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Canceled GTA content we'll never get to see

Over the years, the Grand Theft Auto franchise has provided us with hours upon hours of entertainment. Grand Theft Auto Online, in particular, has been an embarrassment of riches, with regular updates bringing players additional content and modes of play. The amount of fun (and naughtiness) that players can get up to in the playground that is Los Santos is almost overwhelming at times. 

It may be hard to believe, considering how much there is to do in these games, but the Grand Theft Auto series has actually left tons of missions and various other content on the cutting room floor. Sometimes these missions just don't fit in with the game's overall narrative, or a new story idea takes it place. There are also occasionally bits of these games that are left out because technology wasn't yet at a place to pull them off. Whatever the cause, let's take a look at some interesting GTA content that never properly saw the light of day.

Six-Star Wanted Level - GTA 5

It's usually nice to feel wanted. Not so in the Grand Theft Auto universe, where a higher Wanted Level means that you're in deep trouble with local law enforcement. Whether you've attacked a civilian or been unlucky enough to tap the bumper of a police car, your Wanted Level will steadily rise, signified by a series of stars at the top corner of your screen. With each star that fills in, the police presence and their corresponding gear heightens. Your only choices are to evade the police or, in GTA 5, pay your buddy Lester to get the cops off your tail.

The Wanted Level capped off at six stars in previous games, with the actual military occasionally being called in to take you down. GTA 5 seems to only go to five stars, but players digging in the game's code seem to believe there was originally a sixth star that was removed before release. Was this done to make the game's online component more balanced? Whatever the case, it's fun to imagine what kind of response a sixth star would have brought upon unlucky criminals in GTA 5.

Single player DLC - GTA 5

While Grand Theft Auto 5 has a very lengthy campaign, there was almost even more to the single player story. Unfortunately, while Grand Theft Auto Online continues to growGTA 5's planned single player DLC was canceled. The details we have heard about them sound tantalizing. One of them involved a zombie apocalypse, similar to Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. In addition, elements of the casino missions added to GTA Online were originally intended to be included in DLC for the base game, as well. 

While many resources were diverted to work on Red Dead Redemption 2, the main reason for the cancellation seems to come down to the simple fact that Rockstar chose to focus on GTA Online instead. Furthermore, they felt like GTA 5 already felt like it was complete. As explained by Imran Sarwar, Rockstar's director of design, "With GTA V, the single-player game was absolutely massive and very, very complete ... the online component had a lot of potential, but to come close to realizing that potential also sucked up a lot of resources." Therefore, Rockstar focused on making GTA Online stronger, as well as preparing to port GTA 5 to next-gen consoles.

Gang Wars - GTA 5

GTA Online players can form their own Crews, carrying out missions with friends and sharing the loot at the end of a job well done. This is one of the more immersive and enjoyable aspects of the game. However, GTA Online almost had a very different approach to co-op. According to Kotaku, an early build of GTA Online featured a system wherein players would pick different factions to be a part of: "The Police, The Vagos, Bikers, Grove Street Families, among others ... once players picked a faction, they would be able to help their gang complete missions and take over enemy territory." In other words, it was kind of an elevated version of San Andreas' system of gang territories, which allowed you to claim territory in the name of your gang after a series of firefights.

While this violent form of capture the flag sounds like it could have been a lot of fun, the Crews system added more to the immersion of the final product. This is one exclusion that we won't really miss.

Exploring Apartment 3C - GTA: Vice City

Apartment 3C is a location in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, wherein players can find a chainsaw and two bags of cocaine next to a bathtub covered in blood. This is meant to be a reference to a drug deal gone bad in the film Scarface, but the apartment is infamous among Grand Theft Auto players because of how little is explained about its true nature. As with many GTA myths, there are conflicting reports as to the bloodstained apartment's significance. Some players say that there is actually a cutscene buried within the game that shows someone being murdered with a chainsaw in the apartment, accounting for the mess on the wall. However, there is no solid evidence that this cutscene exists. 

The original intention of the room was that it was a safehouse that the player would earn following a violent mission given to them by the character Sonny Forelli, a Scarface-esque mafia boss. The mission was removed after the beta version of the game, however, and as it stands in the final version of Vice City, Apartment 3C is simply an eerie Easter egg.

Stealing a Harrier - GTA 5

"Harrier" was the working name of a mission that was cut from Grand Theft Auto 5, which would have seen one of our protagonists, Michael De Santa, stealing a Harrier jet from a military convoy. Film producer and all-around creep Solomon Richards would have hired Michael and possibly his crew to carry out this mission that honestly sounds like it could have been really fun. It necessitated stopping a military convoy (presumably in a firefight), planting a series of bombs in a tunnel beneath an airfield, then detonating them and causing the jet to fall through the ground and into the tunnels, where it could then be stolen.

It appears that elements of this mission may have found its way into the final game after all, with some adjustments. For one thing, the final game uses the fictional Hydra jets in place of Harriers. But the core idea of hijacking one of these jets was made into a major part of a heist setup in GTA Online called "EMP."

The Truth is way, way out there - GTA: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas memorably featured a character named the Truth, who was a conspiracy theorist and hippie who straddled the line between lucid and hilarious raving. Voiced by the late Peter Fonda, the Truth was a friend of San Andreas protagonist Carl "CJ" Johnson, sending CJ on missions to uncover various secrets hidden by the US government. He would also occasionally call into one of San Andreas' radio stations, claiming to have seen aliens firsthand. The Truth was a real trip, but there was one wild mission involving him that was left out of the final version of San Andreas. 

