In Grand Theft Auto 5, you’ve probably spent more time messing around the open world than beating the game’s story, but speedrunners have cleared it in less than 6 hours with no glitches or serious exploits, just skill. Of course, the story mode of the game usually takes 30 hours or more, so that’s a serious achievement.
You can also learn how to speedrun the game if you’re ready for serious execution, complicated tricks, and a long run to boot. This GTA 5 Speedrun guide will act as a series of events you need to complete for the main story, dropping some tips and tricks along the way, but due to the length of the run, you’ll have to fill in some blanks yourself.
Bottom Line Up Front
Grand Theft Auto speed runs mainly consist of doing the story mode as quickly as possible, namely by running through scripted sequences as soon as possible and doing Brake Boosts to jet your car forward quickly.
Before You Begin
There are a few tips and tricks you’ll need to know for this entire run, as well as some precursors before you can even start. Firstly, I’d recommend visiting the Speedrun.com page for GTA 5 and reading through this guide. It provides the resources for everything you’ll need to set up before you begin your run.
The next thing I’d like to talk about is Brake Boosting. This technique is helpful for GTA 5 and GTA Online and can be done on either keyboard or controller. Whenever the road rises a tiny bit, your car will get lifted up a bit, and you can hold down the brake and accelerate simultaneously when this happens for about half a second.
If you see skid marks behind your car, you did it right. Let go of the brake, and you should be speeding by. This trick is also more straightforward the higher your framerate is set. Franklin’s ability can help even further to boost this trick; using it in combination will allow you to start flying by at the speed of sound. If you’re driving a four-wheel drive car or rear-wheel drive, then it should work, and you should use it.
Whenever you’re driving, as a rule of thumb, you should avoid going off-road unless it’s going to be faster. While there is still room for creative routing when driving, going on-road will keep your car going faster. Even for most off-road vehicles, this will still be applicable.
It should be said for any speedrun you might be interested in, that it is worth visiting the Speedrun.com page. Then if you enjoy the run, you should consider visiting the Discord or speedrun.com forums, where they can answer all your GTA 5-related questions and give you advice on running the game.
Another thing I’ll state now to avoid bringing up constantly is that for most unskippable cutscenes that appear after a mission has already been completed, you can reload the game and go back in to skip them the slightly faster way. Again, I’d recommend watching through a run and seeing where they do this to see for yourself.
The route we’ll be using is Any% Classic, just playing through the game without game-breaking severe glitches. This guide is adapted from UnNameD’s run in 5:42:31, which I’d recommend watching through before attempting a run yourself.
If you’re thinking of doing a run, considering every run will be a big time commitment, it would be wise to decide on a category you like before beginning. So while I’m choosing to cover Any% Classic, the main category, you could decide to go for any of these categories on the leaderboard:
- Deathwish applies to Any% and 100% and have you go for the game’s best ending, called Deathwish.
- Taxis also apply to both Any% and 100%, and it allows the use of Taxis for fast travel, whereas usually, they’re only allowed to be stolen and used as regular cars.
- Unrestricted is precisely what you’d think and applies to most categories, allowing you to fail a mission to skip it, transfer checkpoints from one task to another, or use Taxis for fast travel. It’s much quicker than Any% Classic but far less “normal.”
- 100% requires you to reach 100% mission progress on your statistics page, which means completing every optional sidequest, but not necessarily everything in the game, as not everything is tracked by this page.
- All Missions has the same rules as Classic, just completing every non-story mission as well.
- Director Mode is a run that allows you to use a cheat code and debug mode to go through the game more quickly. This is also permitted in unrestricted mode, so this category is not run much.
- Segments are essentially just individual parts of the playthrough, such as each character or long and overarching missions. Therefore, they are there instead of the dedicated Individual Levels page, which mainly covers the smaller parts of the game.
Grand Theft Auto is known for being very open and letting you do missions in pretty much whatever order you like. Still, for the purposes of Any% Classic, we’ll be doing tasks in a specific order to try and get everything done as efficiently as possible.
I’d recommend downloading LiveSplit and grabbing the splits listed on the GTA 5 Speedrun.com Resources page, but if you want to know the order of events, then that order is:
- Franklin & Lamar
- Pulling Favors
- Father & Son
- Marriage Counseling
- Friend Request
- Daddy’s Little Girl
- Casing the Jewel Store
- Carbine Rifles
- Long Stretch
- Mr. Phillips
- TP Industries
- Nervous Ron
- Crystal Maze
- Friend Reunited
Blitz Play Start
- Fame or Shame
- Dead Man Walking
- Did Somebody Say Yoga
- Three’s Company
- Scouting the Port
- Hood Sadari
- By the Book
- Blitz Play
Deep Inside Start
- I Fought the Law
- Eye in the Sky
- Mr. Richards
- Caida Libre
- Deep Inside
Paleto Score Start
- Minor Turbulence
- Paleto Score Setup
- Hardware & Score
Fresh Meat Start
- Monkey Business
- Hang Ten
- Surveying the Score
- Bury the Hatchet
- Pack man
- Fresh Meat
Bureau Raid Start
- Cleaning out the Bureau
- Reuniting the Family
- Architect Plans
- Bureau Raid
Third Way Start
- The Ballad of Rocco
- Legal Trouble
- The Wrap Up
- Lamar Down
- Gauntlets & Stingers
- The Big Score
- The Third Way
Your timer starts as soon as the game loads in, but you should be using the LiveSplit auto splitter if you’re playing on PC. Walk into the door and shoot the monitors, then you can pretty much play the mission as usual. Make sure to go into first-person and sprint jump whenever you can and take corners, as it’s our fastest movement option currently.
