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The team's main motivation for including three protagonists was for Grand Theft Auto V to innovate game storytelling and to prevent the series from feeling stale by not evolving the core structure of the gameplay.
The concept of having three interconnected protagonists was devised during the development of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004), but the team felt they did not have the technical capabilities to realise it.
Ned Luke portrayed Michael, Shawn "Solo" Fonteno portrayed Franklin and Steven Ogg portrayed Trevor.
During the initial audition process, Ogg noticed an on-set chemistry between him and Luke, which he felt helped secure them the roles.
In the game's prologue, Michael takes part in a botched robbery in Ludendorff, North Yankton, in 2004 that forces one of his accomplices, Trevor Philips, into hiding; the robbery seemingly leads to his death.
Nine years later, now in 2013 Trevor discovers that Michael's death was faked and that he is living in Los Santos under witness protection with his family.
Michael De Santa (né Townley) is one of the three playable protagonists of Grand Theft Auto V.
In gameplay, the three characters' differing personalities and qualities are intended to appeal to a broad spectrum of players, while offering players the option to learn more about the characters throughout the game.Because the actors had their dialogue and movements recorded on-set, they considered their performances were no different those of film or television roles.Their dialogue was scripted so that it did not allow the actors to ad-lib; however they sometimes made small changes to the performance with approval from the directors.The team's decided to focus on money as the game's central theme in response to the 2007–08 financial crisis; the effects of the crisis on the main characters are the catalyst for them to conduct heist missions.The team were encouraged by the positive reaction to the "Three Leaf Clover" mission in Grand Theft Auto IV—in which an elaborate heist is coordinated and executed by the lead protagonist Niko Bellic and accomplices—to develop the story around the heists.