Rockstar Once Considered GTA Unlikely to Be a Success


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Colin MacDonald is a game industry veteran who joined the team at DMA Design in 1997 during the months leading up to the release of Grand Theft Auto, though it was not yet known by that name. The earliest mainline entries in the Grand Theft Auto series were top-down experiences that had prototypical versions of the series' trademark open-world framing. This was years before the franchise would reach high levels of acclaim in the early 2000s with genre-defining titles like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto 3.

MacDonald would become a producer on Grand Theft Auto 2 and was able to witness the development of the series' earliest iterations. In a recent interview with BBC, MacDonald remarked that around halfway through development of the first game, an informal staff survey was conducted where members were asked which of the games in development at the time they thought would be most and least successful. Of the seven games in development, Grand Theft Auto was voted least likely to succeed, an ironic statement given that in the 25 years since the game's release, Grand Theft Auto's massive success has made it universally recognizable.

Colin MacDonald clarified that during development, the idea of what Grand Theft Auto was supposed to be was not yet clear. “It was also quite buggy - you couldn't play it for more than a couple of minutes without it crashing, so certainly at grassroots level, there wasn't a lot of confidence in it," the developer said during the interview. The game would receive a number of design overhauls during development with the introduction of series staples like police encounters, vehicle gameplay, and the first in the line of iconic Grand Theft Auto criminal characters. When the game launched in 1997, it would become the blueprint for the open-world sandbox Grand Theft Auto games that are still played and celebrated today.


sorry but this topic is stupid, i read the book about the development and yes of course nobody could foresee if it could be successful or a failure, same healthy Skepticism was normal


I remember watching this live.

It was pretty cool seeing a game dev like this on TV, but I didn't imagine it would blow up to be so much bigger than Lemmings.
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