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GTA Online Problems: Lost characters cannot be restored

Sam Loveridge by

GTA Online
GTA Online

Despite its best efforts, Rockstar Games has confirmed that lost GTA Online character saves and content will not be able to be restored.

Rockstar is hoping that its recently announced 500,000 GTA$ compensation for the GTA 5 multiplayer issues will appease gamers who will never be able to recover their lost GTA Online game saves and characters.

"For those asking about their lost characters or rank, those will not be able to be restored so we sincerely hope that this cash stimulus we’re giving out this month will help you get back on your feet or to make your new life in Los Santos & Blaine extra sweet", reads the official support page.

Following a raft of GTA Online problems which plagued the launch of the online platform, a new GTA Online update was released to ‘address lost game progress and other issues’.

The latest in a range of GTA Online updates which have been forced upon developer Rockstar, the company behind GTA 5 and its subsequent online offering revealed that the new patch was not intended to be an all-encompassing fix, but would address some game loss issues.

The company’s official blog has stated that the latest GTA Online update “will resolve the cause of players losing gameplay progress except for some specific instances where players purchase a vehicle and the save does not occur due to a cloud save failure."

Admitting to continuing issues, the company has revealed that it is still working on patches for the remaining issues.

"We apologize for the problems some players have been experiencing with lost characters or game progress due to this issue - please stay tuned for updates as we continue to investigate this," an official Rockstar spokesperson has stated.

They added: "In the meantime, please always remember to save your game before leaving GTA Online, otherwise you may lose any progress since your last save - this can be done by exiting back to Single Player through the pause menu.

“Until downloading the title update above and in order to minimize the chances of any further data loss, if at any point you receive the message "Rockstar Cloud Servers are unavailable", please do not either select the "Retry" option or create a temporary Character to play GTA Online. Instead, you should exit to GTAV Story Mode and try entering GTA Online again through the menu in Story Mode."

The full list of GTA Online problems addressed in the latest fix include:

  • Fixes multiple issues causing character deletion or other loss of progress
  • Fixes issues causing infinite loading, infinite sky cams, and missing interface options between jobs
  • Fixes an issue causing the "replay" option to be locked out on certain jobs
  • Fixes an issue where a player would become stuck in the mod garage when respraying a Sanchez motor bike
  • Fixes an issue where the Player became stuck inside Los Santos Customs during Online tutorial flow.
  • Fixes an issue causing the loss of guns and ammo
  • Fixes issues causing GTA races ending early because of players spawning too far ahead
  • Fixes issues in Last Team Standing where sessions would not progress past the lobby
  • Fixes issues with network errors when joining Last Team Standing using Quick Job
  • Added clarifications around when a player is using a temporary character in GTA Online during Rockstar Cloud server outages
  • Adjusts the monetary penalty for being killed in a One on One match
Although the latest GTA Online update is a welcome one, it is still being treated with caution by many after recent upadtes failed to address many issues, and even caused new problems to materialise. Following the previous update, gamers reported loss of their multiplayer characters and associated rank, items and other content.

Following the issues being raised, Rockstar said it was looking to ammend the problems, stating: "We have received reports from some players who experience losing characters, progress, items and/or in-game cash during the first few days after release," said Rockstar Games in a statement. "We are working diligently to identify and correct the causes for these losses, as well as to establish how best to restore any lost progress and value."

The company stated that until it had managed to fix the concerns, gamers should not create a new multiplayer save in the same slot where the original GTA Online avatar appears:

"If you have previously created a character but see an empty character selection screen when entering GTA Online, please back out to GTAV Story Mode and try re-entering GTA Online through the pause menu (repeat or wait until Rockstar cloud servers are back up). Do not create a new character in the empty slot where your character should be."

Gamers also being advised not to retry to gain access to GTA Online when presented with the cloud server error:

"If you receive the message 'The Rockstar Cloud Servers Are Unavailable', please return to GTAV Story Mode and follow the steps above. Please do not press “Retry” on the message and do not proceed online with saving disabled, as this may lead to overwriting your existing character."

