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Xbox Rejected Original Grand Theft Auto 3

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

In the six-part documentary series diving into the history of Xbox, several figureheads within Microsoft's Xbox division speak about the birth of the console and among them, Director of 3rd Party Relations Kevin Bachus and Drew Angeloff, another employee working for Microsoft at the time, explained that a team of "newly important executives" had rejected Grand Theft Auto 3. The unnamed executives believed the franchise would struggle to "transition from 2D to 3D," citing a complicated user interface and doubting the potential success of GTA 3 based on the previous two games.
 

mansoor1980

Gold Member
 

Duchess

Member
Would make for an interesting thread - famous games that developers passed on.

I believe that Sony passed on publishing Demon's Souls, as they felt the difficulty of the game would be off putting for many.
 

K2D

Member
The alternate timeline where Xbox might have annihilated PlayStation for good.. Glad that didn't happen, even if it could have turned out for the better for GTA3..
 

01011001

Member
GTA 3 didn’t have any hype before it’s release. A lot of people slept on the game until it come out and blow everyone away.

yeah many forgot that GTA 1 and 2 were only mildly successful and 3D open world games at the time weren't all that amazing either, so every reason to doubt this is gonna be a hit.

also they eventually got it in a way better, basically remastered version with GTA VC in a double pack, both vastly superior than on PS2
 

01011001

Member
You just can't know anything. I doubt Sony or the devs would have put Rocket League on PS+ at release if they had expected that enormous success,

yeah, I think the fact that almost noone knew the first game on PS3 made them make that deal.

but I also think that it wouldn't have been such a success without being given away as a PS+ game. almost noone gave the original on PS3 a chance either... but then again that was a digital only game on PS3 and had a fucking stupid name, meaning bad business decisions have been made back then lol
 
yeah, I think the fact that almost noone knew the first game on PS3 made them make that deal.

but I also think that it wouldn't have been such a success without being given away as a PS+ game. almost noone gave the original on PS3 a chance either... but then again that was a digital only game on PS3 and had a fucking stupid name, meaning bad business decisions have been made back then lol
I think a free weekend would have had a similar effect, because it sold on Steam like crazy. Sometimes that business is just a gamble.
 

mejin

Member
You just can't know anything. I doubt Sony or the devs would have put Rocket League on PS+ at release if they had expected that enormous success,

Rocket It is not their ip, but they bet on It for Plus cause of multiplayer. They did the same for Fall Guys
 

saintjules

Member
While not exactly the same, almost feelsnas rough as when Blockbuster decided not to buy Netflix.
 
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GHG

Member
GTA 3 didn’t have any hype before it’s release. A lot of people slept on the game until it come out and blow everyone away.

It was the opposite, the game was heavily featured in all gaming magazines in the run up to release, especially so once it was revealed to be 3D.
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
Gta2 wasn’t a super huge success. Sure you can look back now and laugh but at the time I can see questioning the game.
 

Hunnybun

Member
yeah many forgot that GTA 1 and 2 were only mildly successful and 3D open world games at the time weren't all that amazing either, so every reason to doubt this is gonna be a hit.

also they eventually got it in a way better, basically remastered version with GTA VC in a double pack, both vastly superior than on PS2

Yeah cos that really makes up for passing on exclusivity!!
 

CamHostage

Member
It was the opposite, the game was heavily featured in all gaming magazines in the run up to release, especially so once it was revealed to be 3D.

No, Grand Theft Auto 3 absolutely flew under the radar until just shortly before release.

Even as late as E3 2001 that May, the big games were MGS2, Jak & Daxter, Halo, DMC, and everything on Gamecube. GTA3 didn't really start to catch attention until August/September of that year (it released in October) when websites started doing feature reports all the little details included in the game (I remember it was a big deal that there were whole radio stations to listen to in the game, which got more ink than the actual gameplay because people couldn't believe a game could do something like that.) Until then, it was just a fun-looking drive-around sequel to that crummy flat game that Somethingawful forum kids talked about playing in college...

EGM never gave it a cover. (They made up to Rockstar for missing later next year by putting State of Emergency on the cover, that great big hit there.) Game Informer never even mentioned it in a bulletpoint, much less a cover story. (The title doesn't even show up on their cover until July 22, when they give The Getaway a cover with the line, "SONY'S ANSWER TO GTA3". OPM put GTA3 on its November 2001 cover (BTW, of all character to feature, why that guy?) Even back home in the UK, GTA3 wasn't topping Edge, they instead did six covers with the consoles (and GBA) on the cover, and awarded the rest of their frontpages to Timesplitters 2, Burnout, Luigi's Mansion (I guess thats what that is?), Crazy Taxi 2, Galleon, EXO, and Sonic (or rather Dreamcast, so that's almost 7 covers.)






Maybe people are misrembering things because, once the game came out, it launched with a megaton of TV commercials (and probably there were magazine ads too) that really sold the game as something extraordinary. But GTA3 was never the game anybody thought was going to be the big game of that year, it wasn't until Rockstar started letting people play it that it sunk in how revolutionary and exciting a game it was.
 
