- This article is about the protagonist of GTA III. For the GTA 2 protagonist, see Claude Speed. For other characters, see Claude Maginot or Claude Wome.
Claude is a recurring character in the Grand Theft Auto series, appearing as the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto III (set in 2001) and in a minor role in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (set in 1992). There is no voice actor for Claude, as he does not speak in either of his appearances.
Life until 2001
Claude grew up in San Andreas and by 1992 had emerged as a top contender in an illegal racing ring and owned an abandoned garage in Doherty, San Fierro. He became involved with Catalina, who had recently split up with Carl Johnson, before racing Johnson in a losing effort. Following the loss, he hands over his garage to Johnson, before leaving San Andreas with Catalina. The two, heading towards Liberty City, go on a crime spree across the country, eventually reaching Liberty City in October 2001, nine years later.
Claude and Catalina arrive in Liberty City in October 2001 and immediately rob a bank. Catalina, however, turns on her boyfriend, shooting him and leaving him for dead, explaining that he is 'small time'. Claude is later arrested by the Liberty City Police Department. He is convicted of all charges and is sentenced to ten years in prison. While being transferred to a prison in Portland View, Claude escapes from a police convoy after the Colombian Cartel attack the convoy to free the Oriental Gentleman. Claude and 8-Ball escape to a safehouse in the Red Light District, before moving on to Luigi's Sex Club 7. Luigi Goterelli, the owner, gives Claude his first job in the city, to drive Misty from the hospital back to the club.
Claude, successful in his errand, continues to be employed by Goterelli, who also has him kill a drug dealer and two pimps, before having him drive Misty to Joey Leone's Garage. Claude then begins to work for Joey, killing both Mike Forelli and Lee Chong, before chauffering Toni Cipriani, later working for him against the Triads. Claude, impressing the Leone Family hierarchy, is introduced to the Don, Salvatore Leone. Salvatore, 'seeing nothing but bright things' for Claude, has him kill Curly Bob (who was selling secrets to the Colombian Cartel, now led by Catalina) and later destroy a freighter used as a factory for the drug SPANK. During this time, Claude also works for El Burro, the leader of the Diablos, helping him on various tasks, and Marty Chonks in his attempts to get out of his various problems.
After destroying the Cartel freighter, a paranoid Salvatore attempts to kill Claude by having him enter a bomb laden car. Salvatore's wife Maria, however, phones Claude and directs him to a small pier where the two meet Asuka Kasen, co-leader of the Yakuza, and flee to Staunton Island after Maria had told her husband that she was dating Claude. Asuka, unconvinced of Claude's loyalty, has him kill Salvatore Leone to prove himself, before having him kill a number of other people causing her problems. She later introduces him to her brother Kenji and Ray Machowski, a corrupt police man working for the Yakuza. Claude helps Kenji with his problems, including settling debts and freeing a man from prison, and helps Machowski in his attempts to remain unnoticed, eventually helping him flee the city by the airport.
Claude continues to look for work and finds employment with King Courtney, who has him attack the Diablos before attempting to kill him on orders from Catalina, and Donald Love, who has him kill Kenji Kasen disguised as a Colombian Cartel gangster, to provoke a war. Asuka, unaware of Claude's role in her brothers death, launches an assault on a Cartel controlled building site and begins to torture Miguel, Catalina's right hand man, into giving away Cartel secrets. Armed with the information, Asuka sends Claude on various missions to hurt Cartel operations, including stopping the selling of and stealing a shipment of SPANK.
During this period Claude, briefly, finds employment with D-Ice, leader of the Red Jacks sub-sect of the Southside Hoods, and attacks the rival Purple Nines into defeat. After this, Claude returns to the building site and finds both Asuka and Miguel dead, whilst a ransom note for Maria is left for him. Claude goes to the Cartel mansion, escapes an ambush, destroys a helicopter piloted by Catalina (killing her) and rescues Maria. Claude, at the end of Grand Theft Auto III, may have killed Maria as he fires a shot whilst she is talking, although he may have fired off the shot to stop her talking.
Claude is a laid-back, middle aged man that appears almost emotionless regardless of the situation. He will take orders from his bosses without restraint and usually gives a nod or two to show that he understands; even when he is getting scolded or shouted at by his bosses for doing something wrong. He never speaks, and will only make a slight grunt when he is hurt, or an "Oah!" whenever he is killed.
Note - Claude's age is never revealed, though it is obvious he was born in the 70s, as San Andreas takes place in 1992, making him 20-25 at that time, and GTA III takes place in 2001, making him around his mid 30s at that time.
- Claude appears on a poster inside of the Ocean View Hotel in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Claude does not speak in either of his appearances, remaining silent, and is the only protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto III Era to do so. Maria Latore discusses this with Lazlow on Chatterbox FM, saying that a man she's just met "don't talk too much". However, as radio stations repeat everything over and over again, you can hear her saying that before she even meets Claude.
- Claude's name is only revealed in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, having been nameless throughout his appearance as protagonist in Grand Theft Auto III. He is the only protagonist in the series to not be named in the game in which he is protagonist.
- Claude was not the original protagonist of GTA III, replacing Novy.
- An Easter Egg in Grand Theft Auto IV states that Claude, along with the other GTA III Era protagonists, are deceased as of 2009. However, the Grand Theft Auto IV Era is not related to the storylines of the GTA III Era.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV the player can unlock a set of clothes exactly the same as Claude's for Niko Bellic.
- Claude may or may not be the same character as the Grand Theft Auto 2 protagonist, Claude Speed, with many fans stating that the two are the same character.
- GTA San Andreas
- Mike Forelli (killed on orders from Joey Leone for not repaying his debts)
- Lee Chong (killed on orders from Joey Leone for selling SPANK through his noodle stands)
- Curly Bob (killed on orders from Salvatore Leone for selling Leone Family secrets to the Colombian Cartel)
- Salvatore Leone (killed on orders from Asuka Kasen to prove his loyalty to the Yakuza and for trying to kill Claude)
- Tanner (killed on orders from Asuka Kasen for being an undercover policeman)
- Leon McAffrey (killed on orders from Ray Machowski for agreeing to turn states evidence against Machowski)
- Kenji Kasen (killed on orders from Donald Love to start a war between the Colombian Cartel and the Yakuza)
- Catalina (killed for betraying him during a bank heist)
- Carl (can be killed during the mission Her Lover)
- Maria Latore (may have been killed following The Exchange)