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GTA V introduced multiple playable protagonists for the first time in the 3D era of games, with Michael, Franklin, and Trevor being playable throughout the story.
Sometimes you are locked to a single character and can’t switch between them, but more often than not, you can freely switch between all three. Each character has unique skills, vehicles, houses, and personalities. I’m sure you will soon have a favorite you like to use.
Here is how to switch characters in GTA 5 and the pros and cons of using each one.
How To Change Characters In GTA V
GTA V features three main protagonists in the story mode and your GTA Online character if you play that portion of the game. All four characters can be selected almost at any time unless the character isn’t available during the part of the story.
However, the characters aren’t available from the start of the game. If this is your first time playing the game, you must complete the prologue mission to access GTA Online.
When it comes to being able to use the three main story mode protagonists, you will first use Franklin following the prologue. After a couple of missions, you will unlock Michael to use. Finally, after approximately 2-3 hours of gameplay, you will gain control of Trevor.
One thing to note is that you can switch to your GTA Online character from the story mode and vice versa, but it will cause you to leave the current mode, and you’ll have to reload it if you want to play again.
Changing characters in GTA V is straightforward. By default, the binds to change characters are:
- Hold Down on the D-Pad if you’re using a controller, then use the right analog stick to select the character you want to use.
- Hold Alt on your keyboard and use your mouse to select the character you want to use.
Which Character Should I Use?
Michael is the best all-around character, with excellent gun and driving skills, making him a great choice to use at any opportunity.
His house is situated in the Rockford Hills, making it a great location if you need to drive anywhere in the north to the central part of the map. His primary vehicle, the Tailgater, is based on the Audi A6 and is a solid saloon car that is reasonably fast but still easy to handle.
Michael’s starting stats are:
- Special: Approx. 58/100
- Stamina: Approx. 45/100
- Shooting: 80/100
- Strength: 20/100
- Stealth: Approx. 82/100
- Flying: Approx. 35/100
- Driving: Approx. 55/100
- Lung Capacity: Approx. 22/100
Michael’s special ability adds a Bullet Time effect similar to games such as Max Payne. Time slows down, which makes it easier to line up headshots on your enemies, as well as be able to dodge bullets and have more time to figure out a strategy. This can be really useful in combat-based missions.
When it comes to driving, Franklin is your guy. Franklin’s special ability is focused on driving, and is often the designated driver in missions. Although, one funny note is that his default vehicle has the worst handling of the three.
Franklin’s starting stats are:
- Special: Approx. 65/100
- Stamina: Approx. 55/100
- Shooting: Approx. 22/100
- Strength: Approx. 50/100
- Stealth: 20/100
- Flying: 20/100
- Driving: Approx. 70/100
- Lung Capacity: Approx. 42/100
Franklin’s special ability is similar to Michael’s Bullet Time effect, but it works while driving instead of in combat. Time slows down for Franklin, but turning the vehicle doesn’t slow down with it.
It is significantly easier to navigate tight spaces and make very tight turns without crashing. As many of Franklin’s missions involve driving, this can become an incredibly useful ability to use.
You may have noticed by playing the story that Trevor loves violence; his stats and special ability reflect that. If you need to take out your enemies, then there isn’t a better character to use. When it comes to flying vehicles such as planes and helicopters, Trevor also shines at this.
Trevor’s default vehicle is more durable than any of the three vehicles. His connection to Blaine County makes him a great character to handle missions and businesses in the northern part of the map.
Trevor’s starting stats are:
- Special: Approx. 50/100
- Stamina: Approx. 22/100
- Shooting: Approx. 65/100
- Strength: 80/100
- Stealth: Approx. 50/100
- Flying: Approx. 82/100
- Driving: Approx. 30/100
- Lung Capacity: Approx. 30/100
As Trevor’s main focus in life is causing as much destruction as possible, his special ability perfectly reflects that. Using Trevor’s special ability, you will deal more damage to eliminate your enemies much easier while also taking less damage. This means you can go on more of a rampage without fear of being killed.
Do Stats Matter?
While stats affect how well your character can perform tasks such as driving, running, and shooting, I wouldn’t let the starting stats dictate which character you use most.
The only exception is when their stats are vastly better than the others, such as Trevor’s flying stats. All the stats can be improved over time, so you could get every stat to 100/100 on all three characters and have them play exactly the same.
How To Increase Stats
- Special: Michael – Hit headshots. Franklin – Drive against traffic. Trevor – Deal and take damage.
- Stamina: Increased by 1% for every 18 yards ran, every minute cycled or swam.
- Shooting: Increased by eliminating enemies and hitting headshots. It can also be increased at the Shooting Range, with Gold = 3% increase, Silver = 2% increase, and Bronze = 1% increase.
- Strength: Fight with your fists and play sports.
- Stealth: Use Stealth mode and perform takedowns.
- Flying: Fly a plane or helicopter and attend Flight School.
- Driving: Do tricks and stunt jumps.
- Lung Capacity: Swim underwater.
Question: Which GTA V character is the best?
Answer: Especially when you get further into the game, it is difficult to say which character is best, as stats can be improved as you play. The only things that set characters apart are their special abilities and owned vehicles.
Franklin is often seen as the most popular character in the game due to his character development, entertaining conversations, and arguments with Lamar Davis.
Trevor is a great choice to explore Blaine County and participate in gun fights and flying missions. While Michael is the most rounded character in the game when it comes to driving and shooting.
It all comes down to personal preference, but I prefer Michael when playing the game.
Question: Can you play as any other characters in GTA V?
Answer: The only other character you get to control in GTA V is Franklin’s dog, Chop, which you can control briefly during one of the earlier missions in the game.
Apart from that, you can only control Michael, Franklin, and Trevor in the game.
Question: Do any of the protagonists appear in GTA Online?
Answer: Franklin and Trevor both appear in GTA Online. Trevor’s Meth Lab storyline unlocks from level 13, while Franklin was added to the game in 2021 as part of The Contract update.
Michael has yet to appear in GTA Online at the time of writing, although he has been rumored to be coming to the game for many months. It is also confirmed during the mission On Course that Franklin keeps in touch with Michael.
The introduction of multiple protagonists made GTA V feel like a much bigger game. It allowed the developers to craft a more unique story, and it will be hard to return to a single main character in the future. I hope the upcoming GTA 6 keeps this trend of multiple characters.
It offers much more variety to allow players to feel connected and live vicariously through them. I definitely see myself in Michael, and he quickly became my favorite as I played through the story.