In order to perform the heist, Michael may need to perform a couple of side-missions (Heist Setups) to get the necessary equipment. The preparation missions vary based on the approach chosen in Architect's Plans.
Covert (Fire Crew)
This approach involves the crew disguising as firemen and entering the FIB building after setting it on fire. Michael poses as the janitor and places bombs in two rooms. Two preparation missions have to be completed:
- The first one, Fire Truck, involves stealing a fire truck to be used in the heist.
- The second, Getaway Vehicle, involves parking a vehicle near the FIB Headquarters to be used in the escape after destroying the fire truck.
There are no heist setup missions required for this approach. The crew land on the building from a chopper and escape after shooting several agents.
If playing as Michael, the player arrives at the garment factory in time to see Lester Crest preparing to torch the place, having decided that completing the upcoming FIB raid will result in the need to find a new base of operations.
Depending on the chosen approach in Architect's Plans, the mission will play out in either of two ways:
Covert (Fire Crew)
As Michael, the player drives to the FIB Building on Pillbox Hill. While driving, Michael will call Franklin to prepare a fire truck and the assigned crew members. After arriving at the headquarters, Michael enters the building and shows the security guard Harvey Molina's ID. He is granted entry. He reaches the 49th floor.
On the 49th floor, the player must reach the maintenance room, pick up the mop and bucket of water, and clean the office. The spots to be cleaned are indicated in red on the map. For a Gold medal, this section must be completed within 3 minutes. After that, Michael plants a bomb in an open locker. He heads to the next room and mops the floor. There are 4 dirty sections. It will take quite a while, especially on the far side of the room. Then, another bomb is planted in the restroom. Michael picks up the mop and bucket, and returns them to the maintenance room. Michael leaves the building.
Michael will call Franklin, who is now in a fire truck, and will inform him that the charges are set. Pick him up from Pillbox Hill. Before driving, open up the cellphone, then in Contacts select "Detonate".
After the cutscene showing the top floors of the building exploding, the player, as Franklin, drives the fire truck to the FIB building. The crew will be in fireman's gear when they get out. Enter the building, ignoring the people standing there. Upon disembarking on the 47th floor, the player will have a limited supply of oxygen, so they should run fast and carefully. The player should then follow their crew up to the 53rd floor, which contains the target: a hard drive. The player should then move to the server room, which they will find locked. The player will be prompted to plant explosives on the door and blow it up, then to approach the mainframe and steal the hard drive.
As Franklin, the player should follow Michael and the rest of the crew out of the building. Focus on running, ignoring the falling glass. As the crew go downstairs, the building behind shall collapse. Follow the crew to an alternate route by a locked door. Just after your crew breaks the door, a backdraft is opened and results in an explosion; if you selected two unskilled gunmen in your crew, the former dies and the latter survives. if there's one unskilled and one skilled in your crew, the unskilled will die. However, if both of the gunmen are skilled, the explosion will just knock one unconscious. Help him up or confirm his death and keep moving, watching your oxygen supply as you go. The player must ignore the breaking pieces of stones and keep running. An opening is seen- go down and be careful not to fall. While running, a sudden explosion knocks Franklin unconscious. After waking up, the crew is a floor below him, with some FIB agents after Franklin. The agents are aware that the crew aren't firemen. They will start shooting at Franklin with pistols and should be killed.
The player must now run to the elevator shaft and rappel down. The game will instruct the player on how to do this. The player should watch out for falling objects as they rappel down. After rappelling, the player needs to leave the building and get inside the fire truck. For a Gold medal, the elevator shaft must be crossed within 30 seconds. Also, the player must have at least 40% of oxygen in the tank.
Once outside the building, several Police Cruisers will be surrounding the area, along with several Ambulances. A crowd of pedestrians will also be outside the building. Unlike the Roof approach, regular ambient traffic spawns. The crew quickly change to their original clothes to avoid being suspected later for the incident.
The crew then leaves to the getaway location (the location where the getaway vehicle was parked during the heist setup mission).
The player needs to destroy the fire truck after getting out and flee the scene. Finally, the player is instructed to go to Lester's house, avoiding the police or Michael's "dear friend" Trevor Philips. The crew reach Lester's house, while the gunmen (or gunman) leave. Lester comments that he did not expect to see the "clowns" again. Lester, Michael and Franklin celebrate with alcohol, while Michael leaves after few minutes.
