The rush to solve Grand Theft Auto V’s biggest mystery

By James Cook on October 8th, 2013

Even before Grand Theft Auto V was released, conspiracy hunter fans were readying themselves. If the game developer Rockstar’s previous releases were an indicator, this blockbuster new game would be packed with secrets to uncover.

There are spoilers ahead detailing parts of Grand Theft Auto V that appear after one hundred per cent completion is reached.

The game's very first teaser trailer featured an image of bigfoot as part of the police crest.

The game’s very first teaser trailer featured an image of bigfoot as part of the police crest.

Days after the game was released, threads began appearing on internet discussion boards detailing the hunt for UFOs. According to people who had neglected to sleep and played the game to one hundred per cent completion, strange murals and graffiti appear in the game’s most remote sections.

Proof was politely requested, and then demanded. Previous Grand Theft Auto games had merely hinted at the existence of UFOs, but here was a rumour that they really did exist. With all the fervour of real-life alien hunters, eager players pored over the game images posted on the internet.

Various communities formed, filled with believers and unbelievers. A vocal group of players and self-styled experts denounced the claims of UFOs in the game as nonsense. They were wrong.

A forum poster going by the name of “jiggabig” holds the claim for the first person to find a UFO. He posted a thread on gtaforums titled “I think I found something“. His post was shortly updated with an out-of-focus photograph of his TV screen, revealing Grand Theft Auto V’s biggest secret, just days after the game’s release.

The photograph of a television screen that first revealed the extra-terrestrial secret hidden inside Grand Theft Auto V.

The photograph of a television screen that first revealed the extra-terrestrial secret hidden inside Grand Theft Auto V.

At the top of Mount Chiliad, the game’s largest mountain, far from the in-game city of Los Angeles, a UFO hovers into sight at 3 am during a rain storm. Rockstar had hidden this secret well, ensuring that only players who had completed everything in the game could find it.

But fans were not content with one UFO. They wanted more. Instead of the hunt ending, it gathered pace, growing into a community of amateur sleuths and naysayers jostling to voice their theories.

Forum owners and site administrators had some tough decisions to make. Rockstar Games are known to reward the people behind fan sites with trips to posh New York hotel rooms to play new games before they are released. By allowing spoilers to be posted on their forums, site owners risked losing their privileges with the game’s developers. But keeping posts about UFOs online meant increased traffic as eager users from across the world searched for more information.

One Reddit user named “BrianDouglas2” caused upheaval in the Grand Theft Auto secret hunting community when he shared his theory. According to his research, there are multiple, unnoticeable moral choices in Grand Theft Auto V that the player makes without being aware of them. When other players came up with a similar theory, BrainDouglas2 was ecstatic. “Yes, that is my theory you mentioned! Yes, you are correct! So happy!” A major part of this controversial theory centres around a mural seen in the game, which he claims is evidence of the moral choices that influence the digital alien visitations.

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But BrianDouglas2 did not become an online celebrity in the Grand Theft Auto conspiracy world. Instead, he has been ostracised, banned from the largest forums and ignored after he accidentally admitting to never having played the game, and then launched into an expletive-ridden tirade.

Back in the main alien-hunting community, research was pooled together as players discovered more UFOs in quick succession. One was found hovering above a military base, and another above a hippy camp. But yet again, players weren’t satisfied.

The alien-worshipping hippy camp sits directly beneath a UFO that only appears after the mammoth games has been completed 100%

The alien-worshipping hippy camp sits directly beneath a UFO that only appears after the mammoth game has been 100% completed.

The “Chiliad mystery” is the largest area of investigation for the obsessive players intent on finding the innermost secrets of Grand Theft Auto V. They claim that a diagram seen in the game offers clues to a network of hidden tunnels that contain spaceships along with the treasured jetpack.

It is claimed that the figure seen in the bottom-right box is wearing a jetpack, signalling that one exists within the game.

It is claimed that the figure seen in the bottom-right box is wearing a jetpack, signalling that one exists within the game.

Progress has slowed on cracking the Chiliad mystery. Some players are diligently exploring every corner of the game’s giant mountain for clues, while others are adamant that no jetpack exists, and that all the secrets have been found. With no official word from the game’s developer on what secrets remain hidden, the legions of players may be hunting for a secret that simply does not exist. However, nonbelievers are directed to a parodical radio advertisement featured in the game that mentions “the surprise space level we won’t talk about”. Whether that surprise space level is real or not remains to be seen, but the secret hunters will continue to scour for clues.