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Claude (Grand Theft Auto)

Claude refers to a set of fictional characters in the Grand Theft Auto video game series. Claude Speed, the first "Claude" introduced, appeared in Grand Theft Auto 2 as the player-controlled protagonist. The second, and later, rendition of the character, known simply as Claude, played the same role in Grand Theft Auto III, and appeared briefly in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as a non-playable character.

Due to similarities between both renditions' first names, manner of attire, and physical appearances, speculation may occur regarding whether Claude Speed and Claude are the same character. There is no official indication as to whether this is true, however.

Grand Theft Auto 2 rendition

Little is known about the main character of GTA2. The plot of the game basically involves him being freed from prison and awakened from cryonic sleep with a bad case of amnesia. The storyline then shifts to his goal of becoming the "King of the City" by any means necessary.

DMA Design, the primary producer of the GTA series, had released a promotional movie for the game (which was also compiled into the opening cinematic of the game) depicting a live-action rendition of Claude committing several criminal acts, similar in all Grand Theft Auto games. In the movie, Claude is seen performing jobs for several crime bosses, but has been seen to show no apparent loyalty to any gang as he is seen driving a rival gang of gunners to a hangout of another gang, where a firefight would occur. By the end of the movie, Claude is shot in the back three times by an assassin from the Zaibatsu Corporation (whose van and merchandise were previously stolen by Claude), as he attempted to break into a sports car. Claude collapses, implying he is killed.

The movie's version of Claude shares a few physical appearances with the Claude in Grand Theft Auto III canon, including slicked hair and his attire — black jacket, collar-less undershirt, and long pants. The movie version, however, was also depicted speaking and displaying an array of emotions, a characteristic not seen in either the GTA III or the GTA:SA versions.

Scott Maslen played the movie rendition of Claude Speed.

Grand Theft Auto III rendition

An alternative rendition of the character, known simply as "Claude", has appeared in the Grand Theft Auto III canon. While his name is never disclosed in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hinted his name to be "Claude", as uttered by Catalina during several phone conversations throughout the course of the game. It was also revealed in GTA III's data files that the player was once allowed to enter their own character name, and the "DEFNAM" (default name) value for it was "Claude"

Claude's last name is never disclosed in GTA III or GTA:SA, thus it remains unclear whether the GTA III and GTA:SA renditions of Claude is in fact the same individual as the GTA2 rendition. However, GTA III shares a few elements with GTA2 (among them, the mention of "Zaibatsu Pharmaceuticals" that is similar to the Zaibatsu Corporation gang in GTA2, the Head Radio station, and the distribution of districts in Liberty City). Although Rockstar Games have never fully clarified a connection between the two characters, Rockstar president Sam Houser—discussing the development of GTAIII in an interview with Edge magazine—said: "...there’s been a lot of debate about these things—like whether [the GTAIII lead character's] name is Claude Speed, or whether he’s this or he’s that—and it was a lot less planned out than that."


Claude is seen wearing a black leather jacket with a black t-shirt, green cargo pants, and black trainers with white soles. He has brown hair with his fringe sticking out.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Claude's first chronological appearance in the Grand Theft Auto III-era storyline was a cameo as a thug in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where he races against, and loses to Carl Johnson in 1992. Catalina had recently dumped Carl, and had taken interest in Claude. After the race, she informs Carl that the two of them need to keep their car to go to Liberty City, and instead of a pink slip, gave him the deed to a run-down car garage in San Fierro.

After leaving for Liberty City, Catalina phones Carl at certain plot points. One phone call seemingly indicates Catalina was intending to speak to Claude, mentioning Claude's first name; another has Catalina in mid-orgasm, screaming the same first name.

Grand Theft Auto III

Claude's second chronological appearance takes place in October 2001. Catalina betrays Claude by shooting him shortly after a successful bank robbery in Liberty City, and leaves him for dead. After his arrest by the police, Claude is en route to prison when his prison transport is ambushed by members of the Colombian Cartel (who kidnap an oriental prisoner). Claude escapes with the help of 8-Ball, who takes advantage of the ensuing chaos, and works his way into the favor of the Leone family of the Liberty City Mafia to help fight against the Triads and Forellis.

He eventually helps destroy a large freighter of SPANK, a drug that Catalina and her new accomplice Miguel are pushing around the city with the help of the Colombian Cartel. His help to the Leone family at the beginning of the game is rewarded with a death trap (due to Maria starting rumors of an affair with Claude), from which he is saved by Don Salvatore Leone's adulterous wife, Maria. She introduces him to Asuka Kasen, who is the co-leader of the Yakuza. To prove that Claude has completely severed ties with the Leone family in favor of the Yakuza, Asuka allows him to kill Salvatore.

Following the successful assassination, Claude works his way up the Yakuza ladder, gaining the favor of the waka gashira of the Yakuza, Kenji Kasen. He also assists a corrupt cop named Ray Machowski and the Media millionaire Donald Love. He is eventually asked to kill Kenji by Love, and to frame the Colombian Cartel for the job, by driving a Cartel Car. With Kenji dead, Asuka takes over the Yakuza, and becomes obsessed with revenge against the Cartel. She sends Claude on a number of missions to slow down the spread of SPANK in Liberty City.

Eventually, Asuka is killed, and Maria is kidnapped, with a note from Catalina left behind. Claude confronts her, kills her after a lengthy battle, and saves Maria, if only to (apparently) kill her after having to deal with her whining.


In contrast to the verbose protagonists of the later GTA games—Tommy Vercetti, Carl Johnson, Toni Cipriani, Victor Vance and Niko Bellic—Claude in GTA III is never seen or heard uttering a single word throughout his appearances (in GTA III, he can be heard uttering mild, quiet sounds of pain when injured or killed). During the course of the game, Maria makes a telephone call to Lazlow's show on Chatterbox FM, saying that she's met a new man but "he don't talk too much." Claude continued to be a silent character throughout San Andreas; Carl Johnson himself also references, and cursed Claude's silence in a rage after seeing the run-down garage he won from him, describing him as a "mute asshole" and a "fucking snake without a tongue."

Alternate names

In GTA III, Claude is only referred to as "Fido" by Maria and "Kid" by other characters. In GTA2, Claude Speed's in-game name is simply given as a myriad of nicknames from nine bosses of seven gangs:

  • "Gecko" by all three heads (Trey Welsh, Red Valdez and Uno Carb) of the Zaibatsu Corporation.
  • "Jumbo" by Elmo, head of the Loonies.
  • "Kosai" by Johnny Zoo, head of the Yakuza.
  • "Rooster" by Billy Bob Bean, head of the Rednecks.
  • "THC-303" by Dr LaBrat, head of the SRS Scientists.
  • "Comrade" by Jerkov, head of the Russian Mafia.
  • "Grasshopper" by Sunbeam, head of the Hare Krishna.

Notes and references

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