Franklin arrives during Michael and Lester's discussion, and Michael and Franklin soon depart for the NOOSE Headquarters (government facility) near Tataviam Mountains and off Palomino Freeway. After heading to the NOOSE building, time advances to late midnight. The pilot, gunman and Franklin get in the helicopter, while the player controls Michael as he flies to the jump zone in the form of a corona.
After the pilot takes control of the helicopter, Michael and the others then jump out. Michel parachutes onto the FIB building and cuts out of of the glass panes to let the crew to infiltrate the building. Once the crew is inside the building, Michael has to blow up the server room's door.
Michael hacks the server terminal. The programs are on the cellphone, so Michael connects it to the machine. The player is given control of the computer. The hacker will guide the player through the process, or be clueless depending on their skill. Here are the steps:
- Open My Computer.
- Select the External Device (J:)
- Open HackConnect.exe.
- HackConnect.exe is an IP hacking program. The red number combination (e.g. 220.127.116.11) shows the correct combination. The player must select this set of 4 numbers on the screen and has one minute to do so.
- Select BruteForce.exe.
- BruteForce.exe is a password decryption program. Red letters per column indicate the password. Select them until the word with red letters is formed.
- Finally, a program called Down&Out.exe will appear on the menu. Select it and a message such as "Copying file N:\Townley M\PaletoBayBankJob.docu" should be seen. The hacker will take it from there.
After hacking, a security team has been deployed. Michael or Franklin must shoot the team until the download completes. Press the button assigned to see a glance of the download process. During the process, the chopper is brought in, but a Buzzard shows up and fires a rocket, destroying it and hitting a couple of floors. Next, a team with smoke bombs start attacking the crew. Use Michael's "Bullet-time" ability for greater precision and a perfect shot.
Once the download completes, Michael will take the connected cellphone back and the crew flees. Kill FIB agents along the way, as the crew escapes the FIB building. The sprinkler system reduces visibility; depending on the hacker, they will or cannot shut down the fire suppression system. A cutscene will show the wrecked helicopter as it falls to the ground. Continue fending off the agents.
After going down, the player must rappel outside the building. All opposing units, both on the ground and in the air are on the scene, waiting for the crew. During the descent, the hacker will warn the player that an air unit is on sight. It is another Buzzard, which will have miniguns. Use Michael's ability to shoot the pilot's head (an RPG or minigun are other good options). Now advance and rappel again. Kill the last group of units on the ground.
Head over to the meeting spot to get out. The escape varies based on the driver chosen. If an experienced driver is chosen, they'll be already there in an ambulance, thus fooling the cops and escape clean. But if an inexperienced driver is chosen they won't be at the pickup spot on time, forcing the crew to fend off more cops and will show up late in a Burrito and the player will have to escape a 4 star wanted level. As Franklin, the player gets in the vehicle, and escapes the cops if any, and drives to "Franklin's" house in Vinewood Hills for a debrief. The driver will drop off the gunman and dispose of the getaway vehicle after arriving at Franklin's house.
After either approach, Michael will exit the dwelling with the intent to call Dave Norton. The total take is constant at $331,985. Of this, Lester takes his standard 12% ($39,839), while Michael uncharacteristically turns down his share. The crew is then left with their respective cut, leaving Franklin with anywhere between $150,000 - $240,000.
The Roof Entry approach is slightly more profitable because although the player has to hire three crew members, nobody will die and they will not incur casualty costs. Use Rickie Lukens (4%) as the hacker, Daryl Johns (6%) as the gunman and Taliana Martinez (5%) as the driver.
