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News video games 01 December 2022, 16:02

author: Sonia Selerska

GTA Almost Wasn't Made; Even the Devs Didn't Believe in It [UPDATE]

Colin Macdonald has admitted that the first GTA was considered by the developers themselves to be an unsuccessful game. The iconic series was said to have been remade from a failed game about dinosaurs.


Referring to an interview with Colin Macdonald, creator of the prototype for the first part of GTA Mike Dailly detailed the origin story of the groundbreaking title. It turns out that the shooter was not built based on a game about dinosaurs.

However, this was not a lie on Colin's part, but only a mistake containing some truth. According to Mike, in the creation of GTA he used basic code elements taken from a dinosaur game he had worked on much earlier. Thus, the file titled dino actually appeared in the game's folders and remained there even in the final version.

During a brief exchange on Twitter Dailly corrected Macdonald, who lamented the vision of a prehistoric GTA admitted that he was sure of the version of events he presented, but his memory failed him.

GTA Almost Wasnt Made; Even the Devs Didnt Believe in It [UPDATE] - picture #1
Source: Twitter

Original message

The GTA series is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, but 25 years ago, there was little indication that it would achieve such, or even any, success. To celebrate the release anniversary of the first Grand Theft Auto one of its creators gave an interview to the BBC news service, in which he revealed previously unknown facts about the game's development process.

Devs skeptic of what would become a global hit

Colin Macdonald, best known as the producer of GTA 2, joined DMA Design (now Rockstar North) in 1997, a few months before the release of the first installment of the series.

In the company, where the atmosphere at the time was quite relaxed, an informal survey was conducted among employees about the potential of the games they were creating. It turned out that of the 7 titles they were working on, GTA was indicated as the game least likely to succeed.

According to Colin, the reason for this was quite clear:

"During the development process, GTA's direction, was not clear. The game was also full of bugs - it was impossible to play for more than a few minutes without it crashing. For this reason, employees did not hold high hopes for it."

Undecided developers kept changing the game's keynote, which led to confusion highlighted by technical problems. Funnily enough, Macdonald also revealed that one of the first developers of GTA created the basis of the world for a game, in which player-controlled dinosaurs would destroy a city observed from a bird's eye view. In the final version, the oversized reptiles were replaced by cars.

GTA Almost Wasnt Made; Even the Devs Didnt Believe in It [UPDATE] - picture #2
Source: Steam

Conclusions that changed the developers' approach

The group responsible for creating GTA gained faith in the title upon its completion, and plans for a continuation were to gain momentum.

"GTA went through many versions, and the development process itself was filled with problems, which led to an unflattering opinion of the game from the original developers. When I joined the studio almost everything was ready, and the group responsible for GTA was quite satisfied, because they had finally developed some kind of vision. They were looking forward to quietly analyzing what they had done, planning a sequel and improving the elements they were not satisfied with. They wanted to create new versions and see where it would take them."

25 years later, GTA has sold 385 million units, GTA 5 has broken sales records, bringing developers $1 billion in just 3 days after release, and fans are capable of going so far as to steal the game's files in anticipation of the announcement of GTA 6. As you can see, not every success starts with the developers' trust in the potential of the work.

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