The developers at Rockstar Games haven’t come by their reputation as masters of pop culture references by accident. Turning to movies, TV, music and internet culture to add flavor and in-jokes whenever possible, Grand Theft Auto V is without a doubt the largest, most comprehensively-designed game world in the company’s history. As a result, the easter eggs are almost too many to name.
Ranging from movie references, homages to past games in Rockstar’s history, or completely obscure and mysterious hints to overarching conspiracies, we’ve gathered together as many as we could find. There are sure to be more surfacing as the weeks go by, but for now, these are the ones that every GTAV player should try to witness firsthand.
We’ll steer clear of major spoilers, but some minor mysteries or surprises may be spoiled by reading through. You have been warned.
North Yankton’s Frozen Alien
It doesn’t take long for the easter eggs to start dropping, as the first can be found within the snowy prologue. When the getaway car approaches a sharp turn to the right and over the bridge, instead head immediately down the slope one the right to the frozen river below.
Located directly under the bridge, encased in the ice, is the first (but not last) alien creature hidden in the campaign. Unfortunately, checking out the icy extraterrestrial means failing the mission, but we’d argue that it’s more than worth it. And if you’re a fan of mysterious UFOs, there are plenty more hidden touches you’ll be eager to uncover.
GTA: San Andreas Connections
Fans of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas were elated when the first trailer for GTAV confirmed that the series would once again be returning to the stomping grounds of Carl ‘CJ’ Johnson. And with the amount of special touches and subtle nods, it’s clear the developers themselves were happy to revisit their old stomping grounds.
Aside from the large murals claiming that “We Missed You Last Time,” the developers showed that the characters of San Andreas in particular are still very much alive and well (more or less) in Los Santos.
Among the items in Frankin’s bedroom is an album bearing the name of ‘OG Loc,’ a budding rapper and cast member of GTA: SA., implying that he may have actually found fame and fortune in the years since that game’s events.
In addition, players are also bound to run into ‘Sweet’ Johnson, CJ’s brother in the GTAV campaign.
The Mystery of Mt. Chiliad
If the appearance of a frozen alien in the prologue wasn’t enough of a hint, Rockstar seems to have a thing about aliens. With spaceship parts scattering Los Santos, and a strange settlement of people in the northwest corner of the map who shoot players on sight as agents of ‘the government,’ it’s clear conspiracy is a significant theme in GTAV. But unlike the real world, players can have themselves a close encounter of their own by following a few steps.
It begins with the cable car building atop Mt. Chiliad in the northwest section of the map. On one of the interior walls a painted image can be seen depicting something of a rough pyramid, with a UFO hovering above, and images of an alien, a cracking egg and a human being (wearing a jetpack?) at its bottom. Moving from the building to the observation deck located even higher up the mountain reveals an eye painted on the rock below, hinting that the image may have been of Mt. Chiliad itself, with a message instructing players to return to the spot once they have achieved 100% completion.
If players return to the observation deck at approximately 03:00, they’ll be treated to a real UFO sighting that’s impossible to miss (for best odds, come during a storm and on foot). The rest of the images and implied passageways between have yet to be revealed, so stay tuned as more secrets of Mt. Chiliad are sure to be uncovered.
After 100% completion, players can also find other hovering space ships at high altitudes – one above Fort Zancudo military base, and the other (sporting ‘FIB’ markings….) in Sandy Shores near the strange concrete ‘beam me up’ alien monument.
Now, we’d expect to find alien ships hovering over the game world’s highest point, but Rockstar always seems keen to surprise. That fact was quickly confirmed to anyone who purchased the Bluprint Map for GTAV, and held it under an ultraviolet light. Among the secret messages and locations revealed under the light, the simple statement “They’re here” located off the northern shore of the game’s environment will require some underwater breathing equipment.
Once the player has achieved just that, they’ll find a completely intact alien craft buried on the sea floor below. As one of four identified UFOs contained in the game (so far), it’s still unclear if these ships are a sign of any greater mission or secret, but this one is worth the trip for the visuals alone.
In one of the earliest nods to a fellow video game developer that players are likely to encounter, the celebrity rehab show ‘Rehab Island’ – apparently frequented by Michael’s own psychiatrist – is flogged on countless radio stations, and even has its own billboard directly north of the Vanilla Unicorn strip club.
Although the show in question might be a reality program following celebrities detoxing or struggling with addiction, the logo for the show itself is sure to look familiar to avid gamers…
Yes, Rockstar seems to be making a direct allusion to Dead Island from developer Techland. We don’t know if that’s a sign that the art department is fond of the zombie RPG or a hint at the fate that might befall the aforementioned celebs, but it’s a nice nod nonetheless.