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ManaByte

Gold Member
Microsoft gave every clickbait site a great Christmas present over the traditionally slow news week leading up to Christmas. A four-hour documentary sites can mine for daily news articles and anyone who watched it already know about.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
It's fair that execs make the hardcore decisions. Thats how life works. Every new product our company makes or discontinues needs exec approval too.

But it also shows they didnt understand 3D gaming, and whichever Xbox product and marketing managers involved didn't push it enough to convince them.

Also shows nobody did research or testing in any way regarding 3D GTA either (or 3D action crime games). That era is when tons of those kinds of games started so gamers were thirsting for it. But execs used only their own intuition and were dead wrong.
 

coffinbirth

Member
No, Grand Theft Auto 3 absolutely flew under the radar until just shortly before release.

Even as late as E3 2001 that May, the big games were MGS2, Jak & Daxter, Halo, DMC, and everything on Gamecube. GTA3 didn't really start to catch attention until August/September of that year (it released in October) when websites started doing feature reports all the little details included in the game (I remember it was a big deal that there were whole radio stations to listen to in the game, which got more ink than the actual gameplay because people couldn't believe a game could do something like that.) Until then, it was just a fun-looking drive-around sequel to that crummy game series that Somethingawful forum kids talked about playing in college...

EGM never gave it a cover. (They made up to Rockstar for missing later next year by putting State of Emergency on the cover, that great big hit there.) Game Informer never even mentioned it in a bulletpoint, much less a cover story. (The title doesn't even show up on their cover until July 22, when they give The Getaway a cover with the line, "SONY'S ANSWER TO GTA3". OPM put GTA3 on its November 2001 cover (BTW, of all character to feature, why that guy?) Even back home in the UK, GTA3 wasn't topping Edge, they instead did six covers with the consoles (and GBA) on the cover, and awarded the rest of their frontpages to Timesplitters 2, Burnout, Luigi's Mansion (I guess thats what that is?), Crazy Taxi 2, Galleon, EXO, and Sonic (or rather Dreamcast, so that's almost 7 covers.)






Maybe people are misrembering things because, once the game came out, it launched with a megaton of TV commercials (and probably there were magazine ads too) that really sold the game as something extraordinary. But GTA3 was never the game anybody thought was going to be the big game of that year, it wasn't until Rockstar started letting people play it that it sunk in how revolutionary and exciting a game it was.
Yup. I remember someone at R* saying that their GTA3 kiosk at E3 that year was an absolute ghost town (everyone was playing State of Emergency) and they were of the mind that the game was going to flop. This incident actually changed how R* approached E3 going forward.

I'm old enough to have been buying my own games at that point, and it was my most anticipated game, ever. Just imagining the mayhem of GTA III in full 3-D was enough for me to know it was going to be amazing, having played the absolute piss out of the first two on PS1.

I remember telling everyone I knew about it prior to release and nobody knew what the fuck I was on about. It DEFINATELY flew under the radar and anyone saying otherwise is flat out wrong.
 

GHG

Member
No, Grand Theft Auto 3 absolutely flew under the radar until just shortly before release.

Even as late as E3 2001 that May, the big games were MGS2, Jak & Daxter, Halo, DMC, and everything on Gamecube. GTA3 didn't really start to catch attention until August/September of that year (it released in October) when websites started doing feature reports all the little details included in the game (I remember it was a big deal that there were whole radio stations to listen to in the game, which got more ink than the actual gameplay because people couldn't believe a game could do something like that.) Until then, it was just a fun-looking drive-around sequel to that crummy game series that Somethingawful forum kids talked about playing in college...

EGM never gave it a cover. (They made up to Rockstar for missing later next year by putting State of Emergency on the cover, that great big hit there.) Game Informer never even mentioned it in a bulletpoint, much less a cover story. (The title doesn't even show up on their cover until July 22, when they give The Getaway a cover with the line, "SONY'S ANSWER TO GTA3". OPM put GTA3 on its November 2001 cover (BTW, of all character to feature, why that guy?) Even back home in the UK, GTA3 wasn't topping Edge, they instead did six covers with the consoles (and GBA) on the cover, and awarded the rest of their frontpages to Timesplitters 2, Burnout, Luigi's Mansion (I guess thats what that is?), Crazy Taxi 2, Galleon, EXO, and Sonic (or rather Dreamcast, so that's almost 7 covers.)






Maybe people are misrembering things because, once the game came out, it launched with a megaton of TV commercials (and probably there were magazine ads too) that really sold the game as something extraordinary. But GTA3 was never the game anybody thought was going to be the big game of that year, it wasn't until Rockstar started letting people play it that it sunk in how revolutionary and exciting a game it was.

I literally said in the run up to release. It was heavily featured in magazines throughout 2001:





I remember it well because it was the game everyone wanted a PS2 for that year at school. Granted, it was nowhere near as big as the frenzy for Vice City and then later San Andreas but it was definitely one of those games that everyone seemed to be talking about.
 
