GTA On-line’s Complicated Grand Theft Auto Timeline Defined

GTA Online's Confusing Grand Theft Auto Timeline Explained

GTA On-line was initially meant to happen earlier than Grand Theft Auto 5, however newer updates have made the timeline more and more convoluted.

Rockstar Video games’ massively profitable multiplayer mode, Grand Theft Auto On-line, is supposed to behave as a prequel to Grand Theft Auto 5, however determining the place it falls precisely on the GTA timeline could be complicated. GTA On-line would not have a particular begin and finish, and remains to be ongoing practically 10 years after its preliminary launch. Nevertheless, as a result of GTA On-line ties into GTA 5 and contains references to GTA 4, some followers have change into more and more inquisitive about the way it contributes to the broader GTA timeline, regardless of it being unclear simply when precisely its occasions happen.

GTA On-line is a multiplayer title set within the fictional state of San Andreas, bundled in with Grand Theft Auto 5. GTA On-line rapidly offered a a lot completely different GTA expertise for followers of the sequence. Gamers might construct their very own protagonists as a substitute of swapping between the characters of GTA 5, and use San Andreas as their sandbox, buying properties, competing in races, and finishing missions for NPCs getting back from GTA 5’s single-player. The presence of characters equivalent to Lester, a serious heist planner for the principle characters of GTA 5, made it clear that this wasn’t a non-canon expertise utilizing property from the principle sport. In reality, Lester even covertly references the participant character of GTA On-line throughout certainly one of his first missions in GTA 5.


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GTA On-line’s story is supposed to happen a number of weeks earlier than the occasions of GTA 5, with dialogue Lester confirming this when he feedback on the GTA On-line protagonist in an early mission with Michael. With GTA 5 going down inside a a lot shorter window than the eight years GTA On-line has been up to date and supported, it turned increasingly more troublesome to suit all the varied on-line occasions and content material updates into that brief time period in 2013 earlier than GTA 5 happens. Grand Theft Auto’s Heists Replace, which added the long-awaited heist missions to GTA On-line, was the primary main addition to the GTA On-line timeline, releasing in early 2015 however going down in 2013. The identical was additionally true with the Lowriders Replace, the Bikers Replace, and the Import/Export Replace, which launched in 2015 and 2016 respectively. It’s instantly following these occasions that GTA 5’s major story lastly takes place.

GTA On-line Takes Place Earlier than AND After GTA 5

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Though GTA On-line was initially a prequel of kinds to GTA 5, newer updates clearly happen after the occasions of the sport’s ending. In one of many main missions of GTA On-line’s Gunrunning replace, an NPC states that the present yr is 2017, which created a number of gaps within the timeline, given GTA On-line was initially meant to happen in 2013. Though it had solely been one yr for gamers between the earlier replace and Gunrunning, the affirmation that Gunrunning takes place in 2017 meant that there have been doubtlessly 4 years of the protagonist’s life gamers did not get to expertise, an unexplained skip ahead 4 years in-universe.

The flash-forward creates a number of continuity errors in GTA On-line. In-game places such because the O’Neil’s farm are nonetheless standing regardless of being burnt down by Trevor in GTA 5’s story, and the personal army firm Merryweather continues working in San Andreas regardless of all of GTA 5’s completely different endings displaying they shut down on the finish of the story. From right here, nonetheless, the timeline begins to get extra comprehensible, with GTA On-line shifting the sport’s current to the yr every content material replace is launched. The latest main content material replace, The Los Santos Tuners replace, brings the sport to 2021, and it would not be disingenuous to imagine that future updates will do one thing comparable.

Regardless of the confusion surrounding GTA On-line’s timeline, it does permit for extra crossover between it and GTA 5. As Import/Export occurred proper earlier than the occasions of GTA 5, for instance, Rockstar was capable of incorporate antagonist Steve Haines into the plot, as it took place earlier than his defeat on the hand of Franklin, Michael, and Trevor. It additionally signifies that Rockstar could make extra alterations to Los Santos with out worry of inflicting continuity hiccups. GTA On-line’s Diamond Resort & On line casino replace added a model new on line casino location to the sport that wasn’t current in GTA 5’s single-player. Later heists have additionally given gamers the prospect to relive iconic moments from GTA 5’s story, with the Union Depository, the ultimate heist in GTA 5, having been launched to GTA On-line earlier in 2021.

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Whereas Rockstar itself hasn’t definitively acknowledged why GTA On-line was initially set earlier than GTA 5, the very fact it served as a type of prequel ensured that gamers who selected to expertise the multiplayer mode first weren’t given any story spoilers from the principle sport. Gamers who hadn’t superior far sufficient into the principle story might have realized of sure character deaths and main occasions within the sport if GTA On-line occurred after GTA 5, and with it containing three dramatically completely different endings, gamers might have had the ending ruined early on. This danger ought to reduce with every new launch of GTA 5, with gamers having had eight years to expertise the single-player by this level, which can additionally clarify why Rockstar has set extra of GTA On-line after the principle story lately.

Gamers could by no means know what occurred in GTA On-line’s so-called “misplaced years” between 2014 and 2016, however the huge skip ahead has made the complicated, packed timeline simpler to digest by setting the sport within the yr the newest DLC launched. It is also meant that GTA On-line has been capable of embody extra music from post-2013, with Rockstar having offered a number of new radio stations and tracks since its launch. GTA 5 will see its subsequent re-release for the Xbox Collection X and PlayStation 5 in March 2022, which ought to convey each new and returning gamers to the sport. Though GTA On-line could now have a protracted and considerably convoluted timeline over the earlier eight years, skipping it forward has enabled Rockstar to introduce new content material with out the danger of inflicting continuity errors, opening up new potentialities for additional updates that might be extra bold in scope.

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