Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a 2004 open world action adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. It is the 5th game in the Grand Theft Auto series, which was succeded by Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Expanding the size of the in-game map from previous GTA titles, GTA: San Andreas is set in the semi-fictional state of San Andreas (based on California and Nevada) and its three metropolitan cities: Los Santos (based on Los Angeles), San Fierro (based on San Francisco), and Las Venturas (based on Las Vegas).

Set in 1992, the game revolves around the gang member Carl "CJ" Johnson returning home to Los Santos after learning of his mother's murder. CJ finds his old friends and family in disarray, and over the course of the game, he tries to re-establish his old gang, the Grove Street Families, clashes with corrupt cops, and gradually unravels the truth behind his mother's murder. The plot is based on multiple real-life events in Los Angeles, including the rivalry between the Bloods and Crips street gangs, the crack epidemic, the LAPD Rampart scandal, and the 1992 Los Angeles street riots.

Like other games in the series, GTA: San Andreas is composed of elements from driving games and third person shooters, and features open world gameplay, in which players can interact with the game world at their leisure. The game introduced several gameplay elements to the series, including gang wars, car tuning, and extensive player customisation.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas received wide critical acclaim and sold well on all platforms for which it was released. This game went on to become the highest selling PS2 game of all time selling 17.33 million copies.


In 1992, Carl "CJ" Johnson returns to Los Santos after spending five years living in Liberty City when his brother Sean "Sweet" Johnson calls to inform him of their mother's murder. Shortly after leaving the airport, Carl is intercepted by a group of corrupt LSPD C.R.A.S.H. officers led by Frank Tenpenny, with whom Carl has a history. Tenpenny implicates Carl in the murder of a police officer that Tenpenny himself committed and threatens to frame him for it if he does not cooperate.

Carl returns to his former home on Grove Street and reunites with Sweet as well as fellow members of his old gang Ryder and Big Smoke. Finding that the Grove Street Families (GSF) have lost much of their territory while he was gone, Carl decides to stay in town. Working with the others to re-establish the GSF, Carl gradually restores the gang to power, driving off the rival Ballas and Vagos gangs and reducing the amount of drugs on the street. While en route to join Sweet for a final stand against the Ballas, Carl is contacted by his sister Kendl's boyfriend, Cesar Vialpando. Cesar brings Carl to a garage where they witness Smoke and Ryder meeting with Tenpenny and a group of Ballas. Also there is the car reported to have been used in Carl's mother's murder. Realizing that Smoke and Ryder are her killers, Carl rushes to Sweet's aid, but the police arrive shortly afterward. Sweet is thrown in jail while Tenpenny takes Carl into the countryside and dumps him there. With the GSF in shambles, Smoke and Ryder, now openly allied with the Ballas, take over Los Santos and flood the streets with drugs.

Exiled in the countryside, Carl works with Cesar's cousin Catalina to make money by carrying out several heists in the area. He also befriends a hippie called The Truth and a blind triad leader named Woozie. After winning the deed to a garage in San Fierro in a race against Catalina and her new boyfriend, Carl goes there with The Truth, Cesar and Kendl to get it up and running so they can make a living. While in San Fierro, Carl crosses paths with the Loco Syndicate, Smoke and Ryder's drug connection. Carl infiltrates the organization and identifies its leader, the mysterious Mike Toreno. Along with Cesar and the Triad, Carl kills Ryder and the other Loco Syndicate leaders, Jizzy-B and T-Bone Mendez, and shoots down Toreno's helicopter.

Despite Toreno's apparent death, Carl is soon contacted by him in the desert. Toreno reveals that he is actually a government agent and enlists Carl's help in several shady operations in exchange for Sweet's freedom. Meanwhile, Carl travels to Las Venturas, where Woozie invites him to become a partner in the Four Dragons Casino, where the organization is facing problems from the mob families that control the city. Seeking to wrest control of Venturas from them, Carl helps Woozie plot a robbery of the mob's casino and gains the mob's trust through various jobs. Eventually the heist is carried out successfully, earning the Triad a place of power in Las Venturas. Carl also encounters disgraced rapper Madd Dogg, whom he rescues from a suicide attempt. Grateful, Madd Dogg asks Carl to be his manager once he returns from rehab.

Tenpenny, fearing his arrest is inevitable, tasks his partner Eddie Pulaski with killing Carl and disposing of the body of another C.R.A.S.H. officer Jimmy Hernandez, who was informing on them. The wounded officer manages to attack, causing Pulaski to flee, but Carl pursues and kills him.