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Three

Member
No, Grand Theft Auto 3 absolutely flew under the radar until just shortly before release.

Even as late as E3 2001 that May, the big games were MGS2, Jak & Daxter, Halo, DMC, and everything on Gamecube. GTA3 didn't really start to catch attention until August/September of that year (it released in October) when websites started doing feature reports all the little details included in the game (I remember it was a big deal that there were whole radio stations to listen to in the game, which got more ink than the actual gameplay because people couldn't believe a game could do something like that.) Until then, it was just a fun-looking drive-around sequel to that crummy flat game that Somethingawful forum kids talked about playing in college...

EGM never gave it a cover. (They made up to Rockstar for missing later next year by putting State of Emergency on the cover, that great big hit there.) Game Informer never even mentioned it in a bulletpoint, much less a cover story. (The title doesn't even show up on their cover until July 22, when they give The Getaway a cover with the line, "SONY'S ANSWER TO GTA3". OPM put GTA3 on its November 2001 cover (BTW, of all character to feature, why that guy?) Even back home in the UK, GTA3 wasn't topping Edge, they instead did six covers with the consoles (and GBA) on the cover, and awarded the rest of their frontpages to Timesplitters 2, Burnout, Luigi's Mansion (I guess thats what that is?), Crazy Taxi 2, Galleon, EXO, and Sonic (or rather Dreamcast, so that's almost 7 covers.)






Maybe people are misrembering things because, once the game came out, it launched with a megaton of TV commercials (and probably there were magazine ads too) that really sold the game as something extraordinary. But GTA3 was never the game anybody thought was going to be the big game of that year, it wasn't until Rockstar started letting people play it that it sunk in how revolutionary and exciting a game it was.
I don't know about where you are but here the top down GTA2 was already kind of big and had its own radio stations too.
 
GTA 3 didn’t have any hype before it’s release. A lot of people slept on the game until it come out and blow everyone away.
False. IGN leading up to the game did a number of huge preview articles touting how amazing and groundbreaking the game would be. Everyone was talking about it before the game came out, a huge amount of hype.
 

kevm3

Member
I don't blame Microsoft. GTA 2 wasn't some awesome looking game. GTA 3 was one of the biggest jumps along with From Software and the souls series in terms of quality. Sony took a risk with these two companies and it paid off, but their mistake wasn't buying these companies.
 

DaGwaphics

Gold Member
Hindsight makes everyone smart. Fact is, early GTA 3 builds looked like complete trash.

Yeah, it helps to know how everything turned out already. This and the rumor about RE4 being offered to Xbox as an exclusive highlighted a couple of big misses. But they had some great 3rd party exclusives on OG Xbox, they just couldn't compete sales wise since the userbase was small in comparison to PS2.

Found this list of some of the highest rated Xbox exclusives, many of them are third party. So they did green light some good ones with high scores. Some of the Sega exclusives were really top notch, but were sometimes slightly underrated since they appeared exclusively on a new platform.

 
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CamHostage

Member
I literally said in the run up to release. It was heavily featured in magazines throughout 2001:



I remember it well because it was the game everyone wanted a PS2 for that year at school. Granted, it was nowhere near as big as the frenzy for Vice City and then later San Andreas but it was definitely one of those games that everyone seemed to be talking about.

Maybe in the UK, things were different. (Although again, Edge didn't pay it much mind, they instead spent their time on Galleon, "The next game from the creator of Tomb Raider!") Take-2 had better success with the franchise there (despite the creative energy to capture the feel of NYC/America, outside of the expansions,) maybe they concentrated exposure on 3 there. The world was on the web by 2001 though, and websites weren't going gaga for it either, most of their archives are up.

I'm telling you from experience though, maybe it was big on your playground, but I was in the business at the time (low on the totem pole; not claiming expertise, just saying I was around for all of these products and remember how R*'s E3 booth looked and how GTA had a notably tough showing there, promoted against Smuggler's Run 2 and other games with GTA3 as just another title in the mix, albeit I believe it was only on videotape or playable only in appointment rooms.) GTA3 was not the game everybody was running worldwide forecast predictions on.

I don't know about where you are but here the top down GTA2 was already kind of big and had its own radio stations too.

I know GTA1/2 had radio stations, and GTA fans knew about that, but still, it was those types of features in GTA 3 which got it extended coverage in GameSpot and IGN (maybe partly because video was hard to download back then, but putting RealAudio track samplers up could help get around?) When they did a slew of little micro-features on stuff you could do or stuff you could find in the game, that's when it started to sink in that this game was way bigger than some "thug simulator".

The first two GTAs had their fans, but they couldn't convince people outside of those circles that they should spend some time with them. First one moved a million units worldwide, second game I'm not finding reports but maybe about the same (300k certified on PS1, not sure what other figures are out on GTA2.)

False. IGN leading up to the game did a number of huge preview articles touting how amazing and groundbreaking the game would be. Everyone was talking about it before the game came out, a huge amount of hype.

...Starting in August/September, before the game launched in October. The archive is still there: https://www.ign.com/games/grand-theft-auto-iii/articles

 
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