- "You know, Devin, the way I see it, and hey, I'm no intelligent businessman like you, but the way I see it, there's two great evils that bedevil American capitalism of the type that you practice. Number one is outsourcing. You paid a private company to do your dirty work for ya, and then you underpaid that company because you thought you were big enough and bad enough that you didn't have to play by the rules."
- ― Michael De Santa, moments before killing Devin.
The Third Way is the final storyline mission in Grand Theft Auto V. The mission is triggered if the player has Franklin choose option C (Deathwish).
The mission begins with Franklin at the "F" marker on the map shortly after the final heist on the Union Depository Tower. Devin Weston shows up at Franklin's house and attempts to convince Franklin to kill Michael De Santa. After Devin leaves, the player is given a set of three options on his cell phone. Choosing C leads to this mission.
The mission sends Franklin to the home of Lester Crest. Franklin and Lester come up with a plan to avoid having to kill either Michael or Trevor Philips. They lead the FIB and Merryweather into a trap at the foundry under the pretense of melting down the gold there from the Union Depository heist.
Shootout At The Foundry
Franklin picks up Lamar Davis and they go to the foundry. Lamar waits outside while Franklin goes inside to find Michael and Trevor about to kill each other, but he easily stops them. Lamar then warns Franklin about the FIB agents and Michael, Trevor, and Franklin team up to kill all of the FIB agents and Merryweather mercenaries sent against them. Various stages of the ensuing battle require that the player provide backup to certain characters. First, Lamar will radio that he's being overrun and needs help. Franklin must get out to the place where he dropped off Lamar and kill the FIB agents attacking him before he dies or the mission fails. Then Michael must go over to where Trevor was positioned to check on him. Trevor gets back up and Michael and Trevor must fight their way out of the foundry and help Franklin kill off any remaining FIB and Merryweather forces in the area.
Finally, the three characters devise a plan to kill off the various factions trying to kill each of the characters in an attempt to take the heat off themselves. They all go after a target they weren't directly involved with to throw off suspicion.
- Michael is sent to kill Stretch as revenge for betraying Franklin and Lamar in Lamar Down.
- Trevor is sent to kill Steve Haines for betraying Michael in The Wrap Up.
- Franklin is sent to kill Wei Cheng for betraying Trevor in Bury the Hatchet, kidnapping and torturing Michael in Fresh Meat, and interfering with Trevor's business interests.
- Once the above targets are eliminated, Trevor goes to Devin Weston's house to kidnap him. Trevor must fight his way through Merryweather security forces to kidnap Devin.
Stretch is found on a basketball court next to the BJ Smith Recreational Center with several gang bangers around. He's relatively easy to eliminate and his homies are mostly packing pistols. Kill him with a melee attack to get a Gold medal.
Killing Steve Haines
Steve is found on the ferris wheel on the boardwalk shooting a video for a TV show. Him and a camera man are in one of the ferris wheel cars. Approaching too close to the ferris wheel will alert Steve and fail the mission. Trevor must pick off Steve from a distance, for which a sniper rifle is required. The bright lights and cluttered area around the ferris wheel can make this a difficult shot. After killing Steve, Trevor must lose the cops before heading after Devin. Kill Haines with a headshot to get a Gold medal.
Killing Wei Cheng
Wei Cheng is found surrounded by body guards near a series of vehicles. As soon as Franklin arrives, his body guards get him into a sedan and attempting to escape while shooting at Franklin from their SUV's. If Franklin acts quickly, he can kill Wei Cheng before he leaves the parking lot and save himself from having to chase down the fleeing convoy on the highway. Kill Cheng with a sticky bomb to get a Gold medal.
Kidnapping Devin Weston
Trevor must make his way through a batallion of eight Merryweather guards patrolling the house to get To Devin. He can either take a subtle approach by sneaking around and knocking out the guards (or killing them with a supressed weapon), or he can take a direct route and attack the guards head on. After Trevor makes his way through the Merryweather security forces, he finds Devin hiding in a trunk near the pool. Devin is pulled out and carried to his Tornado in the drive-way. Trevor throws Devin in the trunk and goes to meet up with Franklin and Michael.
After taunting Devin about their final victory against him, the three protagonists push the Tornado with Devin in the trunk off a cliff and into the ocean below, with the car exploding, killing Devin. Trevor then asks what they're going to do now, with Michael responding that they're going to lay low for a while then get on with their lives, with Trevor suggesting as friends, and Michael accepting, as "flawed, awful, totally uncomfortable, and poorly matched friends." Trevor then states that they could then go back to the "capitalism they practice," planning even more heists, but being better funded with the money from the Union Depository, but this time with Franklin saying that what they'll do will not be as different as what Devin Weston did. Trevor then tells Michael that his therapist has a lot to answer to for, which Michael calmly agrees too, saying that even though he hates himself, now he knows how to say it, responded by Trevor asking if he has to go to a therapy session because he hates Michael. Sensing another argument break out, Franklin tells the two that they make him scared of turning middle-aged, backing away to his motorcycle and starting to drive-off. Michael soon follows after him, but not before announcing to Trevor about his official retirement from his life of crime. As Trevor looks on at the both of them driving away, he starts to awkwardly walk off-screen as the credits roll.
- Stretch - Killed for trying to have Franklin Clinton and Lamar Davis killed.
- Steve Haines - Killed for attempting to have Trevor killed.
- Wei Cheng - Killed for attempting to kill both Trevor Phillips and Michael De Santa.
- Tao Cheng (optional) - Can be killed by Franklin.
- Devin Weston - Killed for attempting to have Michael De Santa and his family killed.
- After you help Lamar fight off Merryweather soldiers outside of the warehouse, he is nowhere to be found and isn't seen leaving the area after the soldiers are all dead. However, Franklin talks to him on the phone afterwards, proving that he survived the shoot out.
- After completing this mission, each character will receive their cut from the final heist in The Big Score.
- It's likely that this is the canon ending since the scene where the three protagonists look into the trunk of Devin's Tornado is depicted in the official artwork "The Trunk".
- In addition, this is the only ending in which all all of the main antagonists are killed.
- This ending is seen by many fans as the "true ending" to Grand Theft Auto V and most probably is. The other two endings are likely only available as some players would like to kill Trevor or Michael, and Rockstar wanted to give them the choice to, at the cost of having no ability to hang out.
- This is the longest GTA final mission, marking a time of 35 minutes, second to the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas final mission End of the Line, which was 30 minutes.
- Franklin is tasked with kiling Trevor's antagonist, Wei Cheng.
- Trevor is tasked with killing Michael's antagonist, Steve Haines.
- Michael is tasked with killing Franklin's antagonist, Stretch.
- This is the first time in the GTA series where all the major antagonists are killed in the same mission.
- Trevor will always be the one to kidnap Devin regardless of whoever finished their tasks first or last. It should be noted that the player must then hunt Devin all the way to his house if Trevor is the last character to kill his target, which can be very time consuming and make the time check for the golden award difficult.
- To some people, when playing as Michael to assasinate Stretch, it might be difficult to identify who he is, leading to mistakes that some of his goons that are with him are assasinated instead, and then Stretch makes a run for it. This might be caused because of the lack of appearances Stretch had in game. Despite this, however, he is fairly easy to kill.
- When Trevor enters the Tornado after putting Devin in the trunk, the radio station will be tuned in to Los Santos Rock Radio, and the track "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" will always play.