GTA 5’s underwater mod was a tough challenge to tackle – and something you probably shouldn’t do
Grand theft auto 5 for computer there is no shortage of water, so it should be easy to turn Los Santos into a sunken metropolis. But what I got instead was a watery, corpse-filled nightmare that even James Cameron couldn’t use.
At the risk of sounding like an old-school Bond villain, I’ve long been interested in populating the world of Grand Theft Auto 5. Back when the PlayStation 3 was jailed nearly 10 years ago, moderators discovered they could block it. .
I watched a video on YouTube of such a mod in action, with the sea level rising so high that only the tops of the buildings were visible. It was a mesmerizing scene reminiscent of a big-budget disaster movie. But, not wanting to risk getting banned from the PlayStation Network, I’ve never had time to enjoy the joys of a soggy Los Santos.
That is, until last week, when the YouTube algorithm removed another GTA 5 underwater video, this time from the PC version of the game. This long-forgotten idea resurfaced, and after finding a mod that worked (I emptied the first one), Grand Theft Auto 5: Drowning has started.
Admittedly, a significant part of the chaos was due to my sheer stupidity, although I should add that it wasn’t the general population that turned to fish for food. I had already disabled the pedestrians and vehicles, so it was just Trevor, Franklin and Michael who suffered. In principle. There were a few exceptions, but I’ll get to that later.
The good news is that the latest version of GTA 5 prevents you from accessing the Internet with installed mods, so there was no danger of being banned. The bad news is that I happily didn’t think about water depth when I set up 500m Flood, Calm.
I’d like to blame Subnautica for my insanity because it made me think there would be oxygen plants I could fill Michael and his lungs with, but that’s a very old excuse. Granted, I thought 500 meters sounded like a cool, round number and walked away.
If I had done as little research as possible, I would have found out that it is one-third the size of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, if I had thought for a minute, this whole mess could have been avoided. It probably wouldn’t be as much fun though.
So instead of breaking the surface surrounded by the skyscrapers of Lost Santos, Michael died before ever seeing the light of day. Maybe I wasn’t swimming fast enough, I thought, and started hitting the sprint button. Still, it didn’t end well.
Franklin didn’t fare much better, and just when I thought Trevor would be too angry to choke, I was proven wrong by EVERYONE filling the screen. When it appeared on Mount Gordo, it brought me close to the surface, but not close enough.
At this point, a sane person would have backed off and lowered the water level, but I was determined not to give up. If worst came to worst, I could always use one of the GTA 5 cheats to create a mini submarine and continue my underwater adventures that way.
But no, I kept going, doing the same thing and expecting different results. I realized that if I switched between three characters when their lungs were empty and they were starting to run out of health, I could restore their internal strangulation. I continued in this vein for a while, but the next time I went to Michael’s, something different happened.
Specifically, a floating car appeared in his driveway (the water was too cloudy to see if it was there) and crashed into him when I got out to investigate. It didn’t kill him, but it was enough to convince me to try another tactic.
The only good thing about many characters dying before your eyes is that you can experience their character transformation scenes underwater as time goes by. Before the game took control of me, I watched as Michael silently greeted his tailor, nothing but bubbles coming out of his mouth.
Another time, I laughed to myself as he left dinner and said goodbye to his wife, Amanda, who sat down and choked up a few minutes later. Yes, I am a terrible person. Ironically, his son Jimmy seemed content to continue playing his video games, oblivious to the fact that his console was now water cooled.
Franklin also didn’t seem to notice that the bag of chips was flying away, or that he was giving spacesuits to the dancers at the strip club he left. What about Trevor? As with the unmodified GTA5V, his antics were both entertaining and disturbing.
Catching him in the bathroom, he manages to shake hands with Aquaman and fight two underwater porters. I say ‘fight’, but maybe I was just trying not to choke, but when Trevor started swinging, there was no more back-and-forth.
I finally got the hang of it and typed BUBBLES to summon the Kraken mini-sub after opening the game console. It materialized and quickly fell upon Michael. I changed the characters and tried again. This time it fell on Franklin. It wasn’t fatal, but it certainly wasn’t deserved.
After several attempts, I managed to escape. I swam up to the hatch and… nothing. Why? Because while spawning a submarine under “normal” operations in submerged Los Santos, doing so anywhere but on the surface becomes a useless accident.
I wanted to curse the name Rockstar, but I realized how ridiculous that would be. QA departments are struggling enough already, it would be absurd to expect them to compensate for a future user generated mod.
So I admitted defeat and set the water level to a more reasonable 100 meters. It gave me the experience I wanted. Although I don’t want to think about how many Franklins, Michaels and Trevors I’ve been through. I got out into the water, jumped into the hastily summoned submarine and explored the terrifying depths of the city. Rapture, eat his heart out.
Could I have gone well enough on my own? Of course not. So, after maxing out the water depth (and using the short-term invincibility trick), Michael was ripped apart by a shark. I don’t know where that came from – I know this mod doesn’t spawn sea life. Maybe it was GTA 5’s own water god and I dared to control the oceans.
But for now? I think I’ll be staying on dry land for future releases of GTA 5.