Liberty City’s Finest
Although GTAV is set on the other side of the country from GTAIV, more than a few faces from the previous game end up making appearances. We’ll steer clear of a few for spoiler purposes, but there are two that players might actually miss if they don’t go looking for them. The first is Brucie Kibbutz, the “genetically” different meathead and one-time associate of GTAIV hero Niko Bellic, and who now spends his time “Bleeting” on the social media website accessible on any protagonist’s smartphone.
The second is a bit more substantial. If players – as Franklin – visit the large strip mall parking lot located slightly southeast of Tonya’s quest marker at night, they’ll stumble onto a pair of men in need of a quick getaway. One of those men happen to be Irish-American bank robber Patrick “Packie” McReary, who once being saved by Franklin, will ask to be brought in on any jobs being pulled. From then on out, Packie can join the player’s heist crew.
These easter eggs may not be as substantial or time-consuming as others on the list, but they might be overlooked. When Michael is first sent, backpack in hand, to buy new clothes at Lester’s request, he can find more than just what the mission requires. Buried within the racks of the Suburban clothing store is a “Parrot Print Shirt” that is immediately familiar to fans of Max Payne 3. The first outfit Michael is wearing when he is first introduced is an exact copy of Max’s as well, but this article of clothing is much more obvious.
Michael isn’t the only one with particular pop culture heroes, although the outfits Lester idolizes are far more unsettling. Once Trevor is introduced, players have the opportunity to find not one, but two unique easter eggs at the Discount clothing store located nearby. The first, a “Driver Blouson” jacket is a clear homage to the jacket worn by Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive (2011), albeit with the yellow embroidered scorpion changed to a crab.
The second is even more disturbing, but nowhere near as obvious. The name is the first tip-off: “Overlooked Red Blouson,” referencing not only how easy it would be to simply browse past the red jacket and plaid, but The Overlook Hotel, the main setting of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining 1980).
That’s right, Trevor can wear the same jacket and plaid as what we can only assume is his big screen idol, author-turned-crazed-husband-and-father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson).
Claptrap Paint Job
As testament to just how much pop culture made its way into GTAV, a simple paint job placed in a random location might actually be more than it seems. A quick stroll into the construction yard located in the extreme northwest corner of the map – across the street from a “J’s Bonds” office – reveals a piece of machinery that might look familiar. The machines are actually likely to be found at many construction scenes around the city, as well.
The squat box might not emit any lines of dialogue, but the resemblance to Claptrap from the Borderlands series couldn’t possibly be accidental. Yet another sign that the team at Rockstar spend an obscene amount of time playing video games while designing their own, this nod to Gearbox Software’s fan-favorite robot is the definition of subtlety.
Red Dead by J. Marston
There are more than a handful of nods to Rockstar’s last-published title, Red Dead Redemption sprinkled throughout the world of GTAV, but this might be our favorite. Once Franklin has acquired his new home in Vinewood Hills, take a gander at the books on his shelf; one book spine in particular should stand out. That’s right, it’s almost impossible to find, but “Red Dead” by J. Marston is clearly visible.
Presumably written by John “Jack” Marston, Jr. after the events of Red Dead, one can only imagine what story would be contained within. This easter egg, along with a farm located south of the penitentiary that bears a striking resemblance to the Marston homestead, references to Escalero car rental, and other slight touches confirm that the developers haven’t forgotten the common ground between the two titles. We’re still waiting for that sequel, though.
Located deep within the palatial mansions of northwest Richmond – along a small lane set between three tennis courts – is a mansion that may seem familiar to Hollywood elites spending time within this fictional version of Los Angeles. The neon lights, pools, tennis courts and seemingly endless partying make it clear: this is the Playboy Mansion. A truly staggering estate surrounds the building itself, built to surprisingly accurate dimensions.
Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to the easter egg, but if swimming into the world famous grotto – even in digital form – is on your bucket list, this should do the trick.
The link between Rockstar open worlds and the mysterious sasquatch dubbed ‘Bigfoot’ by some, ‘Yeti’ by others is a strange one. We don’t know what it is about the developers or their fans that makes them so keenly interested in hunting down the mythical beast, but he gets even more screen time than ever in GTAV.
We’ll steer clear of the post-completion bonus mission for spoiler purposes, but in the actual campaign, players can get a tease of the ‘squatch in the wild. When Trevor is first given the ability to use the sniper rifle to hunt down the O’Neil brothers – not in the first mission, but later in the campaign – immediately switching to infrared sights and pointing to the lower-right corner of the valley shows a strange figure among the wild animals and target. Specifically, a humanoid shape that is not one of the O’Neils, and immediately disappears upon being viewed.
Has Bigfoot learned to teleport? If so, then we hope he’s merciful.
