Certain safes found within the game are able to be cracked by the player. When in front of such a safe, the player will be prompted to press a button to begin the cracking attempt. Doing so initiates the safe cracking mini game.
The player must start by setting the dial to zero. From there, they must rotate it to the right until the controller vibrates and then stop. An on-screen cue of a lock opening will signify that the first number has been found. The player must then rotate the dial to the left and right again, stopping each time the controller vibrates. If the player makes an error, they must begin again from the start. If all three numbers are reached successfully, the safe opens and the contents are provided to the player. Normal safes contain three money saches, a Cattleman Revolver and, rarely a Pardon Letter.
Cracking a safe results in a loss of honor for the player, unless the bandana is worn. If the player is already wanted by the law, they will be unable to crack a safe until losing their wanted level. Players should keep this in mind if they are planning on robbing a bank, because lawmen will be everywhere.
Safes usually contain up to 500 dollars, so they can be quite useful for getting rich quick. On rare occasions a Pardon Letter can be found inside. Safes are re-crackable. This means players can go back and profit from them as many times as they want, but only after leaving the area and travelling a certain distance between each safe crack. Otherwise, the safe will still be empty upon return.
This is a list of safes that can be cracked. There are other safes not listed here that are merely background and can not be cracked. A video showing the locations of all the safes can be found here.
- Armadillo – Located in the back of the bank. There are two safes and two chests.
- Blackwater bank has two safes, one inside the front office near a desk however getting to it may be somewhat tricky. And a second one around a corner to the right of the door.
- El Matadero – Located upstairs in the office of the Butchery.
- Fort Mercer – Located on the second floor of the fort. From the main doors, the player must reach the second level directly to the right. The safe is located in a room in the corner of the fort.
- MacFarlane's Ranch – Located behind the door in the jail house.
- El Presidio – Located in the second story of the house in which Javier Escuella was caught.
- Chuparosa – There are two safes in the banco (bank in Spanish). Unfortunately they cannot be reached as far as i could tell due to two locked doors and barred windows. They can only be reached on certain occasions.
- The Great Mexican Train Robbery – Located at the conclusion of the mission, in an armored train car. It is required to crack this safe to complete the mission.
- The Solomon's Folly Gang Hideout mission (single player only) features a safe, stolen from the Armadillo Bank. The mission requires the player to return the safe, but they may choose to crack it along the way. Cracking the safe is one of the requirements of the related Social Club Challenge.
Safe cracking is not available as a general activity in multiplayer. Several Stronghold maps do feature safe cracking as one of the stages (the safes yield the Explosive Rifle), but this is done with a simple button press and does not utilize the safe cracking mini game.
- If the bank that the player wants to rob is locked at night (as in Armadillo), one can wait until there are no potential eyewitnesses around, smash a window (preferably on the side of the bank), and jump in to the bank. If an eyewitness notices, then the player may run out of the bank and bribe them, leaving the door open, in order to buy time for the safe cracking attempt.