The MCU is often pointed out in regards to how the studio could build such a massive connected universe, while Rockstar Games has done the same with GTA.
The GTA franchise, in many ways, represents the best that the AAA gaming industry has to offer in terms of quality, scale, and value. One of the greatest achievements of the franchise has been telling individual and independent stories and, at the same time, being able to unite them all.
That is, each game takes place in the same universe and the characters appear in several games. Depending on the timeline, the characters are usually younger or older than when they first appeared.
5 characters from GTA 5 that appeared in previous games in the franchise
5) Johnny Klebitz
In perhaps what has become one of the most iconic character introductions in a video game, Johnny Klebitz from GTA IV: The Lost and Damned meets his rather unfortunate and brutal end. While not a straight arrow by any means during the GTA IV expansion, Johnny does get off the rails during the events of Grand Theft Auto.
Johnny is just a shell of the man he used to be and is at the mercy of his addictions. After getting into an altercation with Trevor, the character has his head brutally stamped on the ground.
4) Michelle / Karen
One of Rockstar Games’ biggest twists and turns in GTA IV is the reveal that Michelle, whose real name is Karen, was in fact an undercover IAA operative. The reveal ends with Niko and Karen breaking up, and she was not seen for the rest of the game.
However, during the mission “By the Book” in GTA 5, she appears as the agent who interrogates Mr. K and threatens him with a flashlight. A cameo adds weight to a connected universe.
3) Patrick “Packie” McReary
Perhaps one of the best missions in GTA history, Grand Theft Auto IV’s “Three Leaf Clover” laid the foundation for the Heist system in Grand Theft Auto V. One of the most enjoyable presences to have during the mission and rest of the game is Packie McCreary.
During a random event in GTA 5, it appears where the player encounters two men attacking a pharmacy. The player can choose to take them to safety. It will be available as Gunman for Heists in the game, which is great.
2) Rocco Pelosi
Initially appearing in the franchise as one of the main villains of GTA IV, Rocco Pelosi is an incessantly annoying and despicable character. So when Michael knocks him into oblivion in GTA 5, it feels even more satisfying.
He appeared in the game as a talent agent trying to sideline actor and director Richard Solomon. Michael thwarts his plans with the aforementioned punches and returns Richard’s talent.
Simply by the number of credited appearances, Lazlow has likely appeared numerous times throughout the franchise. Initially, he only appeared as a radio host, but Lazlow appears as a fictional version of himself in GTA 5. He is the host of the infamous reality show Fame or Shame.
His appearance in the game was extremely happy while playing an extremely exaggerated version of himself. Aside from his acting, Lazlow had also been involved in the creative process for GTA with regards to writing.
He would also continue to work on Red Dead Redemption 2 as a writer and audio director.