grand theft auto 5 on personal computer Water modsm are not lacking, so turning Los Santos into a sunken metropolis should have been easy. But what I got instead was an aquatic, corpse-heavy nightmare that not even James Cameron could capitalize on.

At the risk of sounding like an old-school Bond villain, I’ve had a long-standing interest in flooding the world of Grand Theft Auto 5. When the PlayStation 3 was jailbroken a good 10 years ago, modders discovered they could tamper with how it worked.

It’s amazing that such an old game can look so good.>

I watched a YouTube video of one such mod in action, raising the sea level so high that only the tops of the buildings were visible. It was an awe-inspiring and unsettling sight, reminiscent of a big-budget disaster movie. But not wanting to risk being banned from PlayStation Network, I never got to experience the joys of humid Los Santos.

That was until a week ago, YouTube’s algorithm threw up another underwater GTA 5 video, this time from the PC version of the game. This long-forgotten idea resurfaced and after I found a mod that worked (I drew a blank with the first one), Grand Theft Auto 5: The Drowning started.

Here’s Franklin swimming with some chips.

Admittedly, a significant part of the chaos was due to my own apparent stupidity, although I should add that it wasn’t the general population that was being made into fish food. I had already obstructed pedestrians and traffic, so it was only Trevor, Franklin, and Michael who suffered. Most of time. 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 going online with mods installed, so I wasn’t in danger of getting banned. The bad news is that when I happily installed 500m Flood, Calm, I hadn’t really thought about how deep the water was going to be.


Is it maybe peaceful?

I’d like to blame Subnautica for my stupidity for making me think there were oxygen plants I could use to refill Michael and Co’s lungs, but that’s a pretty flimsy excuse. The truth is, I thought 500m sounded like a cool, round number, and off I went.

If I had done even a little research, I would have found that that’s a good third as much as the Eiffel Tower. If I had thought for just a minute, this whole mess could have been averted. It probably wouldn’t have been that much fun though.

Instead of breaking the surface, surrounded by the peaks of Lost Santos’ skyscrapers, Michael died before he even saw sunlight. Maybe I wasn’t swimming fast enough, I thought, so I started hitting the sprint button. Again it didn’t end well.

Franklin fared no better, and while I thought Trevor was too angry to drown, a full-screen WASTED proved me wrong. He got me closest to the surface when he appeared on Mount Gordo, but it wasn’t close enough.


I have questions about how this works.

At that point, a sane person would have gone back and lowered the water level, but I was determined not to give up. Worst case I could still use one of GTA 5’s cheats to spawn a minisub and continue my underwater adventures that way.

But no, I stuck with it, did the same thing and expected different results. I discovered that if I switched back and forth between the three characters as their lungs emptied and their health began to dwindle, I could reset their internal drowning meter. I continued like that for a while, but the next time I switched to Michael, something different happened.


The only thing “wasted” here is my time.

One car in particular appeared to be swimming in his driveway (the water was too murky to tell if it was his) and when I swam over to check it fell on him. It didn’t kill him, but it was enough to convince me to take a different path.

The only good thing about having so many characters die in front of your eyes is that as the time flies, you get to experience their character change scenes underwater. I watched Michael silently wave to his tailor, nothing but bubbles out of his mouth, before the game handed control over to me.

On another occasion, I laughed silly as he left lunch to say goodbye to his wife, Amanda, who, also sitting, drowned moments later. Yes, I am a terrible person. Oddly enough, his son Jimmy seemed content to continue playing his video games, oblivious to the fact that his console was now water-cooled.


Ironically, he hates underwater levels.

Franklin, too, didn’t seem to notice that his bag of chips was floating away or that the strip club he was leaving was probably giving out Aqualungs to its dancers. And Trevor? As in the unmodified GTA5V, his antics were equally entertaining and disturbing.

Aside from catching him shaking hands with Aquaman in the bathroom, he managed to get into an argument with two underwater bouncers. I say fight but it may be they were just trying not to drown but once I started swinging as Trevor there was no turning back.

Eventually I saw sense and brought up the game console and typed BUBBLES to summon a Kraken mini sub. It materialized and promptly fell on Michael. I switched characters and tried again. This time it fell to Franklin. It wasn’t fatal, but it was definitely undignified.


You know that beautiful underwater episode of Bojack Horseman? This is nothing like that.

A few tries later I had managed to dodge. I swam over to the hatch and… nothing. Why? Because while a submarine spawns under the “normal” works in flooded Los Santos, somewhere other than the surface this turns into a non-functional wreck.

I wanted to curse Rockstar’s name, but then I realized how ridiculous that would be. QA departments have it tough enough as it is, it would be absurd to expect them to compensate for a future user-made mod.

So I gave up and adjusted the water level to a more reasonable 100 metres. This gave me the experience I was longing for. although I don’t want to think about how many Franklins, Michaels and Trevors I’ve been through. I made it to the surface, jumped into a hastily summoned submarine, and explored the city’s eerie depths. Rapture, eat your heart out.


Amanda? I hardly knew her.

Could I leave good enough alone? Of course not. So, after maxing out the water depth (and using a short-term invincibility cheat), Michael was ripped to pieces by a shark. I don’t know where it came from – I know this mod doesn’t spawn sea life. Maybe it was GTA 5’s water deity who was angry that I had dared to take control of the oceans.

But for now? I think I’ll stay on land for future GTA 5 outings. Digging into GTA 5’s underwater mod was a titanic challenge – and probably something you shouldn’t be doing