'Claude' is the playable protagonist of GTA III. He was left for dead after a bank heist with Catalina, resulting in his arrest by the police. Claude later escaped with 8-Ball when a bridge they were being transported on to prison, Callahan Bridge, was blown up. Building a reputation among crime bosses and rising in the ranks of the underworld, Claude eventually killed Catalina near the end of the storyline.
In GTA2, The protagonist is Claude Speed, the game takes place in about 2013, it was said that Claude was captured a few years after GTAIII, and frozen until 2013.
Claude's name is never disclosed in the game itself, as such, prior names given to him by fans included "the GTA III guy", "Fido" (as a nickname invented by Maria) and "Kid". Although it is revealed that his name can be found deep within GTA III. The name is only formally mentioned and suggested in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA). In it, Claude established a love relationship with Catalina; the couple then left the fictional West Coast state of San Andreas for Liberty City, after losing in a car race with Carl "CJ" Johnson. Later, CJ receives several phone calls from Catalina, two of which references a person named "Claude." This suggests the main character of GTA III is in fact called "Claude," assuming Catalina is referring to him. Many fans may consider this a retcon, seeing as there is no evidence within GTA III's actual gaming aspect that shows the designers intended the character's name to be Claude.
While Carl Johnson could be seen as having to deal with adverse circumstances, (the death of his mother, the betrayal of various individuals, survival in the ghetto) Claude was arguably a much less morally redeemable character. He is given the job of cold-blooded assassination (that is, with no personal knowledge of the target) on a large number of occasions, and performs these with none of CJ's vocal reluctance. Also, while CJ's motivations were almost entirely personal, (avenging his mother's death, the removal of Tenpenny's control of him, and the security of his neighbourhood) it is implied that Claude's interest in underworld seniority is almost as strong as his desire for revenge upon Catalina.
Throughout the game, Claude has largely remained speechless and is never heard talking, remaining so during his brief cameo in San Andreas. This trait was referenced in GTA III, when suggests on the Chatterbox radio show that "Claude don't talk too much." In San Andreas, Carl Johnson also refers him as a "mute" and a "snake without a tongue".