- "Ludendorff, North Yankton, 9 years ago."
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 January/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 the vault doors, which are set to explode once Michael has made the call on his cell phone. Once it is detonated, 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 the mask covering Michael's face. However, he is shot in the head by Trevor.
Once the group exit the bank, police swarm to the scene, but are killed in a massive gunfight. As the men reach their getaway vehicle, they proceed to drive away, but the driver is killed after getting shot through the head by pursuing officers. Michael pushes his body out of the door, grabbing the wheel, before ramming their pursuers' car into a roadside tree. The group later encounters 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. Abruptly, a sniper, Dave Norton, hiding around a corner, shoots Brad, mortally wounding 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 the scene, pursued by armed 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.
- Take out the guard.
- Get to cover.
- Escape the Cops.
- Get 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.
- Outside of the bank there is a dead security guard with a gunshot wound on his head, its strong inplied that he was killed by Trevor Philips due to his homicidal tendencies.
- The Aiming in this mission in set to Traditional GTA by default.
- This mission references the 2012 movie "Man on a Ledge," in which the police chase a four-by-four, and also includes both vehicles being hit by a train at the rear.
- 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.
- Due to the mission being set 9 years before the main storyline, Michael and Trevors appearances are considerably different. Trevor sports a more full head of hair and a mullet with a handlebar mustache as opposed to his balding head in the main storyline. Michael has less wrinkles and a shorter haircut.
- Michael and Trevor's character icons in the selection wheel show their 2004 appearance rather than their 2013 appearance. Interestingly enough, Trevor's icon shows him wearing the balaclava and goggles for the entire mission, even after he takes it off during the first shootout.
- 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.
- If Michael or Trevor are killed in the mission, the mission fails and the text displayed says "M died" or "T died" due to both characters not being properly introduced by name.
- This is the first appearances of Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips, Dave Norton, and Brad Snider.
- This is the only time Brad appears alive, despite being mentioned repeatedly within the storyline, mainly by Trevor, and his corpse appears in Bury the Hatchet.
- The early version of this mission can be seen in the second trailer. In it, the team wore slightly different outfits.
- This is, chronologically, the first mission in the HD Universe.
- This mission is set in December or early January after Christmas Eve 2003, due to a Christmas tree being visible in the window of the house to the right of the barn during the final shootout as well as Christmas decorations around the main sign in the bank's foyer. Interestingly enough, when the player returns to North Yankton in the mission Bury the Hatchet, the Christmas tree is still up. This is most likely just a developer oversight, as the North Yankton setting would of simply just been re-used with no changed to it. This does not mean the main missions are also set in December nor January.
- Michael and Trevor's outfits from the Prologue can be worn after GTA V is complete.
- The cell phone in this mission is different from the main story, since the mission takes place in 2004.
- Parts of the heist could possibly be based off of the armored truck robbery scene in the movie "The Town."
- Foreshadowing later revelations about the background of this mission, Michael does not bleed out when he is shot at all, as compared to Brad, who bleeds after he is shot. It is explained later in the game that Michael was wearing a bulletproof vest and this entire mission was a setup to get Trevor and Brad both killed/arrested so that Michael could end his criminal life and live in peace in Los Santos.
- During the cutscene when Michael tells Trevor to run and he is going to bleed out, Brad can be seen finally succumbing to his wounds, and his body will not move after this, indicating he has died.
- This is the only time where the Esperanto Police car and the Police Rancher appears.
- As with all the other missions, if you choose to replay this level anytime during the main storyline, the characters weapon wheel will have the weapons already collected in game.
- Some police officers in the mission have the same skin as Dave Norton in this mission.
- Many protagonists refer the ill-fated robbery of 2004 to have happened 10 years ago, despite the mission actually happening in 2004, 9 years ago. This strongly reinforces the context that the mission takes place in early January 2004, where Christmas decorations from 2003 weren't still removed.