Garbut revealed that protagonist-switching mechanics were planned from the beginning of GTA5's development as the team pieced together character dynamics and the game's overall tone. While he feels that the feature worked to the game's benefit in the end, Garbut notes that the team took a big risk in making such a critical change to the core GTA series formula.
"[Having] multiple characters was a leap of faith," Garbut explained. "It was an interesting idea, and it felt like we could do interesting things with it, but it also felt like a change to the core of the game that might backfire. I think it really worked out. It's so hard during development to get perspective -- you get so used to looking for the problems that it becomes almost impossible to step back and see the positives."
Grand Theft Auto 5 featured a story in which protagonists Michael, Franklin, and Trevor take part in key narrative moments both individually and as a group, allowing players to switch between the trio throughout. Previous series entries traditionally featured a single playable protagonist.