Bad Export for You: Since German politicians are extremely touchy with the subject of violence in video games, the German version of this game had to undergo some censorship. Some of the changes are only visual (people don't get mutilated by headshots anymore, for example), but there are changes that directly affect gameplay as well. Most infuriating is probably the fact that people don't drop money anymore when killed, which effectively robs the player (no pun intended) of one source of income.
Banned in China: During the time period of the Hot Coffee debacle, the game was banned in Singapore, probably one of the first few video games to be banned in the country.
Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The German report "Frontal 21" is quite famous for this. They described the Hot Coffee mod with the words "Like this game: whoever rapes the most women wins", later arguing on a message board that the player's ability to choose positions was where the rape part came in.
Creator Backlash: David Cross admitted that he hated how annoying his character was and hated the R.C. missions his character is apart of.
Life Imitates Art: One cutscene shows Wu Zi Mu beat Carl at playing video games, all despite his blindness. A blind person playing (and beating) video games may seem like an impossible task in Real Life, but a gamer named Terry Garrett, who lost his eyesight when he was 10 years old in 1997, managed to beatThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time all by using positional audio cues, albeit in a span of five years and on an emulator using save states.
And as for Woozie's driving, it is possible for a blind or blindfolded man to drive through a course assuming you know the route or are given the exact directions through it.
Name's the Same: San Andreas is either a town in California or a crime-ridden state strongly based on California, or a fault line that runs along many of California's major cities, including San Francisco.
Screwed by the Lawyers: Like in Vice City, some songs had to be removed from the game after their contract ended. Unfortunately, while those who owned the steam version of Vice City beforehand got to keep the songs, San Andreas' songs went bye-bye from earlier owners as well, likely because of how the radio works (Before SA, all radio channels were a single file, while SA plays invidual songs in random order). Because of this, some rereleases lack some of the songs the original had.
Throw It In!: The random plane crashes were a glitch Rockstar discovered during beta testing, due to a spawned plane's randomly set trajectory sometimes intersecting with the ground. On occasion planes would crash for no reason, a result of a less-than-airtight approach to random generation of flight paths that allowed the possibility of planes' trajectories intersecting with the ground. They found the crashes so funny and appropriate for the comedic Crapsack World setting that they left the glitch alone. (Though it did tend to annoy the occasional player who suddenly found their character wasted because of being in the path of said plane crash!)
Urban Legend of Zelda: San Andreas was the first game in the series to be hit with rumors on a large scale. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the first game in the series to feature a widespread countryside to explore. Persistent rumors had it that Bigfoot is in the woods somewhere. It is a mod, and not a very visually impressive one at that. Similar rumors, disproven, held that it's possible to find aliens wandering the desert around Area 69 and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre around The Panopticon. Another rumor involving the woods is the odd beat-up cars found in the Back O' Beyond, dubbed the "ghost cars", due to one of them rolling down a hill upon spawning, spooking some players.
However, a Sasquatch not only did appear in Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare DLC, but that game let you kill and skin him. And the achievement you get for doing so? "Six Years In The Making". Undead Nightmare was released six years after San Andreas, to the day. The final bonus mission in GTA Valso had Franklin being enlisted by a man who'd been looking for Sasquatch for nine years (the amount of time between the releases of San Andreas and V) to help him hunt one. It turns out to be a guy in a Sasquatch suit, though.
There were also rumors about zombies being in the game, fueled by a rather mysterious corporate building in San Fierro.
San Andreas also had a single mission where you fly to Liberty City and have a shootout in the Italian restaurant which features prominently in 3. There were an enormous number of rumors suggesting that there was a way to unlock all of Liberty City. Hackers figured out how to get there, either getting outside the mission area or returning later; a surprisingly large part of the city is actually present (about 70% of Portland), hovering in the air miles above northeast Los Santos, but is useless because the ground isn't solid except in the area used in the establishing shot.
Many similar rumors abound, such as the existence of Jawsnote sharks, along with other wildlife, would show up for real in Grand Theft Auto V, the Loch Ness Monster, Leatherface, etc. Most of these have been officially refuted.
What Could Have Been: The mission "Saint Mark's Bistro" was originally going to have the player chase the target through the streets of Portland Island. Due to the large amount of work that implementing an entire district of a city for one mission, the mission was instead placed inside the Bistro.
According to Rockstar, they played around with the idea of multiple protagonists for this game, presumably one for each city. While this was eventually dropped, it resurfaced later in GTA V. The idea was scrapped probably because of hardware limitations, but this could explain C.J.'s slight personality quirks throughout the storyline.
There are so many things that were planned or removed from the game before release, it would be impossible to list them all here. This article on the GTA wiki and this video list most of the known changes.
Youtuber Vadim M. has done quite a few videos on beta GTA SA content, as well as other GTA games, finding out even MORE unused content!
Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: After the "Hot Coffee" scandal,note The game contained a sex scene that was disabled from accessing but not entirely deleted; then a Game Modder found it and enabled it by literally changing a single bit. Rockstar Games naturally Mis-blamed the modder in question until said modder proved in a press conference that he didn't do anything but enable it causing massive controversy and Rockstar's reputation took a massive hit. the "Second Edition" re-release removed mod support almost entirely.note The game checks for gta3.img (i.e. the archive file where most of the game's assets are stored) if it is of a size determined by the executable. If the IMG is a tad bigger or smaller than expected, the game crashes. Of course, gamers already founda way around version 2.0, so when that happened, Rockstar released version 3.0, making it even harder to mod. Later efforts at making Second Edition and Steam releases of San Andreas instead revolve around downgrading the game into version 1.0, which has the assets for the Hot Coffee minigame intact (albeit dormant), although most who downgrade the game to 1.0 or have pirated the first edition are more after installing car mods and total conversions than the more, um, raunchy scenes.
There are plenty of callbacks to this game: One of the radio stations is the HD equivalent of WCTR, the Epsilon Program led by Cris Formage. The gangs you'll come across are the Chamberlain Hills Gangster Families, of which the Grove Street Families used to be a set. The Ballas have taken over the Grove Street cul-de-sac in the 21 years between the two games. The Los Santos Vagos and the Varrios Los Aztecas also make appearances, though the Aztecas are somewhat different, now a gun-running cartel in the countryside.
In one of Lamar's missions, you actually go to where C.J.'s house on the cul-de-sac would be. It's designed differently and the place is controlled by the Ballas now, but the Grove Street Families are referenced here and there. Turns out that they moved to greener pastures.
Various mentions of "The OG, Johnson" are made in pedestrian dialogue. C.J. has apparently reached some kind of mythical status with the Families.