- "You forget a thousand things every day. How about you make sure this is one of them?"
- ― Michael De Santa, to a bank guard.
Prologue is the introductory mission in Grand Theft Auto V, which involves protagonists Michael De Santa and Trevor Philips. Set in Ludendorff, North Yankton, in 2004, the mission takes place nine years before the events of the main game.
In December 2004, nine years before the main events of GTA V take place, Michael Townley, Trevor Philips and Brad Snider rob a bank in Ludendorff. After leaving the hostages in the closet near the staff door, Trevor wires an explosive to vault doors, which are set to explode once Michael has made the call on his cell phone. Once the vault doors explode, Michael and Trevor enter the vault and purloin the cash. As the team make their escape, Michael is held at gunpoint by a security guard who removed his mask covering his face and is later shot in the head by Trevor.
Once the group exits the bank, police swarm the scene but are killed in a massive gunfight. As the men reach their getaway vehicle, they proceed to drive away, but the driver dies after getting shot through the skull by the pursuing officers. Michael pushes his body out the door and grabs the wheel, before ramming their pursuers' car into a roadside tree. The group later encounter a police roadblock and while they manage to escape, they are clipped by an oncoming train, causing them to lose control and brutally crash the getaway SUV into a tree. While they manage to survive, Trevor insists that the team should walk an alternative route to their getaway chopper, but Michael demands that they stick to their original plan.
As the men reach their destination, they are shocked to realize that the chopper is missing. Suddenly, a sniper, Dave Norton, hiding around a corner shoots Brad, badly injuring him. Michael appears to take a shot as well and behaves as if he'd been injured, but no blood is seen on him. Trevor, in a massive fit of rage and distraught over his team's immobilization, is forced to fend off the approaching police himself, and flees from some armed pursuing locals.
A funeral for Michael is then shown at a snowy cemetery. Dave Norton supervises the proceedings, while Michael watches on from a distance and flicks away his cigarette.
- Go to the guard.
- Aim at the hostages to make them move
- Use the phone to trigger the explosive charge
- Collect the cash and take out the guard
- Escape the cops and go to the car
- Drive to the helicopter pickup point
- Hold off the cops
- Brad Snider - Killed by Dave Norton during the escape.
- Unknown hired driver - Killed by the police during the chase.
- This mission references the 2012 movie "Man on a Ledge" in which police chase a four by four.
- During the car chase scene, there is an alien frozen under ice under a rail bridge. The player can see this by turning right off the road, heading down to the embankment, and under the railroad bridge. This is an easter egg left in the game by Rockstar Games.
- This mission is set in 2004, the year Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released; this was the last game before GTA V to feature Los Santos.
- First appearances of Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips, Dave Norton, and Brad Snider.
- The early version of this mission can be seen in the second trailer. In it, the team wore slightly different outfits.
- Michael and Trevor's outfits from the Prologue can be worn after GTA V is complete.
- The time period in which this mission takes place can be confusing, as the cars and the way the characters are dressed suggests it takes place in the 80s or early 90s.
- This mission implies that the event took place sometime in December as there are Christmas decorations around the main sign in the bank's foyer as well as the snowy season.
- Apparently members of The Lost MC (Johnny Klebitz for example) were in Los Santos around this time, which explains their badge "I Rode Mine To Los Santos In 2004".