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GTA 5 secret achievements and trophies explained

Grand Theft Auto 5 is the game that keeps on gaming. The lore behind the city of Los Santos and its surrounding environs runs deep, and the sheer amount of gameplay that the title has to offer can be downright staggering to the uninitiated. Rockstar Games has consistently engineered virtual worlds that are breathtaking in their scope, full of incredible details waiting to be discovered; GTA 5 is no exception.

Out of the game's 58 achievements and/or trophies, 15 of them are secret — hidden, only to be discovered upon completion. And with so much game to play but so little time to play it, we wanted to arm all you completionists out there with the resources you'll need to take home those coveted secret cheevos with little-to-no fuss. So buckle up, GTA fans: we're explaining GTA 5 and GTA Online's secret achievements and trophies to make your life in Los Santos just a little bit easier.

Welcome to GTA 5

Following the prologue starring Michael De Santa in North Yankton, you'll take control of Franklin Clinton for a few missions and earn the "Welcome to Los Santos" ten-point achievement / bronze trophy once you've finished Franklin's first main story mission, "Franklin and Lamar." This introductory adventure tasks you with repossessing a pair of luxury sports cars alongside your best friend Lamar, racing them through the heart of your beloved sun-soaked metropolis using Franklin's trademark "Driving Focus" ability, and eventually returning them to the auto dealer Simeon Yetarian for your just rewards.

Like many of the achievements/trophies on this list, "Welcome to Los Santos" is impossible to miss (after all, you can't get too far in a Grand Theft Auto game without boosting a car). In addition to unlocking the cheevo, you'll gain possession of the Strawberry safehouse on Forum Drive with the perpetually amusing Aunt Denise. But never, ever forget: Grove Street is king.

The jewelry heist

Before heading out to Blaine County to catch up with Mr. Trevor Philps, you'll have to complete the "Jewel Store Job" main story mission back in Los Santos, which is coincidentally the first heist mission in the GTA 5 main storyline starring protagonists Michael De Santa and Franklin Clinton. Michael, in need of quick cash to pay off the nefarious drug lord Martín Madrazo, must rob a Rockford Hills jewelry store with Franklin and crew in tow. You'll need to complete a few Heist Setups to gain the necessary equipment for the job, and these preparation missions vary based on your chosen approach to the "Casing the Jewel Store" mission. Whether you approach the heist objectives with "loud" or "smart" tactics, the escape from the scene of the crime is all the same. And once you've cleaned out Vangelico to pay back Madrazo, "Diamond Hard" is in your virtual hands.

Best buddies in GTA 5

"A Friendship Resurrected" is your reward for completing the "Fame or Shame" main story mission, which you'll play after Trevor Philips scouts the port of Los Santos in preparation for a Merryweather Security heist. "Fame or Shame" puts you in control of Michael De Santa, who — arm in arm with his old accomplice Trevor — attempts to stop his daughter Tracey from appearing on the sleazy talent show of the same name.

Once Michael and Trevor bust in mid-show to stop Tracey's erotic dance routine, they discover none other than GTA alumnus Lazlow Jones sliding up to Tracey with inappropriate moves of his own. Lazlo promptly gives chase in his red Dilettante before stalling out in the Los Santos Storm Drain, where you and Trevor make him an offer he can't refuse. After you part ways with Trevor and catch up with Dave on your cell, this salacious ten-point cheevo / bronze trophy is yours.

Planes and assassinations

"It's time for a little getaway." This ten-point achievement / bronze trophy will unlock after you finish the "Caida Libre" main story mission starring Michael De Santa and Trevor Philips alongside their erstwhile friend and employer Martín Madrazo. After the events of the "Mr. Richards" main story mission, you'll be beckoned to Madrazo's house in La Fuente Blanca, where he hires you to track down and kill his cousin Javier before he can testify against Madrazo in court.

Playing as Michael, you'll shoot down the Air Emu Shamal carrying Javier to Los Santos International with a heavy rifle; next, as Trevor, you'll chase the crashing plane to assassinate Javier and retrieve the sensitive documents. Finally, as Michael once more, you'll meet up with Trevor, who (spoiler alert) has a new plan in mind: he's kidnapped Madrazo's wife. It's time for you to collect "A Fair Day's Pay" and lay low for a hot minute while Franklin takes care of some business back in town.

GTA 5's at-sea heist

"The Merryweather Heist" main story mission follows the events of "Caida Libre," your ticket to earning the "Subversive" achievement/trophy, worth a precious 20 Gamerscore points to Xbox and PC players. Unlocking the cheevo is as simple as completing the mission, which tasks you with robbing Merryweather Security of a high-tech device (whether in the docks or out at sea).

