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Grand Theft Auto Features You Never Knew Were Cut

For more than two decades, ever since the launch of the first Grand Theft Auto game in 1997, players across the globe have stepped into the shoes of a hardened criminal to enjoy stories told from the other side — tales of bank robberies, drug deals, and gangland shootouts. Despite the massive breadth of content available in each GTA game, developer Rockstar Games has left more than a few notable features on the cutting room floor.


For instance, have you ever heard of Race'n'Chase? Yes, it sounds like a terrible arcade game found at a dying pizza joint downtown, but the reality is vastly different. Believe it or not, before Grand Theft Auto became one of the biggest open-world action franchises in gaming, Rockstar Games had entirely different plans for its landmark crime-laced thrill ride. The original concept, dubbed Race'n'Chase, featured driving at breakneck speeds, with players racing as either a police officer or street racer on the open roads.

But ditching Race'n'Chase wasn't the end of the massive cuts and alterations. The team at Rockstar has snipped away at each game, removing weapons, story missions, side missions, vehicles, NPCs, and more. Here are some Grand Theft Auto features you never knew were cut from your favorite games.


Skateboarding in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Do you remember the opening scene from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? In it, main protagonist CJ steps off the plane, is immediately harassed by Officer Tenpenny, and is then forced to hop on a BMX bike and ride through gang territory to get home. That scene may have played out slightly different if Rockstar's original vision came to fruition.


Initially, the studio planned to implement functional skateboards to GTA: San Andreas. CJ would hop aboard, push and kick his way from point A to point B, and maybe even nail a kickflip or two while he was out. Eventually, the team decided against including a working skateboard as a vehicle, but left the model in as a functional weapon in the PlayStation 2 version of the game. But in the game files, a few bits of code were left behind, tipping savvy players off to the fact that they were supposed to become the next Tony Hawk of the streets.

Children in GTA 3

Given how intense Grand Theft Auto is, Rockstar probably made the correct decision in keeping child NPCs out of the series. In a world where players routinely drive too fast, run down a ton of pedestrians, and shoot wildly, having a small child in the path of destruction — even a virtual one — would probably result in bad PR for the studio.


But that wasn't always the case. In early builds of Grand Theft Auto 3, children were apparently featured in the game. After all, Rockstar Games wanted to create a living, breathing game world that was both fun and realistic, so adding kid NPCs probably made sense from a design standpoint. Alongside kids, Rockstar wanted to introduce bright yellow school buses to complete the world of Liberty City. However, Rockstar ultimately nixed both from the final version of GTA 3.

In the years since, modders have actually worked to restore children to the series, albeit in Grand Theft Auto 5.

Playable Lamar Davis in Grand Theft Auto 5

Did you know that everyone's favorite loudmouth in Grand Theft Auto 5, Lamar Davis, was once a playable character in early builds of the game? In an AMA on Reddit, voice actor Gerald "Slink" Johnson, the voice of Lamar Davis, revealed Rockstar's original plans to feature Franklin's best buddy as a playable character with a bigger role in the main story.


Unfortunately, as is common in game development, that plan never came to light. According to Johnson, the studio was forced to move on with other plans after he "caught a case in real life" — seemingly implying a run-in with the law. 

Fans are no doubt curious about what a Lamar-centered storyline would have turned out like. Franklin winds up becoming a serious part of the story, taking part in heists and making a life for himself, whereas players mostly know Lamar now as a sort of comedic relief and roast master

Cut Missions Throughout the Franchise

Over the years, Rockstar Games has had no other option but to cut content. The company's games are absolutely massive, and excessive bloat can weigh down the entire project. Unfortunately for the players, that means countless missions have been deleted from pretty much every game in the series. Thankfully, like most other cut features, the modding community has stepped forward to re-implement old features, including many of the past missions that are no longer available for the most recent release.


So, what kind of missions did you miss out on? In Grand Theft Auto 5, an entire heist was cut from the game, as was a mission to steal a military jet and a few other side quests. In past games, everything from driving miniature tanks to assassinations were removed from the final versions.

As for the older games in the series, modders have also been working hard to restore the cut characters and side missions from Grand Theft Auto 3, even after all this time. Modders have even created an "un-cut version of" Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas called San Andreas Rewind, which also reinstated a ton of removed content.

Gone are horses and the Sharmoota Job

With how rural some of Grand Theft Auto 5's map is, one would almost expect rideable horses to show up in the game. As people who have played GTA 5 know, you cannot ride a horse in the game. However, that wasn't always the plan. The community dove into the files, discovering unused voice lines from multiple characters that set up a massive heist involving horses.


That's right; on top of removing horses, it turned out that this dialogue was part of a larger mission nixed by Rockstar: the Sharmoota Job. This would have been a brand-new heist for the single-player story in which Trevor and Michael would pose as a couple to steal a prized race horse, taking a few hostages along the way. With no rideable horses, there was no longer a way to implement the heist, and so it was cut. 

The heist featured three different approach options, including a Night Stealth, High Impact, and Clown Day Stealth. Each path offered a unique setup and experience, like other heists in the game — but only one of them involved dressing up as a clown.

Rockstar removed weaponry from each game

Considering the nature of Grand Theft Auto, a series in which the player takes control of a criminal, firearms play a massive role in moving the story forward. The thing is, to many players, the game's arsenal is extremely limited. In GTA 5, sure, you have space-age weapons and alien blasters to wield. But the player community wants variety. They want brand-new shotguns and assault rifles, maybe even a unique light machine gun or a chainsaw, to enhance the experience and add to the admittedly large arsenal currently available.


At one point, some of those weapons existed throughout the various releases. Over time, developer Rockstar has decided to cut plenty of weapons from the game; from land mines in Grand Theft Auto 3 to prototype assault rifles in Grand Theft Auto 5.