- FIB budget: $331,985
- Lester's cut (12%): $39,838
- Crew cut (15%): $49,797
- Michael's cut: $0
- Franklin's cut: $242,349
Covert (Fire Crew)
- Go to the FIB building. - (Michael)
- Enter the FIB building and go to the turnstile. - (Michael)
- Go to the elevator. - (Michael)
- Pick up the mop. - (Michael)
- Go to the office floor. - (Michael)
- Mop the floor. - (Michael)
- Plant the bomb in the locker. - (Michael)
- Go to the next room. - (Michael)
- Mop the floor. - (Michael)
- Plant the bomb in the restroom. - (Michael)
- Pick up the bucket. - (Michael)
- Take the mop and bucket back to the closet. - (Michael)
- Go to the elevator and leave the office. - (Michael)
- Pick up Michael on Pillbox Hill. - (Franklin)
- Use the phone to detonate the C4. - (Franklin)
- Go to the FIB building. - (Franklin)
- Enter the FIB building. - (Franklin)
- Go to the elevator. - (Franklin)
- Go to the top floor. - (Franklin)
- Get the containment drive. - (Franklin)
- Plant the explosives on the door. - (Franklin)
- Blow open the door. - (Franklin)
- Follow Michael out of the building. - (Franklin)
- Help the selected gunman. - (Franklin)
- Follow your crew. - (Franklin)
- Climb up the rubble. - (Franklin)
- Go to the elevator shaft. - (Franklin)
- Leave the building and get to the fire truck. - (Franklin)
- Go to the getaway location. - (Franklin)
- Destroy the fire truck. - (Franklin)
- Go to Lester's house. - (Franklin)
- Go to the government facility. - (Michael)
- Get in the helicopter. - (Michael)
- Fly to the jump zone. - (Michael)
- Land on the FIB building rooftop. - (Michael)
- Go to the server room. - (Michael)
- Hack the server terminal. - (Michael)
- Hold the FIB while the data is downloaded. - (Michael or Franklin)
- Escape the FIB building. - (Michael or Franklin)
- Use the rappel to get to the ground. - (Michael or Franklin)
- Destroy the helicopter gunship. - (Michael or Franklin)
- Get in the ambulance. - (If a good driver is chosen)
- Get in the van. (If a bad driver is chosen)
- Lose the cops (Only if you selected a bad driver or blow your cover with a good driver) - (Michael or Franklin)
- Go to Franklin's house. - (Michael or Franklin)
Gold Medal Objectives
- Time - Complete within 18:00.
- Skip all cutscenes and continuously complete the tasks.
- Out of Breath - Escape with 40% oxygen remaining
- Keep moving Michael/Franklin while escaping and do not wait.
- You Missed a Spot - Complete the mopping section within 03:00
- Focus on cleaning the spots marked on the map and quickly plant the bombs and leave.
- Abseiler - Abseil down the elevator shaft within 30 seconds
- Carefully avoid falling debris and move down.
- Time - Complete within 19:00
- When selecting the crew, pick an experienced driver as an inexperienced will add more time
- No Innocents - Don't kill any innocent civilians
- Shoot only the attacking agents
- Headshots - Kill 20 enemies with a headshot
- Use a shotgun and Michael's ability for better accuracy.
- Accuracy - Finish with a shooting accuracy of at least 70%
- Make headshots. Using a shotgun and Michael's ability can do this.
- Perfect Drop - Land perfectly on the main section of the roof.
- Have Michael fall freely for some time and use the parachute when Michael is close to the FIB building.
- Hacker - Hack the system within 45 seconds
- Quickly follow the hacker's instructions or remember the steps and don't wait.
Weazel News (Radio)
"Fire in the FIB building linked to data theft. Several floors of the FIB headquarters in Downtown Los Santos were gutted by a fire yesterday. Investigators believe that the blaze was started by incendiary devices hidden at two points in the building. The FIB are linking the arson to their network being compromised after it was discovered that their emergency backup server is missing. In a press conference, senior FIB agent Steve Haines has vowed to find the criminals behind the theft. He will be heading up the investigation."
"Helicopter crash, shootout and data theft at FIB HQ. A team of criminals broke into the FIB's West Coast Headquarters in Downtown Los Santos earlier. Witnesses say they saw men parachuting in from a helicopter. The FIB claims to have shot down their helicopter. The aircraft crashed into the building, decimating several floors. The criminals were able to escape the building and a task force headed by special agent Steve Haines has been set up to bring them to justice."
"Troubling news from across the pond as a fire that gutted the top floors of the FIB's West Coast Headquarters in Los Santos, San Andreas has turned out to be cover of a massive data theft. An emergency containment hard drive in the server system was found to be missing, as fire inspectors found clear signs of arson in the building. The FIB are yet to make a formal statement detailing the contents of the files on the missing hard drive, or how Bureau security could have been breached so dramatically. In classic Vinewood style, the investigation is being headed by Steve Haines, an FIB agent come cheap TV presenter."