Ghost of Mt. Gordo
Certainly one of the creepier easter eggs to be found, the ghost of Mt. Gordo only appears to deliver her cryptic message after 23:00. The above video supplies the exact location, revealing the female specter that flees when approached. The only mark of her presence that remains is the message “Jock” scrawled in blood on the rocks below.
A quick web search on the game’s characters’ smartphones reveals an unsolved mystery concerning the wife of John “Jock” Cranley, a former Vinewood stuntman-turned-public servant, running for governor during the game’s campaign. The newspaper clipping archived online reveals that Cranley and his wife Jolene were in the midst of an argument on Mt. Gordo – concerning John’s desire to leave his career and seek fame and fortune in Vinewood (a move his wife disagreed with) – when Jolene fell to her death.
Jock claimed it was an accident, but this ghost seems to imply otherwise.
The ghost of Jolene seems to be hinting that Jock did, in fact, throw her to her death. How this story could play out in the future remains to be seen, but the easter egg is an unsettling one, to say the least.
Thelma & Louise
Although this movie reference may not be as contemporary as some of the other easter eggs, it’s no less iconic. Simply hijack a helicopter, and head towards the hills just south of the cable car lines northwest of Los Santos and look for the late model convertible perched at the edge of a summit. A pair of police cars block their exit, leaving them nowhere to run. Inside the car: a pair of women about to make history.
As was the case with the film’s closing moments, the women decide to go out in a blaze of glory rather than be arrested, and rocket off the edge of the cliff.
If you’ve ever wanted to see the actual results that took place after the movie ends, this is as close as you’re likely to manage. A completely random, hardly noticeable and brilliant easter egg that movie buffs will no doubt appreciate.
Yet another sign that the developers have a taste for horror, this easter egg can be found at the Senora National Park off the highway in Sandy Shores. Simply head towards the outcropping of stone opposite the park’s welcome sign, and prepare yo have your skill crawl. If you arrive at night (equipping a gun with a flashlight – trust us) you’ll soon uncover a few stones with the number ‘8’ scrawled across them.
Keep heading deeper into the rocks, and you’ll be treated to some horror movie music, complete with children’s voices singing an unnerving nursery rhyme. Finally, the markings lead the way to a poem written on the rock itself; if you can’t make it out from the photo above or the song, here are the lines:
ONE IS DONE
TWO WAS FUN
THREE TRIED TO RUN
FOUR CALLED MOM
FIVE’S NOT ALIVE
SIX IS NIX
SEVEN’S IN HEAVEN
8 WON’T WAIT
After reading through that cryptic poem from what we assume is a serial killer searching for his next victim, we’d recommend forgetting you ever saw it in the first place.
This is yet another ‘blink and you miss it’ nod to LA Noire, the post-WWII era detective story published by Rockstar and developed by Team Bondi. Unlike the GTA series, LA Noire was actually set in Los Angeles, not a fictional version of it. Still, the connection between the real world setting and the emulated version of GTAV is made clear in a few locations throughout the city.
One example is the Elysian Fields Freeway, named for the construction company that served as a central antagonist in LA Noire, evading law enforcement and dodging crimes in attempts to make millions off of Los Angeles’ infrastructure. Apparently, their efforts paid off.
Agent License Plate
With the mission “Deep Inside” requiring the player to track down an acquire a vintage sportscar, Rockstar decided to drop what could be the most promising easter egg of all. The car in question – a Dewbauchee, to be specific – bears a striking resemblance to the Aston Martin DB5, secret agent and super spy James Bond’s signature set of wheels.
The car is a nice homage, but the license plate is far more intriguing: ‘4G3NT’ is a clear allusion to Agent, a PS3-exclusive game announced way back in 2007, but has since proven a complete mystery. It’s unclear at this point exactly what plans Rockstar has for the game, if any, so this license plate could end up being either a sign that the game is not yet dead, or a memorial to the secret agent adventure that almost was.
No Country For Old Men
In one of the most inspired easter eggs placed into the game, the developers at Rockstar show their love for the Coen Brothers, specifically No Country For Old Men (2007) based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. The story is set in motion when the main character discovers the fallout from a gangland shootout – numerous vehicles in the middle of the desert, dead bodies strewn inside and around them, and takes a briefcase of money for himself.
The video above shows just what detail the developers chose to preserve, and luckily, the main characters are far more likely to get away with the cash than the protagonist of either the novel or film.
Those are the hidden secrets and easter eggs that have been uncovered in Grand Theft Auto V so far, but they certainly aren’t the last. We’ll do our best to keep you updated, but the biggest and most elaborate secrets took serious dedication to discover. If any more surface, fill us in. Until then, happy hunting!
Grand Theft Auto 5 is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
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