When you get outside, it’s better to just run rather than hopping, taking a beeline for your next objective while trying to aim and shoot at the driver of every car with as much efficiency as you can muster. Once you get to the car, you’re good. Just drive to the next marker on your map, which is how most of this run will go.
You can skip the next mission by pre-emptively running the car into an object just before the mission marker, then destroying it by shooting the tires. Again, I’d recommend watching the run since this trick is rather specific, and watching someone else doing it is the easiest way to learn. If you mess up, shoot out the police cars until you get to the next bit.
The Game Proper (5:40)
Finally, jumping ahead to the present day, we can skip cutscenes. Most of the run will be sprinting when you’re outside, sprint hopping when inside, brake boosting when driving, and generally trying to play the required objectives as quickly as possible. Still, I’ll highlight any tricks or skips you might have trouble with.
You don’t need to follow Lamar because you can go straight to the objective, and the game will not fail you unless you get far. So I’d recommend playing through every objective normally, then trying to do them quicker and quicker to practice, this one especially since there is no objective marker telling you where you need to be.
After finishing the mission and heading back home, unfortunately skipping the cutscene ever, you’re free to do basically whatever, but we’re going to head straight back to the car shop to start the next mission, then to the beach. You’re pretty much just going to play usually for a while, keeping in mind the tips and tricks previously stated.
The Dog (17:45)
After doing missions for quite some time, you’ll eventually come across a task where you have to chase a dog named Chop and eventually follow or play as him through some train tracks. It’s faster not to switch to playing as him and, instead, push him along as Franklin by running into him and shooting the ground.
This mission is known for being a bit painful for speedrunners, but after pushing Chop to the box car door and opening it, the mission will be over. Just be sure to go quick and try your best to push him into place; he doesn’t like cooperating. After that, back to the same old thing, just as a new character.
Speed of Light (29:00)
After doing the lovingly dubbed by fans “stupid boat mission,” dial for Michael, cancel the call, drive your car into the gate of a nearby house, get out of the car, duck, and jump, clipping it in a way that will launch you forward at high speed. This is another one I’d recommend just watching the video for since it’s hard to explain and easier with visuals (and a ton of practice!)
You can also drive or run to the next mission marker if this trick is difficult for you. Either way, this should rocket you into the next mission ahead, which is more or less the same. Then, once you’re on foot again, just run into the road and shoot someone off a motorcycle to get back to the usual fare.
Bike Hopping (41:05)
Once you’re at the biking mission, it’s faster to bike by first getting up to speed, then hopping with the bike every time you hit the ground. Like bunny-hopping in source games, this retains your momentum and keeps it going a bit faster with each hop, letting you destroy your child in a race.
Halfway through swimming, aim for the boat riding along the water, then try to mount it; it’ll carry you closer to the yacht much faster than just swimming there would. Just be sure to throw off the driver and drive it for yourself, “swimming” there in record time. After that, finish the mission as usual.
Motorcycle Warping (1:01:50)
Once you’re in Michael’s garage with the bike, mount the bike, swap characters, swap again, drive the bike forward, and then dismount while changing characters again. Keep doing this while running into the cabinet with Golf Clubs as Michael, then walk out of the garage, hopefully triggering a cutscene.
This skip can be very tricky, so again, I’d recommend watching the video a few times to understand how it works. After this, you should be jettisoned into playing an entirely different character residing in the countryside. This is where the run will return to the mission clearing routine again.
The Tower (1:13:10)
Once you start the mission atop the tower in the desert, you should immediately kill Ron, as this will get to the task’s point much faster. After this, you can pretty much snipe all the enemies as soon as they come up, eventually getting to the plane, where you’ll have to do another death skip.
After you hop onto the red plane, drive it straight into the wall, and you should instantly fail the mission, which should have the game send you straight up into the sky. Doing this earlier will restart the mission from the first plane part, but this skips the whole takeoff part. You’ll return as Michael again, but only after a plane-flying segment.
Flying is mostly normal, but you’ll want to take the straightest possible lines from destination to destination so you don’t have to travel as far, and you can get everywhere as quickly as possible. Otherwise, turn by making minor or huge adjustments, and try to be as efficient as possible. You can land the plane right into the garage without slowing down, and the cutscene should still trigger.
The Crane (1:55:00)
Once you get control of the garbage truck for the crane mission, start it by pushing Floyd to the objective rather than following him. Be sure to drive at a slow enough speed that he doesn’t get run over and remains in front of the truck as you nudge him along to the cargo lift. Unfortunately, the actual crane part goes pretty much as usual.
