Strap in folks, this one’s going to be quite the ride. Some of you who follow the various online communities that have sprung up around GTA 5 will probably be aware of the Mt.Chiliad mystery, which is centred around a strange mural found near the top of the game’s highest peak. Even three years after release, the game still has some unsolved mysteries and easter eggs – however, the longest standing of them all may have been toppled.
Before we go on, keep in mind that pretty much the entire story of GTA 5 is spoiled in this article, so reader discretion is advised. We know the game is 3 years old, but it’s still selling really well – after all, it recently broke the 70 million mark – so countless new players are flocking to it daily. You’ve been warned.
One extremely dedicated and very likely a tad crazy – but the good kind of crazy – fan has put immense effort into analysing the mural while also taking the entire plotline of the game and reworking it as a film script to help him decipher what each glyph and symbol on the mural meant… and unfortunately the end result seems to be a dead end for the mystery.
Thing is, when you’ve got such a long running and popular mystery, it’s almost impossible for its solution to be satisfying. However, this case is a bit different, since while the mural itself hasn’t been “solved” before, the mystery hunters have already progressed further. The next step has already been reached, so this revelation is just plugging a gap.
Some of you may also remember that dust kicked up by the discovery of the bigfoot peyote some time ago. Peyotes in GTA 5 are hidden items that, when consumed, turn the player character into a given animal for a brief period of time. The bigfoot peyote was long rumoured to be in the game, however, it took sifting through the code to finally discover the exact sequence of prerequisites needed to unlock it.
Many thought that this was the bottom of the rabbit hole, so to say, but the mystery was far from over. A group of players kept digging and found that unlocking the bigfoot was just yet another step on a longer journey. We covered both phenomena in-depth at the time, but long story short, while playing as the sasquatch, players had the chance to happen upon another cryptid.
The beast introduced in Freemode Events appeared in single player as well, as a rival to the bigfoot. After a very lengthy chase, the player, still transformed into the sasquatch, had to defeat the beast in an epic showdown with a lightning storm and everything. Doing so unlocked the beast as an actor in the Editor. Once again, it seemed as if the mystery had concluded, but knowing GTA 5, some new clue will pop up soon.
Now, it might not surprise you to learn that it was actually one of the guys who had a big part in unravelling the bigfoot and beast mysteries that solved the Chiliad mural. Going by the handle “Sir_Galehaut” on Reddit, this particular GTA 5 mystery hunter just couldn’t get enough of the easter eggs.
After participating in a massive team effort to uncover both the bigfoot and beast mysteries, he decided it’s time to tackle the longest standing mystery of them all: the Chiliad mural. What he found is a tad anticlimactic – it doesn’t lead to any new mysteries, and it isn’t particularly mystifying either.
In essence, the mural is a plot summary of the storyline of GTA 5. That’s it. It’s an abstraction of the plotline filled with symbolism to represent characters and major plot points. But how did Sir Galehaut get to this conclusion? Well, a bloody tonne of research, hard work and just the right amount of insanity, is how.
When faced with the challenge, Galehaut tried to get as scientific as you can when talking about a rough picture from a video game. He wrote up two massive analyses, one regarding the mural itself and another about how the plotline of GTA 5 follows the structure of a film rather than that of a typical video game. The latter is required for the unravelling of the former due to the prominence of plot progression.
While not entirely relevant to the solution, and essentially just being a streamline plot summary, the write-up is an interesting read for people with some interest in structuring and scripting. It might also be a good way to catch up with the plot of GTA 5 if you’re on of those players who rushed through the prologue only to play Online and not touch single player.
But, to the point – the mural. Basically, Galehaut has spent copious amounts of his free time attaching meaning to the various symbols seen on it, and has produced one of the most plausible-sounding theories for its solution. Obviously, the mural on first glance depicts a mountain – presumably Chiliad – with a UFO at its peak, which has been discovered.
However, the mural is also an analogy for the storyline of the game, including all three endings. Basically, the foot of the mountain is the beginning of the tale, and the peak is ending C. The three large symbols at the bottom represent the protagonists, with the two on the sides being Trevor and Michael.
This is supported by the fact that they’re connected, while the one in the middle isn’t. Trevor and Michael knew each other before the beginning of the story, while Franklin only came into the picture later on. The numerous “tunnels” in the mountain are not, in fact, actual physical tunnels that players simply haven’t discovered yet, but are instead the plot threads leading to significant events in GTA 5’s story.
The small box above Michael’s symbol on the left represents the act of demolishing the house of Martin Madrazo, while the box in between the symbols of Franklin and Trevor (centre and right) represents the moment when Trevor realises that Michael is still alive and kicking (and heisting).
Then, as you move higher up the mountain, you reach the roughly cross-shaped tunnel intersection in the middle which leads to two boxes and the UFO at the top. This intersection represents the player’s choice at the end of the game. Option C, where both Trevor and Michael survive, leads to the UFO – even though 100% completion is technically possible with the death of either.
So there you have it. The “biggest mystery” of GTA 5 is literally just a rear cover blurb with all the spoilers. That’s it. Now, there’s definitely some more mystery going on with the whole beast discovery. After all, discovering the bigfoot simply lead to the discovery of the beast. Even if this isn’t part of the grand design, and it’s just one programmer hiding stuff in the code for fun, we’re betting there’s more to it.
It’s pretty amazing that so long after release, GTA 5 still hasn’t revealed all of its secrets. How many more easter eggs remain obscured in the world of Los Santos and Blaine County – and how many will stay hidden?
Do you have any personal theories about the GTA 5 Chiliad Mystery?