Skills work as the unique stats of each playable character. Just as in GTA San Andreas, they are adjustable, however less variable and specific. There are eight categories of these skills.
How long a Special Ability can remain active while fully charged. Store more charge for a greater maximum duration. Increasing is specific to each character.
- Increase by scoring headshots, executing stealth takedowns, doing yoga sessions, drinking wheatgrass in his safehouse, letting his health drop down to 25% and maintaining high speeds in vehicles as Michael.
- Increase by driving against the flow of traffic, narrowly avoiding collisions, and maintaining high speeds in vehicles as Franklin.
- Increase by performing things that will make him furious like taking damage, falling over, running into pedestrians, getting hit by vehicles on the road, killing enemies, scoring headshots, and maintaining high speeds in vehicles as Trevor.
How long the player can run, swim, or cycle at full speed before losing health due to overexertion. Increase this skill by practicing any of these disciplines. Every 18 yards (or 16 meters) the player runs or minutes they swim, the stamina skill will raise by 1%. This skill is extremely useful as the player will have unlimited stamina after maxing out this skill.
The player's skill in handling firearms. Dampens recoil, reduces reload time, heightens accuracy, and increases ammo capacity. Increase this skill by landing hits on enemies, scoring head-shots, and successfully completing Shooting Range challenges. The player can raise his shooting skill with the gun challenges. It will raise at 3% for gold medals, 2% for silver medals and 1% for bronze medals.
The player's physical power and resilience. Boosts melee damage, speeds up ladder climbing, improves sporting agility, and reduces damage taken from various sources (Including damage to armor). Increase by scoring hits in melee combat and practicing sports. For every 20 punches the player land, the strength skill will raise by 1%. Killing cows on the Grapeseed Farms gives the player almost the same amount of percent for every 20 punches. Playing Golf or Tennis will assist in enhancing this skill.
The player's skill at remaining undetected. Move quickly and quietly when in stealth mode. Increase this skill by remaining undetected and performing silent takedowns when in stealth mode. The player can raise this skill by performing stealth takedowns and walking while in stealth mode. For every two stealth takedown the player land, the stealth skill will heighten by 1.5%, while every forty-yards the player walks in stealth mode will heighten it by 1%.
In GTA Online, stealth will remove the player's blip on the radar in deathmatches (the blips are determined by noise and line of sight). [This is not the case in Freemode or Last Team Standing (unconfirmed).]
The player's skill in the cockpit of various aircrafts. Take off, land, and manage turbulence more easily. Increase this skill by flying for sustained periods and succeeding at flight school challenges. The player receives a 3% to 5% increase of the Flying skill for every gold medal he gets in flight school. For those who do not wish to participate in this activity, for every 10 minutes spent flying, the Flying skill will raise by 1%. Flying under a bridge will increase the Flying skill by 1%.
The player's skill behind the wheel or handlebars. Pop wheelies more easily and retain more control while airborne. Increase this skill by holding wheelies and landing squarely out of big jumps. Every second spent in the air while driving the Driving skill will raise by 1%. Also every successful Stunt Jump gives the player around of 2 or 3%. It can also be increased simply by driving vehicles without hitting anything. Driving head-on into oncoming traffic going the opposite way, without hitting any cars raises this as well.
How long the player's character can hold his breath underwater before losing health. Remain submerged for longer. Increase this skill by diving and swimming underwater, and practicing yoga. Every minute spent swimming underwater the Lung Capacity skill will raise by 1%. Unranked, a character can hold their breath roughly 15 seconds before taking damage. Every 20% milestone grants 5 extra seconds the character can hold their breath for.
Save for the Special Skill, the player's character can build their seven main skills through the same methods. The online stats are measured through the customizable character's Lifestyle. Stats are determined indirectly through choosing character's allocation of hours spent on daily activities. These allocations have direct stat analogy relationships as listed bellow.
|Asleep||Stamina, Strength, Stealth, Lung Capacity||--||12|
|With Friends & Family||Stamina, Strength||Shooting||4|
|Playing Sports & Working Out||Stamina, Strength, Lung Capacity||Shooting, Driving||8|
|Doing Legal Work||Stamina, Stealth, Flying||Driving||10|
|Sitting on the Couch||Flying, Driving||Stamina, Strength, Lung Capacity||8|
|Partying||Shooting, Stealth||Stamina, Strength, Flying, Lung Capacity||8|
|Doing Illegal Work||Driving, Shooting||Lung Capacity||10|
A starting character has 24 Hours to distribute among twelve activities. A minimum of 4 hours must be spent on sleep.
These selections determine the stats of the character, as well as affecting his or her physique. Lowering some times and raising others, will adjust stats accordingly. For instance, doing a lot of legal work will increase flying skills. It should be noted that hourly selections also affect starting clothing.
Five of the seven skill levels, which are displayed on the mission screen, have their own unique designation depending on what percentage each one is at as listed below:
20-39%: Out of Shape
40-59%: Police Training
60-79%: Military Training
(Named in the Enhanced version only)
20-39%: RC Pilot
40-59%: Commercial Pilot
60-79%: Fighter Pilot
20-39%: Sunday Driver
60-79%: Street Racer
- The skills will not affect minigames. This means that specific protagonists cannot get better at golf, tennis or darts. It's only a matter of the player's own skills how they perform in these activities.
- All three protagonists’ special abilities will last for 30 seconds once the special ability stat has been maxed out.