"Unknown assailants who broke into the Federal Investigation Bureau's West Coast Headquarters were forced to fight their way out after their escape helicopter crashed into the building. This morning the FIB is dealing with the effects of the fire, and pertinent questions about how the security system allowed such a breach. Following the incident celebrity Special Agent Steve Haines gave a press conference vowing to bring whoever was responsible to justice."
- @southernmarygjv - "Those terrorists getting into the FIB building is just the start. I know it. This is bad. I'm so freaked out. The guy at the Kebab house just looked at me funny."
- @bryceinchtin - "Now the FIB's headquarters are compromised? WTF!!! President Lawton dropped the ball again! Our national security is a joke!"
The heist features multiple different soundtracks throughout gameplay:
- Rooftop Entry
Once piloting the helicopter, Burning Bar (also called No Happy Endings) by Tangerine Dream will play. The backing strings and percussive beat will play, but the soundtrack will not enter the initial melody seen during Bury the Hatchet. This will gradually fade out once the team land on the roof.
Once inside the building, Dragoner by Tangerine Dream will play. While completing the hack, only the initial background strings and quiet melody will play. Once the team are ambushed by the NOOSE operatives, the beat, bass and drums will kick in as seen during Legal Trouble.
When all the NOOSE operatives are killed, the soundtrack will seemingly morph into the next track, City by Tangerine Dream, as the team make their way down the building to the destroyed floors, fighting through security units. This will play the duration of this sequence, until the team get ready to rappel down the building.
After rappelling down to the base of the building, Dragoner will once again play, kicking straight into the main beat as Franklin and Michael make their way to the getaway vehicle.
- Fire Crew
Only one soundtrack plays throughout the entire mission; Diamond Diary Fake by Tangerine Dream. This, for the majority of the mission, remains with low intensity and the beat only kicks in towards the escape sequence of the mission.
- This mission was originally called "The Agency Heist" in the beta version of the game. This is noted in the game files.
- There is also a soundtrack of the same name, "The Agency Heist". All these details suggest that in the beta, the IAA Headquarters were being raided instead.
- When trying to park the getaway vehicle near the FIB headquarters in the covert approach, a message will read "This location is too close to the Agency building".
- The initial Weazel News report will indicate the same data theft and fire as other media. Strangely, the newscasters are different than those usually heard delivering the news. Later on, it will be stated in the news that the raid was a false alarm, and that it was just a fire.
- After completing the heist, Lester's garment factory will be boarded up from fire damage and inaccessible hereafter.
- In the opening cutscene of Setup: Data Recovery in Grand Theft Auto Online, Franklin recalls doing this heist, saying that he "made the FIB his bitch a long time ago."
Covert (Fire Crew)
- The covert version of the raid is based on the CIA HQ heist featured in the first Mission: Impossible movie, where Ethan Hunt and his team pose as firefighters, set off the fire alarm to gain access to the building, and finally steal the N.O.C. list and escape.
- The top floor of the FIB building is numbered 53. In the elevator, however, there appear to be buttons for 59 floors.
- The floor display on the elevator in the Covert Approach shows two digits while on the first floor. But, strangely, it displays three digits once Michael reaches the office.
- The belt on Michael's overalls is the same as those on the uniforms of LCPD officers, though it does not feature the holster or magazine.
- At some point in the beta Trevor was possibly involved in this heist, because there is an unused fireman suit for him in the game files.
- On replays, an Ocelot Jackal will be used as the getaway vehicle.
- The FIB building's fire alarm system can be heard sounding and red lights can be seen flashing (albeit with a white flash at the strobe itself despite the cast light being red) all throughout the building in multiple rooms, which makes sense as the system would likely be activated in the event of an explosion like the one in this approach. Strangely enough most of the alarms heard are bells, which are very uncommonly used as fire alarm signals in North America.
- In addition to the left of the door that leads to the stairway used to get back to the main lobby and out of the building is what appears to be a fire alarm annunciator, which can even be heard beeping indicating the fire alarm condition. A number of lights on it can also be seen lit, one most likely being an "Alarm" LED. The same annunciator model can be found in GTA Online's high-end apartment garage.
- The roof entry approach is loosely based on the 2009 Västberga helicopter robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, where the robbers used a helicopter to access the rooftop of a G4S cash service depot and gain access to its interior by breaking in through a pyramid-shaped skylight.