Once again, the modding community reigns supreme. Since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5, modders have meticulously scoured through countless lines of code to discover which weapons were cut from the final release. Since then, modding teams have taken steps to model and implement these firearms, many of which are available to download today.

Drug dealing in Grand Theft Auto 5

As part of GTA Online's "Bikers" update, players could buy various criminal enterprises, including a meth lab and a weed farm, allowing for new missions involving top-tier narcotics distribution. But at one point in the game's life cycle, drug dealing on the streets, instead of via supply and sales missions, featured heavily in the game world. 


The original drug-selling mechanic featured the player walking up to an NPC, offering to sell them drugs, and earning a little spending money for their troubles. You may remember a similar drug dealing mini-game from previous games such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, where the player could sell cocaine or heroine. 

Rockstar initially planned to implement a fleshed-out drug trafficking feature of its own in Grand Theft Auto Online, but cut the feature entirely, presumably to focus on the more heist-based mechanics of the game. In Rockstar's stead, modders are coming together to re-implement drug dealing mini-games, with all kinds of illicit substances being digitally moved throughout Los Santos.


What do you think? Would open-world drug dealing add to Grand Theft Auto Online or become a rarely-used feature?

Vigilante missions in Grand Theft Auto 5

Past Grand Theft Auto games, especially GTA: Vice City and Chinatown Wars, featured Vigilante missions in which the player would use a vehicle to chase down and kill criminals within a specified time limit. But in Grand Theft Auto 5 and Grand Theft Auto Online, the Vigilante mission know it was eradicated and replaced — eventually. 


Though the game's files show that Vigilante missions were originally considered for Grand Theft Auto 5, they ultimately did not make the cut. Over time, the studio wound up releasing bounty hunting missions instead. In these missions, the player could speak with Maude to take on a new bounty, where you would hunt and kill your target for cash.

Sure, bounty hunting is good fun, and the missions pay well enough to warrant completing in your spare time, but do they really hold a candle to the high-speed Vigilante missions? The player community may never know, since Rockstar has yet to re-implement old-school Vigilante missions.

Six star wanted levels in GTA 5

It always feels like no matter where you turn in Grand Theft Auto, the police await with their guns in hand, ready to take you down — and that's only at a two-star Wanted level. In previous Grand Theft Auto games, the Wanted level meter went up to six stars. At the max level, you were forced to run and hide because there was no stopping the might of the law enforcement, FIB, and military personnel reigning hellfire upon your head. 


But in Grand Theft Auto 5? It doesn't exist. The Wanted meter goes to five stars. Can you imagine how destructive and violent the Los Santos Police Department would become at the mythical six-star Wanted level?

One Reddit user, ClicheUsername, found hidden code hinting at a six-star Wanted level. He added the max level back into his game, then recorded the experience for all to see. The usual police vehicles and helicopters barreled down at him, but that's all. It was no more chaotic than a five-star Wanted level, likely because Rockstar never implemented the final stage, and thus never included any heavier weaponry to pit against the player.

Cops and crooks factions in GTA Online

Do you feel as if a major part of the game world is missing when you play Grand Theft Auto Online? You're not alone. Originally players could begin the multiplayer mode by joining up with a specific crew.


Initially, Rockstar planned to include a "Cops and Crooks" faction system for GTA Online, but wound up scrapping the idea altogether. It is said that you could choose from The Lost Motorcycle Club, Vagos, and Los Santos Police Department, any of which would have been fun to toy around with, and offered a reason to start a new character.

The multiplayer mode instead focused on the usual criminal activities, like stealing cars and gunning down other players, as well as high-end vehicles to waste millions of in-game dollars on. Players can form their own Motorcycle Clubs and the like, carrying out specific missions with a temporary team of recruits, but that's still a far cry from the original concept. Perhaps one day, with continued support, GTA Online will finally add in its original Cops and Crooks mode.


Lost strangers in Grand Theft Auto 5

If you spend any amount of time free-roaming Los Santos, chances are high you'll stumble upon the Strangers and Freaks missions. These side missions feature a few whacky characters who offer up one-off quests to spice up your gameplay. Originally, there were far more included in the game. Rockstar wanted Los Santos to feel like a living city, and a city notably includes out-there denizens. It's not uncommon for Rockstar to cut out NPCs, and one such character, Kyle P. Slater, may have been one of them.


Right now, it's pure speculation whether Slater was meant for the final release or not. Over on r/chiliadmystery, where Reddit users discuss various pieces of cut content and mysteries from around Los Santos, the general consensus is that Slater was, indeed, meant for the launch version of Grand Theft Auto 5. According to users there, you can still call Kyle's phone in-game, and even interact with his voicemail, though very little else is known about the character or what his original function was in the plot.

Slater is not the only character to have been potentially removed from the game, of course. He's just one of the more notable lost NPCs that players happened to have found.

Single-Player DLC in GTA 5

In a game where you could easily spend thousands of real-time hours playing, like most Grand Theft Auto games, it makes sense to want additional content to continue the experience. In the past, players were given single-player expansions, like The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These were both fantastic, memorable experiences that added onto the world of GTA 4


But Grand Theft Auto 5, despite having ample opportunity for new missions, a new map, and new single-player heists, never saw a lick of new content for the main story. Players were left with an ending, sure, but the continuing adventures of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin was a topic on everyone's mind.

Were fans supposed to receive single-player DLC for GTA 5? In an exclusive interview with Game Informer, Rockstar director of design Imran Sarwar revealed that the company "did not feel single-player expansions were either possible or necessary." The incredible success of Grand Theft Auto Online and the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 kept the team at Rockstar busy, which left little time to craft additional content for Grand Theft Auto 5.