|Spoiler Warning: Plot and/or ending details are in the text which follows.|
Grand Theft Auto V has three discrete endings. Towards the end of the game, Franklin Clinton is forced to assassinate either Trevor Philips for FIB Agents Steve Haines and Dave Norton or Michael De Santa for Devin Weston. Alternatively, Franklin can choose to save both Michael and Trevor and eliminate their collective enemies once and for all. Once the player successfully completes one of the three endings, the remaining two are unlocked in the "Replay Mission" menu; replaying any of the ending missions does not change Michael's or Trevor's endgame status.
The lead up
After Michael escapes from a shootout against a crooked FIB tactical team, the IAA, and Merryweather at the Kortz Center, Michael contacts Agent Norton, demanding to know how Agent Norton is going to get everyone off his back. Agent Norton tells Michael that he can pin the Kortz Center shootout on Agent Andreas Sanchez, who was killed by Agent Haines; however, Agent Norton informs Michael that Agent Haines will want Trevor dead for his general insanity as well as for his recent attacks on Merryweather.
After Franklin rescues Lamar Davis from a Ballas ambush at the sawmill near Paleto Bay and dropping him off at his house, FIB Agents Haines and Norton show up, telling Franklin that he has to assassinate Trevor. Agent Norton tells Franklin that Michael can be reasoned with, but Trevor cannot. Franklin protests, saying he doesn't have a problem with Trevor and asks why they can't get Michael to kill Trevor, and Agent Norton tells Franklin that Michael can't do it because Trevor won't allow him to get close enough to do the job.
After Michael defends his family from a Merryweather attack sent by Weston for ruining his redevelopment plans for the Richards Majestic studio site as well as for causing the death of his legal counsel Molly Schultz, Lester Crest warns Michael that both Weston and Merryweather want him dead. Michael tells Lester that they need to execute the Union Depository heist soon, lest any more heat come their way.
- After The Big Score
Sometime after the Union Depository heist, Weston shows up at Franklin's house, telling Franklin that he wants Michael killed for ruining several of his business ventures. Weston also tries to give Franklin personal motivation for killing Michael by saying that he betrayed everyone he has ever known and got Franklin involved with the FIB in the first place. Franklin retorts by stating that he has yet to be paid for stealing the supercars that Weston requested, and the FIB already wants him to kill Trevor; however, Weston says it doesn't matter, claiming that he has enough clout to end the careers of both Haines and Norton with just a phone call to their superiors.
After Weston leaves, Franklin has to make his decision.
Option A: Kill Trevor
If Franklin decides to kill Trevor, he calls Trevor to meet him in El Burro Heights. Before meeting with Trevor, Franklin calls Michael for his assistance. When Franklin and Trevor meet, Franklin makes his intentions known, and Trevor calls Franklin a traitor just like Michael. Franklin then gives chase to Trevor, eventually ending up at the oil fields, where Michael rams his car into Trevor's pickup, where it crashes into a gasoline tanker. Franklin then shoots the spilling fuel, which ignites and burns Trevor to death.
After killing Trevor, Michael and Franklin still remain friends; however, Michael will no longer hang out with Franklin, claiming that he "needs time" after Trevor's death. Jimmy De Santa will no longer hang out with either Michael or Franklin due to their involvement in Trevor's death. Lamar can continue to hang out with Franklin, albeit only after sundown. Lester splits Trevor's take from the Union Depository heist between Michael and Franklin. When Agent Haines calls Franklin, Franklin reveals that Weston wanted Michael killed and Trevor let go, and Haines tells Franklin that he should've killed both, and that he'll appease Weston. Afterwards, Haines severs his ties with the surviving protagonists, telling Franklin to never contact him again.
Option B: Kill Michael
If Franklin decides to kill Michael, he calls Michael to meet him at the satellite dishes in Blaine County. On the way, Franklin calls Trevor for his assistance; however, Trevor refuses to help him kill Michael. When Franklin and Michael meet, Franklin makes his intentions known. Franklin then gives chase to Michael, where they end up at a factory and up one of its chimneys. During the confrontation, Michael tells Franklin that he was like the son he always wanted, while Franklin argues that he could have been betrayed and killed at any time. Franklin knocks Michael off the chimney, where he falls to his death.
After Franklin kills Michael, Trevor severs all ties with Franklin. Jimmy will no longer hang out with either Franklin or Trevor due to Michael's death. Trevor will also no longer hang out with Lamar; however, Lamar will still hang out with Franklin, albeit only after sundown. Neither Franklin nor Trevor receive Michael's share from the Union Depository heist as Lester had given it to Michael's family. Agent Norton emails Trevor, revealing that he posed as Brad for the last 9 years. When Weston calls Franklin, Franklin reveals that the FIB might be on his case for not executing Trevor, and Weston states that he already spoken to Haines' boss. Afterwards, Weston severs his ties with the surviving protagonists, telling Franklin that he's outlived his usefulness.
Option C: Deathwish
If Franklin chooses to defy both Haines and Weston, he contacts Lester on how to handle the situation. Lester contacts Haines and Weston, telling them that the bullion from the Union Depository heist is being smelted at the foundry in Cypress Flats. Franklin has Michael and Trevor meet him and Lamar at the foundry to ambush the FIB and Merryweather mercenaries. After wiping out the FIB and Merryweather, Franklin has Lester track down the whereabouts of Haines, Weston, Wei Cheng, and Harold "Stretch" Joseph, finding all but Weston. Trevor takes Haines, who is at the Del Perro Pier filming his TV show, Franklin takes Cheng, who is at a club in Pacific Bluffs, and Michael takes Stretch, who is at the B.J. Smith Recreation Center and Park. After eliminating Haines, Cheng and Stretch, Lester finds Weston at his estate, guarded by Merryweather mercenaries. Trevor wipes out Weston's guards and kidnaps Weston, putting him in trunk of his car. Trevor drives to Paleto Cove to wait for Michael and Franklin. The three push Weston's car into the ocean and decide to all remain friends, but choose to end their "professional" relationship.
After eliminating their collective enemies, Don Percival, CEO of Merryweather, emails the protagonists, thanking them for assassinating Weston, which allowed Percival to buy out Weston's stock in Merryweather at cost; however, Percival warns the protagonists to leave Merryweather's interests alone in the future. Agent Norton e-mails Michael, revealing that he will be the new host of The Underbelly of Paradise; Agent Norton also emails Trevor, revealing that he posed as Brad during the last 9 years.