There are some causes of the problem to be aware of, and they can be found here.

Rockstar Games released a title patch for GTA Online on Friday October 4, but its yet to resolve all the problems gamers are experiencing on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions.

Despite a delay for Xbox 360 users, the update was available to all by lunchtime Saturday October 5 in the UK.

Addressing multiple issues gamers were having with GTA Online, here's everything the GTA 5 Title Update 1.02 resolved:

  • Fix to address the issue where players were stuck launching a session before the Mall or Nothing race in the online tutorial.
  • Fix to address an issue where bank & cash were deleted incorrectly in some cases.
  • Fix to address incorrect amounts of cash being dropped when the player dies in Missions and Last Team Standing.
  • Fixes an issue where the Character Switch Wheel would disappear after a failed load.
  • Fixes an issue where attempting to enter GTA Online via the Character Switch Wheel caused a black screen.
  • Fixes an issue where temporary characters were overwriting main characters.
  • Fixes an issue where players were losing apartments and the money they spent on them.
  • Fixes an issue that caused Story Mode missions to be missed in some instances.
  • Removes the autosave that occurred when transitioning into GTA Online from within GTAV Story Mode to prevent the chance of Story Mode saves becoming corrupted.
  • Several tweaks to GTA Online including improving overall stability.

On Thursday October 3, the developer resolved some of the initial issues with GTA Online, but it didn't fixed all the problems gamers are having with the GTA 5 multiplayer experience.

Offering a regularly updated GTA Online Launch Status page, Rockstar said it is working through all the issues gamers have reported.

Errors include Rockstar Cloud server issues, failure to host online sessions, session time outs, jobs failing to start or load, but we've included the full list further down the page.

Rockstar has resolved some issues, but is continuing to work around the clock to make the experience smoother. Here's everything that's been fixed so far:

  • For PlayStation 3 users, a PlayStation Network server issue was detected that was limiting the amount of possible concurrent users. This was preventing most players from accessing GTA Online altogether and as of this morning, that problem was resolved.
  • There is an issue that is preventing some players from getting through the first tutorial mission across both platforms. Many players have been able to get through this with repeated retries, and we are working on unblocking this for everyone as soon as possible.
  • This morning, we experienced some instability across the GTA Online services which is affecting even people who have progressed beyond the tutorial mission. We are identifying these issues now and are working to restore stability for users as soon as possible.
  • For the time being and until we have been able to get everybody access to GTA Online and things are running smoothly, we have disabled the option of purchasable GTA$ cash packs. Players can however keep on earning GTA$ by pulling off Jobs and other profitable gameplay activities rather than purchasing cash packs.
Previously, Rockstar Games released a full list of all the known GTA Online problems and said it is "working around the clock" to resolve them.

Posting the list of known issues on the Rockstar Support pages, the GTA 5 developer added a new statement that expressed its dedication to fixing all the problems with GTA Online.

"We are continuing to look into these issues and are working around the clock on resolving them as quickly as possible", reads the statement. "This includes close monitoring of our Support systems, forums, social media, and in-game data to measure traffic along with Community sentiment to ensure ongoing improvements to stability. Please stay tuned for more updates."

The list of issues is as follows:

  • "Rockstar Cloud Servers Unavailable" error message
  • "Failed to Host a GTA Online Session" error messages
  • Errors saying "Timed out when matchmaking for a compatible GTA Online Session to join"
  • Errors about jobs failing to start or load
  • Misc. network and server-related error messages, disconnections, or cloud server errors
  • Errors saying "Mission Failed" as soon as the mission begins during a session
  • Long matchmaking load screens, eventually timing out after 10-15 minutes
  • Offline (disc-based) and online content mixing on the Jobs list
  • Ending up in a free-roam session with no jobs/markers on the map while playing as a temporary character during a cloud outage
  • Freezing while loading into first race in GTAO with "waiting for other players" on the screen
  • Seeing the same cut-scene twice in a row and then getting stuck on a load screen
  • Getting stuck transitioning into the lobby or race while other players are joining/leaving
  • Race Corona (start area, marker) not showing up for first race
  • General issues with the Social Club site and Social Club features (slow loading, failed logins, emails not arriving, etc).

