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The making of Grand Theft Auto
September 15, 2013 11:49 PM   Subscribe

"Like nailing jelly to kittens." - Unloved, hugely delayed and plagued by bugs, GTA almost didn't see the light of day. This is the story of how a small team of developers at DMA Design saw their vision through and kickstarted a gaming revolution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (24 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Like lining up a row of Hari Krishnas, surely.
posted by jaduncan at 12:39 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I can't believe that, with the exception of one guy, none of them had any game dev experience. Would have been interesting to know how and why they were recruited.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:24 AM on September 16, 2013


I can't believe that, with the exception of one guy, none of them had any game dev experience

It was the writers who had no game dev experience, not the coders - so they were coming up with plots and missions and then taking them to the coders who were saying 'no way'
posted by memebake at 2:28 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


As tortuous as they make it sound, to me this sounds exactly like every medium to large software project ever. Except for the Daily Mail outrage.
posted by memebake at 2:32 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except for the Daily Mail outrage.

It sounds like they employed Max Clifford's firm to do PR for them & he turned round and created the biggest media shitstorm in gaming history at the time, which wasn't *quite* what they were expecting, but worked out very well for them.
posted by pharm at 2:59 AM on September 16, 2013


GTA: "Max Clifford made it all happen"
posted by memebake at 3:47 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


GTA: "Max Clifford made it all happen"

I bet he was also responsible for planting that one self-styled 'anarchist' in my class who wouldn't stop talking about it with wide eyes and a stupid grin whenever the topic of video games was discussed.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:51 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it was exactly what they were expecting!

That's what you pay the PR guys the big bucks for I guess.
posted by pharm at 5:20 AM on September 16, 2013


I'm not sure I'd call GTA unloved. That game was so much fun and it was groundbreaking at the time even though it was superseded by the 3d roaming of GTA 3.
posted by ersatz at 6:38 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I'd call GTA unloved.

I think they mean that during production it was nearly cancelled many times.
posted by memebake at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2013


I had played GTA 3 on PC back in the day, and thought it was pretty great. But the other day I was flipping though the App store and found a port of Vice City for iPad for like $6. So I bought it on a lark and have been playing it on and off and holy crap is it fun.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have they not made a port of the original GTA to mobile devices yet? I'm astonished, it seems so perfect for it.
posted by jaduncan at 8:37 AM on September 16, 2013


Yeah, it is sorta crazy that the 3D GTAs have been ported by the 2D ones haven't. Except for GTA Chinatown Wars which is shockingly good.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:32 AM on September 16, 2013


I've never played any of the GTAs, but I do love this song.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it is sorta crazy that the 3D GTAs have been ported by the 2D ones haven't. Except for GTA Chinatown Wars which is shockingly good.

The complete disappearance of GTA/GTA London/GTA II from game purchase sites makes me wonder if there's some unresolved IP issue.
posted by jaduncan at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2013


I'm holding out for GTA: GTA

(Greater Toronto Area)
posted by jb at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


General Tutting and Abrasiveness: Greater Toronto Area? It is a Canadan crime spree, after all.
posted by jaduncan at 11:19 AM on September 16, 2013


jaduncan, GTA and GTA II are available for free download on the Rockstar site ... well, they used to be. Maybe you are right after all.
posted by Glow Bucket at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2013


Now I really have a hankering to play the first one again (probably because it's not free on the website anymore). I vaguely remember the missions, but my friends and I basically made it a game where you tried to get as many cops chasing you as possible, and do the most outlandish shit we could think of to get away from them. GTA was a great game, but the modern incarnation is something I would never have dreamed of, given the original game's lack of depth. It's interesting that the newer GTA games have been able to deviate so far from the original gameplay too - many game sequels just try to re-create the older game with an updated story, graphics, etc., but once the game went to the first-person, it really improved.

And of course, we could only play it at my friends house, who had an older brother who probably bought the game just because of the controversy surrounding it.
posted by antonymous at 1:46 PM on September 16, 2013


GTA II, multi-player mode, tanks. Enough said.
posted by sockpuppetdirect at 1:54 PM on September 16, 2013


I cannot think of any piece of media more fascinated with the male phallus... The size and the use of the penis is discussed with fervor and frequency. By the time I literally tattooed a turgid member onto a man's chest, I could hear David Mamet groaning from whatever bridge he currently lives under. - Polygon - Grand Theft Auto 5
posted by figurant at 1:56 PM on September 16, 2013


I know I'm going to play the hell out of this game, but the socially awkward 12 year old boy's view of sexuality is not something I'm looking forward to. Thank god I have headphones with a long enough cord to watch tv and play at the same time, because I know there's going to be times when I'm going to be embarrassed enough about the content without having someone else in the house listening in and making well deserved snide comments. Hopefully it's better than 4, which had moments where I had to do that watch through your fingers while slowly dieing of vicarious shame thing.
posted by aspo at 2:36 PM on September 16, 2013


So... MeFi GTA:O crew? Who's in?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:38 PM on September 16, 2013


I've never played any of the GTAs, but I do love this song.

Almost any time I'm in a city I que up the GTA2 soundtrack: Taxi Drivers Must Die.

Is it me or are almost all great ideas born on graph paper?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:55 AM on September 17, 2013


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