Good stories often have memorable plot twists, and the GTA franchise has them in spades.
Plot twists help to keep a story unpredictable. This isn't to say that a predictable story is bad; rather, it helps mix up storytelling options.
Sometimes, a plot twist is poorly executed, leaving fans of a series disappointed. However, a good plot twist is memorable and can result in the fans wanting more.
The GTA franchise is no stranger to memorable plot twists. With over a dozen games to choose from, finding just five options isn't that difficult.
This list will focus on the GTA franchise as a whole.
Best plot twists in the GTA franchise
#5 - Donald Love seemingly vanishes in GTA III
Characters are often written off in the GTA franchise. The most likely scenario is that they die while the least likely one is that they complete their role in the storyline and continue doing their work off-screen.
However, one of the strangest twists in the series is how Donald Love vanishes from GTA III and the rest of the franchise.
"Love's Disappearance" is a mission in GTA III that's basically a cut-scene where Claude Speed investigates Love's empty residence and finds an empty box that Donald used for storage. Neither Donald nor the Old Oriental Gentleman is seen.
What makes this plot twist particularly memorable is that Rockstar even stated that these two characters' fate would remain unknown.
#4 - Michelle is an undercover agent for the United Liberty Paper in GTA IV
GTA girlfriends are usually minor characters that give some minor rewards for dating them. However, Michelle, better known as her real name Karen Daniels, is surprisingly more relevant than some of the other girlfriends in the series. Naturally, her appearances on GTA Online, while interesting, aren't as relevant to this plot twist as the GTA IV events.
Prior to her betrayal towards Niko, Michelle just seemed like a normal girl living in Liberty City. However, it was all a facade, as she eventually confiscated Elizabeta Torres' cocaine and brought Niko to the United Liberty Paper Contact's location. After this memorable plot twist, she hasn't been seen in-person in GTA IV again.
#3 - Mike Toreno is a government agent in GTA San Andreas
Mike Toreno is a fascinating character in GTA San Andreas. He starts off as a tertiary antagonist, whom the player expects to kill when they blow up the helicopter he's flying in Toreno's Last Flight. Surprisingly, he does not die here, yet that's not the most memorable plot twist worth discussing.
Instead, Mike Toreno is a government agent who's infiltrated the Loco Syndicate in San Fierro. Eventually, he had CJ do his bidding and handled other vital tasks in exchange for releasing Sweet from prison.
#2 - Lance Vance's betrayal of Tommy Vercetti in GTA Vice City
On the first playthrough, Lance Vance appeared to be a good business partner to Tommy Vercetti, albeit a tad troubled. The most shocking part about Lance's betrayal of Tommy is that it happens at the end of the game. That's certainly one way to do a plot twist.
Naturally, Tommy doesn't take that plot twist as well as the player might have, so he kills Lance. Of course, more keen players might have predicted this plot twist, but it doesn't make it any less memorable in the grand scheme of things.
#1 - Having the option to kill Michael or Trevor in GTA V
GTA protagonists might get wasted from time to time, but they are usually never outrightly killed in their own games. While some protagonists like Victor Vance and Johnny Klebitz die, they do so in a GTA title outside of the one starring them.
However, GTA V provides an alternative to this norm. Franklin will be given the option to kill either Michael or Trevor at the end of the game. Players don't have to kill either Michael or Trevor, and they could always go with Option C (where none of them die), but having Options A and B is still a nice plot twist.
The two missions, "The Time's Come" and "Something Sensible" are the final missions regarding Michael and Trevor, respectively.
Players can only do one mission (including the third option where none of them die), but it's surprising to see an option like this in the first playthrough (even if the deaths are non-canon, thanks to GTA Online).
Note: This list is subjective and reflects only the writer's opinions.