Take heed: "The Merryweather Heist" is your first heist with Trevor Philips in tow and can only be played once the "Three's Company" mission has been completed; preparation missions, however, can be done in advance. Once Trevor has completed the "Minisub" prep mission, you'll be able to begin the "Freighter" approach to the mission; meanwhile, the "Cargobob" is also necessary to initiate the Merryweather Heist's "Offshore" iteration. If you decide to go with "Offshore," it's worth taking Trevor's suggestion to heart: a little pilot training goes a long way.

Robbing the armored car

You'll earn the "Blitzed" achievement/trophy by completing the "Blitz Play" mission, which is the third heist in GTA 5's main storyline. A meeting with FIB agents Steve Haines, Dave Norton, and Andreas Sanchez at the Murrieta Oil Fields reveals their plan: "requisition" (read: rob) an armored car filled with illicit International Affairs Agency funds. After Michael lays out the plan, you'll have to complete a variety of heist setups before you can really begin, including the acquisition of masks, boiler suits, a trash truck, a tow truck, and a getaway vehicle.

Fortunately, you can engage in other activities and missions between these set-up missions, which can be completed in the order of your choosing. Once the setups are complete, it's time for the heist itself in Cypress Flats. Michael's "classic blitz play" is as simple as ambushing the security truck, taking out the cops, and making a swift getaway to Devin's House.

Armored up

"The Paleto Score" is the GTA 5's fourth heist mission, starring all three protagonists in a rough-and-tumble trip to Blaine County. Completing it will earn you the 20-point/bronze "Small Town, Big Job" cheevo/trophy. Your mission in Paleto Bay, whether or not you choose to accept it: make a big impression at the Chicken Festival (i.e., rob the bank in Paleto Bay to finance a raid on an IAA chemical weapons research facility). You'll need to head to the pier, rob the bank vault, deal with the cops, hold off the military, and make your railyard getaway. It's an action-packed tour de force that sets up some fun to come.

As Bleeter user @isaacnewdong puts it: "I caught a glimpse of the crew that hit the Blaine County Savings Bank while I was cowering in a pool of my own waste – you should have seen the crazy space age armor they had on. Like something out of a video game for real!!"

Fighting the FIB, for the FIB

After you've killed Rocco Pelosi and attended the Vinewood premiere of Meltdown, it's time for "The Bureau Raid": a main story heist mission that requires you to break into the FIB Building to retrieve incriminating information against Mr. Leisurewear himself, Steve Haines. And, of course, no FIB heist would be complete without an FIB raid, which Franklin, Michael, and their accomplice must survive in order to emerge victorious. As with most heists, there's more than one way to earn the cash. And whether your approach is "Covert" from the ground or via aerial infiltration on the "Roof," "The Bureau Raid" features a rather complex assortment of objectives that will require you to retrieve the containment drive or hack the service terminal before making your getaway.

Once you've recovered the aforementioned sensitive information from the highly defended federal building and successfully completed "The Bureau Raid," you'll unlock "The Government Gimps" — a bronze achievement/trophy worth a whopping 20 gamerscore points.

The last score

"The Big Score" is the final main story heist of GTA 5, awaiting you after you complete "The Bureau Raid." Your reward for finishing the ultimate GTA robbery is a 20-point achievement / bronze trophy appropriately titled "The Big One!." But "The Big Score" is no small feat. "Subtle" mission objectives include stealing the cash from the Union Depository before making a high-octane getaway in Securicars and Gauntlets. Meanwhile, the "Obvious" mission objectives will require you to drill and bomb your way into the bank vault before flying out of the city to land safe and sound in the McKenzie Field Hangar.

No matter how you play it, once you've finished "The Big Score," you'll unlock "The Big One!" cheevo and it's time to head on to the DLC Heists if you want any more virtual accolades for your in-game accomplishments.

Going back to GTA 5's prologue

Remember the botched heist in North Yankton from the game's prologue? "Bury the Hatchet" is a main story mission that shines a light on what really happened that snowy day nine years ago, and upon its completion, you'll earn the bronze "The Moment of Truth" achievement/trophy, worth a fair ten points to Xbox and PC fans. You can play this mission from either Michael or Trevor's point of view — the choice is entirely yours — and during its tumultuous events you'll come to discover the truth behind the failed North Yankton heist and what became of your old pal Brad.

After the dirt of the past gets dragged up (literally and figuratively) along with some revelations about the Federal Investigation Bureau, Michael and Trevor prepare for a violent standoff moments before Wei Cheng's Triad mafiosos converge. The Triad goons capture Michael as Trevor gets away, and once Trevor safely lands back at the Sandy Shores Airfield, the cheevo is yours.

