An explanation of the territory glitch in GTA San Andreas

San Andreas is all for the GTA player's taking (Image via GTA Wiki)
San Andreas is all for the GTA player's taking (Image via GTA Wiki)

Los Santos isn't the only battlefield for gang warfare in GTA San Andreas; thanks to a glitch, the entire state can be claimed.

San Andreas is a wide-open map with no boundaries. Most GTA players might not realize they are breaking the game when they fly outside the map. If they do so for too long, they might notice gang territories in areas where it shouldn't be. For example, they might see Ballas taking control of Las Venturas.

This is commonly known as a territory glitch. GTA players can exploit this to cover the entire map with gang affiliations. Normally, gang warfare only happens in Los Santos; it's between the Grove Street Families, Ballas, and Vagos. The territory glitch takes gang warfare one step further.

GTA San Andreas and the territory glitch

It's important to understand how a territory glitch can be performed. GTA San Andreas has a large map, which means players could wreak more havoc if they introduce gang warfare in newer locations.

How to activate the territory glitch (depending on the platform)


There are a few ways to perform this particular glitch on the PlayStation 2. The easiest method is to fly a plane out of bounds for over half an hour. GTA players cannot pause the game - they must keep going in a straight direction.

This also works with other vehicles that have a flying cheat enabled.

While this doesn't work with mobile and Xbox releases, GTA players can use another method. They have to have gang territories left available, otherwise it will not work.

When a rival gang attacks a home turf, the player should go there and lure them to a new area, then kill them with satchel bombs.

GTA players need to get at least three NPCs stuck near a wall (such as climbing over a fence and letting the NPCs follow them). Plant several satchel bombs, then drive to a faraway area they want to convert, then press the detonator. This works on all versions of the game.

How the territory glitch works


The unfogging map function is the main reason why this glitch is exploitable. When GTA players start the game, unexplored territories are fogged up. Once they arrive in the area, the map becomes clearer. The function uses a number data array - Fog "00" for unexplored areas and Fog "01" for explored ones.

However, there are no boundary checks. What happens is when GTA players fly away from the map for too long, the unfogging map function rewrites memory.

Data arrays will change, meaning the game will add new gang territories.

This glitch can also happen during Saints Mark's Bistro and Freefall, since they require the use of aircraft. Players might go past the map boundaries and not realize they are activating the glitch.

Other glitches that occur


Due to the coding, there is only one enemy wave to deal with. It certainly makes everything easier, especially when converting territories to Grove Street. Unfortunately, it's not much of a challenge for experienced players.

The territory glitch will add more crack dealers to the streets. Sometimes the game will use a rare pedestrian model for a bike dealer, mainly in the San Fierro area. He has a unique set of lines, interestingly enough.

Gang cars will also appear in greater frequencies. This is because the glitch activates a special flag for gangs. Since they have territory here, it increases the likelihood of players running into their special vehicles.

It can make collecting other types of cars more difficult, especially for imports and exports.

What players can do with the territory glitch


Thanks to the territory glitch, the entire state of San Andreas is a free-for-all battlefield. For example, players can blast away enemies in the desert wastelands of Bone County. GTA players can make every single gang take control of various territories; this includes the Triads, Rifa, and Da Nang Boys.

However, players should be mindful to only activate this glitch on a separate save file. Given the data corruption, they should also finish all the storyline missions in the game beforehand.

Otherwise, they might run into problems that cause the later missions to be unplayable, such as End of the Line.

Unused gangs in San Andreas


The territory glitch (at least in the original version of San Andreas) not only puts Ballas and Vagos in random areas, but it also introduces the mafia gang. Keep in mind they are missing otherwise in the base game.

Interestingly, the original version already suggests there were meant to be other gangs. During regular gameplay, there were a few occasions where red lights flashed on the Las Venturas map.

This seems to indicate that Rockstar once planned mafia gangs to run territories there.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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