#GTAV is over three years old, but continues to smash the charts, attracting huge numbers of new players every day. One of the reasons for GTA V's long lifespan is Rockstar's intricate depiction of its Los Angeles stand-in, Los Santos, which hides many mysteries and easter eggs for curious players, some of which remain unsolved to date.
Mountain and Chill
One of GTA V's longest standing mysteries is that of Mount Chiliad. Above, you can see the mysterious mural visible at the top of the stately peak. While the mural is accessible from the first moments of the game, there's a message underneath it that says 'come back when your story is complete'. If you return after achieving 100% completion (no mean feat), you'll see a UFO hovering above the mountain. But that's not the end of the secrets of Mt. Chiliad.
Gaming sleuths laid the mural over the game map, revealing several secret locations around Los Santos. Some of these were the locations of potential UFO sightings, if the right conditions were met. Others were sites to pick up peyote plants, or places where the elusive Bigfoot could be found.
Call of the Wild
The discovery of the bigfoot peyote started with the clues in the Mt. Chiliad mural, but eventually required some digging through the game's code to locate. From there, players eventually discovered that it could be used to engage in a dramatic showdown with the elusive Beast (a werewolf-like creature from Freemode Events), and unlock the fearsome cryptid in the editor. For a while, it seemed like that was the last of the secrets of Mt. Chiliad.
The Plot Thickens
Redditor Sir_Galehaut was one of the key players in discovering the peyote and beast secrets related to the Mt. Chiliad mural, and he's just come up with a theory that might topple the long-standing mystery once and for all.
Sir_Galehaut posits that the mural is in fact a depiction of the GTA V's story, showing connections between characters in critical plot points and the branching paths that players can take. The internet detective (spoilers in the link) meticulously analyzed GTA V's story, noting that it closely follows the narrative commonly used in film.
Using his in depth knowledge of the plot and character arcs, Sir_Galehaut deduced that the mural represents the game's storyline, starting with the three protagonists, Trevor, Michael, and Franklin. The story begins at the foot of the mountain, and the peak (where the UFO appears above) is ending C. The three large symbols at the bottom stand for the protagonists, with Trevor and Michael on each side.
You see, the two side symbols are connected, while the one in the middle isn’t. Trevor and Michael knew each other before the beginning of the story, but Franklin was only introduced later on. The numerous lines connecting symbols that were once suspected to be 'tunnels' in the mountain are instead the plot threads connecting the significant plot points and events of the GTA V story. Kind of like the layout of a choose-your-own-adventure book.
The small box above Michael’s symbol on the left symbolizes the mission in which he demolishes the house of Martin Madrazo, while the box in between the symbols of Franklin and Trevor (centre and right) represents the moment when Trevor realizes that Michael is still alive.
As you move higher up the mountain, you reach the intersection in the middle which leads to two boxes and the UFO at the top. This intersection, which Sir_Galehaut highlighted in yellow, represents the player's choice towards the end of the game. Option C, where both Trevor and Michael survive, leads to the UFO – even though you can kill one of them and still get 100% completion.
The Truth is Out There
Sir_Galehaut's theory is interesting, but what could it mean? Is it encouragement for players to go for the 'Third Way' ending? Will there be any reward for doing so? An indication of the developer's preferred 'canon' choice? Foreshadowing for future releases or DLC? As intriguing as the plot theory is, it unfortunately doesn't lead to any new unlocks or tangible in-game rewards.
It seems to me that Mt. Chiliad has yet to give up all its secrets. It remains to be seen if Sir_Galehaut's theory will help uncover yet more in-game bonuses or hidden content.
Do you find the Mt. Chiliad plot theory convincing?