Grand Theft Auto cover art

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular game series. But how much do you know about the first part of this series, thanks to which the sequels were created? For example, did you know that Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas the cities that are appearing in the whole serie were already in this first game, or that the game's boot file was named Dino in some editions?

GTA was made by DMA design, today known as Rockstar North. Their most famous game until then was Lemmings. If you don't know Lemmings, I'd describe it as a game where you try to save suicidal Jokers. For a better idea, I enclose a picture.

Lemmings - game made by DMA Design in 1991

The game has undergone many changes during its development. The player was originally not supposed to be a criminal, but a soldier who kills aliens and occasionally also civilians. The game was originally supposed to be published by Nintendo, but they rejected due to the brutality that’s in it. The development of the game was extended by a year due to a complete redesign of the engine. Prototype of the game was released under the name Race'n'Chase. It turned out to be too demanding for the computers of the time. At 486, the game worked smoothly, but not everyone had them. There were cops and criminals in the game, the cops were also supposed to be players. It turned out that no one enjoys playing for the cops, because they behave according to the regulations. That's why the opportunity to play for the cops was removed from the game and was never turned back.

GTA engine prototypes
Two prototypes of the game engine
left: the first prototype completely 3D map | right: the one used in the final product

The top view was used in the first two GTAs. The idea for this display was taken over by Mike Dailly, one of the GTA programmers, from the game Clockwork Knight. It was originally a side view, but he added a floor, a few other elements and the top view was done. The code was taken from another prototype - ATTACK!. It was a dinosaur game. This is why the GTA boot file has been named DINO.EXE for a long time. You can find the remnants of this fact in the game files. In /gta/gtados you can find a file named DINO.BAT, that confirms this fact.

The next GTA games took an example from the first Grand Theft Auto. For example, we can already find the famous three cities here, which appear in other titles: Liberty City (New York), Vice City (Miami) and San Andreas (San Francisco). The game contained a total of 90 missions. However, the missions were added to the game at the end of the development, when the developers wanted to give the game a sense, so they seem a bit fragmented. The game had a total of six levels, each city contained two. To advance to the next level, the player had to collect enough score points.

GTA preview
Grand Theft Auto gameplay preview

The game generated a great deal of controversy due to its violence. Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of GTA, took advantage of that and hired publicist Max Clliford to raise the criticism of violence in games in local media. This has made the game even more popular. However, the opening of the topic led to banning the sale of the game or its restriction. The game was banned in Brazil and temporarily also in Britain for its violent content.