The GTA franchise and fan theories have formed a relationship as strong as any ever seen in modern-day gaming. This has resulted in the games being analyzed in all sorts of different ways.
In terms of scale and size, GTA 5 towers over the rest of the series and has given way for fans to make all kinds of connections and observations.
From Epsilon is a clear parody of Scientology to more obscure observations such as GTA being set in some sort of "Hell" given the rampant greed and decadence on display at all times. The games are simply packed with different details and invite this kind of analysis from their fanbase.
This article takes a look at some of the craziest fan theories about GTA 5 and the rest of the series that might actually not be as far fetched.
Fan theories about GTA 5 that could actually be true
1) The 3 protagonists represent different eras of GTA
This one actually holds a lot of weight as Rockstar has actually tinkered with and altered the series' identity many times over in order to stay relevant. With the series evolving from a somewhat mindless rampage through the city to adopt more nuanced forms of storytelling
The three protagonists: Michael, Franklin, and Trevor, embody the different identities the series has developed over the years:
Michael: The current era of GTA that aims at telling more nuanced stories and break conventions of what could be considered a "video game protagonist."
Grand Theft Auto IV is the best representative of this era as it contained more nuance than the series had ever before. Michael represents the modern era of the series by being an atypical protagonist.
Franklin: To a lot of players, Franklin is the lynchpin of Grand Theft Auto V and sort of acts as the player's eyes into the world of the game. Franklin represents the PS2 era of the series (Vice City and San Andreas) that followed a somewhat rags-to-riches type story.
Franklin is the active protagonist of the story, with dreams and ambitions beyond what he currently knows. Thus, being very representative of the games from the PS2 era.
Trevor: There was a time when GTA would terrify the masses with its casual approach to violence and exuded an almost primal energy. The same can be said of Trevor, who is violence and chaos personified.
GTA I and II are best embodied by Trevor, with him accepting his violent nature as simply a way of life and having no qualms about it.
2) The Mount Chiliad mystery is Rockstar trolling the fans
The Mount Chiliad mystery is essentially a mural on the walls of a cave in Mount Chiliad that has sent the fanbase on a wild goose chase that has still not ended. The mystery contains all sorts of elusions to aliens, pyramids, and other such mysterious secrets in the game.
However, after careful deliberation on search, fans have concluded that the mystery amounts to absolutely nothing. The Mount Chiliad mystery exists only for Rockstar to sit back on their Dr Evil chairs and watch the fanbase scramble after something that does not exist.
Rockstar is well aware that fans actively look for all sorts of secrets and messages hidden in the game, and Mount Chiliad works as a great spot to hide a red herring.
3) All of Rockstar's other games exist in the GTA universe as entertainment
This is one that actually has a basis in reality in the game, as evidenced by the slew of Easter Eggs and in-game items present in the game world. In GTA V especially, eagle-eyed players can spot various items to do with the rest of the games from Rockstar.
In Franklin's house, if the player was to zoom in carefully on Franklin's book-shelf, they will spot an item that actually is a reference to Rockstar's other open-world mammoth. Also, a book titled "Red Dead" written by "J. Marsten," who fans can guess is Jack Marsten, John's son from the first game, could be found.
Therefore, leading players to conclude that other games such as Max Payne also exist in the GTA universe. With Max Payne's neo-noir comic book strips from the first game giving way to the theory that the comic book was adapted to TV come Max Payne 3 as it ditched the comic book aesthetic completely.
4) Each game being set on island is a metaphor
The GTA games have been the pinnacle of satire when it comes to satire and made use of all sorts of techniques and elements to succeed in it. The satire comes to life in a big way through commercials, posters, and other NPC interactions, but the way the cities are constructed is an indication of a larger idea.
It is somewhat odd that each GTA game is set on an island surrounded by nothing but vast waters. The metaphor here is how disconnected and detached from the rest of the world the game world is.
They act as a metaphor for how American culture exists on an "island" away from the rest of the world. Or maybe it is simply a design choice to keep the player from breaking the bounds of the game.
5) GTA games are actually "Hollywood films"
This theory suggests that each of the games are elaborate Hollywood productions that are the ultimate form of escapism. The games present a version of the world that just lends itself to all sorts of cinematic wonder.
Things such as finding an RPG in a back-alley of a restaurant can only be explained by convenience only found to be in the writing of movies.
The fact that the player character actually cannot die and the police also releasing a recently captured criminal in a matter of hours for crimes that would result in a thousand life sentences.
Thus, all of it can only be explained away if each GTA game was actually a big-budget Hollywood production.