Madd Dogg returns from rehab, prompting Carl to return to Los Santos to get his music career started again. Toreno contacts Carl for one last favor, and finally has Sweet released from prison. Now rich and successful, Carl attempts to cut Sweet in on his businesses, but Sweet becomes angry that he ran away and let their home be taken over by drug dealers to make his fortune. While Carl helps Sweet once again drive off the rival gangs, Tenpenny is tried for several felonies but the charges are surprisingly dropped, prompting a city-wide riot.

Sweet soon learns that Smoke is holed up in a fortified crack den in the city, and seeking to stop the flow of drugs on the street, he and Carl go there to confront him. Carl enters the building alone, fighting his way to the top floor and battling Smoke. As Smoke dies, Tenpenny appears and steals Smoke's drug money, intending to use it to leave the city before the rioters kill him. Carl rushes out of the building and he and Sweet pursue him as he flees in a fire truck. Tenpenny loses control of the truck, driving off a bridge and crashing at the entrance to the Grove Street cul-de-sac. Carl and his friends watch as Tenpenny crawls from the wreckage and dies of his injuries.

In the aftermath Carl's family and friends arrive at the Johnson house for a meeting. As his friends and allies celebrate their success, Carl turns to leave. When Kendl asks where he's going, he replies, "Fittin' to hit the block, see what's happening."

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  • In mid-June 2005, a software patch for the game dubbed the "Hot Coffee mod" was released by Patrick Wildenborg (under the Internet alias "PatrickW"), a 38-year old modder from the Netherlands. The name "Hot Coffee" refers to the way the released game alludes to the unseen sex scenes. In the unmodified game, the player takes his girlfriend to her front door and she asks him if he would like to come in for "some coffee". He agrees, and the camera stays outside, swaying back and forth a bit, while moaning sounds are heard. After installing the patch, users can enter the main character's girlfriends' houses and engage in a crudely rendered, fully clothed or nude sexual intercourse mini-game. The fallout from the controversy resulted in a public response from high-ranking politicians in the United States and elsewhere and resulted in the game's recall and re-release. On July 20, 2005, North America's organization that establishes content ratings for video games, the ESRB, changed the rating of the game from Mature (M) to Adults Only (AO), making San Andreas the only mass-released AO console game in the United States. Rockstar announced that it would cease production of the version of the game that included the controversial content. Rockstar gave distributors the option of applying an Adults Only ESRB rating sticker to copies of the game, or returning them to be replaced by versions without the Hot Coffee content. Many retailers pulled the game off their shelves in compliance with their own store regulations that kept them from selling AO games. In August 2005, Rockstar North released an official "Cold Coffee" patch for the PC version of the game and re-released San Andreas with the "Hot Coffee" scenes removed (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Version 2.0), allowing the game to return to its "M" rating. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions have also been re-released with the "Hot Coffee" scenes removed in the Greatest Hits Edition, the Platinum Edition, the "GTA Trilogy Pack: for Xbox and PlayStation 2, as well as a Special Edition for PlayStation 2 that includes the documentary film Sunday Driver. The updated game disc has "SECOND EDITION" text under the "M" rating logo. On November 8, 2007, Take-Two announced a proposed settlement to the class action litigation that had been brought against them following the Hot Coffee controversy. If the proposed settlement is approved by the court, neither Take-Two nor Rockstar would admit liability or wrongdoing. Consumers would be able to swap their AO-rated copies of the game for M-rated versions and may also qualify for a $35 cash payment upon signing a sworn statement. A report in The New York Times on June 25, 2008 revealed that a total of 2,676 claims for the compensation package had been filed.

  • San Andreas was criticized by some for its perceived racial sterotyping. Some saw the alleged stereotyping as ironic while others defended the criticism noting that the storyline could speak to people of different backgrounds.

  • The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition lists it as the video game with the largest voice cast, with 861 credited voice actors, including 174 actors and 687 additional performers, many of those performers being fans of the series who wanted to appear on the game.

  • The game was published by Capcom in Japan

  • There are claims dating back to the game's release that Bigfoot was in the game.

  • Catalina's boyfriend is actually Claude from Grand Theft Auto III

  • The word "Fuck" is used over 365 times in game as said by the characters.

  • While DJ Pooh (writer) was meeting with the game's creators to discuss the music, he received a call from Young Maylay, an artist he was working with. Pooh put the call on speakerphone and the creators felt that Maylay had the right voice for CJ. They hired Maylay even though he had no previous acting experience.