After the crane is done, you walk to the vantage point, take your pictures, and let yourself get shot. This respawns you at the truck much faster than doing the mission properly would have; then, you can go back to your usual driving fare to finish this mission and then do the next objective.
Destroying The Van (3:06:45)
After over an hour of doing missions, mainly as intended, we get to the part of Caida Libre where you have to destroy the van. First, drive it away from the observatory, then start by crashing it into Martin’s House (the next part of this mission), throw a grenade inside the van, run out a bit, and you’ll be able to detonate the van in seconds with little effort.
Now onto Deep Inside, you’ll be tempted just to run away from the police chasing you after stealing the car, but it’s much faster to just die a painful death by throwing a sticky bomb in front of the vehicle and blowing it up while you’re inside. This will instantly make the police disappear and give you a pleasant drive to complete the mission.
Helicopter Control (4:05:26)
After another long segment of doing missions as intended, we get to a mission where we have to drive to the airfield and get on a helicopter. Once again, throwing a sticky bomb and exploding the truck will get you to the airfield much faster than driving there, then blowing up the helicopter with a sticky bomb to instantly mount it.
Once you’re in the helicopter, you’d assume it to be similar to the plane controls, but it’s a bit faster to bob left and right while in the future; this strafing gives a slight speed boost as long as you’re not ascending or descending and it’s recommended you climb to where you need, then start bobbing left and right constantly.
Janitor’s Out of Bounds (4:36:35)
After driving your car right to the Janitor’s door when starting the Bureau Raid, we will have to do a very tricky out-of-bounds. Drive your car up to the bush on the side of the apartment, run to the side of the door, then run to the ledge and try to climb up it while looking towards the wall and going into first person.
This trick is painful, and I’d recommend watching the run for this one as well. If it goes right, you should be able to walk into the wall, jump over an invisible ledge, and walk into the unloaded apartment, running into the door to get it to load in. Now you’re stuck in the door and have to mash the run button and go forward to push yourself into the apartment, hitting the cutscene.
The Shortest Mission (4:56:35)
The Ballad of Rocco is the shortest mission in the game, the way that speedrunners do it. You have to arrive at the cutscene where you see Solomon being assaulted; then, you can snipe Rocco in the driver’s seat and Gianni in the shotgun. Then, walk back to the trailer, and you’ll finish an entire mission in less than 15 seconds.
After this, you can walk out onto the planter boxes and into the corner of the building behind the palm tree, which will hopefully clip you out of bounds to get straight into another cutscene again. This is another one where it would be helpful to watch the runner do it since most clips and tricks are easier to see than said, and this is no exception.
Teleporting to the Endgame (5:31:08)
After clearing The Big Score, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the street on a green bike, but instead of going and driving, immediately pause the game and menu over to load the game and load your current save file. This should put you in the middle of an unloaded street, then quickly load you right into the home, where you can progress much faster.
Decide on Option C, so we can get “The Third Way” ending, as this one is the one you have to pick when running Classic. Once you enter the foundry, you’re locked into the endgame, so drive there as quickly as possible to get on with it. You can clear out most of the foundry by sniping everyone, using the RPG, and running.
Once you’ve cleared out and gone outside with Franklin, run directly into the car on fire to start the next part quicker after clearing out more enemies and progressing through the mission. After taking out Stretch, it’s faster to go to the nearby basketball court, kill everyone, drop gasoline on the ground then set it alight to switch characters automatically.
To take down Haines, you can get the snipe on him from ground level by aiming precisely at the top of the Ferris wheel. For once, you should lose the cops by not dying, then switch to Franklin. Finally, you can take out Mr. Cheng by riding your motorcycle to a cliff face, sniping him, then setting the bush on fire and burning yourself to switch again.
Take out the guards at Devin’s house by shooting while driving, kidnap him, then drive off the cliff face to get to the rendezvous. Once you get there, you get a 20-second cutscene, and then the run is over and done with. We even managed to get the best ending along the way, which is nice.
Questions and Answers
Question: How long does it take to Speedrun GTA V?
Answer: The current fastest full-game run of GTA V is Any% Unrestricted, which is a little over 2 hours. Not abusing glitches makes the run just under 6 hours in total.
Question: How long does it take to 100% GTA V?
Answer: Speedrunners have fully completed the game in just under 9 hours total.
Question: How do you Speedrun GTA V?
Answer: The process is similar to a casual run of the game, mostly just doing the required missions while trying to drive fast and pulling off some cool tricks along the way.
While I tend to prefer speed runs of both shorter and more technical games, the Grand Theft Auto 5 speedrun is something to behold. Keeping up the pace and nailing tricks for 5 hours and 42 minutes of intense gameplay is no easy feat. However, there is no denying that even just watching it is impressive, never mind performing it.
This run is a challenging endurance round for any speedrunners out there. But, if you like a longer game that essentially has you more or less playing a majority of the game as intended, then the GTA V speedrun is definitely for you. Just be sure to practice, watch other runners, and learn all the tricks, and you’ll be well on your way to those leaderboards.