GTA: San Andreas speedruns just dropped from 4 hours to 30 minutes thanks to an absurd glitch

Carl Johnson rides a motorcycle and fires a submachine gun into the night in GTA: San Andreas.
(Image credit: Rockstar)

I spent at least a few hundred hours in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas before I finished its main story back in the day, so it gave me some comfort that it still took even the best modern speedrunners three or four hours to clear it. That comfort has been replaced by awe and a little bit of existential dread now that speedrunner Powdinet discovered how to shave off at least three hours from a San Andreas run, allowing for sub-30-minute clear times to become the new norm within the last week.

You can see the new method, named "Arbitrary Jump Skip", in action in the current world record video below (also recorded by Powdinet). Pretty much everything that happens in the video is key to making the skip happen, but you can skip to the 16 minute mark to see the magic moment: Carl "CJ" Johnson becomes unstuck in time and instantly transports from his first moments back on the West Coast to his final mission against crooked cop Frank Tenpenny.

You have to follow all kinds of arcane instructions to make that time skip possible while not breaking essential mechanics like being able to enter vehicles. Here are just a few steps paraphrased from Powdinet's guide. All of this has to happen with careful timing, or else the glitches won't line up properly and you'll need to start over. Oh, and you need to be playing the Windows Store version of the game.

  • Steal a police motorcycle, then park it in your garage just right so when you drive forward you'll crash into the wall and flip around
  • Use the bike to start a vigilante mission at just the right time, then cancel it
  • Kill a drug dealer and take their $2,000 (this isn't essential, but it makes later steps easier)
  • Avoid vending machines. They reset the in-game counter this whole thing is relying on
  • Do some Burglary minigames while still avoiding vending machines: "If done correctly, the game will have Burglary om0, otherwise it'll be om1. You don't get control over what you get, just get lucky loool"
  • And so on, until CJ becomes a time traveler. Easy!

Powdinet admits that there is likely room for quite a bit of refinement to the overall process, but the fundamental premise has been established, and San Andreas speedruns will never be the same. And if you're wondering how long it takes to complete the story without using any big time-saving glitches, that'd be at least 4 hours and 43 minutes, according to the current world record.

What's Rockstar working on next? Here's everything we've heard about GTA 6. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.