In the rock star games Grand Theft Auto V, Michael de Santa's former life as a bank robber is revisited when a series of mistakes draws him back into a life of crime. As one of three playable characters in the game, Michael stands out for being the one least interested in the criminal lifestyle that surrounds all heavy motor vehicle theft protagonists.
10 unpopular opinions about Grand Theft Auto V (according to Reddit)
Over the course of the game, players witness Michael reconcile his desire to hold on to his non-criminal life-including producing a movie with his favorite director-with the realization that he is truly talented at pulling off exciting, lucrative heists. And he enjoys it too. It's Michael's complexities that make him one of the most playable characters in the world GTA franchise.
The quote, said to a guard in both the prologue heist and the game's first heist, feels like Michael's trademark and lets Trevor know he's still alive. It is also one of the best quotes in GTA V.
The brilliance behind this line is in how it demonstrates Michael's personality. His insistence that people forget about him – while ironically making him more memorable – is also evidence that, unlike Trevor, he doesn't want to kill. He even calls the guard at the jewelry store robbery "buddy," a subtle sign of his compassion.
During the opening credits, Michael is in a therapy session when his doctor asks about his son, and Michael expresses his disdain that Jimmy hasn't gone anywhere in his life, even though Jimmy has so many options due to his family's wealth.
This detail about his early criminal history is the first part of Michael's backstory that players will learn about. It also contrasts well with his rich life now, as he sought out a therapist on a beachfront property. Nevertheless, the satisfaction he had hoped for from a legitimate life never materialized. He may get back into crime out of necessity, but he definitely misses the excitement, too.
Michael says this line to Jimmy when his son accuses him of being a terrible person. Rather than fight it, Michael admits it, but insists he never saw himself in the role of a villain.
5 ways GTA V has changed for the better since launch (& 5 ways it's gotten worse)
Unlike his conversation with his therapist, Michael does not justify himself by saying that he took advantage of the only opportunities he had. Instead, he shows some honest self-reflection surprisingly early in the game, realizing that he may have been lying to himself all those years ago. Yes he had thought of himself as the good guy, but admits this doesn't fit his actions.
When Franklin makes it clear that he wants to work with Michael and that he thinks Michael is too young to retire, he gets this line in response.
It's fitting that this dialogue takes place in the "Father/Son" mission, because although the focus of the mission is to save Jimmy from boat thieves, the mentor/mentee relationship shown between Michael and Franklin is like a surrogate father/son relationship and will be for the remainder of the game. It's not obvious at first viewing, and the advice may seem coldly cynical and not followed, but it's definitely a fatherly moment.
Michael and Jimmy have a difficult relationship throughout the game. Jimmy insists that Michael's attempts at commitment are not real, that Michael is just afraid of being alone. In a way Jimmy is right.
At the same time, however, there is real emotion behind his words and actions. Eventually, Michael left his old life because he was building a family and no longer wanted to be part of the criminal underworld. He's not always good at showing he loves his son, but deep down he definitely does.
Michael makes this comment when he tells Franklin how he is under the FIB of the FIB and that he is thinking of leaving town. This line is triggered by Franklin assuring Michael that he is happy to work with him, as Franklin has made more money in one robbery than he has in his entire life.
Again, Michael's past clearly hangs over him, not in the form of Trevor or the FIB, but internally. He realizes he is adept at being a criminal. Now that he's back doing what he loves, he can finally be honest with himself. It may be a small detail of GTA V, but it helps to show Michael's overall progress.
Michael, an avid film fan, meets his filmmaking idol Solomon Richards and even has the dream opportunity to work with him on a film. However, Solomon reveals that both his son and Devin Westin are trying to close the studio, leading to this line.
5 reasons why Grand Theft Auto V is Rockstar's best game (& 5 reasons why it's Red Dead Redemption II)
Filmmakers have always been driven by a desire to bring dreams to life on screen, and it's not hard to tell that video game companies like Rockstar are passionate about doing the same thing. Although they have always been in his shoes, players see that Michael has a real passion for something other than committing crimes, and in this way he becomes a reflection of the players' own love GTA V itself.
As Trevor is annoyed by Michael's sarcasm, Michael gives him this answer as an explanation of why he takes such an attitude to the situation (planning the Paleto Bay score) and to his current life in general.
Michael's insistence that he is being persecuted for "honest mistakes" rings hollow in retrospect, considering the egregious crimes committed by the protagonists in GTA V. A detail hidden in this complaint, however, is a real revelation of the character: he still considers Trevor his best friend. In a way it is a sad fact, as it shows how lonely Michael was, but it also shows that despite everything he can't help but still see Trevor, the psychotic Trevor, as his Best Friend.
Now Michael has finally made it clear to Franklin what happened to Brad, and when Franklin chides him for screwing over everyone he's ever known, Michael gives him this explanation. He found a way out of this life of crime, a way to hold his own and keep his family safe.
Michael was anything but a family man, his private life was a mockery of the typical TV family, but he always maintained that he loved them: even though his relationship with Amanda is no longer loving, he still cares for them, and definitely still loves his children, which he tries but often fails to express adequately.
In his final therapy session of the game, after surviving a three-way shootout between the FIB, the IAA and Merryweather, Michael is able to admit to himself that what he really wants is both to live a normal life and to experience the excitement of crime, because those experiences have been the most fun he has had in nine years.
While this moment isn't the end of Michael's story, he's finally able to be completely honest with himself about what he wants and how these two conflicting desires have stirred him up so much emotionally. Psychologically, he finally had his breakthrough. As he says at the end of "Third Way", he still has problems, but at least he understands them now.