This mission, called "The Truth Is Out There," involved Carl mounting a rescue mission after the Truth was taken captive by government agents in the mysterious military base called Area 69. Adding to the Truth's predicament was the fact that he had taken a bunch of psychedelics while hiding from the feds, making him even more agitated than usual. Some players have been so taken with the idea of this mission that there is a fan-made version of it than can be modded into the game. 

Horse whispering (and kidnapping) - GTA 5

While betting on horse races has factored into the GTA games in the past, we almost had a mission with Michael and his crew getting up close and personal with one. "The Sharmoota Job" was a cut heist mission that involved sneaking into the mansion of drug kingpin Martin Madrazo. 

In this mission, Michael and Trevor case the joint in what sounds like a hilarious sequence wherein they pretend to be prospective buyers touring the property. Once the heist begins, Michael and company had to somehow rob the mansion, steal Madrazo's prized thoroughbred, and kidnap his wife, all in one swoop. 

It's kind of a shame that we didn't end up getting to play through this mission in the final game, as it sounds like it could have been an absolute blast to figure out. However, there seems to be some evidence that it may have been removed later in the game's development cycle. There are still lines of dialogue left over from the mission within the game's files, as well as a few references to a "nice house" that they've been casing in a later mission.

Stealing Brucie's car - GTA 5

Ah, Brucie KibbutzGTA players were first introduced to this lovable steroid fiend in Grand Theft Auto 4, and he made such an impression that he's gone on to appear in that game's spinoffs and as a contact in GTA Online. It turns out that we almost met him again in GTA 5, albeit under some more unsavory circumstances.

In the deleted mission "Social Networking," one of GTA 5's protagonists, Franklin, was tasked with stealing a specific sports car. In classic GTA fashion, the way that Franklin goes about this is a little unorthodox. He snaps a photo of an attractive girl and poses as her online, catfishing Brucie Kibbutz into meeting a call girl in a hotel room. While the two of them get acquainted, his partner Trevor would come in and take incriminating photos of the pair, distracting them long enough for Franklin to make off with Brucie's car.

It's unclear why this mission was cut. After all, this is a game that features the torture of an innocent man, so identity theft probably isn't a bridge too far for GTA. Maybe it was just too complicated for its own good.

A Cuban drug crisis - GTA 5

A mission that was cut from GTA Online, "Lines of Coke" would have seen players heading off a major drug deal in order to steal the goods. Following a GPS signal, players would have found themselves in an airfield surrounded by enemies. In addition to fighting off a wave of bad guys both on foot and in vehicles, players were tasked with blowing up a series of fuel tanks, trucks, and aircraft belonging to the enemy, ensuring that no one would be able to take back their precious cargo. Interestingly, the mission itself didn't reward players with money. However, the drugs picked up from each location in the mission would more than make up for any monetary concerns.

Parts of this mission may have been repurposed for the GTA Online mission "The Los Santos Connection." Both missions are ordered by Martin Madrazo, and they both involve taking out a series of enemies (and planes) in order to steal a shipment of drugs from the competition.

Pre-Millenium Radio - GTA 5

The various radio stations in the GTA games have been a source for entertainment for quite some time. Previous games in the series cast musicians like Axl Rose and Keith Morris to play fictional DJs. While the radio stations in GTA 5 have a pretty decent variety, giving gamers a healthy selection of electronic music, hardcore punk, country, and hip-hop, there was another station cut from the game before launch. 

Called Pre-Millennium Radio, this station would have appealed to a slightly more niche market: folks who have a soft spot for late '90s and early 2000s rock and pop. Some of the artists that would have been featured on the station included Travis, Oasis, and The Stereophonics. While GTA 5 certainly isn't lacking in rock music, it could have been cool to hear some of these bands in the game. It also would have been fun to see if GTA 5 continued the tradition of getting someone from this era to play a DJ. Imagine one of the acerbic Gallagher brothers from Oasis barking announcements at you over the airwaves.

Earthquakes - GTA: San Andreas

In the backstory for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there was an earthquake that occurred shortly before the events of the game. This accounts for why the bridges are out, confining the characters to the immediate area. Though the destruction caused by the earthquake can be seen in a few areas, no such events occur during the actual game itself. 

However, there were originally plans for San Andreas to feature earthquakes. Whether these were meant to be a regular occurrence or a one-time event is unclear, as the quakes were removed from the final version. However, by slightly tweaking some code, players can see what these quakes could have looked like, with hilarious results. The camera will stay stationary, but NPCs and vehicles will begin violently bouncing up and down, complete with the kind of damage one would expect from such a tossing. It seems that this feature was cut because it just didn't look quite right. 

Being a Sk8r Boi - GTA: San Andreas

As the Grand Theft Auto name implies, there's no shortage of vehicles to hijack and to wreak havoc upon the populace. However, there was one other mode of transportation that nearly made it into San Andreas: players could originally take skateboards from NPCs and use them to get around town. Even better, their usefulness wouldn't have been relegated to merely transportation; no, these bad boys could be picked up and used as melee weapons as well, turning CJ into a hardcore mix of Wesley Snipes and Tony Hawk.

Unfortunately, the skateboard and the corresponding NPCs were cut from the game before the final version was developed, which is honestly kind of a shame. This could have made a really fun addition to the game, so it's lucky that some enterprising players seized upon this concept. As with the earthquakes, some fans have modded skateboards back into the game, allowing for both uses.