered a joint, and after initially refusing because weed "interferes with the speed" already in his system, has a similar trip, only with clowns instead of aliens. Franklin however is unaffected since he is already a habitual pot smoker; in fact he somewhat justifies the trope by indicating that the weed is poor, suggesting its impact on Michael and Trevor is due to it being doctored in some way.
    • Truth in Television. Some people add rat poison to weed, as it does lead to hallucinations. Please do not try that anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  • 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?
  • Mêlée à Trois: During one of Trevor's visits to Floyd's apartment, he manages to piss off the latter's fiancé Debra to the point where she pulls out a gun on the two, at which point Floyd angrily grabs a knife off the kitchen drawer out of rage for Debra calling him crap and namedropping the man she's implied to be cheating on him with. And then Trevor gets angry. Cue a Fade to Black and Trevor leaving the apartment covered in blood.
    Debra: I'm not afraid to use this. I'm not. Bob taught me.
    Floyd: (grabs a knife) Fuck Bob!
    Trevor: You people are not very fucking nice!
  • 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.
  • Mole in Charge: The post mission news article for The Bureau Raid, regardless of which path you take, reveals that Steve Haines was put in charge of investigating the break in, while he was the one who ordered it in the first place to erase evidence of his corruption.
  • Money for Nothing: Inverted to a degree. In contrast to previous GTA games, the majority of storyline missions pay no cash reward ( this is brought up as a plot point numerous time, including during a mission strand that requires the trio to steal a number of vehicles for a millionaire). Although one can make do with the money received from missions and from optional side missions, if one wants to purchase the larger properties and expensive vehicles (before the game ends), it's necessary to make money through other methods, primarily the stock market.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The three main characters assume 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!note  Michael is running his hands over his head (hear no evil), Franklin is rubbing his fist against his mouth (speak no evil), and Trevor is engaging in a two-handed Face Palm. (see no evil).
  • Monster Clown: Encountered by Trevor in one of the side-missions during a Mushroom Samba.
  • Mood Whiplash: Depending on how the player has been completing missions, it's possible to, immediately after the torture sequence in "By the Book", play a mission that features Michael doing Wii Fit-esque yoga poses on the patio with Amanda and her trainer, while tranquil Eastern music plays in the background. Or going on a booty call. Or doing any number of relaxing activities. Jarring, yes, but sometimes one needs a little break from all that violence.
    • The scene where Michael is drugged by his son and hallucinates that he's flying has its humor dampened somewhat with previously-heard clips of Michael's family yelling at and disparaging him constantly playing in the background. And then Michael wakes up stipped down to his underwear and has to steal a nearby bicycle to get home, only to find that his family has abandoned him.
    • Due to the shuffle nature of the music tracks on the radio engine, several stations can do this. The worst that has happened is Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" playing right after Ozark Mountain Daredevils' "If You Wanna Get To Heaven"
  • Mook Horror Show: The morbidly-titled mission "Fresh Meat" (which appropriately takes place in a slaughterhouse), 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. The latter option has the added bonus of Franklin getting separated from the crew and being forced to fight FIB agents alone while his oxygen supply runs down.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Mrs. De Santa.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • The strippers and hookers encountered in the game are more realistic (and anatomically correct) than similar characters in past GTA games. Some of them are even given names and personalities this time around. In addition, there are many attractive non-player characters roaming the map wearing bikinis, etc.
    • Amanda, especially during the tennis matches.
    • If you do not mind the squick factor, Michael's daughter from time to time, though just don't let Trevor or Michael hear you say that.
    • The Director Mode has numerous female character options that fall into this category, although there are also some Fan Disservice options, too, such as the female bodybuilders.
  • 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 Franklin 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.
    • The Updated Re-release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC allow the player to trip by finding and eating peyote cacti, causing them to transform into controllable animals like cats, dogs, birds, cougars, and so on.
  • 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.
    • Ballas gangsters can be heard talking about talking about "OG Johnson".
    • During Franklin and Jimmy's first meeting, Jimmy comments that he thought they could "throw some darts, get [their] drink on...", both activities featured in GTA IV's notoriously unpopular friendship missions.
      • When meeting up with Lester and going through options for people to pull the heist with, he mentions an Eastern-European guy as a possibility, but he'd gone quiet.
    • 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 she, Jimmy, and Amanda temporarily move out, in her voice message she refers to herself as "Tracey Suxxx".
    • Franklin owns a Shepard Fairey-style poster of Madd Dogg.
    • Just about every major media figure in past games has a star on the Vinewood Walk of Fame. Notably, this has done nothing to ease the rampant theories that the "HD Era" games are simply an Alternate Continuity of the "3D Era" games.invoked
    • As expected, the game marked the return of several vehicles that have not been featured since the last of the "3D Era" games, but vehicles that have long been absent since the "2D Era", specifically from Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2, were also revisited, including the Z-Type classic coupe (with a Bugatti Type 57-C-like design not unlike those of sports cars in 2), the Panto city car (a Smart Fortwo-like vehicle harking back to its original microcar design in 2), and the Mamba and Furore GT sports cars.
    • 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. Philips" 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.
    • There is an area in the city named El Burro Heights.
    • Two of the radio stations (Radio Los Santos and WCTR) also appeared in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In addition, one of the songs in the West Coast Classics station is rapped by MC Eiht, the voice of Ryder, who also makes a cameo as himself on one of the radio bumpers.
    • Speaking of GTA: San Andreas, there was a five-year gap between GTA IV and GTA V, which is a nod to the first line that CJ says upon starting a new game.
    • Coincidentally, Mike is also a nickname for Michael de Santa, though they are different people.
    • Two suits Michael can get have the same colour schemes as the Soiree and Mr. Vercetti outfits from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: