The Great Confusion

From plot holes to retcons, nobody really quite understands the overall timeline of GTA V and it's evolving GTA Online world. Originally set in early 2013, six months before the singleplayer story-mode, GTA Online has grown and changed with new characters, vehicles, and even buildings joining the mix. The confusion really began during a mission in the Gunrunning update, in which Agent 14 states that "It's 2017" - Four years after the game was supposedly set.

Of course, our GTA Online characters weren't completely inactive for the four years between the game's release and the Gunrunning patch - So here we've done our best to compile all of GTA Online's events into a tangible and realistic timeline, with some additions for context to tie events together.

Editor's note: Due to some issues with the previous version, this is a re-upload of the article with new edits. If you have the previous version linked anywhere, you may want to update it with this one.

Our Resolution

Looking at clues in the dialogue, I've compiled a list of rough dates and storylines in an order which I believe makes sense for the crime-wave in Los Santos to unfold. The earlier years have mostly been abridged due to release schedules, with later content releases requiring more specific monthly dates to represent the evolving drip feed.



May: GTA Online begins. Los Santos sees mass amounts of people moving in. Police are alarmed to the amounts of assaults seen on the street. Lots of criminals begin to purchase high-end clothing, apartments and vehicles with illegal counterfeit cash which is soon invalidated, leaving them almost bankrupt. Some leave the city for this reason.

July: San Andreas Flight School opens. Lester recruits his best-fitting criminals for more high-risk jobs. The original five online heists take place. After 'Series A Funding' Trevor begins to set up his drug business.

September: GTA V's main Story takes place. Canon ending is Option C.

October: Tao Cheng wakes up from his coma, narrowly surviving an assassination attempt. Same with Agent ULP who luckily survived the museum three-way fight.


*Note, all Snapmatic images were taken by me, so credit goes to me

2014 - Early 2015

Los Santos crimewave gets harder as more people come to the city. ULP returns to his IIA job after recovering from his coma.



June: Criminals now practically run the city and start purchasing high-end planes and other vehicles.

October: The Lowriders story takes place after the grand reopening of Benny's Original Motorworks. A surge of highly customised vehicles are seen around the city. Numerous reports of citizens being injured by malfunctioning hydraulics on the cars flood hospitals.

December: More criminals start collaborating to make more money and purchase extravagant yachts which crowd the shores surrounding the island, driving environmentalists mad. Franklin begins his business of helping celebrities, and steals Tanisha back from the Doctor she married. They have some children together.



Summer: The criminal underworld grows towards white collar crime, with product smuggling. Criminals begin purchasing offices and warehouses to smuggle goods. Other people turn to virtual reality racing across Los Santos. Large, wild race tournaments take place. Dr Friedlander completes his recovery after being viciously assaulted by an ex client.

October: Biker gangs see a rise in Los Santos as a response to all the white collar crime. Drugs are at an all-time high, causing Tao Cheng to drop out of rehab. Ironically, around this time, marijuana is legalised.

December: Criminals start stealing and exporting high-end vehicles to fences and other criminals for below-market prices. The first experimental weaponized vehicles are seen on the streets of Los Santos.



Summer: Hidden bunkers are uncovered across the state, which are quickly overtaken by gunrunners. Military fanatics purchase illegal military vehicles, or modify their own vehicles to cause chaos across the city. With help from a disgruntled 'Nervous Ron' after he was abandoned by Trevor Phillips, some criminals purchase hangars and take their smuggling businesses to the skies focusing on using planes to source and sell their illegal goods. Word of more high-tech vehicles and weaponry is leaked from Humane Labs.

December: The Doomsday Heist storyline leads to a steep decline in living conditions in Los Santos. Real estate prices drop to an all-time-low due to the crime rates and danger of living in the city. Citizens witness flying cars and jetpack chases across the state. Masses move out, as more criminals come to take advantage of the illegal opportunities. Agent ULP heavily considers retirement, Agent 14 almost loses his job, and Avon Hertz' death and subsequent investigation leads to his previous companies being shut down. Thanks to contributing to saving the planet, a large amount of criminals have their crimes pardoned and a lot of their ongoing illegal actions ignored.



Summer: In an attempt to bring some life back to the city, entrepreneurs start opening new nightclubs around Los Santos. Of course, criminals take wind of this and purchase nightclubs for themselves, with the help of Liberty City's famous 'Tony Prince', as a way to launder their illegal cash. A few months later, a flying bike is seen around the city. Sightings of these vehicles grow daily.

Winter: As a response to the all-out violence on the streets, the Government approves an "Arena War" online gameshow, in which contestants fight to the death in over-the-top modified vehicles. This is an attempt to control the violence and hopefully take out a few mass murderers. It doesn't work very well due to the low-cash-prize incentive, with highly-priced vehicles being on the line.



May: The Cheng family purchase the old "Lady Luck" casino and have it destroyed, work on a new one begins.

July: The new 'Diamond Casino' opens, the storyline takes place. Record amounts of criminals hit the city for each of the following months, whilst gambling addiction centres see a surge in new clients.

October: Vincent finally gets a new job as a mall cop. Georgina Cheng starts planning her revenge on the Duggans. Dr Friedlander starts his holistic therapy company, 'FriedMind'.

December: Criminals begin taking advantage of the Casino's success, and rob it, a lot. A wave of retro arcades are opened as a front for the heist planning. Lester finally gets laid and Jimmy De Santa gets a job.



February: Los Santos Open-Wheel-Racing tournaments take place across San Andreas. The O’Neil Crime Family begin using bottom-of-the-barrel relatives as bait, placing all of the family’s criminal charges on them to lure in bounty hunters to capture for various reasons.

April: Word of a criminal recession, and dark financial times hits the city. Theories of the black market taking a large hit from undercover police surface. Patricia begins cheating on Martin Madrazo after discovering she couldn't stand being stuck near him whilst in lockdown.

May: Criminals start dressing up as aliens and harassing the citizens of Los Santos, and fighting one another causing a city-wide gang war. Coincidentally, weed is also legalised in the state of San Andreas.

August: An Eastern-Asian money-laundering gang begins raiding yachts off the coast of the island, but is met with swift, hard retaliation. After numerous spats, they are eventually dismantled and wiped out. Solomon's movie studio is robbed, and he tasks local criminals with sourcing and re-stealing his props.

Halloween: Rumours surface of a strange vehicle stored at Fort Zancudo, and budding criminal entrepreneurs investigate with hopes of stealing the technology in order to maximise their profits.

November: Construction once again begins at The Diamond Casino and Resort, but workers are under strict NDA - to the point even investors and stakeholders don't know what is going on. Unrecognised bodies wash up on the southern shores of Los Santos, and the FIB link them to an ongoing investigation - Noting them in their "El Rubio Dossier"

December: The Diamond Casino and Resort announces a new project! The Music Locker underground nightclub releases mid-month, bringing new talent to the Los Santos scene. Martin Madrazo's son commissions criminals from this very nightclub to assault a private island in the Caribbean belonging to his gang's drug supplier, who claims to have evidence on them. Upon stealing the evidence, he discovers it's actually lewd pictures of his mother, Patricia, having a sexual affair with Trevor Phillips. The criminals continue robbing the island for it's riches. Two new radio stations launch, one hosting an array of musical genres, and the other a home-pirate radio project based in mirror park. Dr Dre realises his phone has been stolen, and begins to look for it.

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July: A variety of new auto shops open across Los Santos, offering high end modifications. At the same time, more tuner vehicles are seen racing around the streets and meeting up in the industrial area. A new spree of crime starts as criminals find more contracts to take on. Trains are robbed, banks are hit in a chain of heists, the military is stolen from and more. There's even rumblings about a planned raid on the Union Depository. Rumours of the famous Detroit DJ "Moodyman" joining the crime spree circle. Nervous Ron decides he needs a new friend to truly move on from Trevor, and signs up to a prison Pen Pal service where he meets Dax.

August: More crimes are committed across Los Santos, including assaults on the Lost MC. Chef branches his drug business to be more independent from TPI. Rumours circulate of the infamous El Rubio beefing up his juggernaut's armour after numerous raids on his island.

October: Numerous sightings of strange hovering vehicles have been reported around the island, particularly in the later hours. On the approach to Halloween, there has also been an increased number of brutal homicides from apparent serial killers and "Slashers" recorded at LSPD headquarters. Whisperings are even circulating about a possessed, seemingly indestructible car emerging from hell to stalk down and harass Los Santos' most notorious criminals. Halloween sees the city under siege from an invading army of UFOs, which vehicles can't approach due to an electromagnetic field. Strangely, no harm is done and the UFOs retreat the following day - Experts believe the aliens were playing a Halloween "Trick" on humanity. Lamar starts his legal Marijuana company, 'LD Organics'

December: Franklin Clinton contacts his new Associate to work with him in assisting celebrities with mostly illegal activities. This eventually puts them into contact with Dr Dre, Franklin, Lamar, Imani and their silent associates hunt down three clones of the phone to find the original, stolen by a disgruntled Johnny Guns - A celebrity with an ongoing beef with Dre. Upon completing the security contract, Franklin, Lamar and associates are invited to chill with Dre as he records music. As their associates are "out of commission", Lamar invites Franklin to help him promote and spread the word of LD Organics. After a brand deal gone wrong with the Epsilon Project, Lamar crashes his flaming van made purely out of cannabis into Tequi-La-La, causing all nearby pedestrians to get high sending the brand viral. Gas prices start to rise, and the Duggans begin their plan to capitalise on this using recently discovered pieces of the Cliffford AI.

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March: Local mechanic Hao discovers special engine technology allowing more impressive tuning upgrades for vehicles, which cause cars to reach all new speeds and acceleration rates. Hipster artists also discover special paint technology, revealing unique new paint jobs that they dub as "Chameleon". A new glass-cleaning product is released, improving people's reflections across the world.

July: As seen in The Criminal Enterprise: It's the hottest summer on record, and gas prices are at an all-time high. Citizens of Los Santos are confined to the island due to the prices of jet fuel. Best-selling author, and oldest man alive on record, Jack Marston dies at age 127. Famous for writing the hit novel / memoir series, "Red Dead". Some criminals team up with the IAA in order to uncover a conspiracy put in place by the Duggan family. In the following conflicts across the state, Mason Duggan is killed by a group of criminals contracted by the IAA. The last remnants of the Cliffford AI used by the Duggan family are seized by the IAA - Likely to be put to use for their own agenda. Rumours of an approaching tropical storm circle, finally bringing some cooler weather to the island. Meanwhile, numerous criminals begin expanding their nefarious businesses with new, better paid and more talented employees who provide more helpful services. A variety of biker dive bars open up to the public, selling drinks and bike modification services. Renovation work begins on the Luxury Autos dealership.

August: The new Luxury Autos Showroom reopens across from Record A Studios, with rumours suggesting it is trying to catch the eye of Dr. Dre for a special brand deal, or to be a reoccurring customer. Simeon's Premium Deluxe Motorsport also goes under a slight rework after Simeon finally fully recovers from his injuries in 2013, and has some spare currency after being helped by more up-and-coming criminals with some repo and espionage work. He offers new, rare cars with exotic paintjobs for purchase, and even loans them out for test rides. The extra capital even allows him to offer lots of free snacks!

September: The Sprunk Corporation runs a new promotion event between it's two hottest contending products - Sprunk and eCola! Calling citizens of Los Santos and Southern San Andreas to don the merch of their favourite fizzy beverage and chug as many cans as humanly possible in order to determine which would win. After a few weeks, and increased cases of type-two diabetes within the State, eCola was crowned king. Trevor and Patricia leave Los Santos together for pastures new.

October: Halloween is looming around the corner, and the citizens are desperately trying to get into the spirit of it, but pesky porch pirates not even in costume keep stealing their Jack O' Lanterns. Rumours of freaky events begin to circulate: UFOs, alien warfare and abductions, killer clones, sentient killer vehicles, and something happening over in Vice City - But nobody can confirm that last part. There are numerous Sasquatch sightings around the city, for the first time in over a decade. Simultaneously, the emergency room treats a record-high amount of patients who have overdosed on hallucinogenic drugs.

November: The thirst for money is at an all-time-high. Criminals across the state partake in several robberies, amassing in a grand total of four trillion dollars ($4,000,000,000,000) stolen from various nefarious sources. Los Santos Residency Department reports a lower amount of people immigrating to the island than usual. Local criminal, Dax, is released from prison and gets in touch with his old friend, Wade. Two-Time Heavyweight Champion Brock Thompson is fired from the league for using performance enhancing drugs, leading to him tearing the arm off a professional.

December: BUDONKADONK! After being released from prison, Dax rebands the Fooliganz, gathering the troupe at the old Liquor Ace in Sandy Shores and opening locals to a mind-bending drug experience - Much to the dismay of Nervous Ron. When a local criminal helps him with attacking bikers, he employs their help and recruits them into the Fooliganz, kicking off the Los Santos Drug Wars. Dax and his posse set up shop in an abandoned warehouse near the Casino. After numerous Fooliganz beefs with the Lost MC, Hippies and even Merryweather - the group enters the Acid business, operating out of a stolen Brickade 6x6. As this is going on, a record-high amount of chemical spillages are seen around the state, putting a strain on health services.
Exported vehicles see an increase in price, and the fuel economy has an impact on goods shipped via air transport.
As Christmas nears, a local group of mothers begin reporting online that people are destroying their children's snowmen and ruining the festive spirit. Some say this envokes the spirit of The Gooch - A violent thief, bringing pain and suffering to those on the Naughty list. Weazel Plaza comes under fire as Jock McIntosh fights off Hank Grabber's attacking terrorists , all while barefoot!

 gta online timeline image 2023


January: Competition for gunrunners! A new weapons dealer has entered Los Santos, operating out of his van. He sells unique weapons, previously to have only been rumoured to exist. At the same time, to compete with those pesky ride-sharing apps, the Downtown Cab Co begins to allow the citizens of Los Santos to easily pick up a cabbie licence so they can bring riders from A to B for a couple extra bucks. Free-minded thinkers allied with the Hooliganz group begin to notice tougher times when working to open Los Santos' third eye.

February: With the rampantly escalating competition for illegal vice and narcotics growing in the city and surrounding state, criminals become more desperate. LSPD phonelines are hot with an increase of store robberies from coast-to-coast, whilst back-alley criminals and drug dealers are meeting on the street or simply leaving dead drops to increase the cash flow. Others are completely losing their income as more-hardened criminals raid their stash houses to protect their own business.

March: The FriedMind corporation kidnaps LabRat to work on their new hallucinogenic therapy drug. Dax sends his new ally, Fresh Meat, to break LabRat out and strike back at the ego-driven celebrity therapist, leading to the Fooliganz hijacking a Cargo Plane mid-air and stealing the supplies. Dr Friedlander escapes, however, and is yet to be seen again in Los Santos. Thanks to the new ingredients, the Fooliganz begin producing higher-quality products from their mobile acid lab. Actress Cleo Song is accused of tax fraud. 

April: The Los Santos DMVA reopens its licence plate registration service, allowing for custom registrations on citizens vehicles. At the same time, Online vehicle retailers begin adjusting their prices according to the laws of supply and demand. Jamal, the party-going nephew of the infamous Yusuf Amir, spends a lot of his family's money without having earned anything. Yusuf vows to find Jamal work and help him become worthy of the Amir name.

May: Avi Schwartzman is captured by Merryweather, and the Raiju VTOL fighter jet completes it's development phase. RED'S AUTO PARTS chain goes into liquidation across the Southern San Andreas island. The Cartel moves into San Andreas, and slowly starts building their empire with new aspiring criminals. Their first step of business is Cocaine, where they begin paying off Cluckin' Bell executives to use their famous chicken restaurant as a front for their drug empire in a bid inspired by one of the officers' favourite TV shows.

June: Charlie Reed takes notice of the United States Government's growing relationship with Merryweather Security, and decides to take action. Charlie forms an elite squad of mercenaries known as the 'Los Santos Angels' in order to combat the growing overreach of the private military corporation. After numerous heists, assaults, and experiments (Including the first test-flights of the new Raiju VTOL fighter jet in US airspace) Charlie's Angels successfully pressure the government into ending their relationship with Merryweather. Meanwhile, the Los Santos car scene expands with the new 'Vinewood Car Club' opening on Elysian Island - Offering new loan rides to the top Los Santos elite. Over in Liberty City, Yusuf Amir hears word of some well-known criminals in Los Santos, so he decides to investigate for his nephew. Vincent leaves his job as a Mall Cop, and begins the process to join the Police.

October: Aliens allegedly return to the state of Southern San Andreas, with their flying saucers abducting citizens across the island. Some report waking up temporarily in a strange facility, with whisperings of there being mysterious blueprints, weapons and vehicles in the surrounding rooms, perhaps explaining the origins of the infamous laser weapons and Oppressor MKII flying motorcycle. Vincent passes his various exams to join the LSPD with flying colours - though they'd really let anybody in these days. The Cartel's operations begin driving other criminals out of the city.