Along with these issues, the GTA Online update is reportedly corrupting the GTA 5 single player saves of those who have already downloaded and still isn’t working.

Rockstar Games already anticipated there would be issues with GTA Online, the multiplayer experience for GTA 5, but fresh reports suggest the problems gamers are experiencing are pretty huge.

Released on October 1, several Twitter users and forum commenters have complained that their GTA 5 game saves are being corrupted after attempting to access GTA Online.

“So GTA Online isn’t working for me and it’s corrupted my single player save. Excellent,” wrote Chris Schilling, a games journalist, on Twitter. “Can’t switch characters, and the mission marker disappears when I drive into it.”

Other gamers are saying their GTA V game returns them to a part of the story far beyond the point they had previously reached.

It’s not clear as yet whether the single player saves for GTA 5 are permanently corrupted or its only temporary, but we imagine Rockstar Games is feverishly working on a patch for all the issues.

Other GTA Online issues occurred so far include the expected server problems, such as error messages saying the cloud servers are unavailable, race markers not showing propery, “failed to host” messages and permanent “waiting for other players” messages.

There have also been reports of matchmaking time out errors and general issues with the Social Club.

Rockstar Games has added a dedicated page to its Rockstar Support for all the known GTA Online problems and promises to keep gamers regularly updated.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this,” reads the support site.

Next, read our pick of the best games of 2013.

Go to comments


October 1, 2013, 4:36 pm

I am having this exact issue. Online would either freeze or not connect after quite a few attempts and then when I returned to my single player game I noticed that i was unable to start any new missions or change characters. Tried loading a save game from a few days ago but the issue is the same. Not sure what to do at this point aside from wait. I really hope I dont have to start the campaign over again...


October 1, 2013, 4:50 pm

Game is completely stuck, now.Tried getting online after I finished a mission. Got to a point before the big one, Lester says he'll call when it's ready, and absolutely nothing has happened. In this time, I did Strangers and Freaks, thinking maybe it needed a certain trigger, or a certain amount of time, but I completed all of them and there's still no progress.

The shrink also texted me to call him, and when I do he doesn't answer.

Dave Whiteland

October 2, 2013, 7:20 am

Ditto. I eventually got online (the race marker vanished and i was able to 'explore' - thetes nothing to do) but when i reload single player it jumps me in as Michael who i only play as when he has missions to do, and i saved as franklin. How ever i cannot change character. Weapon.😠


October 2, 2013, 1:29 pm

Disappointing. It's not a server issue for most people, which I would happily understand and accept.
I'm sure Rockstar will sort this quite quickly, and they did warn of problems beforehand, but still...Insisting on an arbitrary car race tutorial that is a glitchfest and doesn't work before I'm entitled or allowed to jump in with friends is a massive cock-up. If the obligatory gateway into online play isn't even coded properly, you'd have to say this is a let down.

Craig Moley Smith

October 2, 2013, 2:00 pm

its appaling considering probably most people payed over the odds just to get the game.i payed £45 because i thought it would be a good game,and yes it is a good game but why release the game before they had produced and tested a working server/online service considering it says that it has online capabilities????if i try and enter the online,i get the cutscene of my player arriving,then the bit where your player walks to the race trigger but then it just sits on waiting for players or occasionaly it says ''this player is on a job,do you want to spectate?'' ive tried pressing the corresponding buttons for yes and no but it all leads back to the waiting for players screen.


October 2, 2013, 4:11 pm

So, is anyone actually able to get past the first race?....

Jake DeBoer

October 2, 2013, 4:36 pm

how do you make your armor disappear? Like the vest from your clothes


October 2, 2013, 4:59 pm

Online characters aren't saving either...


October 2, 2013, 5:01 pm

I got to the second mission in the Cyprus apartments and it didn't load, quit the game and reloaded online and my character was deleted


October 2, 2013, 5:11 pm

Paid 150 for my collectors edition. Rockstar is losing a lot of cool points in my book

some guy

October 2, 2013, 5:24 pm

@craigmoleysmith i agree, why release an unfinished product, i could have waited another month to experience flawless game play.


