In GTA 5, there are four playable characters that you unlock as the game progresses, Franklin Clinton, Michael De Santa, Trevor Phillips, and your own customizable character for GTA 5 Online. Each of the three playable offline characters offers a unique playstyle so switching between them is the best way to get the most out of your GTA 5 experience.
Because it’s so integral to the gameplay, GTA 5 has made switching characters a seamless process that doesn’t detract from the gameplay or immersion. After the prologue in which you play briefly as both Michael and Trevor, you begin the main campaign playing as Franklin. By progressing in the main missions you’ll unlock Michael, and later Trevor. You can create your GTA 5 Online character at any time after you’ve finished the prologue mission.
After you’ve unlocked them, you can switch between the four characters at almost any time when not playing a mission. One or more of the three playable offline characters occasionally become locked for story-related reasons until you progress in the main campaign. It’s also worth noting that each of the characters will go about their lives while not being controlled by the player. Because of this, when you switch to a character, they may be in a different place than where you left them. More interestingly, you’ll see one of a wide variety of unique animations that show the character finishing up a task before you begin playing as them.
Two ways to switch between characters in GTA 5
There are a couple of ways to switch between characters in GTA 5…
- The first way is done by pressing and holding the Left Alt key. This will open the character selection wheel in the bottom right corner of the screen. You can click the portrait of whichever character you want to play as to switch to them. While holding down the Left Alt key you can also use your mouse to hover over the character portraits to see their individual stats. For console gamers, you can switch between characters by pressing the down button on the D-pad then use the right analog stick to choose your character or view their stats, and finally release the down button to switch to that character.
- The second way to switch between characters is to use the keybindings. You can press F5 to switch to Michael, F6 to switch to Franklin, F7 to switch to Trevor, and F8 to switch to your GTA 5 Online character. Additionally, certain story and side missions can only be played by certain characters and if you attempt to start the mission with the wrong character, the game will prompt you to change. In some cases, such as in the prologue, the game will automatically change characters for you.