Train2Game students will be very aware that Grand Theft Auto is one of the biggest franchises in the video games industry with over 17 million units sold across the world.
It may come as a surprise then to hear that the original game was “almost canned” while in production during the late 1990’s! That’s according to an interview with Gary Penn – who worked for DMA Design – gave in Replay: The History of Video Games – It’s a book that may interest many Train2Game students!
Now an extract from that interview published on Gamasutra reveals Grand Theft Auto came close to being cancelled:
“[The original GTA] was a real mess for years, it never moved on, it never went anywhere,” Penn – now with Scottish Independent developer Denki – told author Tristan Donovan.
“It never really felt like it was going anywhere. It was almost canned. The publisher, BMG Interactive, wanted to can it, as it didn’t seem to be going anywhere.”
“There are probably two key things it fell down on. Two critical things. One of them is stability, which is a really boring one but it crashed all the time. So even if you did get something in the game, you couldn’t really test it.”
“The designers couldn’t test stuff out or try things out, it just kept crashing as simple as that,” he added. “That was a boring one, but that was pivotal — so that was the first step to get that knocked out.”
“Now the other thing that was a problem was the handling — the car handling was appalling,” he explained, a game-breaking issue for a game based mainly around driving. “…The core of playing was fundamentally broken”
Penn also reveals how what was originally a bug, ended up essentially saving Grand Theft Auto:
“One day, I think it was a bug, the police suddenly became mental and aggressive. It was because they were trying to drive through you.”
“Their route finding was screwed I think and that was an awesome moment because suddenly the real drama where, ‘Oh my God, the police are psycho — they’re trying to ram me off the road.”
“That was awesome, so that stayed in.”
It’s interesting to hear that it was a big which took Grand Theft Auto from almost being cancelled, to a finished product which has spawned multiple sequels and is one of the most well know video games franchises in the world.
However, there doesn’t seem to be a Grand Theft Auto V on the horizon quite yet, with one analyst even predicting we won’t see it until 2012.
Of course Train2Game students will know that not many bugs change games in a positive way! But now you can learn how to spot bugs – and many other skills – with the newly launched Train2Game QA course.
So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on these revelations about Grand Theft Auto? Are you surprised to hear the first in a very successful game franchise was almost never released? Does this encourage to stick with developing games that have problems?
Train2Game, in association with DR Studios and the University of Bedfordshire, will be holding a Game Jam at the end of March. For more information, see this Train2Game blog post or the Train2Game Game Jam Facebook page. Alternatively, keep an eye on the Train2Game Game Jam Twitter account.