December: After legislative changes and a recent property boom, a realtors notice a rise in interest for properties in Vice City, Leonida. Yusuf Amir heads to Los Santos in order to break bread and head into business with some of the most reputable and dangerous criminal kingpins, placing his nephew under their wing. With Jamal, the criminals begin repossessing vehicles as a front for their more nefarious operation: Sourcing and stealing famous cars utilised by the celebrities built by Vinewood. Vehicles are stolen from famous gangsters, the new season of Arena Wars, the Diamond Casino and Resort, and off in-transit cargo ships in order to be sold to Yusuf with is love for vehicles with a rich history, or scrapped for parts and sold on the down-low. The Los Santos Car Meet begins hosting new drift races across the city, offering bonuses to those who can keep a streak of drifting going. The animal protection agency, 'Upholding. Wildlife. Utilities' completes their discreet task of preserving and breeding animals to prevent extinction, re-releasing them back into nature. The San Andreas tourist board takes notice of the abundance of wildlife around the state and uses this to bring more visitors back to the island's Northern counties. This, however, is counteracted by citizens across Los Santos expressing troubles with their sewage, and a general smell of faeces around the city. Philippe, the Diamond Casino valet, loses the security of his own home as he's burgled for his pass - Further increasing his therapy insurance premium.
With this year's Christmas approaching, reports of Gooch and Snowman attacks near double! The festive cheer is kept up with the joys of a magical truck travelling the State delivering presents to all the naughtiest of criminals! At the same time, Hunters begin claiming Yetis on their kill list - sparking debate among hunting leagues. Billionaire CEO Grace Whitney is accused of murder. Details on the case are kept from the public.

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January: With the return of wildlife to the island seeming a permanent stay this time, the Los Santos Tourist Board decides to celebrate with a shooting competition - But with cameras instead of guns! Rewards are offered to anybody who can snap a great picture of certain local animals! Brock Thompson is caught selling bad steroids, and is accused of a related murder on top of all previous charges.

February: Vincent contacts some of his old friends from his day of being a Casino Security guard about some ill-suited behaviour related to some LSPD officers. He claims to have a plan to help put them in their place.

March: With the help of Vincent, teams of criminals begin a series of raids on the Cluckin' Bell farm in Paleto Bay, seizing the cocaine from the cartel operating there. The aftermath of the raid is surrounded in controversy on Bleeter, as no evidence is found, people are left to wonder - Why rob a chicken factory? High-ranking Cartel members are left furious at the lack of evidence for who took a step against them.

May: Grace Whitney is found dead after a “tennis ball incident” sparking conspiracies on Bleeter. Jenette buys Maude a yoga ball.

June: In order to help combat the growing crime wave, the San Andreas State Government passes new legislation giving an increased budget and more freedom to bounty hunters and vigilantes and allow freelance police work to anybody with a law enforcement vehicle. This is proven to immediately increase incarceration rates tenfold, with several nefarious criminals being put behind bars, including some high profile cases previously thought to be untouchable:

  • Grace Whitney is revealed to have faked her death to escape prosecution for committing murder.
  • Cleo Song is dropped from Masquerade Murder Party for her tax fraud allegations and arrest.
  • Brock Thompson is promptly arrested by Bounty Hunters, with additional charges being placed on him for trying to resist arrest using an illegally obtained juggernaut suit.
  • The O’Neil crime family’s bounty bait plan backfires when capturing hunters pursuing Leroy. This leads to a large number of the family being culled, once again.
  • Racing influencer Omar Garcia is arrested for several crimes related to illegal street racing, trading stolen car parts, and indecent exposure. The controversy leads to him being banned from the Los Santos Car Meet.
  • Several Duggans are also arrested for varying crimes, hurting incoming revenue from The Diamond Casino even more.

Vincent Effenburger reaches out to his former contacts to encourage them to partake in police work. Lombank begins an insurance fraud scheme, paying off LSPD to not investigate any “accidents” - with plans to destroy one of their buildings being foiled by Vincent and his new volunteer officers.

What do you think of this order? Do you think GTA Online is a different universe entirely? Feel free to lay out your theory, and perhaps we can discuss it! Feel free to tag us with any suggestions on our Twitter @GTABase!


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