Grand Theft Auto is currently one of the most lucrative media franchises of all time, but the first installment of this IP may be far from what many imagine. The development of GTA 1 began with a technical demo of a dinosaur game.
At one point in the painstaking development of Grand Theft Auto 1, the game that kicked off the GTA franchise was a 3D graphical demo that showcased the feasibility of the technology. The initial build allowed the player to control a dinosaur, trampling the city and destroying buildings. However, everything changed when the developers started adding cars to the game thinking that driving a car could be much more fun.
The interesting information above comes from an interview with developer Colin Macdonald, who talked about his time at DMA Design, the forerunner of Rockstar North. “One of DMA’s original programmers, Mike Dailly, did a technology test to display the shape of buildings in 3D from above,” said Mr. Macdonald. Basically, construction is a dinosaur game.
However, that changed when the city was completed. Macdonald recalls: “Mike Dailly then added small cars to bring the city to life. And somebody had a great idea of what it would be like to drive one of the cars instead of a dinosaur, and suddenly GTA becomes a car game.”
However, after this decision was made, the development of GTA still did not go smoothly. The DMA had no idea what to make of the game, even if they did remove the dinosaur. The game was called Race ‘n’ Chase for a long time. And then someone realized: “oh, let’s try to get the player out of the car, running, jumping in and out of other cars.” That was really the defining moment of Grand Theft Auto. Fast forward to 25 years later, this decision helped create the success of the series.