- If the roof entry is chosen, one of the agents attacking the team can say "I thought you'd be Arabs". This is likely a reference to the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, the helicopter crash is not what the crew wanted.
- If the player chooses the Roof approach and selects an experienced Rickie Lukens or an inexperienced Christian Feltz, the sprinklers will not be deactivated (unless the player moves incredibly quickly throughout the building, allowing only Rickie to deactivate them). Michael will comment that he can't see anything. To save 6% on crew and not be pressed for time, players should equip flashlights on their main weapons so what little distraction the sprinklers serve as are completely nullified.
- The Sticky Bombs Michael uses are actually a larger model of the ones used in The Ballad of Gay Tony. In the enhanced version, the Grand Theft Auto V models are used.
- When flying to the FIB building in this approach, the player can see Lester's garment factory burning, Franklin will also comment on the matter which prompts Michael to comment how he feels that not even Lester seems to have faith in this heist. Although just about distinguishable from the night sky, the rising smoke plumes are very hard to see, especially if not being directly sought out by knowledgeable players.
- During the rappel sequence in the Roof approach:
- The crew will encounter a unique white Frogger with its spotlight activated.
- A Buzzard Attack Chopper spawns.
- 8 Police Cruisers, 3 Ambulances and 2 Firetrucks will respond to the emergency. The two firetrucks and 7 of the police cars spawn at the Elgin Avenue-Occupation Avenue intersection, heading south. 1 police car spawns on the Del Perro Freeway on-ramp before turning onto Elgin Avenue, two of the Ambulances respond from Pillbox Hill Medical Center while a third responds from underneath the FIB building. All of these vehicles turn onto Swiss Street, directly adjacent to the IAA Headquarters, before despawning, out of view. Only a selection of the vehicles, along with the getaway vehicle, actually appear at the bottom of the FIB building during the shootout, as they arrive in a new spawn sequence shortly after completing the second rappel sequence to ground level.
- An FIB Granger will also spawn responding shortly after leaving in the getaway vehicle.
- If the Roof approach is chosen and an inexperienced Karim Denz is chosen as the driver, the radio in the Burrito will always tune in to Space 103.2 after the player loses the cops and it will always play "Skeletons" by Stevie Wonder.
- After the crew enters the building from the glass roof, the player can shoot the windowpanes and no alarm will be raised.
- If a skilled driver is chosen and shots are fired, the crew's cover will be blown and they will gain a 4-star wanted level, the getaway driver will berate them about how they tried to make the escape easy, but now they need to escape from the cops. The wanted level is also attained if the crew does not quickly get in the ambulance.
- Despite being stated that the Buzzard that appears during the Roof Approach belongs to the FIB, the pilot flying the Buzzard is a generic LSPD pilot. It also carries NOOSE operatives rather than FIB tactical operatives.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_FAMMO = Out of explosives.
Running out of explosives to open the server room door after entering the rooftop.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_FDCOMP = The server terminal was destroyed.
Destroying, or otherwise disabling the server terminal computer after entering the server room.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_FDPHONE = The hack device was destroyed.
Killing Michael[ ]
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_FLAND = ~a~ failed to land on the FIB building rooftop.
Failing to land on top of the FIB building rooftop. Landing on the side sections underneath the building lettering may not count as failure.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_FLATE = ~a~ failed to deploy the chute in time.
Failing to deploy the parachute before skydiving beneath the building's total height.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_HSPOT = The FIB was alerted.[ ]
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_HSTUCK = The helicopter is undrivable.[ ]
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_HDEST = The helicopter was destroyed.
Destroying the helicopter before arriving at the parachute checkpoint.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_HTAKE = The helicopter is unable to take off.[ ]
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_VDEST = The getaway vehicle was destroyed.
Destroying the Ambulance or Burrito.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_VSTUCK = The getaway vehicle got stuck.
Getting the Ambulance or Burrito stuck, for example, by getting it stuck upside down in a tight space.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_WNTDBASE = The cops discovered the crew at the NOOSE facility.
Obtaining a wanted level at the NOOSE facility, or luring police to the area.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_ABAND1 = ~a~ was left behind.
Leaving Michael (as Franklin), Franklin (as Michael) or the pilot (as either) behind.
- File Data:
ah3b: A3B_ABAND2 = The crew were left behind.
Leaving Michael (as Franklin) and Franklin (as Michael) or the pilot (as either) behind.