October 2, 2013, 5:36 pm

dont forget having to remake your character everytime you want to go online. made her 3 times ...not going to bother a 4th

Don dizzl£

October 2, 2013, 5:50 pm

Is anyone having the same problem I'm having? When you go online and you create a player and it dose not save? I got a lot of things done on it witch took me a long time to do, and the next day when I come to get back on gta my save ain't there "/ it pissed me off so much :@ rockstar needs to fix up, it's so easy for them to take our money on the day it came out init "/ so you take our money we want what we payed for simple, so fix up ASAP, its took them 4 yrs to make and they still anit got it right, in my eyes there a waste of time.......


October 2, 2013, 5:56 pm

No after the first race online i had won first place, then i could hear the game in the back round but it was stuck in the clouds with the loading screen still on.. I had no choice but to turn off my PS3 and then restart, soon to realize my character had been deleted and i had lost my ranking that i deserved of playing 2 hours online in Free Roam.. Now i have to start from square 1.. but i dont want too because it may happen again, and i just wasted another 2 hours.. Unbelieveable and they have sold us a broken game..


October 2, 2013, 5:59 pm

After the first race online i had won first place, then i could hear the game in the back round but it was stuck in the clouds with the loading screen still on.. I had no choice but to turn off my PS3 and then restart, soon to realize my character had been deleted and i had lost my ranking that i deserved of playing 2 hours online in Free Roam.. Now i have to start from square 1.. but i dont want too because it may happen again, and i just wasted another 2 hours.. Unbelieveable and they have sold us a broken game..


October 2, 2013, 6:07 pm

Got past the first 3 missions online, then logged out because I had to do stuff. When I came back my character was gone and everything was lost. God fucking damnit.


October 2, 2013, 6:07 pm

At least I was able to get pass the first race not showing glitch, but imagine the frustration where u have been playing for 4hours smoothly then all of sudden the game just freeze on me when doing a job, not able to do any shit at all, after reset PS3 my created character is gone, makes me wanna fucking Trevor rage kick rockstar's balls now.. : (


October 2, 2013, 7:31 pm

I was successfully playing all day yesterday but now I got in this morning and my character is GONE! I worked hard to get to RANK 12 and now its lost! Im so annoyed cause now I have to go through it all again! Does anyone have any idea if this is just a temporary error and my character will return or is it gone forever?


October 2, 2013, 7:45 pm

I have yet to be able to get into a server. Keep getting a session timed out message. I'm in Minnesota. Even with Battlefield 4 Beta out there.

Ken Randall

October 2, 2013, 7:51 pm

I don't think they expected to sell as many copies as they did. Give them a break they produced a great game and you greedy people just want more more more


October 2, 2013, 8:22 pm

i went on exactly at 7 , i downloaded it and started playing. all was working well , i did the first race and robbed some stores after . got my character to level 5. i got off to go to school and i came back to everything being whipped. icouldnt even get onto online at all.
Rockstar better fix this !


October 2, 2013, 8:23 pm

What does pre ordering have to do with anything stop complaining


October 2, 2013, 9:26 pm

My character keeps getting currupted I got past the first race then I quit and came back about an hour later and it sayed the character was corrupted it has done this 6 times and its starting to become annoying


October 2, 2013, 9:38 pm

I know people that have, no drama's at all....The servers were due to go live at 12pm U.K. time yesterday. My friend discovered he could go online at just after 11am, did his car race thingy, subsequently, he can now play whenever he wants with few issues. It seems that the initial car race/tutorial/bug-strewn farce is the key, nail that and you're in. Personally, I've tried over a dozen times, dashboarded, rinse and repeat...Given up now, my enthusiasm has diminished.
I'm sure they'll sort it, and quickly. Shame they couldn't get that right in the first place.


October 2, 2013, 9:45 pm

im not even able to go into stores anymore, anyone else experiencing this problem?

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