Finishing GTA 5

This achievement/trophy isn't merely a clever homage to the 1985 William Friedkin movie of a similar name, it's your reward for completing one of three final main story missions starring Franklin Clinton at the game's open-ended conclusion: "Something Sensible," "The Time's Come," or "The Third Way." Following the events of "The Bureau Raid" and "The Big Score" main story heists, corrupt FIB agents Steve Haines and Dave Norton will solicit you (as Franklin) to kill your old pal Trevor Philips (option A, which triggers "Something Sensible"). Shortly thereafter, the twisted billionaire Devin Weston solicits you to kill none other than your friend Michael De Santa (option B, which enacts "The Time's Come"). And, of course, you can always show loyalty to your gang (option C, which starts "The Third Way"). Once you finish your final story mission of choice, the 40-point/silver "To Live or Die in Los Santos" is yours.

Getting ready to get into GTA Online

"Be Prepared" is one of four secret achievements in GTA 5 that are part of the Heists Update to Grand Theft Auto Online, released in March of 2015. The update introduces multi-tiered Heists across Los Santos and Blaine County via a series of new missions issued by Lester Crest, Ron Jakowski, and the mysterious Agent 14. To earn this particular ten-point cheevo / bronze trophy, you'll need to simply complete a Heist Setup mission in GTA Online. All five heists from the Heist Update feature multiple Heist Setup missions, so earning this one is as easy as accepting the Fleeca Job tutorial heist initiated by Lester and completing the "Scope Out" or "Kuruma" setups. "Scope Out" requires you to observe security at the Fleeca Bank on the Western Highway before collecting Paige and some equipment from the factory. Meanwhile, "Kuruma" tasks you with sourcing a getaway car for the Fleeca Job from a Little Seoul stick-up crew.

Ripping off everyone in GTA Online

One of the four achievements/trophies introduced in the Heists Update to GTA Online, "In the Name of Science" requires you to complete both "The Humane Labs Raid" and the "Series A Funding" missions as either a Crew member or the coveted Heist Leader. Both of these heists are set as four-player heists that will become available at Rank 12, but you'll have to complete "The Humane Labs Raid" first, which requires you to hijack a Valkyrie helicopter gunship from Merryweather Security.

Next, it's on to "Series A Funding," which ultimately challenges you to eliminate members of the Vagos, The Lost MC, the Ballas, and the O'Neil brothers — all of whom have discovered that you and Trevor ripped them off during the "Series A Funding" Setup jobs. After successful completion of both of these action-packed heists, this 30-point achievement is all yours.

One heist down, one to go

Much like "In the Name of Science," the "Dead Presidents" trophy/achievement will require the completion of two separate DLC heist missions as Heist Leader or Crew — specifically, "The Fleeca Job" and "The Pacific Standard Job." As the unofficial tutorial for the Heist Update series, "The Flecca Job" is relatively simple and straightforward: drive the stolen armored Kuruma to Flecca Bank, unlock the vault, kill the cameras, control the witnesses, and get the hell out of Dodge.

"The Pacific Standard Job," on the other hand, will require a more nuanced team balance, with objectives shared by Crowd Control, Demolition, and Hacker team members throughout. After the delicate dance of demolishing the gate, hacking the control panel, and grabbing the cash, it's time to regroup and head to the coast for a swift getaway by sea. Once you've successfully completed both heists, congratulations — you've earned another 30 Gamerscore points or a shiny bronze trophy for your collection!

The big prison break in GTA Online

"Break a high value inmate out of Bolingbroke Penitentiary." Sounds simple enough. But it gets complicated. The adequately titled "Prison Break" is the second of five Heists from the GTA Online Heist Update, and successful completion of its final mission will earn you the 30-point "Parole Day" trophy/cheevo for all your hard effort. The instructions are straightforward: the ground team takes a transport bus into Bolingbroke Penitentiary, where they'll pose as an officer and a prisoner to infiltrate the prison and free Professor Maxim Rashkovsky for the mysterious Agent 14.

The Demolitions expert takes care of the inbound transport bus, while the Pilot is set to exfiltrate the entire crew (and liberated prisoner) in a Buzzard. The coordination of these efforts will require extreme care from you and your cohorts, so play this mission to the hilt. Word to the wise: to avoid those pesky P-996 Lazers, your Pilot should wait for the Officer, Prisoner, and Rashkovsky to exit Bolingbroke before heading to Sandy Shores Airfield to nab 'em.